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Nearly but not quite: Roulade Imprime

December 10, 2011

I have a baking colleague at work. He’s an engineer, but being Italian he’s also rather nifty at the cooking (or his mum just has really good recipes which she sends to him – I’m going with the latter). Since we’re on night shifts at the same time, he challenged me to a bake-off.  I wanted to use it as an excuse to try something a bit fancy-pants and experimental, but also to trial run a potential Christmas bake. So here is the nearly-but-not-quite tale of the “Roulade Imprime”.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:
Right back at the dawn of 2011 I saw the idea of a Joconde Imprime on Daring Bakers.  It looked very impressive but realistically, something that I’d never be able to pull off. However, it showed up again 9 months later on the Great British Bake Off when Mary-Anne (@wotchers) made chocolate orange mousse cake (recipe here) and I wondered if I might be ready to have a go, but I didn’t because to be honest it’s a bit of a faff and mousse doesn’t transport well either.

So, when the gauntlet was thrown down I thought “why not combine a practice-run roulade with the idea of an imprime?”  2/3 chocolate roulade and 1/3 vanilla in a pattern, rolled up with boozy chocolate cream in the middle. Genius. So long as the sponge rose at the same rate, there was no reason why it shouldn’t work. Now comes the surprise…. the reason this failed was not because roulades don’t work in imprime-form. Yes, you can’t pipe such delicate designs as the proper biscuit joconde because the mixture is much more runny and I’m not sure I’d want to fully freeze the first flavour of sponge as it might lose its light texture, but actually a spotty roulade was easier to achieve than I had anticipated. The failure lay on three fronts…

  1. As I was putting the chocolate sponge in the oven I started to feel really ill. By the time I came to take it out the smell of it was making me feel nauseous. This meant I had to go and lie down and didn’t roll it quick enough or carefully enough so the whole thing cracked into slabs.
  2. I’ve never made a roulade before and I’m not really sure how to roll one anyway.  Surely you want the smooth bit on the outside? But in that case how do you use the baking parchment to help roll it?  I shall be consulting my mother on this (or if you have wisdom – please share with me)
  3. (most predictably) I was impatient.  I thought that as I needed to move swiftly to roll the sponge, I had to put the cream on before it was fully cooled. Obviously this meant that the cream melted and the whole thing was one big mess.

I couldn’t bring myself to take a proper photo so this is my only slightly sheepish record of the roulade shortly before it went in the bin.

Remnants of a roulade

Just in case you are crying into your keyboard at the waste of chocolate sponge, fret not. I did regret my haste at throwing it away but Mr B isn’t a fan of cream or roulades, so I couldn’t give him my shoddy workmanship this time.  I did however have some left over vanilla sponge mix and few scrapings of the chocolate which I made into a sort of roulade sandwich –  Sponge with melted chocolate spread onto it and cream in the middle. The cream is flavoured with Chocolate Rasberry Cabernet Fudge, which was a freebie from the food-testers at Mr B’s work. It’s extremely rich and surprisingly alcoholic tasting.

An un-rouled roulade… not really the same is it?
With its posh alcoholic (but too strong) fudge filling

For the vanilla sponge:
Adapted from the BBC Good Food recipe for mango & passion fruit roulade

1 egg
28g caster sugar
28g plain flour
1/3rd tsp baking powder
1/2 vanilla pod

For the chocolate sponge:
Adapted from the BBC Good Food recipe for chocolate roulade

30g cocoa powder
60g self-raising flour
4/5 (!) tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
80g caster sugar plus extra for dusting
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
Grease and line a 30 x 24cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Dust with caster sugar

To make the vanilla sponge:
Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and beat with electric beaters until thick and light, about 5 mins.
Fold in the flour and baking powder, then the vanilla seeds. Drop/paint/spread it onto the baking tray in your desired pattern and pop the tray in the freezer while you make the chocolate sponge.

To make the chocolate sponge:
Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl.
Beat the eggs and caster sugar with an electric mixer until thick, pale and trebled in volume, about 8 minutes.
Fold in the dry mix (flour etc)

To assemble:
Take the baking tray out of the freezer
Pour the chocolate mix over the vanilla so that all the vanilla parts are covered, you may need to very gently spread it but mostly you should be able to get most of it done by tipping the tray gently.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until firm to the touch.

<now for the bit I failed at>
Cool the sponge for 2 minutes then turn it out onto a piece of baking parchment dusted with caster sugar. Peel off the lining paper and roll the sponge up using the paper underneath. it may crack a bit but don’t worry, you’re going to cover it with icing.

So when do you put the cream in? 

The  sponge can be frozen for up to 1 month.

My bake-off adversary wasn’t keen on the texture or the cream filling and to be honest I agree. I think the filling was too strong for the sponge and I think that the texture of a roulade sponge only works when it’s got the filling to work against. Also, how could I possibly compete against this rather imposing strudel, filled with apples, pine nuts, cinnamon and raisins (recipe from his mum…just so you know)


Still, nothing ventured and all that.

I have since comforted myself by baking an old favourite, but more of that later.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 10, 2011 9:25 am

    Damp tea-towel. Wet, then wring out very well (almost to dryness) place over cooling roulade, which keeps it a bit more moist and pliable (it will stick crack slightly). You kind of have to peel off the parchment as you roll. (not a great explanation I know) hope the next one is better!

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