Strawberry Cream Roulade

Strawberry cream roulade - what a treat.

Strawberry cream roulade – what a treat.

This past weekend my family got together to celebrate a very special lady: my mom. It was a gorgeous, warm sunny day that reminded me of all the great things there are to look forward to in the coming summer months. Like strawberries! This roulade cake that I made for the occasion was the perfect way to kick off strawberry season. I’ve made a few chocolate desserts in recent months but for Mother’s Day I wanted to make something light, fresh, and not at all fussy. This strawberry cream roulade looks super impressive but it was actually way easier to make than I imagined. I love the simplicity of this recipe – flour, eggs, sugar, strawberries, cream. That’s pretty much it. So wholesome. The cake turned out beautifully and it was no trouble at all to roll, which was obviously the part I was most nervous about. I found some sweet, juicy strawberries at the grocery store (not exactly local, but it is only mid-May) and this dessert really let them shine. Light, airy vanilla-scented cake, berry-stained cream filling, and clouds of whipped cream to finish. The whole family enjoyed this one, and according to my mom (who got dibbs on the leftovers, of course), it was even better the next day.

Strawberry Cream Roulade

Ingredients

Cake

  • Unsalted butter, for pan
  • 8 eggs, room temperature, separated
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt

Filling and frosting

  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus more for work towel
  • 4 cups strawberries, washed, dried, and hulls removed

Directions 

  1. Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and line a rimmed jelly roll pan (15”x10”x1”) with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light in colour, 1-2 minutes. Stir in ½ teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into flour mixture. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake until cake springs back when touched, about 20 minutes.

Fresh out of the oven. This cake smelled so good.

Fresh out of the oven. This cake smelled so good.

Lay a clean kitchen towel flat on a work surface with one of the short ends facing you. Generously sprinkle the towel with confectioners’ sugar. While the cake is still warm, carefully flip it onto the towel, remove baking sheet, and peel off parchment paper. Using the dish towel, roll the cake away from you; allow the cake to cool in rolled position.

  1. Make the filling/frosting

Set aside 6 strawberries for garnish. Finely chop the remaining strawberries. Place heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed. Slowly add remaining teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Set half of the whipped cream aside. Gently fold chopped strawberries into the remaining half.

 

Finely chop or thinly slice the strawberries. If the pieces are too large, it will be more difficult to roll the cake.

Finely chop or thinly slice the strawberries. If the pieces are too large, it will be more difficult to roll the cake.

  1. Assemble the cake

Unroll the cake. Evenly spread the strawberry whipped-cream mixture over surface of the cake and re-roll. Trim the ends if needed. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and evenly spread the top and sides of cake with reserved whipped cream. Cut reserved whole strawberries in half lengthwise and place on top of the cake for garnish.

Spread the filling over the cake and carefully roll.

Spread the filling over the cake and carefully roll.

 

Pretty pink swirl. Love it.

Pretty pink swirl. Love it.

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Pretty please with a cherry on top? Black Forest Cake (or Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte)

Nothing says Happy Birthday like a cake made with love

Nothing says Happy Birthday like a cake made with love

I don’t even have to ask what kind of cake my husband wants for his birthday. The answer is always Black Forest cake. And who can blame him? Layers of chocolate cake, black cherries, and swirls of pillowy whipped cream? Yes, please! In the past I’ve opted for the store-bought variety but this year, with a little extra time on my hands and more baking experience under my belt, I decided to make my own. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there, but most seem to fall under two main camps: the traditional German style or a sweeter North American variation. Since my husband grew up in Central Europe, I knew he would appreciate the traditional variety so I set out to find a recipe that would result in a rich, but not overly sweet, dessert. Unfortunately, a lot of the traditional Black Forest cake recipes seem to require the same amount of time and energy as a multi-day Olympic event. I wasn’t ready for that kind of effort, but I still wanted to come as close as possible to the real deal. I used a basic chocolate cake recipe but followed two main rules that were common among all the recipes claiming to be for ‘authentic’ German Black Forest cake (or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte): (1) Do NOT use cherry pie filling; and (2) It MUST contain Kirsch.

I sampled the Kirsch before I started baking and I have to be honest – it was awful. I gagged. I was actually scared I would ruin the cherries by soaking them in it. But since it’s not a Black Forest cake without it, I took a leap of faith and just went for it. Miraculously, some kind of liquor-cherry magic happened! The result was amazing. It gave the cherries a great flavour that was able to stand up well to the chocolate cake and the whipped cream made a perfect, light frosting. I decorated the cake with a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings and a few more cherries on top.

Is this a true Black Forest cake that will please even the most discerning German grandmothers? Probably not. But it’s an easy and delicious take on the classic chocolate-cherry dessert. I’ll definitely be making this one again.

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Cherry Filling

  • 1½ cups canned sour cherries, drained (reserve ¼ cup cherry juice)
  • ¼ cup Kirsch

*If you can’t find Kirsch, or would rather not use alcohol, you can substitute additional cherry juice in its place.

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Here's everything you'll need

Here’s everything you’ll need

Preheat the oven to 350°F and position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds. Lightly grease two 9-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Whisk together the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of a mixer for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and stir until the mixture is smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Lightly tap the sides of each pan to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, combine the cherries with the Kirsch and the reserved cherry juice. Save a few cherries for decorating.

To make the whipped cream, place the cream, icing sugar, and vanilla in a chilled bowl. Whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate the whipped cream until needed.

To assemble the Black Forest cake, level the cakes and turn one over onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries from the Kirsch mixture and place on the cake layer. Top with about ¾ cup whipped cream and spread over the cherries. Turn the second cake over onto the cream and cherries, cut side down. Peel off the parchment paper. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the top and sides of the cake, reserving ½ cup for decorating. Garnish with chocolate shavings, piped whipped cream, and the remaining cherries. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Cherries soaking in Kirsch and cherry juice

Cherries soaking in Kirsch and cherry juice

Spread the cherries (and cream) between the cake layers

Spread the cherries (and cream) between the cake layers

Frost the entire cake with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings

Frost the entire cake with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Garnish with a few swirls of whipped cream and top each with a cherry.