Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

We recently had some friends over for dinner, and to top off our homemade pizza extravaganza, I made this swiss roll cake.

I had never made a swiss roll cake, or any roll cake, before. It turned out to be so easy, and I’m kicking myself a little for never having made it before. This recipe was easy, and didn’t take a ton of time to prepare. After the cake bakes, you roll it up in the parchment paper that you baked it on, and let it cool. A chocolate ganache whipped cream filling is the perfect accompaniment to the spongy cake. I found the original recipe here, and it did not disappoint.

Now that the world of swiss roll cakes has been opened up to me (finally!), there will be a lot more exploring with all of the different flavours I can concoct!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 roll cake

For the cake:

½ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs
2/3 c. sugar
½ tsp. instant coffee
2 tbsp. oil

For the filling:

5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½ c. whipping cream
1 c. whipping cream, chilled

For the ganache drizzle:

1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
2 tbsp. whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12×16 or 11×17 pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until foamy and lemon-yellow. Add oil and whisk until well incorporated. Add instant coffee, then gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.

Take a new piece of parchment paper, sprinkle with cocoa powder, and flip the warm cake out of the oven onto the parchment paper covered with cocoa powder. Roll up the cake in the parchment paper while still warm. Let cool while rolled up. If you roll the cake when cool it will crack.

To make the filling, in a double boiler place the chocolate and cream and heat until chocolate is melted and stir until mixture is cohesive. Remove from double boiler and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the 1 cup of cream into stiff peaks. Fold in the melted chocolate to the whipped cream.

Unroll the cooled cake, and spread the filling evenly over the cake. Re-roll the cake, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Before serving, sprinkle cocoa powder over the chilled cake. To make the ganache drizzle, in a small bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Whisk until combined. If the ganache is a little runny, place in the refrigerator for 5 minute intervals until the ganache is thick, yet pourable. Drizzle over the cake, and let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

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Almond Amaretto Cake

September is my birthday month! This is the cake that I made for myself. I had a wicked craving for something almond, and this cake really hit the spot. The almond flavour is everywhere, and it really sings in this cake. I was pretty spoiled for my birthday. I came in to my classroom and it was filled with balloons. I had some of my students make me cookies, and a dear friend had flowers delivered to me at work. After all that, Paul made an amazing dinner of maple glazed pork belly, loaded mashed potato spring rolls, and grilled asparagus. Like I said, spoiled.

I love me some cake, and couldn’t resist when I found this recipe. I found the original recipe here, and didn’t change it either. The cake is moist and delicious, soaked with a luxurious amaretto syrup. It has a ton of almond flavour in the cake, partly because of the almond flour, and partly because of the almond extract and amaretto in the actual cake.

The only part of the cake without any almond flavour is the buttercream, which I really like, as it gives a bit of a break from the nutty richness of the cake. A smooth, sumptuous vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream icing, slathered all over the three layer cake. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds, and you have a knock-your-socks-off cake loaded with almond flavour.

If someone you know loves the flavour of almond, make them this cake to celebrate their next birthday. It’s incredible!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch three-layer cake

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¾ c. almond flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, at room temperature
1½ c. sugar
3 eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla

¾ c. milk, at room temperature
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the amaretto syrup:

½ c. sugar
½ c. water
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream:

5 large egg whites
1½ c. sugar
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or brush with Miracle Cake Release) three six-inch cake pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine the milk and amaretto in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture to the eggs, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before icing.

To make the amaretto syrup, in a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Whisk together, and bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the amaretto. Let cool.

To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and the sugar. Place the bowl over a double boiler, and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches approximately 160°F.

Place the bowl of the stand mixer back on the stand mixer, and whisk on medium-high heat until the meringue is stiff and cooled. The bowl should no longer be warm to the touch, which should take about 5-10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Add vanilla and mix again until light and fluffy.

To assemble, place a small dollop of the icing on the serving plate. Trim cakes so they are flat and level. Brush cakes with amaretto syrup, to make sure cakes are moist. Place one cake layer on the icing dollop. Layer cake with icing, then repeat with last two cake layers.

