Thursday, 17 November 2011

Chocolate and Cherry Roulade

Watching the Great British Bake Off recently, I was surprised to see that Chocolate Roulade was one of the technical challenges.  For these experienced bakers, surely it couldn't be *that* difficult, could it?  So when I had the urge for chocolate cake with lots of whipped cream and cherries today when my day was slowly falling apart at the seams, I figured that I'd quickly knock out Dame Mary's chocolate roulade with some cherry compote and eat the entire thing myself!

Baking the sponge was a small challenge.  Not technically, but because my darling daughter managed to smash one of my mixing bowls early this week.  You need one to melt the chocolate, one to whisk the egg whites and another for the egg yolks and sugar.  I ended up whipping egg whites in my casserole dish!

Of course, I fully appreciate that I had the luxury of a step-by-step recipe.  I understand from the voiceover from the program that the bakers only get sketchy details of what to do and have to rely on their instincts.  Still, if you've made a whisked sponge before and know the ingredients, it's not too demanding.

Safely on the plate

Then I got on to the assembly bit.  The cake is very fragile.  You only have to look at it and it seems to scream back 'I'm going to fall to pieces if you so much as breathe on me in the wrong way.  To it round the right way, you have to take this delicate, thin sponge and flip it over without it breaking.  If I'd been on GBBO I'd've either been the one dropping it on the floor or in their funniest outtake sessions as I cajoled this temperamental piece of cake onto my chopping board.  Whipped cream slathered across the top, cherries scattered hither and thither, I managed to roll it up without it falling to bits but getting it on to the plate was yet another work of art.

Oh go on...just a small piece...
My spaniel sat drooling at my feet, willing me to wobble and let it slide in his direction, but with a sweaty brow and trembling hands, I finally got it to the plate.  Then the husband arrived.  On his way out to the studio, pro-cameras in tow, he decided it was worthy of a proper picture.  I literally had to beat him off to stop him taking it with him 'so I can take a decent photo under decent lights' - erm, no, so he could eat it all himself.  So the pictures are still only rubbish smartphone pictures.

I'd seriously intended to eat the whole thing myself - skipping both lunch and tea for that exact reason.  But one slice was plenty.  Gooey, creamy and rich - it was a little too sweet for my tastes and I think it needed the tartness of the cherries to cut through it.  But will definitely make it again - maybe with Baileys whipped cream for Christmas.

The recipe can be found on the BBC website.

I then used tinned cherries which had been hanging round in my cupboard for months.  I wanted to reduce the juice down to a sticky syrup but they had a very bland flavour.  So I added a tablespoon of caster sugar and the juice of half a lime then simmered everything for about 20 minutes.  Gorgeous!

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