Chocolate Toasted Almond Roulage

Something special to celebrate the 1000th recipe on Yesterdish.

I’ve shared a lot of old recipes, and I’ve shared a lot of my recipe box. But here’s an old recipe… from my recipe box.

In 1982, I was turning four and in my second year of preschool. Our teacher, Mrs. Brown, was an infinitely patient English woman with a calm voice who managed, somehow, to maintain perfect posture while still talking to people who happened to be about three feet tall. One day, Mrs. Brown announced she had a project for us.

We were going to collect a recipe or two from every family in the class and staple them into a book. As preschool students, our role in this would be to take our round-tip safety scissors and clip images out of magazines to make a collage for the cover. I went home and gave my mother the assignment sheet.

At this point, I’m told, I requested the “Ho Ho cake.” Ho Hos, of course, being the Hostess snack cake. I don’t recall my motivations here, other than it’s a delicious cake, but I think part of the motivation was that I wanted to show off that my mother was the best cook in the class as well as remind her that, gee, wouldn’t be this an awfully opportune time to make a delicious cake?

Recently, while going through boxes in my parents’ house, I came across this notebook and the recipes in it. I sat down and had a conversation with my mother about this recipe that went like this:

Me: “Where were they going to find candied violets in the ’80s? I don’t know where to get candied violets right now!”
My mom: “They could get regular violets and candy them.”
Me: “I don’t know where to get violets, either!”

In honor of the 1000th recipe on Yesterdish, we made a chocolate roulade inspired by this recipe.

(Brief digression: in this context, roulade and roulage are interchangeable. Technically speaking a roulade is anything rolled around anything, while a roulage refers specifically to a cake. But in the 30 years since this recipe was originally written, roulade has become the more common term, even when talking about cakes.)

Because turnabout is fair play, I’ll also be scanning and uploading the rest of the recipes. My father asked my if I thought my preschool peers would object. I told him that if they didn’t want the recipes scanned and uploaded, they shouldn’t have published them without a sufficient copyright notice in the pre-1989 period of the U.S. Copyright Act.

And I’m sure my 4-year-old self would’ve said the very same, adjusting his clip-on tie.

The 1000th recipe celebration continues with our updated version of this cake, Yesterdish’s Chocolate Roulade Cake, also posted today, so you may want to continue there.

From a stapled collection of recipes from my preschool, c. 1982, in University Heights, Ohio.

Chocolate Toasted Almond Roulage

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
6 Tbsp. coffee essence (equals 1 Tbsp. instant coffee dissolved in 5 Tbsp. hot water)
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. butter, softened
1-1/2 cup whipping cream
2 to 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. dark rum or rum extract (equals 1 tsp. dissolved with 1/2 Tbsp. water)
1/2 cup blanched, skinned, toasted, chopped coarsely almonds or hazelnuts (filberts)

Combine chocolate with coffee essence over hot water–stir until smooth–remove from heat to cool slightly.

With an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until pale yellow. Gradually add 3/4 cup of sugar, beating constantly until mixture is nearly white and forms a ribbon when dropped from a beater. Slowly beat in chocolate coffee mixture.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat bottom of 12 x 18 jelly roll pan [NOTE: that would make a very thin cake, so if you want a thicker one, opt for a 10 x 15″] with 2 tsp. butter.

Line with waxed paper [NOTE: parchment paper, not waxed paper, unless you like melted and possibly blazing waxed paper] cut long enough to extend over edges.

Coat paper with remaining butter. Dust with flour. Shake excess.

Beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar beating constantly until stiff and glossy. Stir 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture–fold remaining whites in.

Spread evenly into jelly roll pan and bake until top is lightly crusted and springs back when pressed with finger and cake beings to shrink from sides of pan, 18 to 20 minutes. Cover with damp towel and let stand for 15 minutes.

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Sweeten with sugar and rum essence; fold in all but 1/2 cup of nuts. [NOTE: since the recipe only calls for half a cup of nuts, you can add an additional half cup here, or use them all; what I remember is spreading the whipped cream, then sprinkling the nuts on top before rolling.]

Assembly: Generally dust 2 long overlapping sheets of waxed paper [NOTE: still parchment, though it’s less urgent here] with powdered sugar. Loosen edges of cake with dull knife and turn onto paper. Spread with cream mixture; gently roll up and set on serving platter [diagram] (if exterior of cake cracks it’s okay!)

Whip reserved cream until very stiff, spoon into pastry bag and garnish with candied violets.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy!! 🙂

Serves 10-12

(A. J. Goldstein)

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