July 20, 2007

Berries Are This Bakers Best Friend


Possibly the best use for berries, other than eating them out of hand, is using them to cover up baking disasters. Think about it; berries are bright and attractive and quite effective at drawing the eye away from unsightly mistakes. You were probably so distracted by the berries in these pictures that you didn’t even notice what they were hiding. In the first photo they’ve been strategically placed to fill up a very large crack that appeared when I tried to make my first ever roulade. I think a more appropriate term for what I’ve created would be a fold-ade. Try as I might, that thing would not roule, (comme on dit en français). It folded so well you could make origami out of it but rolling was out of the question. Who am I to fight nature? I folded my cake. Of course, immediately afterwards I began brainstorming ways to cover up the fact that it was folded. Whipped cream was the obvious answer but I was all out of it. I was beginning to despair when the leftover berries on the counter started calling out to me, telling me they wanted to rejoin their friends in the cake. I was happy to oblige and so grateful for their offer that I first laid down a bed of icing sugar so that they would be comfortable. I’m thoughtful like that. If you’re still not convinced that berries successfully covered up the roulade failure then what if I told you it was a “rustic” cake, never meant to be a roulade in the first place? Are you satisfied now? Pretty or not, this cake was tasty.


For their second trick, the wild black raspberries, (from my backyard no less) were used to fill and decorate a 3 layer meringue cake. The final product is far from what I originally had in mind, (this seems to be a theme for me lately) but it worked. Once again however, egg whites got the best of me. I am simply unable to get those little proteins to do what I want them to. At first I had visions of a pavlova, but all of the recipes that I looked at called or 4-6 egg whites. I had 12 whites, (I sure have been making a lot of ice cream...) and was determined to use every last one of them so instead of making one enormous pavlova, I made three enormous meringue discs from a pavlova recipe courtesy of Elise of Simply Recipes, that I doubled. Of course none of my meringue discs turned out the same size and two of them were dark around the edges and instead of using a knife to make them nice and neat, I tore off the dark part with my fingers. This resulted in less than perfect cake edges and a simple coating of berries wouldn’t be enough to hide the flaws so I actually had to go out and buy more whipping cream. Whipped cream alone would have been plain so on went the berries. It’s a good thing I’ve got my own supply. I suppose at this point, my meringue cake is looking an awful lot like my fold-ade, but it’s got a few tricks up its sleave. The whipped cream and berry exterior of the meringue cake is hiding an interior rich with bittersweet chocolate whipped cream, (à la Dorie Greenspan) black cherries and more wild raspberries. Oooh, tasty.



Let this post be a lesson to you, if your cake’s an aesthetic disaster just cover it with berries and/or whipped cream and you’re good to go.


Chocolate Roulade with Irish Coffee Cream (From the book Cake by Joanna Farrow)


Prep time: 20 minutes.

Baking time: 20 minutes

Serves 8


175g (6oz) plain chocolate, broken up

5 eggs, separated

150g (5oz) golden caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle

1 T instant espresso powder

200ml (7 fl oz) double cream

4 T Irish whisky



Grease and line a 33 x 23 cm (13 x 9 inch) Swiss roll tin. Grease the paper. Melt the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.

Beat together the egg yolks and sugar for 3-4 minutes until thickened and pale. Whisk in the melted chocolate. In a separate, thoroughly clean bowl whisk the egg whites until peaking. Fold a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remainder. Turn the mixture into the tin, spreading it gently to the corners.

Bake in a preheated over, 180C, (350F) for about 20 minutes or until risen and just firm. Sprinkle a sheet of baking parchment with caster sugar.

Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then invert if on to the parchment and peel away the lining paper. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to cool.

Blend the espresso with 1 T boiling water to dissolve. Put it in a bowl with the cream and whisky and whisk until just peaking. Spread the cream almost to the edges of the roulade and roll up, starting from a short end. Turn on to a serving plater.

And if you’ve goofed up like I have, dust with icing sugar and cover with wild raspberries.


Many, many, many thanks to Minh of Couture Cupcakes for sending me this wonderful book. Despite my inability to roll a cake, the recipe is delicious and the book is full of cakes I want to try.





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20 comments:

Meeta said...

You know what Soeren would say - "Who cares? It gets all mushed up in the tummy anyway!"

Exactly and both look like they tasted too good to pass up!

K & S said...

looks great to me!

Baking Soda said...

I'm with Soeren! I was confused at first, thought my screen was playing tricks on me.. I think I never saw black raspberries! Cute!

Belinda said...

Well, I think everything you've made looks incredible...and not just because you say you have adorned the "mistakes" with berries. The berries are a beautiful (and delicious!) touch, but your recipes always look lovely. :-) I love those black raspberries...and from your own yard, how great!

Janet said...

I think it looks awesome, but even if it didn't... sometimes the very best tasting things, aren't the prettiest!

Cheryl said...

I love your mistakes. I would love to be the guinea pig for your mistakes too.

Anne said...

looks really delicious :)

Margaret said...

Looks wonderful. All of us in the UK need cheering up at the moment because it is yet again raining cats and dogs - well a monsoon would be more precise. Thanks for cheering up another miserable wet weather day!

lynn said...

Is a black raspberry different from a blackberry? I'll remember your words of wisdom as I'm sure I'll have many opportunities to use the whipped cream and berry trick.

Laura said...

I like roulades best when they crack and this one looks especially gorgeous!

Susan said...

Now that you've divulged such great secrets, I'm running out of reasons to not bake more!

JEP said...

Black raspberries---I am so jealous!!

Elle said...

The berries look wonderful, but the cake roll(folded?) is darn cute, too. Black raspberries, cherries, chocolate, whipped cream and meringue....total yum. I would eat and enjoy 'disasters' like this anytime.

Peabody said...

Berries and whipped cream can make anything look good....but everything you've got there looks fabulous.

Lydia said...

I love black raspberries, and they're just coming into season here in Rhode Island. And for me, making a cake that needs covering up is an everyday thing!

SteamyKitchen said...

I could just totally stick my whole face in this cake and not come back up for air for a good 5 hours.

SteamyKitchen said...

BTW, your photos are lookin' mighty fine lately....

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

That is a berry fine roulade!
The pictures are awesome, crack or no crack.

Amy said...

I would dive right into that cake. I'm guilty of using curds and preserves to cover cracks in cheesecakes. ;)

Ivonne said...

Berries do indeed mask all sorts of erreurs but honestly, I would have never known. I would just want to dive right in. Beautiful!