Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TWD-Vanilla Chiffon Roll

Before I even thought about starting this recipe, I looked for the PBS video of Julia and contributing baker, Mary Bergin, making this roll.  I always like watching the contributing bakers make the recipe, so I can understand the recipe better.  Occasionally (which sounds better than 'a lot of times'), I find the recipes in this book a bit hard to understand.  Watching the video generally (which sounds better than 'sometimes') clears up any confusion incurred during reading of said recipe.  Here is the link for the video.

This really is a beautiful cake.  I am a little intimidated with the process of rolling the chiffon cake (without cracking it).  But I'll worry about that later.  (Just  kidding, I will continue to worry until I actually get to the rolling stage.)
Set your phasers to worry.

I have measured my baking sheet, and it is the perfect size for this chiffon cake.  Yippy!  I'm kind of excited to be making this cake.  It looks so darn elegant, yet seems so simple to make.  And I am curious about the filling, which is walnuts and chocolate.

Had to pull out the warmer apron today.  (Scarf and mitts included!)

Step 1-Making the Chiffon Cake

Ingredients have been assembled (for the cake portion of the recipe).  Rather than safflower or vegetable oil, I substituted coconut oil.  I've been using that a lot, in place of other oils.

The dry ingredients get sifted together.

What do you get, when your cross dry ingredients with a droll baker??
I don't know either...am now re-thinking comedic aspirations...but I bet a snare drum would have helped (and maybe a punch line). ba-dum-tsh!
Back to the Baking board.

Egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla get whisked together.

Dry ingredients get whisked (by droll baker) into the egg mixture.

Will come back to this in a bit.

Egg whites need to get whisked.

Egg whites have been sufficiently whisked.  Blood splattered spatula works like a charm. 

The egg whites need to get folded into the egg mixture.  Carefully...ever so carefully so as not to deflate the beautifully whisked whites.  (Breathing at this point is optional.)

And breathe.....whew.

The batter is then poured into the baking sheet.  It is recommended to use an offset spatula to smooth out the batter.  I decided against that, as that would have involved going down to the storage room (where all my baking tools reside...well not all, but definitely my offset spatula).  Lazy much?  No!  I just like using my blood splattered spatula for everything!  The air bubbles in the batter were a smidge alarming.  I tried tapping the baking sheet on the counter, but there were still air bubbles. 

The recipe says to bake for 12 minutes or so.  Can I get a Guffaw!  There was no way 12 minutes was enough time.  Baking time was 20 minutes.  Guffaw indeed.

Step 2-Making the mousse (Chocolate Walnut Mousse) 

Arrr...me nuts are lightly toasted.  (Walnuts that is.)

Nuts have been crushed.

Oh the humanity...

Chocolate will make everything better.

Yep, chocolate is soothing. (Unless of course you are allergic to nuts and eat this.)

Egg yolks need to be whisked.

Sugar and water need to boil.

Things on the stove top.

The sugar and water came to a boil and was then slowly whisked into the egg yolks. (Don't want to cook that yolkers.)  But it doesn't end there, folks.  Next, that mixture is heated over some simmering water.

Yep, the thrills never end here.  This is the egg mixture being whisked over simmering water. 

Here it is all foamy and hot.  (And in this case, foamy and hot is a good thing.)

Had to cool things down in the kitchenaid.

The chocolate walnut mixture gets added to the mix.

Okay, the mousse is ready to go.

That is a total lie.  I still need to add the heavy cream. 

But first I need to whip that heavy cream!

Crack that whip...licorice whip!

Folding happens here.  Everyone be cool.

Now this looks like some good mousse.

Step 3-Assembling the cake

Confectioner's sugar gets sifted over the cake.  This helped to lessen any sticking issues when I flipped it out of the original baking sheet and then flipped it upright again. 

First flip onto the back of another baking sheet (covered with parchment).

The original parchment paper is peeled off and flipped over to put the clean side against the cake.  And then I flipped it again.

Final flip.  So much flipping, flipping!

The edges need to be trimmed.  Oh darn, yummy edge trimmings to eat.  :o)  Yummy indeed!  I think I could have stopped here and just eaten the cake.  I could envision making this cake again, and cutting it into three even strips and making a layered cake instead of a rolled cake.  (Sort of like a Sara Lee cake.) 

The mousse gets ceremoniously dumped...on top of the cake.

The mousse gets spread out with an offset spatula (if I did indeed go down to the storage room) or the blood splattered spatula. Hey!  Don't judge my laziness! 

Let's roll this baby.

Maybe too much mousse...what do you think?  I will just smoosh it all in and hope for the best.  (Generally my philosophy on life and getting dressed...just sayin'.) 

Gratuitous shot of side cake. (Please tell me I'm not the only one thinking of Family Guy.)

This needs to get wrapped up in saran and then put in the fridge for a few hours.

Now comes the fun of decorating. 

The recipes says to cut strips of parchment paper to make designs.  I'm not so good with the cutting (in straight lines) so I improvised with chopsticks.  (Calgon isn't the only one with a secret.)

I feel pretty...oh so pretty.  But wouldn't some nuts be good about now?

Caramelized nuts!  And some free form caramel. (Which I think kinda looks like a squirrel...looking for his nuts.)  Those are my nuts!!

Step 4-Eating the Cake (most important step)

How about a slice? 

Mmm Mmm Good!

This was an easy recipe.  It really didn't take a lot of time to create a beautiful dessert.  The chiffon cake itself was very good on its own and was easy to roll.  The mousse was very tasty and I would be interested in replacing the walnuts with pistachios.  I would will definitely make this again!


  1. Looks good! Glad you are having another go at it.

  2. I see a moose in that free flowing caramel. Moose sitting on top of a mousse :) This is one awesome looking cake!

  3. Pretty and very delicious looking!

  4. What a beautiful roll!!!
    You worked well!!
    I made the roll a second time and I used ice cream instead the mousse, it was delicious!!!
    There are lots of possibilities....

  5. I am glad to hear you think it was still simple after ALL those steps (and dishes)! Amazing. Great looking cake!

  6. Wow, I will check out the video after work. Your cake is amazing! I have baked many a cake, but never did a roll as I have visions of it breaking and craking. Thanks for showing it can be done at home. PS. Do you have The French Chef DVDs? My hubby got me both sets and they are WONDERFUL and make for such fun! Just thought I would tell you how good they are.

  7. Your post had me in splits. I watched the video too before attempting to make the cake. What a wonderful idea using chopsticks. It makes a pretty picture indeed with the heart and all. Lovely cake.

  8. Delicious! I love it! Super idea with the chop sticks! I will use that! Thanks again! YUMMY!

  9. Love your spatula collection - very sassy :-)

  10. Wow very impressive. This is why I buy treats from the local bakery.

  11. looks great! I like your caramel squirrel :)

  12. Yay! Your roll looks fantastic.

  13. Looks perfect!! And I love the chopstick idea...I knew I'd have trouble with the strips, but didn't have your creativity :)

  14. Love your monologue as you bake. Funny. My mousse oozed out some too. But it was good with the trimmings!!

  15. I like the look the chopsticks made; and the "squirrel" - I totally see it. When we go on our hiking adventures, we are always seeing "animals" out of trees and such. Fun.

  16. This looks great - the photo of the mousse makes my mouth water. It's reassuring to see such a nice cake, as mine was a greasy/wet layer...still not sure what went wrong, since all the intermediate steps look fine, and similar to yours. I think you're right about baking time - I wonder why the book has such a short baking time.

  17. I love the decorating that you did. I was too lazy to cut strips of paper. I wish I had thought of using chopsticks. I'm also glad to know that this works with coconut oil.