Saturday, 16 August 2014

My First Swiss Roll

15th of August was husband's birthday and he wished for a cake which was low in calorie as well as in guilt. Now, birthday cakes are meant to be indulged rather than count the calories. However, being the finicky guy that he is about cream and butter, I knew I had to pay heed to his demand or be ready to gulp down the entire cake myself. A bit of research showed me that it wasn't that diffucult a job either. You can have a beautiful birthdayish cake even without adding that cup of butter. The answer to my problem was a Swiss Roll. I was so pleased to know about the ingredients, I immediately set about on the task to get my tools ready. The basic success of the Swiss Roll depends on how well you have separated the eggs. A little drop of yolk in your egg whites will spoil your chances of getting the perfectly whipped stiff white peaks and creamy egg yolk batter. So you should either have an egg separator ready or be quite an expert of doing it without the tool. 
The next important step is the baking of the sponge. You should bake it just until the toothpick inserted comes out clean. A minute more than that and you will, although still have a beautiful soft and moist sponge, get cracks while rolling it with the filling. While I failed to understand this in my first attempt and hence got a few cracks here and there, it is definitely a lesson well learnt. I also tried to decorate the swiss roll with a baked pattern but I guess I have to read up a little more to get hold of the technique. My pattern got a bit burnt and so I had to invert the swiss roll and add the filling on the side of the pattern, hence those red starwberry spots in between the chocolate filling. So keeping the decorated Swiss Roll for another day!
4 large eggs separated (it is best to separate eggs when they are fresh and cold out of the refrigerator; once separated, bring them to room temperature before starting the procedure)
1/4 tsp salt
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
3/4 cup castor sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanila extract

For the filling
4 cups icing sugar 
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp butter (preferably unsalted) cut into squares
120 ml milk at room temperature

P.S.: This is a standard chocolate sauce recipe. The excess sauce you can store in the fridge for later use. You can also use any filling as you wish like fresh fruit jam, whipped cream, etc. 

Take a 32x23 cm flat baking dish and grease it. Line the dish with parchment paper in a way that there are no bubbles or raised edges. It should be as smooth as possible. This will help you get a smooth wrinkle-free base once baked. The greasing of the bottom of the pan before lining helps keep the parchment paper in place. 
Now, take the bowl of egg whites (which you had separated while the egg was still cold from the fridge and brought to room temperature) and ensure that there are no drops of yolk or dirt in it. Add the salt and cream of tartar (if using) and beat them to stiff peaks but not dry. Takes about 10 minutes in the electric beater with the paddle attachment. 
Now beat the egg yolks till creamy. Add the sugar little at a time and beat till a pale thick and creamy batter is formed. This will take another 5-10 minutes. I usually first beat the egg whites till stiff and then use the same attachment for the yolks. It is okay to have whites mixed in the yolk but strictly no for the reverse. Hence, if you intend to use the same attachment for both the whites and the yolks, you must always beat the whites first. 
Now sift the flour and baking powder. Add the vanilla extract to the batter and beat for a second until combined. Now, add the sifted flour to the batter in two batches and mix till smooth and no lumps remain. 
Meanwhile, start pre-heating the oven at 180 degree celsius for 10 minutes. 
Now add the egg whites and with the help of a spatula (never use an electric beater) fold into the mixture till smooth. Take care not to overmix the batter which will deflate the whites. Also, always move the spoon in one direction to fold in the whites. Pour this batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Check at 15 minutes and then again in 2-3 minutes. A minute over baked and you are sure to get cracks on top while rolling as well as hard edges. 
Immediately remove from the baking dish and onto another parchment paper of the same size. Roll the swiss roll along with this parchment paper and let it cool. This will help gain its shape. When just warm, unroll it gently and spread the filling without spoiling the bend and roll up again. This time without the parchment paper. Once rolled, cover it up with the paper loosely and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Slice when cooled. You can also chill it and bring it slightly back to room temperature before serving. 


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