Frost the outside of the cake with a thin crumb coat. Chill for 20 minutes. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the icing, and pipe dollops on top of the cake. Cover sides and/or top of the cake with slivered almonds.

Slice, and serve!

Pina Colada Bars

We are knee-deep into summer. I was invited to a Hawaiian luau, pig roast and everything, and I decided to make a dessert to contribute to the dessert table. This was a few weeks ago, and I just got around to write the post for this recipe now.

These Pina Colada bars are really easy. Think lemon squares, with the addition of pineapple and coconut. If you like Pina Coladas, you will definitely like these. They are light, tropical, fruity, and delicious.

I found the recipe here, and they were extremely easy to make. Low risk, high reward. The recipe is easy to follow, and it yields delicious, tropical results.

They have a bit of a shortbread crust, and a creamy, almost custard-y filling. Take the plunge headfirst into seasonal treats, and make these ASAP!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×9 pan, approx. 2 dozen squares

For the crust:

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. flour
1/3 c. icing sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
½ c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
¼ tsp. rum extract or spiced rum
2 tbsp. flour
1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
¾ c. sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

To make the crust, combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter. Press the dough into the prepared pan. The mixture will be crumbly. Pierce the dough a few times and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until barely golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool slightly.

While the filling cooks, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, cream and rum extract, and whisk until smooth. Add in the flour, and whisk again until smooth. Stir in the drained pineapple and coconut until combined.

Pour mixture over warm crust, and bake in the oven for 18-25 minutes, or until center does not jiggle and the edges begin to slightly brown. Allow bars to cool in the pan until room temperature. Transfer to the fridge, cool completely, then slice and serve.

Chai Cookies

By now, my faithful readers should know how much I love tea. Chai is a particular favourite of mine, as is Earl Grey. I guess I have a thing for black teas.

Either way, these cookies are great because they have the flavour of Chai without the tea part – just the spices. They are also extremely easy to whip together, and come out very soft.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, only changing a few things. First, because I really love the warm spices and flavour of Chai, I added a little bit of Chai spice that I have as well. Secondly, I did end up with the approximate amount of cookies, but they are small. I would not have made them as small as I did if I were to make them again. Don’t get me wrong, they are REALLY GOOD, but just seemed line teeny-tiny cookies. And really, if I’m having cookies, I want a COOKIE. Not a “cookie”. I’ll put the sizing that I should have used below.

Still, these cookies are amazing, and very easy. If you are a Chai lover like I am, you’ll love these!

Ingredients

Yield: 15-18 cookies, depending on size

½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1½ c. flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Chai spice (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and all the spices.

Add the flour to the butter mixture, and beat until a smooth cookie dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll mixture into balls, and bake on cookie sheets in the preheated oven for 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

As mentioned last week, I made these cinnamon roll cookies during a baking day I had. These were so good, and really quite easy to make! The dough came together in no time, and it took longer for these cookies to sit in the refrigerator chilling than it did being made, rolled, assembled, and baked. The beautiful thing about these cookies was that they are slice-and-bake, so you can make the cookie dough ahead of time, freeze it, and slice a few cookies off when you need them.The original post where I found the recipe used them as holiday cookies (as in Christmas holiday), but I love cinnamon buns any time of the year. Why not in cookie form?Either way, I’m not going to keep prattling on, because you need to go make these cookies! They are a little more labour-intensive than your run of the mill drop and bake cookies, but totally worth it!

Ingredients

Yield: About 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on thickness

For the cookie:

2¼ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

For the filling:

2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
¼ c. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:

1¼ c. icing sugar
2-3 tbsp. milk

½ tsp. vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.Gradually add in the flour mixture, beating after each addition, until a smooth, cohesive dough forms.Place the dough between two layers of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and roll into a large rectangle, about a quarter-inch thick.Brush the melted butter in the filling over the dough. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the melted butter. Roll the dough, with the long end toward you, into a tight log. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.Preheat oven to 350° F. Take out chilled dough log, and with a sharp knife, cut into half-inch thick slices. Place slices on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges just start to turn golden brown.Cool on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack sitting over parchment paper to cool completely.To make the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla, and a little bit of milk at a time, until you get a smooth, pourable consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the baked cookies, and let cool and firm up.