Not quite the same as the Little Debbie ones, this flourless Swiss Cake Roll is gluten-free, filled with whipped cream and covered with an Amaretto spiked frosting! I've made it twice in the past 2 weeks because we love it. That, plus I need practice making roll cakes. I've always found them somewhat intimidating, but every time I make one it ends up being a hit. This one was especially fun to practice with because the ingredients (not counting the Amaretto) are less expensive than those in my usual roll cake. It's a cocoa powder based Swiss Cake Roll.
Amaretto in Whipped Cream and Frosting
This recipe is adapted from a gluten-free book called Against the Grain. Unfortunately it needed some adjustments in my kitchen so it's not quite the same. One thing I really liked about the original was the Amaretto in the whipped cream filling and chocolate frosting. It is not a strong flavor at all, but it gives the cake that "little something". You could also just use vanilla and the cake will still be good.
Freezing Flourless Swiss Cake Rolls
Swiss cake rolls and jelly roll type cakes are so much easier if you have some extra freezer space. I'm not very coordinated when it comes to frosting and decorating, so freezing the filled roll before frosting really helps keep the curtail the mess (and the swearing). If your log isn't a perfect cylinder, once rolled and cold you can gently press it into shape and patch tears with frosting or cake scraps. I take it one step further and freeze again with a thin layer of frosting before doing a final layer and decorating. Although in this case I didn't decorate because my plan was to freeze the whole log and just cut frozen slices off as needed.
More Gluten-Free Swiss Cake Roll Tips
- Be sure you use a jelly roll pan. For this recipe, I use this USA Pan which is great because it doubles as a cookie sheet. I've gotten a lot of use out of it.
- Some cake roll recipes call for parchment while others call for wax paper. I've been using wax paper. It requires a lot of greasing, but the wax paper rolls easily. If you've never baked with wax paper, the thing to know is it needs to be under something like batter or it will smoke. So you can use wax paper for things like cake, where batter covers it, but not for cookies. It also needs to be greased.
- I finally started using a stand mixer that has two bowls. It is perfect for cakes because you can beat the yolks in one and have a clean bowl for the whites. That being said, a good handheld mixer is fine too.
- Before inverting, dust the top with a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa. This helps prevent it from sticking to the layer of paper you invert it onto.
- A lot of recipes call for cooling the cakes under a clean tea towel and then rolling the still-warm cake up in the tea towel, allowing it to cool in the rolled state. This may help some recipes, but in this flourless roll cake rolling and cooling didn't make a difference either way. The cake still cracked.
- If possible, bake, fill and roll the cake ahead of time so that you can freeze it before frosting. Freezing helps it hold its shape.
I like this recipe a lot, though it does take a little more care to roll since its flourless. Just remember not to get upset by cracks because they can be patched. If you want to try a roll cake with flour that's a bit easier, here's the Hot Cocoa Cake Roll recipe. I need to update the photos a bit.
Flourless Chocolate Roll Cake
- softened butter for greasing or another fat
- 6 large eggs, separated (I have not been bringing to room temp and haven't had issues)
- 6 tablespoons sugar, divided use (4 T. and 2 T.)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch or natural
- ½ cup powdered sugar (confectioners')
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola or any neutral oil)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar (this is supposed to help set the egg whites)
- 1 ½ cups well-chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons Amaretto or 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Cake Dusting Mixture
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons Amaretto
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Grease a jelly-roll pan with plenty of softened butter, then line with wax paper or parchment. Grease again.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of the sugar until thick. Beat in the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, oil, salt and vanilla, scraping side of bowl as you go. Remove bowl from the stand.
- Put the bowl with the egg whites on the mixer stand and with the whisk attachment, beat on medium until they are frothy. Increase speed and beat until soft peaks form, then add the 2 tablespoons sugar gradually. As the egg white start to stiffen, beat in the vinegar. Just beat until stiff peaks form, don't let the mixture get too dry.
- With a heavy scraper, fold together the egg whites and the chocolate egg yolk mixture.
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly (I do it by tilting the pan). Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes, or until it is puffed and just set.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely. You can cover it loosely with another sheet of wax paper if you like. While it's cooling, carefully loosen the cake from the edges of the wax paper with the tip of a knife.
- Filling: When cake is cool, prepare the filling. In a chilled mixing bowl beat the cream until soft peaks start to form, then gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the Amaretto.
- When cake is cool, mix together the extra confectioners' sugar and cocoa and sift over the top. Cover the cake with a sheet of lightly greased wax paper or parchment, then lay something large like a big cutting board or baking sheet over the wax paper. Invert the cake so that it sits on the greased wax paper. Peel off the wax paper that was previously underneath it. Spread the filling over the roll evenly, leaving an inch border on the sides to give the filling room to squish out.
- Starting at the short side, roll up the cake jelly-roll style, slightly lifting the wax paper to help guide the cake into a roll. It will most likely crack slightly, but that is okay. Bring the waxed paper up and around the roll and put the whole thing in the freezer. Freeze until very firm and easier to handle. Meanwhile, make the icing.
- For the icing, beat the butter until creamy. Add the cocoa powder and stir or beat on low until blended, then beat in the powdered sugar. Add milk one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth, then beat in the Amaretto.
- Spread icing all over the cake. At this point you can put it on a nice serving plate and decorate or you can wrap the iced cake in plastic wrap and freeze until the next day. When frozen, set the whole thing on a nice serving plate, allow it to thaw somewhat, and decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator until serving time.