No amount of curiosity would have bribed me to try and make a chocolate roll until my mother started experimenting with this recipe. It happens to be my brother’s favorite dessert from Chinatown and when my Dad swore off buying this dessert claiming that Chinatown had nothing on my mom’s chocolate roll, I had to learn.
The chocolate rolls from Chinatown have a faint and fleeting taste of chocolate. This one is packed with chocolate flavor and there’s no mistaking the chocolate in this cake. The texture is denser and could pass off as a brownie. It’s then rolled with whipped cream and dusted with cocoa powder. What more could you ask for in life?
Rolling the cake is a bit of a pain – enjoy it flat or rolled!
- 5 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 6 ounces sweet dark chocolate (preferably Baker’s German)
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- Cocoa, for dusting
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup or less confectioners’ sugar, to taste
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 1/2 by 13 1/2 by 3/4-inch pan. Cut waxed paper width of pan plus 5 inches in length. Line the pan so there is at least 2 inches of waxed paper extending over both ends of the pan. Grease the paper.
Separate the eggs, and beat the yolks with the sugar, until they are light, creamy and thickened.
Break chocolate into pieces and place in medium saucepan with the water. Melt over hot (not boiling) and let cool.
Using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff. Stir the chocolate into the yolks and fold in the beaten egg whites. Gently combine. To facilitate this, put a small amount of whites into the yolk and chocolate mixture and then add all this back into the whites.
Spread the chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Shut off the oven and bake 5 minutes more. Practice will tell you if the timing is right.
Remove from the oven and cover top with a dishtowel wrung out in cold water. Stretch the cloth tight and tuck under the pan. Cool, and refrigerate 1 hour.
Remove the cloth carefully and loosen edges with knife. Dust top heavily and completely with cocoa. On a flat surface, lay 2 pieces of waxed paper longer than the pan side by side (make sure they are overlapping as you’ll be flipping the cake over onto these sheets). Flip the cake over onto the wax paper and carefully pull off the wax paper.
Whip the cream over a bowl of ice, and add the sugar and vanilla when it begins to thicken. Beat until stiff.
Spread the cake with the whipped cream, with less towards the top. Roll the cake from bottom, the long side forward, using the waxed paper to roll it. When rolled, the paper should be all around it so you can mold it with your hands as you finish. Put on a long wooden board to chill for a few hours.
When ready to serve, open the paper and cut off along side with the tip of a knife. If there are cracks along the side, dust all over with the cocoa in a shaker or use a small sieve or sifter to distribute it where needed.