This was the roll cake that set me on a dark path – sorry, a lovely path! -of never-ending roll cakes. A whole roll of roll cakes, rolling on and on.
My past roll cakes had either been terribly brittle or a bit too delicate, the result of which meant I came to associate roll cakes with anxiety (particularly during the rolling process). I dealt with my anxiety in the most healthful and classic of ways by avoiding making another roll cake for years.
And then, finally, I figured I would give roll cakes another try. I had been (anxiously) scoping out different recipes and came across this one from Rice & Flour, a lovely blog which I suspect may now unfortunately be defunct. The recipe’s accompanying video which convinced me that the cake was indeed rollable.
Now that I’ve made it a number of times, I can attest that the cake is quick, reliable, light and pliable, and currently my favourite recipe for a roll cake. The only changes I’ve made are to make it a bit thinner than in the original recipe and cut down on the sugar.
Filling roll cakes with whipped cream is perhaps another mechanism to deal with my anxiety surrounding insufficiently stiff fillings (…like this roll cake, agh this horrifying paris-brest, and oh these eclairs, and well, a whole lot of other things that have never made it onto the blog). But beyond its ease and reliability, whipped cream is also just my favourite filling choice texture and flavour-wise.
I’ve been mulling over the combination of chestnuts and houjicha, or roasted green tea, for a while, and this cake was an easy way to bring it to reality. It’s a bit of a heavy combination for summer, but ends up tasting almost springlike in a light cake with cream! The chestnuts and cream are always lovely to eat together. I find houjicha less bitter than green tea, which let me add plenty to the cake for flavour without it becoming too bitter.
houjicha & chestnut roll cake
This cake is so quick! So easy! I love it! Cake recipe adapted from Rice ‘n Flour.
3 eggs, split
2 tsp finely ground houjicha
22g corn starch
23g a.p. flour
cream of tartar
3/4 c heavy cream
1 pack roasted chestnuts
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper (I recommend the method in the original source recipe video for ease and nice sharp edges on the cake).
To make the cake, whisk together the egg yolks with the oil and milk. Sift the flour, cornstarch and ground tea over top and whisk in until completely combined.
In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until frothy, then sprinkle in the sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed. Fold one dollop of the egg whites into the batter completely before adding the remainder and folding in lightly. Scrape into the prepared pan, level with an offset spatula and tap to release any large air bubbles.
Bake around 15 minutes or until lightly browned, springy, and an inserted wooden skewer/toothpick is removed clean.
Let cool on a wire rack (you can flip the cake over onto a piece of parchment paper to prevent the top of the cake from drying and becoming brittle).
Once completely cooled, prepare the filling by whipping the cream (sweetened to taste if desired). Reserve enough whole chestnuts (6-7) to make a line along the short edge of the cake, and finely chop the remainder to get around 1/3 c chopped chestnuts.
To assemble, place the cake right side up (i.e. with the bottom of the cake facing down to become the outside of the roll–unless the top looks more presentable) and spread with whipped cream. Sprinkle with the chopped chestnut. Nestle the reserved whole chestnuts in the cream, lined up along one short edge of the cake; starting from this end, use the parchment paper to help you roll up the cake into round log. Roll tightly, but not so tightly such that the filling is squeezed out. Wrap and chill for a couple of hours to allow everything to firm up before slicing and serving.