(Swiss) Chocolate Roll Recipe (Gluten Free!)

(plus a powdered-sugared cat.)

he insisted on being right there with me as I was making a powdered sugar mess. oops.

When I was a little girl, my very favorite snack cake–the kind that comes wrapped in plastic–was the Swiss cake roll. (Is there also a brand called Yodels?) I don’t think I had them very often, but I sure liked them. I liked the way they looked, and the texture created by many small layers of “creme” and cake.

Because my dad has had severe celiac disease since I was 5–and has thus been totally gluten-free since then–we tended not to have much in the way of packaged junk food; we didn’t want to exclude him, and as a side benefit, it probably kept me and my mom healthier. In the days before people started going gluten-free as a ‘lifestyle choice,’ there weren’t many packaged cookies or cakes, breads, or pastas.

What there were in abundance, though? Little old church ladies, eager to make something that the good Reverend could have at potluck. And so they pulled out their cookbooks, these ladies; they tested modifications, and they would proudly bring their offerings to church with a little sign in their spidery old script: “for Pastor.”

One of these cakes was especially delicious and noteworthy, made by the very same Mrs. S to whom I’m bringing Fannie Farmer dishes. In fact, the recipe comes out of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (11th ed.), and it is delicious, even if your taste buds and tummy are accustomed to gluten. And it is not nearly as difficult to make as you might think. And so, the recipe!

Chocolate Roll

Butter and sprinkle with cocoa powder a jelly roll pan about 10 x 14 inches. Preheat the oven to 350F. Separate:

5 eggs

Beat the whites until stiff. Mix and beat in, a little at a time:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa (I recommend Dutch process)

the yolks should be looking like this before you fold them into the beaten, stiff whites. Beautiful color and texture, no?

Without washing the beater, beat the yokes until very thick and FOLD them in. Spread evenly in the cake pan. Bake until the cake shrinks from the edge; about 20 minutes. Turn out onto a cloth (NOT terry cloth!) sprinkled with

confectioner’s sugar.

Cut off the edges of the cake if they’re crisp. (If not, leave them.) Cover the cake with a slightly dampened cloth and allow to cool. Spread with

1 cup heavy cream, whipped, lightly sweetened (~2 tablespoons), and flavored with vanilla or rum.

Roll firmly but gently, and place on serving dish with the fold underneath. Sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with chocolate sauce.

I glazed mine with chocolate sauce, something Mrs. S never did, but it made it hard to cut. Better to serve the sauce on the side, I think.

(But it’s also good plain.)




8 thoughts on “(Swiss) Chocolate Roll Recipe (Gluten Free!)

  1. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have those dear old church ladies with us still! Some of those gluten-free experiments weren’t nearly as successful as this recipe, but those “Pastor only” signs so warmed my heart. Their old Yankee upbringing made it hard to say “I love you,” but those covered-dish contributions, though long gone, yet speak. Rest in peace, my dear sisters!

  2. To cut rolls easily – whether a cake roll like this, or cinnamon roll dough, etc., take a piece of dental floss and slide it under the roll to where you want to cut. Bring the ends up and cross them. Pull the ends until the floss comes up through the roll. You will get neatly cut slices.

  3. I was doing a search on Google for cake rolls (accidentally left it on images) and I came across the pic of your beautiful powdered sugared Siamese!! I know well how they like to be in the middle of things (you should be around when I try to sew… lol).

    Your cake roll looks yummy!! Gonna have to try it out sometime.

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