Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whipped Cream Cake Roulade

Thanks for your patience, everyone! Well, I'm more or less moved into my new house and I've been baking (a lot). Of course, as you can see I've not done so much blogging. I've had recipes to test and retest and I'm still getting used to my new kitchen and my new oven. No small adjustment either. My previous oven was a cavernous convection/conventional Viking professional gas oven that could fit full sheet pans--pans bigger than my kid's crib mattress--to a more ordinary Whirlpool electric.

While I can no longer bake dozens of cookies at a time, the modest oven hasn't disappointed (though several recipes have). Of course, I've not attempted macarons in this new oven and that's a headache I'm still saving for later.

So today is an absolutely gorgeous spring day in our new home town of Mill Creek which lies just north of Seattle. I was lucky enough to relocate to an area with a wicked good donut shop (Frost) and a brand new French Bakery (Mon Amie--yes they do macarons, go visit) that I'm now haunting. So before I go out and hit the garden and enjoy this sunshine, we're going to bake up a cake.

Something light, creamy and versatile. The cake is perfect with just about anything fruity, be it citrus curds, a drizzle of a thick fruit coulis, or fresh from the garden berries. Given that it is April, I wont pretend that any berries used today are fresh from the garden but as things warm up that will be a possibility. So let's talk cake!

Rather than using a standard roulade base like sponge, which gets a well aerated structure from whipped eggs--and has the tendency to be a bit dry--we're cake with plenty of whipped heavy cream. The whipped fat adds volume and moistness and the result is a light and tender cake. The recipe is an adaption of the popular Whipped Cream Cake, one of my absolute favorites from Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

Since cream plays such a central roll in this recipe, we need to use the right kind of cream. For the best cake, a 40% ultra heavy cream should be used. Anything less will lack the needed fat and will make for a less tender cake. To find this luxuriously high fat cream in the U.S., check large box stores like Costco and Sam's Club. Or any restaurant supply outlet. It is also beginning to pop up in well stocked, upscale grocery stores. If it's still impossible to track down, find you're nearest bakery and ask them nicely to sell you a carton.

I should also note, that for the best results, superfine sugar is needed to properly dissolve in the batter and low protein flour is recommended. This cake really isn't one for  'it's close-enough' substitutions.

Whipped Cream Cake Roll
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes
yields one large roulade, serves 10-12
6 oz cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 40%+ ultra heavy cream (see notes above)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces super fine sugar

Prepare a 18x13"sheet pan (the Jelly-roll type with 1" raised edges) with non-stick spray and parchment on the bottom.

Preheat the oven well before baking, setting a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375°F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Sift well, as it will prevent any lumps in the batter later on during the folding stage.

In a second small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs and vanilla and set aside.

In a third bowl, whip the heavy cream until a stiff peak forms on the beater when raised. Then, on medium high speed, add the egg mixture to the whipped cream and beat. Slowly add the sugar to the mixture in a slow trickle while beating.

Add half of the flour mixture to the cream mixture and folk until most of it has incorporated. Then add the remaining flour and continue to fold until all the flour and cream have been combined. The batter will be a bit thick.

Scrape the batter into your prepared sheet pan and spread it evenly to the edges with an offset spatula.

Pop the cake into your oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched lightly in the center. Do not over bake.

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan as it cools. Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then quickly invert onto a clean, lint free, tea towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar.

Remove the sheet of parchment from the back of the cake and gently fold the edge of the tea towel over the short length of the cake and roll it up while the cake is still warm. Don't force the cake, particularly the leading edge, into a tight spiral. A loose roll will do the job very well.

Now while your funny looking cake sausage is cooling, we can prepare the filling.

Often we see roulades are filled with just sweetened whip cream, which is delicious but has the disadvantage of breaking down over time and making your cake soggy. Now stores and bakeries will use all sorts of stabilizers to prevent the cream from doing just that, rather than get into that whole mess of gelatin and chemicals, we're going to add cream cheese (or mascarpone) to stabilize the light cream and add body and richness to the cake. That's right, we're using our popular whipped cream cheese frosting yet again.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
yields enough to fill one roulade
12 oz cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
1 cup powdered (icing) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Sift the powdered sugar and add the cream cheese (or mascarpone) and vanilla to the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat them thoroughly until fluffy and completely smooth/lump free. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture, scrape down the sides of your bowl and beat to combine. Do not over beat.

Gently unroll the cooled cake, taking care to do it slowly so not to produce cracking. Now thickly spread the whipped frosting over the cake, making sure it is heavily applied at the edge of the cake that makes up the center of your spiral.

Now gently roll the cake back up, peeling away the tea-towel as you roll.  Place the roll on a platter and trim the edges with a serrated knife to make everything even and tidy then dust with powdered sugar.

