Black Forest Gateau Mini Rolls

Bake Off is back and we’re continuing with the Bake Off Bake Along! Like with most years, we’re kicking off with Cake Week and we saw early standouts Jürgen and Giuseppe with their amazing anti-gravity illusion cakes and unfortunately saw Amanda’s cake topple over in the showstopper! For Cake Week, I’m taking on the Signature Challenge which was the bakers’ twist on mini rolls.

When I heard the challenge initially, I knew I wanted to do a black forest gateau flavour as it’s one of my favourite cakes to eat – and clearly, it’s a popular choice as Tom, Amanda and Jürgen all went for the same flavour combination! But what’s not to love, chocolate, cream and cherries! These are my Black Forest Gateau Mini Rolls!

I have previously made mini rolls for the bake along, when they were used as a technical challenge back in 2017 and they were Dark Chocolate and Strawberry Mini Rolls. One of the points I made in the development was to ensure that the swirl would be easily seen, either with a contrasting sponge colour or a contrasting filling colour.

And with the chocolate whisked sponge and the whipped cream in my Black Forest Gateau Mini Rolls, I achieve that contrast. The black cherry conserve provides a strong cherry flavour which compliments the chocolate and cream to give that black forest gateau feel. The cream, like Jürgen’s recipe on the show, is hardly sweetened, only scented with vanilla for roundedness, to allow the cherry flavour to pop and burst through.

But unlike my previous mini rolls, I save the hassle by not coating these in chocolate. In fact, it would be too overpowering to cover these in chocolate; the beauty lies in its simplicity both in construction and in flavour build and the open ends to see the great swirl too!

For the chocolate sponge:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 10g cornflour
  • 30ml vegetable oil

For the filling and decorations:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 tinned black cherries, drained and halved
  • 100g black cherry or sour cherry conserve
  • Finely chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. Line a 13 by 9 inch Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Make sure that the baking parchment fits snugly in the tin by cutting diagonally inwards at each corner of the parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, place the eggs and the caster sugar. With an electric hand whisk (or using a stand mixer), whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is lighter in colour, aerated and when you use the whisk and lift the batter and draw a figure of eight shape, the mixture settles after two seconds (this is called ribbon stage).

Sift over the plain flour, cocoa powder and cornflour in an even layer over the surface of the eggs and sugar. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the eggs and sugar, making sure to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl to make sure the flour hasn’t clumped together.

Pour a small amount of the batter into a small bowl with the oil and mix well until even. Pour this batter back into the original bowl and fold until the cake batter is evenly combined. Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and spread out to cover the entire surface of the tin.

Bake the sponge for around 10 minutes until the surface has set, the sponge has risen and springs back when touched. Leave the sponge to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before lifting out onto a cooling rack. Invert the sponge and remove the paper and leave the sponge to cool fully.

To prepare the filling, whip the double cream with the vanilla extract until it forms soft peaks and can be easily spread. Place about one third of the cream in a piping bag and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the tinned cherries with the cherry conserve.

To assemble the mini rolls, trim the short edges of the sponge to neaten, place onto a large sheet of baking parchment and then spread an even layer of the cream on top of the sponge. At both of the short edges, about 2cm in, place a strip of the cherry mixture, trying to get the cherries in a straight line.

Then roll up the sponge tightly from one end, tucking in the cherries until you reach the centre. Trim the sponge at the centre and then place the cake, seam-side down, onto some clingfilm and wrap the sponge tightly. Repeat with the other half of the cake and then place both sponges into the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Once chilled, trim off the ends to neaten and then slice each log into 3 equal pieces. Cut off a 1cm hole of the end of the piping bag filled with cream and pipe a decorative pattern on top of the mini roll. Sprinkle the top with some chopped chocolate and some more cherry jam.

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