Friday, 15 February 2013
I love the simplicity of a jam roll. There's something very satisfying about a swirl of light, fluffy cake stained with fruity, slightly sharp jam.
Once you've got the hang of it, they're also very speedy, especially as the ingredients are the sort of things you might have to hand. I can usually go from thought to cake in under thirty minutes.
My first attempt at a Swiss Roll, back in 2010, didn't go well. It cracked badly and the sponge tasted bland and was somehow both sticky and dry. Now I have a much better recipe.
I also found it difficult to picture the techniques involved (and a few others have mentioned the same problem), so last week I decided to take some videos. The first is of me spreading the mixture (sounds absurd, but it is delicate and took me time to get right) and the second is of the whole flipping/trimming/rolling process. I hope they make it clearer.
I've also solved the problem of the cake sticking to the parchment by lightly greasing it with butter and using granulated sugar - the bigger crystals keep it off the parchment, don't turn syrupy or sticky and give the outer bites a satisfying crunch.
In recipes that fill the roll with anything heat-sensitive, like my Chocolate Swiss Roll with Peanut Butter Mousse or Bûche de Noël, you have to roll it up between sheets of baking parchment, let it cool, then unroll and fill as below. If I'm making a jam roll with a different flavour (the raspberry-redcurrant jam already has a slight sharpness), I stir in a touch of lemon juice to loosen the set and balance the sweetness.
I was flustered filming the second video as I knew I'd have to make the cake again if I made a mistake. Thankfully I'd already decided to cut the sound, so you can't hear me swear when the side of the sponge sticks to the tray. But, as Julia Child said - 'never apologise'. Just cut more of the side off and proceed as normal - with an extra snack for the chef...
Jam Swiss Roll
(sponge recipe adapted from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert)
80g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (optional*)
pinch of fine sea salt
25ml cold water
120g caster sugar
tbsp or so of granulated sugar
jam to fill (about 150g)
Preheat the oven to 170C/340F. Lightly grease and line a baking tray that's at least 30 x 40cm (the one above was a bit small). Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together three times. Place the yolks and water into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high for 1 minute. Sprinkle the caster sugar in and whip for 4 minutes until pale, thick and a ribbon of mixture stays on the surface for the count of five. Whip the whites until a peak on the end of the whisk stays stiff. Carefully fold a third of the flour into the yolks with a big metal spoon, then another third, followed by a third of the whites, the rest of the flour, then the rest of the whites. Carefully scoop out onto the tray (but don't scrape any gluey/unmixed bits off the spoon/bowl) and use a big palette knife to confidently sweep it out into an even rectangle of roughly 25 x 35 cm (see video above).
Bake for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown, slightly risen and springy to the touch in the middle. While it bakes grease a square of parchment bigger than the cake and sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Get a big knife, cake rack and the jam ready (I usually do this on the dining table for space). When it comes out, let it sit on the tray for 1 minute, then flip out onto the sugary parchment. Cut a thin slice off the edges to straighten them and stop it cracking as you roll. Spread the jam liberally over the sponge, leaving a cm gap around the edge. At one of the short ends of the rectangle, use the knife to dent (not cut) about 1 cm into the end. Use this to start rolling the sponge up, keeping it tight and peeling off the paper as you go. When you get to the end, tuck the end underneath. Trim the two swirly ends with a serrated knife to neaten them up and leave to cool for a few minutes before slicing.
Best eaten when just cooled. It keeps in a tin for a day and freezes well.
*The baking powder gives it an extra boost - you can easily make it without, but it helps if you're worried about losing too much air when you're folding and spreading.
(Makes 1 roll, 8-10 slices)
A few more posts that involve whipping egg whites:
Pomegranate and Berry Pavlova
Old Fashioned Sponge Cake