Now you've got a wonderful, soft, creamy cake ready to dress up in any way you like.  Bring on the berries!

Don't get me wrong though, this cake is darn good naked too.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.



  1. Really good cake, like me a lot! fantastics photos! ;)

  2. Enjoy your new home. And give us an update on the little ones too! :)

    1. This photo pretty much sums up the current state of the kiddos. One crazy little girl (doing her "robot monkey" dance) and the little one always watching, in awe of her nuttiness.

  3. What changes would you make to make the cake (only, not the cream) chocolate? I'm drooling, I'm gonna have to try this one..

    1. I'm not sure I would modify the cake recipe radically, but the cake is just begging to be filled with a malted chocolate mousse. Something like that might pop up on the blog soon.

  4. This sounds really tasty! I think this nice weather calls for a cake! :-)

    Hey, in the section right after taking the cake out of the oven, you say to cool for 5 and invert. Should we assume you mean 5 minutes since everything sounds like it's still warm at that point?

  5. That is gorgeous!!! I ADORE your blog...I found you before I was blogging, i'm just a newby...

  6. Lovely, my mom made me a chocolate roll every year for my birthday, she even had a special tray for that cake and I fondly remember the cake cooling in the tea towel. Strangely I have never made such a cake! I may have to now since I live far away from home.

  7. rose's whipped cream cake is one of my favourite recipes ever and this is such a brilliant idea! I'm definitely goign to give it a try.. you rock!! (ps: and your kids are adorable!)

  8. There's a fantastic french bakery right around the corner at Silver Lake, L'Artisan French Bakery. They have the best almond croissants. We used to live in Mill Creek :) Welcome to the area!

    1. I spotted that bakery! Just up on Bothell Everett Highway, right? I'll have to stop there this week and grab some of those almond croissants then. Do they do lean doughs? I'm on the lookout for some good breads too.

    2. I'm not sure if they do lean doughs. That's the right place though. The baker is a real French baker, you can see him working through the glass windows back in the kitchen as you walk in, and his wife is usually working the front counter. They have great breads too!

    3. Bread and almond croissants? Right on. Looks like I have another bakery to add to my weekly rounds.

    4. While you're at it, Clay Pit in Mill Creek Town Center has the best Indian food... the chicken korma is amazing.

    5. Funny, I tried to go there today for the first time!

      Of course, it was only to discover they close between lunch and dinner! What about those of us who NEED naan at 3:30?! What are we to DO?

    6. They do indeed do lean doughs. There wasn't much left when I got there but I bought what they had. Made a huge mess of the car today tearing open loaves to taste and smell.

      Sold out of almond croissants, apparently their best seller. I was told to come back earlier in the day to catch them (I will). Snatched up a feathery chocolate croissant and I was impressed. Tore that up in the car too and made an even bigger mess.

      There is now likely a large neon sign on my car welcoming ants.

      Looks like I'll need to bust out the vacuum here soon. That is, once I tackle this cream puff...

  9. This looks sooo yummy I most definitely have to try this! You always have the best recipes and best looking photos! I love this blog <3.

  10. Wow, I can't believe you left that oven behind! I hope the new house has all sorts of awesome to make up for it.
    For the superfine sugar, would you recommend buying the real deal or do you think sugar whizzed in the food processor would do the trick? I'm thinking about making this for the husband's upcoming birthday.

    1. I was absolutely spoiled with the setup in my pervious kitchen, but we rented there and needed more space. This new home does have many perks and the kitchen is lovely but the appliances are nothing special. Just typical builder spec home stuff.

      My previous dishwasher was a wonderful Meile and the new one sounds like a M4 Sherman tank during the wash cycle. I have to yell over it. That, not the oven, will be the first to go when we can afford to upgrade.

      The sugar, yea that should work. The cream is the most vital element here. I'm giving extra emphasis to doing things correctly in this post because 1. this is a roulade and the cake needs to be well crafted for workability and 2. I recently dealt with a handful of folks who spotted one of my more complicated cakes on Pinterest only to fail and get all bent out of shape. (A Tuesday with Dorie recipe! Hundreds of bloggers have done that cake.)

      So I'm being extra careful this week. My goal has always been to post sound recipes and help folks execute them correctly so everyone's happy and stuffed full with yummy desserts. Next weeks tart for example, that recipe like the roulade is in the process of being tested and retested so I have the best advice on how to execute it with the best chance at success.

      Am I rambling now? Yup.

