Saturday, 30 September 2017

Chocolate Mini Rolls (gluten free) - a flourless recipe from Prue Leith #GBBO 2017

I am very late to the Great British Bake Off party this year. Last year I managed to bake along with gluten free equivalents for most of the series, but it has been a busy few weeks both at work and being away and it has left me playing catch up..... I don't like playing catch up! I like to feel a modicum of control and at least know that I am on top of things and know what needs to be done. When I don't feel on top of things, I make lists..... lots of them...... Who am I kidding? I don't just make lists when I am not on top of things, I make lists all the time (or is that just a reflection of feeling permanently out of control?)

Either way, these Chocolate Mini Rolls by Prue Leith have been on my list of things to do since week 1 of Bake Off (yep.... I even list food I need to try and make...). We are now fast heading for week 6, which may be a sound indicator of how behind I am with life....

GBBO Week 1 was Cake Week of course and alongside, we got to meet the new presenters and bakers and sit in our living room Courts being Judge and Jury on what we thought of the new line-up. After last year's fiasco which resulted in the programme being sold to Channel 4 and the very sad loss of Mel, Sue and Mary, I for one was analysing every nuanced body movement, interaction and quip to see if Prue, Noel and Sandy cut it. Paul is just Paul, with an ability to strike judgement into every conversation..... no change there, but we love him anyway.

Despite a few slightly cringe-worthy moments along the way, I think I am settling into the new patter.... Prue is growing on me..... slowly (Mary is a hard act to follow) and I have always loved Sandy's very intelligent and very dry sense of humour (although I think it helps that she lives quite local to me and I have had a couple of chance encounters with her in the wine aisle of Sainsburys).... Noel I am less sure about. Don't get me wrong, I have really liked Noel when I have seen him on TV quiz shows, but he seems a little out of his comfort zone on Bake Off....... natural and easy around the contestants when baking, but a little contrived and anxious when doing the planned bits of script delivery..... Is that fair?

Anyway..... back to baking.... I was particularly keen to make these Chocolate Mini Rolls, not just because they are one of my favourite childhood treats, but because the recipe used on Bake Off is flourless and therefore naturally gluten free (yee-ha!)...... Oh..... and I always like to try and be clever around a technical challenge that has caused plenty of moaning and panic in the tent!

This is not my first foray into Mini Rolls..... I made some particularly yummy (non-chocolate-coated) vanilla-strawberry butter cream filled ones a couple of years ago, alongside a very successful home-developed recipe for Swiss Roll. I also love a good roulade, so the prospect of rolling cake is something I am comfortable with...... You can find a list of my favourite GFA roulade recipes below.

Prue's Bake Off Chocolate Mini Roll recipe was (rather strangely) filled with mint buttercream. I am usually a huge fan of chocolate and mint together, but after hearing several references to the filling tasting like 'toothpaste', I was a little put off and since Miss GF was very clear that she wanted vanilla buttercream, the decision was made.... vanilla is was to be. Other than the buttercream flavour sub, the recipe that I have used is exactly GBBO specified.

The Mini Rolls were fairly easy to make....... up to the point of the chocolate coating. The sponge was straight forward and predictable and the butter cream was pretty standard. When it comes to pouring melted chocolate over small bakes on a wire rack though, I get a bit tetchy. I have no problem with melting the stuff, but I hate 'waste' and even though I know the dripped pool of chocolate collected under the rack will be greedily eaten, it somehow feels wrong that it isn't on the cake. I chose instead to spread the chocolate on with a knife, which may not be quite as smooth, but made for a wonderfully thick layer.

Actually I am rather pleased with my efforts.... and I have to say that they were seriously moreish. Light chocolate sponge, swirled with the fluffiest, creamiest vanilla buttercream, all topped with melty, sweet, thick chocolate. Most definitely to be recommended....

I am sharing Prue's Chocolate Mini Rolls with the following :

Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse

Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy

Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps

Other Roulades and Swiss Rolls on Gluten Free Alchemist :

Coffee-Intense Mocha Roulade
Zesty Lemon-Meringue Roulade
Squidgy Chocolate Roulade
Vanilla Swiss Roll and Mini Rolls

Chocolate Mini Rolls - a Prue Leith recipe (makes 12)


Sponge :
60g cocoa powder
30g unsalted butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons boiling water
6 large eggs - separated
150g caster sugar

Butter Icing (filling)
150g unsalted butter - softened
300g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
a little milk to loosen (as needed)

Chocolate Coating
200g dark chocolate (70%) - chopped 
200g milk chocolate - chopped 
100g white chocolate - chopped 


