These fudgy flourless Chocolate Mini Rolls are naturally gluten free and way better than Cadbury’s. Make them at home for a nostalgic treat. Optional dairy free.
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Why these Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls are better than Cadbury’s
In celebration of The Great British Bake Off, here’s my attempt at Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls. Actually, I’m rather proud of my efforts… But, let’s start with the controversial question… Are they better than Cadbury’s Mini Rolls?
Gluten safety aside, they are also incredibly delicious… Definitely less sickly than the Cadbury’s version and way more fudgy too. Actually, there’s no comparison to make… THESE gluten free Chocolate Mini Rolls are hands down better than ANY shop-bought mini rolls I’ve ever eaten (gluten free or not). Our favourite childhood treat improved and within our gluten free reach!
Are these Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls hard to make?
As baking goes, I don’t really think these chocolate mini rolls are that hard to make. But then, I guess difficulty is a perceptual and confidence thing as much as it is about baking skills. Sure, they are a little fiddly and require some knowledge. But if you’ve managed to bake a cake in the past and even better, a Swiss Roll, then I reckon these are well within your reach… And definitely ABSOLUTELY worth giving a go.
The sponge is straight forward and predictable (as long as it’s not over-baked). The buttercream is standard. And while filling and rolling requires a bit of concentration, is honestly not difficult…
The tricky bits? For me… it’s pouring melted chocolate over the mini roll sponges. It’s not the melting of the chocolate that’s the problem, although getting it to an easy pouring consistency needs cautious heating and careful watching. For me, it’s that I absolutely hate waste and I’m not over-keen on mess either. My problem, I know! So, instead of pouring chocolate over the rolls, I choose to spread it on with a knife instead. Not as smooth maybe, but it makes a lovely thick layer and none of it gets wasted in dripping off the cakes.
Prue Leith’s Chocolate Mini Rolls Recipe
Heads up… These gluten free Chocolate Mini Rolls are not my own recipe. They actually come from Prue Leith. I originally made them back in 2017 when they were set as a Technical Challenge in the Great British Bake Off. But since mini rolls have made an appearance in the latest 2021 series of GBBO, I figured now was maybe a good time to update the post with an easy-to-use recipe card and a facelift.
Interestingly, when these mini rolls were made as a GBBO technical challenge previously, they were filled with mint buttercream. I’ve stuck with a traditional swirl of vanilla buttercream. But if you prefer the idea of mint, that’s fine. Simply sub the vanilla for a little peppermint extract instead.
Can this recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls be made dairy free?
Yes. Absolutely! To make Chocolate Mini Rolls that are dairy free as well as gluten free, just switch out the butter in the sponge and buttercream for a good dairy free alternative. And make sure you use dairy free chocolate for coating.
Unfortunately, this recipe does not lend itself to a vegan version as the flourless sponge is heavily reliant on eggs for lightness and lift.
What should I do if my chocolate sponge is over-baked?
One of the absolute requirements of a swiss roll sponge is that it must be rollable. And for mini rolls, the sponge is rolled small and tight. Which means that it must NOT be over-baked. Easier said than done… A minute too long and the sponge may have gone too far. And if it has, the likelihood is that when rolled, it will start to crack. So, what are the options with an over-baked sponge?
All is definitely not lost. Your options are…
- Carry on rolling anyway. Does anyone care about cracks when there’s tasty cake to be had? And as it’s covered in chocolate, the chances are that no one will really notice.
- If it really isn’t rollable, cut the sponge in half and make a layer cake out of it… Sandwiched with the buttercream of course. Leave it large. Or… cut into smaller squares to make mini cake sandwiches, before covering in chocolate.
- If it’s really gone beyond? Cut your losses and use it for trifle. Over-baked, flourless chocolate Swiss roll makes the BEST trifle sponge. Thoroughly recommended to make Nutella Trifle or Black Forest Trifle.
What equipment do I need to make Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls?
