ispahan roll cake

ispahan roll cake

Today we have our second installment of Roll Cake Road Show, a traveling roll cake show visiting roll cakes from pan to table. Today’s show takes place somewhere between the region of whipped cream and mousse, but still firmly in the county of sponge cake.

Here is our first roll cake guest that we’ve lured into our trap attracted with our excellent narrative skills and engaging exposition.

ispahan roll cake
ispahan roll cake
ispahan roll cake

Hello there! So happy to see you’ve come out. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Roll Cake (RC): [slowly rolls self into the impromptu studio tent and is lifted up and set in a chair by the host as it begins to talk.] Why hello – [breaks into coughing fit while being lifted] – ah, thank you. As soon as I heard the road show was visiting, I couldn’t help myself and just had to come visit!

We’re so glad that you made it out. But now, tell us more about yourself. How were you made?

RC: The story of my birth begins in the kitchen—

Yes, of course! Where else would you be made?

RC: [grumpily] I’m only trying to answer your question! You’re not very courteous for a TV show host are you?

I’m – I’m sorry. I think I was just struck by a pang of hunger which made me lash out. Please continue.

RC: I was made in the image of Pierre Herme’s classic flavour combination, you know. Ispahan – rose, lychee and raspberry.

Oh my! That sounds delightful!

RC: [now talking more cheerfully] My sponge cake is wrapped around a lychee rosewater mousse dotted with fresh raspberries.

Oh yum. What is your favourite part about yourself?

RC: Hmm…my sponge cake is just so fluffy! [coughs violently as it is poked by the host].

Indeed! So fluffy and springy. And can you tell us about some of your flaws?

RC: Well, while I was being made, it turns out that the scale wasn’t so accurate at small quantities, which greatly impacted the gelatin measurement. I know that this same formula has been used to make other mousse-containing siblings of mine and they turned out fine…but due to inaccuracy, I actually contain excess gelatin. [sighs]

Oh that must be quite a disappointment. It sounds as though you’ve developed a bit of an inferiority complex to other mousses.

RC: Um, how forwards of you! Well, perhaps there is some truth in that. That might be why I’m here on the show – to see how I rank compared to them in monetary value.

We’ll be getting right to that exciting reveal in a moment! Can you tell me more about how this gelatin inaccuracy has affected you?

RC: The excess gelatin takes away a bit from the flavour of the lychee mousse and also has made the texture too firm. Though at least it has made me more resilient for the roll here! However, for any clones of me to be made, just follow the recipe and perhaps use volume measurements instead of weight if your scale is not so good at the small quantities.

Hmm, excellent advice for bakers. You know, you’ve impressed me by seeing positives and negatives regarding the excess gelatin, though in the context of eating, it sounds as though it was simply a detriment.

RC: Hahahaha! What a good joke. Eating a roll cake!

Ahem. Okay, my team of expert appraisers is now ready to reveal your monetary value!

RC: Oh my! Oh my!

You are worth… Five dollars!

RC: Oh! [feigns delight] Not that bad. Not that bad at all… [muttering under breath] but that other mousse was worth more…

Thank you so much for coming ispahan roll cake! Now let me just go grab a fork…

RC: [appears to suddenly look intently at host despite having no eyes] …is your show behind the plague of partially eaten roll cakes?

Hmm – well, this show does make me so curious about how roll cakes taste!

RC: [gasps darkly] I see now! Your show isn’t about learning more about roll cakes – it’s just a front to lure us in. You prey on our desires to have our worth quantified in a pseudo-authoritative manner, which lowers our guard! How could a human even know what a cake is worth? [tips itself off of the chair and rolls away]

[The host attempts to reach for the roll cake, but it bounces neatly out of reach]. Noo – ah! That roll cake! The excess gelatin gives it such bounce!

ispahan roll cake
ispahan roll cake

Bizarre things happen when I’m stuck on coming up with something to write – luckily there was a happy ending for the roll cake this time around (though in reality, it was eaten regardless).

I’ve wanted to try to make something ispahan-flavoured for a while and finally got around to it here. It is a lovely combination! The roll cake you met in the above interview was my first attempt – I’ve since remade the cake with the correct amount of gelatin, and it is very lovely! (I’ve also now firmly shifted to volume measurements for small quantities of powdered gelatin – my scale is far too shifty to measure small weights!)

ispahan roll cake

ispahan roll cake

  • Servings: one small 9-inch roll cake
  • Print

sponge cake

Cake recipe adapted from Rice ‘n Flour.

  • 3 eggs, split
  • 45g sugar
  • 30g milk
  • 30g oil
  • 22g corn starch
  • 23g a.p. flour
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cream of tartar

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 and cornstarch 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.

lychee rosewater mousse

Because rosewaters can vary considerably, be sure to add to taste. I used canned lychees in syrup which were plenty sweet so this mousse needed no additional sugar. If you were to use fresh lychees or lychees canned in water, sweeten the puree to taste if necessary.

  • 120g drained canned lychees, pureed
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 120g or 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • about 1 1/4 tsp rosewater, or to taste

Puree the canned lychees until as smooth as you can get them – I always end up with a bit of a chunky puree, but it’s not too noticeable in the final mousse.

Bloom the gelatin over the water. Microwave until the gelatin is melted, around 15 seconds should do it. Add to the lychee puree and mix.

Whip the cream until soft peaks. Whisk a dollop into the lychee puree to lighten, then add the remaining and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Lastly, gently fold in the rosewater to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours to allow it to set.


  • 1 small punnet raspberries
  • about 50g whipped cream
  • crushed dried rose petals

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 the set lychee mousse. Make a line of raspberries nestled into each other like cups along one short edge of the cake. Scatter additional halved raspberries over the remainder of the cake. Starting from the end with the line of raspberries (this will be the centre of the roll), 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.

When ready to serve, pipe dollops of whipped cream on top of the cake and garnish with raspberries and crushed rose petals.

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