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Base-line two 30 cm x 20 cm Swiss Roll tins with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl, sieve the cocoa powder and add the melted butter, vanilla extract and boiling water. Mix together well and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, weigh 100g of the caster sugar and add the egg yolks. Whisk together until pale, thick and fluffy.
  4. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk again to combine completely.
  5. In a separate, very clean bowl (and using a clean beater), whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Once stiff, add the remaining 50g caster sugar and whisk until you have a smooth meringue and the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Beat one third of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate mix to loosen. 
  7. Gently fold in the rest of the whisked egg-whites, taking care to maintain as much air as possible in the mix.
  8. Divide the mixture between the two tins and level out by gently tipping the tins to spread.
  9. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the top springs back to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven, but leave in the tins to cool completely. Cover the sponge tins with a clean, slightly damp tea towel whilst they cool.
  11. Butter Icing : Beat the softened butter in a large bowl until smooth and gradually add the icing sugar and vanilla, continuing to beat until all the sugar is combined and you have a light, fluffy icing. If the icing feels too stiff to spread, add a tiny drop of milk to loosen. 
  12. To fill the sponges and roll : One at a time, turn the cakes out (upside-down) onto 2 large clean sheets of baking paper and very carefully peel off the baking paper from the base of the sponges.
  13. Carefully score a line along each short end, 2 to 4 cm in from the edge and turn the sponge so that the short end is facing you.
  14. Divide the butter icing in two and evenly spread half completely over the top of each sponge, using a palette knife.
  15. Starting from the front short edge, carefully roll up the sponge as tightly as you can, stopping half way along the sponge in the middle. 
  16. Repeat the rolling process from the other short end until the two rolls meet in the middle and then cut down the centre of the sponge between the two rolls, to separate them. 
  17. Repeat the process with the other sponge, so that you have 4 long rolls, then trim the ends.
  18. Carefully cut each roll into thirds as evenly as possible, so that you have 12 mini rolls.
  19. Place the rolls seam-side down on a cooling rack and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up.
  20. To coat in Chocolate : Melt the plain and milk chocolate together in a medium glass bowl either set over a pan of lightly simmering water (stirring frequently) or in a microwave on medium setting at 30 second bursts, stirring well between each. 
  21. Place the cooling rack over a baking tray (to catch the dripping chocolate) and spread or pour the chocolate over each mini roll to coat. Leave to set.
  22. Melt the white chocolate in a small glass bowl as in 20 (above) and then using either a small disposable piping bag with the tip snipped off or a spoon, drizzle the chocolate width-ways across the rolls to decorate. Leave to set.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated


  1. these look very impressive to me as I am not a roulade person - or a GBBO person (reading this I realised I have seen more spoofs on horrible histories than actual episodes - never sure if they show on australian free to air tv or not but not on the ABC when Sylvia is sleeping). I love mini rolls and they are quite a treat on the rare occasions we buy them - yours look even better and I think vanilla rather than mint would be my preference too.

    1. Thanks Johanna. I used to love mini rolls as a child, especially chocolate ones..... but now I think about it, I don't think I have seen an GF versions in the shops. The home-baked ones are so much better anyway!
      I had no idea that they did Horrible History spoofs on Bake Off! That sounds fun..... I'll have to check them out xx

  2. These look fabulous! It's funny because when I caught that week up (I'm behind too) I thought I must make mini rolls. I haven't though because I don't want the temptation!! I'd LOVE one of these!

    1. Thanks Vicki. Yes.... they are way too tempting! They were so much better home-baked, it was hard not to eat them all. xx

  3. love chocolate i will have to make them dairy free as well but defo on my to cook list

    1. Yes! Dairy free is such a straight sub.... definitely worth a go xx

  4. I have never attempted mini rolls. I fear I am not nimble fingered enough to make such perfect rolls. I have made a Swiss roll a couple of times, but my rolls are a bit flat!
    Yours, however, look so delicious and pretty darn perfect to me. Much better than many of the mini rolls made on the show infact.
    thank you for linking to #Bakeoftheweek x

    1. Thank you Jenny. I thought they would be tricky to roll too, but because you roll as a large cake and then cut, it was very straight forward (and no doubt far less messy).
      I was very pleased with how they came out, but to be fair..... I had no cameras in my face or clock ticking!!!! x

  5. Who cares if you are late to the party if you bring mini chocolate rolls that look this good. Thank you for linking to #CookBlogShare.

    1. Thanks Jacqueline. You're welcome and you're right..... With chocolate cake this good..... better late than never! x

  6. They look so cute! I am sure they are delicious as well. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Your recipes are fantastic and so are your photographs. These rolls are beautifully made. I love this recipe.

  8. These look so pretty Kate! I would also have gone with vanilla buttercream as I'm not a big fan of sweet things flavoured with mint. To me it's much better in a salad! Thanks so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice x

    1. Thanks Corina. Yeah..... toothpaste filling didn't sound good! xx

  9. These look great Kate, my Daughter would love them. I will have to let her look through you blog, she will love it, as do I. I am off now to pin lots of your recipes. Thank you so much for your lovely comment last week, sorry I am only just catching up.

    1. Thanks Clairejustine. Thanks for popping over.... and yes sorry for the late reply at this end too... It's been a bit crazy recently.
      The offer still stands.... but either way, I hope that your daughter (and you) have fun and get some reassurance looking through the blog xx

  10. These look stunning!So chocolatey!Fab photos.

  11. They look absolutely delicious! I'm craving chocolate now!

  12. They look so good, and so neat! It's hard to believe that there's no flour in them too.

    1. Thanks Helen. It's amazing what can be made without flour! xx

  13. These look seriously amazing Kate! I completely understand what you mean about your hesitation to pour the chocolate over the rolls, and to be honest I had no idea you'd spread the chocolate rather than poured it - they really do look that good - and I'm totally with you and Miss GF about preferring the idea of a vanilla filling rather than 'toothpaste'! Thankyou for joining in with #BakingCrumbs Kate,
    Angela x

    1. Awww... Thanks Angela. You're more than welcome and than you for such a lovely comment xx


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