Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TWD: Vanilla Chiffon Roll

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: Mary Bergin


For such a "simple" cake - having only two main components, it sure did have what seemed like a lot of steps, and used a ton of dishes. I do not recall having the same experience when I made a spiced pumpkin roulade several years ago. (Memories do fade though..)

The recipe calls for a walnut mousse - I had hazelnuts on hand and used those. This of course added an extra step - skinning of the nuts.

The filling is made up of a nut paste, melted chocolate, egg yolks, sugar, water and heavy cream. To make the paste, the nuts are puréed with oil until a paste forms. I think using walnuts would give the paste a smoother consistency. However, I did not mind the texture the hazelnuts lent to the filling.

Add your nut paste mixture to the beaten eggs and fold until incorporated.

Once the chocolate is incorporated, (this is where the whipped cream should have been incorporated as well), then refrigerate until needed.

The instructions say to trim the edges of the cake. I only trimmed the shorter ends - the ones that will be exposed. Though that may have been unnecessary - for once the cake was completed, I trimmed the ends again, to give it a cleaner appearance.

The recipe states that the mousse may be made one day ahead. Refrigerate, and stir before using. I chilled the mousse only for the time it took to make the cake. It was solid. No amount of stirring was going to make this spreadable. I placed my bowl (stainless steel) over a burner until it was at a consistency that could be spread easily.

However, this ruins the fluffy texture you have with a mousse. Still, the filling was quite tasty.

The assembled cake, ready for chilling.

I recommend letting the cake come to room temperature before decorating. In the time that I sprinkled the powdered sugar and cocoa on, and moved the cake to the other side of the counter to take a picture, the powdered sugar had already started to dissolve.

If my mousse had turned out the way it was supposed to, there would have been a lot more filling to cake ratio. (Upon re-reading the recipe as I type this, I just realized I forgot to add the heavy whipping cream to the filling! Oops.)

The cake is soft, moist and has a pleasant vanilla flavor from the addition of two tablespoons of vanilla. Do make sure to use a good quality, pure vanilla, not vanilla flavoring for this cake. I was fortunate enough to use homemade vanilla that our daughter had gifted me.

I liked the flavor of the hazelnut filling - better than I would if I had used walnuts, I'm sure. Even with both the cake and the filling being tasty on their own, I felt the completed roll tasted rather plain. The cake definitely would have benefited if served with some sort of sauce - raspberry, chocolate, or even some whipped cream. (Or maybe even the inadvertently omitted whipping cream.)

The recipe states this will serve six. The finished roll, after trimming was about sixteen inches long. This will easily serve ten to twelve, unless you want extra large slices. 

To see the results, and other versions of this cake from all of the talented bakers in the group, click here for their links, or go to the Tuesdays with Dorie website and look for the link: LYL: Vanilla Chiffon Roll.

You can find the recipe by clicking here, or on page 277 of Baking with Julia.


  1. Gorgeous presentation, Cathleen...and I love the idea of using hazelnuts :)

  2. Pretty cake with the hearts. Maybe a red one for Valentines day with the hearts. Good idea.

  3. Beautiful presentation. I think hazelnut would have been fantastic; glad you liked that variation.

  4. So pretty with the hearts on top! I love the color of the roll too. Mine ended up being more yellowish brownish kinda color. What flour did you use?

  5. Gorgeous & beautiful crumb on that cake!

  6. Lovely hearts on top!!
    Your roll looks perfect.
    Hazelnuts would be very different and delicious, if I make it again, I'll certainly use them.

  7. What a beautiful roll! Love the hearts. And great pics all around. There were a lot of steps and dishes involved, but I loved making it. (And I think I'll need to make it again, but with hazelnuts next time.)

  8. I love the little hearts on top of your cake. I think that leaving out the whipped cream was a happy accident. I think the more traditional mousse overpowered the cake.

  9. Cathleen, A stunning looking cake roll! Love the little hearts…it would be a perfect Valentines dessert!
    It did take a lot of pots, pans and bowls to make this one, though. I can’t believe you and I both forgot the whipped cream…lol!

  10. This is GORGEOUS! It looks like it came from a fine pastry shop :) Love it!

  11. I love how you decorated the cake, beautiful!

  12. Hello, my name is Francesca and I'm Italian. I found your blog by chance and I loved it. I have joined your followers. if you go too foul. Thank you. Francesca.

  13. Cathleen, although I am a bit late with commenting on your Vanilla Chiffon Roll, I just had to let you know how absolutely gorgeous this cake looks - perfection. And what I like even better is that you used hazelnuts for the lovely filling - if ever I get a chance to bake this cake, i will certainly follow your lead and use delicious hazelnuts instead of the walnuts. This is such an elegant dessert!

  14. I love the hearts you made on top, so pretty! I think adding the whipped cream to the mousse helped the flavor, but, based on your photos, the roll is much neater and prettier without it.


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