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 :
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 :
Chocolate Mini Rolls – a Prue Leith recipe (makes 12)
- 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.
- In a small bowl, sieve the cocoa powder and add the melted butter, vanilla extract and boiling water. Mix together well and set aside.
- In a large bowl, weigh 100g of the caster sugar and add the egg yolks. Whisk together until pale, thick and fluffy.
- Add the chocolate mixture and whisk again to combine completely.
- 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.
- Beat one third of the egg-white mixture into the chocolate mix to loosen.
- Gently fold in the rest of the whisked egg-whites, taking care to maintain as much air as possible in the mix.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and level out by gently tipping the tins to spread.
- Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the top springs back to the touch.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the butter icing in two and evenly spread half completely over the top of each sponge, using a palette knife.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat the process with the other sponge, so that you have 4 long rolls, then trim the ends.
- Carefully cut each roll into thirds as evenly as possible, so that you have 12 mini rolls.
- Place the rolls seam-side down on a cooling rack and chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.