Making Chocolate Mini Rolls requires a few bits of basic baking equipment. In addition to the standard kit of…
- Kitchen Scales
- Measuring Spoons
- Mixing Bowls
- A good Electric Whisk
- An Oven
- A flexible Mixing Spoon/Spatula
You will also need…
- TWO Swiss Roll Tins (about 30 x 20 cm)
- Some really good quality non-stick baking paper
- A Clean Tea Towel
- And a Palette Knife (to spread the buttercream)
Top tips for making the perfect Flourless Swiss Roll sponge
Although making mini rolls isn’t that hard, here’s my best tips to help you get the perfect sponge results…
- Follow the recipe. Sure… that sounds a bit obvious. But you wouldn’t believe how many people contact me to tell me a recipe hasn’t worked, only to add that they thought it would be fine to leave out a crucial ingredient or use an entirely different method. Recipes are your instructions for getting it right.
- Be really careful when separating the eggs. The whites need to be 100% clean when they are whisked. That means that ANY egg yolk that breaks into them will prevent them whisking properly and that = failed sponge.
- Therefore, crack and separate the white from each egg, one at a time into a separate extra bowl. If clean, pour the white into the whisking bowl, before cracking the next. If the egg breaks, discard and use for a delicious frittata or even a quiche and be sure to replace the extra ‘cracking’ bowl with a clean one.
- To be certain that the bowl for whisking the egg whites is also as clean as possible, it is worth wiping the inside with lemon juice before starting. This will remove any potential residual oil from the surface. Clean the whisk heads too, by dipping in a jug of boiling water mixed with a little lemon juice before air drying.
- When folding the stiff whisked whites into the chocolate batter, do it quickly and lightly… a flourless sponge relies on maintaining air to help it rise.
- Be super-careful not to over-bake. As soon as the top springs back, the sponge is done.
- These sponges are left to cool in the tin, but cover with a clean, slightly damp tea towel to prevent drying.
Ready to make Gluten Free Chocolate Mini Rolls?
I hope you enjoy making these flourless Chocolate Mini Rolls. If you do, remember to come back and tell me if they really are better than Cadbury’s. Leave a comment, rate the recipe, or tag me on social media with your diddy swiss roll photos. You can always find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter.
And don’t forget to check out our massive gluten free Recipe Book Index. It’s all our favourite Gluten Free Alchemist Coeliac-safe recipes in one place ready to inspire.
Thanks for reading and for visiting our little space on the internet. Happy baking
Other gluten free roulades and Swiss rolls you might like…
Flourless Chocolate Mini Rolls
- 2 Swiss Roll tins (20 cm x 30 cm approx)
- baking paper
- Kitchen scales
- measuring spoons
- Mixing bowls
- electric whisk
- mixing spoon/spatula
- small sieve
- clean tea towel
- sharp knife
- palette knife
- glass heat-proof bowl
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- wire rack
- 60 g cocoa powder
- 30 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp boiling water
- 150 g caster sugar superfine sugar (split into 100g/50g portions)
- 6 large eggs Separated – At room temperature – UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 150 g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative) softened
- 300 g icing sugar confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- a little milk to loosen as needed (DF as required)
- 200 g 70% dark chocolate chopped (good quality) DF as required
- 200 g milk chocolate chopped – DF as required
- 100 g white chocolate chopped – DF as required
- Base-line two 30 cm x 20 cm Swiss Roll tins with good quality baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- In a small bowl, sieve the cocoa powder and add the melted butter, vanilla extract and boiling water. Mix together well and set aside.
- Very carefully separate the eggs, making sure that NO yolk gets into the whites.
- 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 into the corners.
- Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the top just 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 while they cool.
- Beat the softened butter in a large bowl until pale and smooth.
- 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 original 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 sponges so that one short end is nearest to you.
- Mark a central line, half way along each of the sponges between the two original score lines.
- Divide the buttercream in two and evenly spread one half completely over the top of each sponge, using a palette knife.
- For the first sponge and starting from the front short edge, carefully roll up as tightly as you can, stopping at the half way point where you made the additional marker line.
- Turn the whole sponge round and 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.
- Using a very sharp knife, very carefully trim a tiny slither off each end to tidy up the rolls.
- Next, 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 with the mini rolls over a baking tray (to catch the dripping chocolate) and spread or pour the chocolate over each mini roll to coat.
- Leave aside until the chocolate has set.
- Melt the white chocolate in a small glass bowl (as instructed previously).
- 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.
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