      Im done! I'm going to go slather a slice of this cake with some blueberry preserves, sit in my kitchen while the dishwasher roars, and stop my blogger blathering. :)

    2. You had that oven in a rental??? Excuse me while I pick up my jaw from the floor. My husband promised me a Viking range for years while he worked on his MBA and worked full-time, leaving me to run the household solo. Oh, I was also finishing my thesis, too, so I was a bit stressed. Somehow, that MBA was completed but still no range- I do believe you've reminded me to refresh his memory! Don't let the Pinterest folks bug you, some people think that because they can execute cupcakes using a box of Betty Crocker that they're ready for the big time. These things take time and practice, people! Now I'm rambling. Glad you're back!!

    3. I love pinterest. Think I may implement a difficulty rating for some of the popular recipes seen on there. One to four whisks perhaps? Based on the number of hours required to execute, general difficulty, or perhaps how many curses (directed at yours truly) this recipe will make one mutter under ones breath? I should work on that..

      Also, don't rule out a Wolf range if you're on the market for shiny stainless appliances. My set of Vikings saw plenty of Steve the repairman. Not sure if I was just hard on them or if they're delicate.

    4. I don't want to talk your ear off, but I love the idea of difficulty ratings. Pinterest is my best frenemy. Some days I love it and think it the best time suck ever, others I find myself despairing at humanity. Those days, I turn to:
      Thanks for the tip on the Wolf range, I'll be sure to update the husband.

    5. Hilarious site. Need to add the lovely lady who decided to pin my cream cheese frosting, with the note that she was going to sub silken tofu for the cheese and almond milk for the heavy cream.

      I respect veganism and what she is trying to do, but oh golly gee that just isn't going to work.

  11. I JUST made this cake. AMAZING!!!!!!!

  12. Soooooooooo glad you're back! This cake looks amazing! Thanks again for your recommendations on Seattle eats. Looking forward to my trip.

  13. I just made this too. Admittedly, as a bundt... But still.

    1. Did you use AP flour, P? I'm curious about cake's crumb with a higher protein flour.

    2. I used regular plain flour, from the Co-Op. As you know, no bleached flour exists in the UK. Techinically, that is; you can, it turns out, get it at a store I found in St. John's Wood.

      I also made it again for the weekend to take to a friend's house warming. I did use bleached AP (Gold Medal) that time, added orange zest and made up the cream's weight with about 50g semi skimmed milk (I only had one pot of cream). It was a throw-together, and so can't really be compared, but I did slightly prefer the crumb of this version. Whether that's because of the bleached AP or the lesser amount of cream is a mystery. I actually think it is more likely to have been the orange zest. Such a lovely fragrance.

      This is a great cake though.

  14. Congratulations on the move. This cake is lovely and can't wait to see more!

  15. Out of curiosity you said that you don't want to use cream because then you have to get into chemicals and gelatin but do you know a recipe for that? My mom loves desserts but only if they are lightly sweet and the cream is not thick. I really would love to make this for her with a whipped cream filling that is stabilized but every time I try to find a recipe, it doesn't turn out well.

    1. Cream cheese or mascarpone cheese gives stability to whipping cream, but it is one of the richer, heavier ways to do so. If your mom likes lighter creams she has some options:

      A diplomat cream: Whipping cream stabilized with pastry cream. Very similar to what is done here, whip cream + pastry cream = fluffy stuff that is yummy and stable. Lighter than cream cheese and you can use it and then FREEZE the cake/baked goods and then defrost without problems. Groovy, eh?

      Gelatin. I have a commercial recipe for you, one used by bakeries to stabilize their whip cream.

      1oz powdered gelatin, 16fl oz cold water 16 fl hot water.

      Bloom the gelatin in the cold water and then add the hot water to dissolve. This makes a stabilized solution for your whipped cream. Cover tightly and refrigerate until cold.

      This makes a lot of stabilizing solution, but this is a commercial recipe so you'll need to scale it down as needed.

      Melt 3oz of the solution and add it to 16fl oz of heavy cream and whip just like you would normally. That cream will be light, like regular cream, but hold up and last much longer.

  16. Ms Humble,

    So glad you're back. Loved the photo of the Little Humbles. How is Mother Humble? The cake looks wonderful. I'll be interested to hear how macarons turn out in your new oven when you decide to try that. Congrats on your new home!


    1. Thank you!

      My mother is very well. She was given a smoker of some type recently and has demanded that her children assemble this weekend to test food prepared in it. Mmmmm carcinogens.

      Planning for macaron posts down the road. Next area I want to tackle in depth is fillings. I just need to restock my almond supply.

    2. Can't wait for the fillings. Yours is the first blog I go to for info and I love your explanation of the chemistry of cooking-it helps immensely to understand what's going on.

  17. That settles it, I need to make a roulade. I have seen so many pretty ones, I can't take it anymore!

  18. Good to see you're back :) The cake looks delicious!

  19. I'm in love with roll cake since I visited Japan....yours looks fantastic!


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