These cake rolls are really versatile, as well as surprisingly easy and quick to put together. I’m going to use this recipe to show you the basic method, then you can go to town and customize it however you like. The one above is packed with peppermint ice cream, and I served with a hot fudge sauce. You can adjust the proportion of cake to filling, mine is slightly overstuffed but I was going for something cold and refreshing.
I have filled these with chestnut ganache for yule logs, filled them with ice cream, jam, mousse, you name it! As long it will firm up enough to slice it’s fair game.
The cake roll recipe is the basic sponge sheet from Paula Pecks’ The Art of Fine Baking. This little book is very unassuming from the outside, but it is a treasure and worth much more than many cookbooks twice its size. It’s out of print, but there are typically quite a few copies on ebay. Her sponge cake recipe is a great example. She found a way around the whole steaming it in a towel mess.
Basic Sponge Sheet, The Art of Fine Baking (Paula Peck)
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. flour
Separate the eggs. Beat the whites to soft peaks, and then beat in the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating on high for five minutes until you get a VERY stiff meringue.
In another bowl beat the yolks and vanilla together with a fork.
When they are well-combined, fold in 1/4 of the whites to lighten them.
Pour the yolk mixture over the remaining whites. Add the flour and cornstarch. Fold until combined.
Line a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with parchment. Grease and flour it lightly then pour the batter into the pan.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, or until barely colored.
Let cool. The cake will be light and very flexible.
When the cake is cool you’re ready to fill it! In our parts the peppermint ice cream is only available around the holidays, and the kids love it. So I turned the cake out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and spread it with a 1/2 gallon of ice cream that I whipped in my Kitchenaid to make it easier to spread.
Begin to roll the cake up from the end. When you’ve finished, wrap it tightly in the plastic wrap.
At this point I returned it to the freezer for an hour to harden since I was working with ice cream. To finish the cake. Unwrap it and turn it out on a large platter.
Any tan crust on the cake will probably peel off with the plastic wrap, leaving you with a lovely light yellow sponge exterior. You could easily just dust it with powdered sugar and call it a day, but if you want to dress it up you have lots of options. For yule logs I ice it with a batch of chocolate ganache, and draw some bark lines in it with a knife. I was going to something a tad lighter this time, so I covered it in stabilized whipped cream with a dusting of powdered sugar.
I typically slice it at 3/4″ intervals, which will give you about 12 servings. I sauced the plates with some bittersweet ganache before I set the slices down.