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Nov 25, 2009 06:43 AM

Help with Jacques Pepin's chocolate roulade

I have made this cake from "Cooking at Home" a number of times and as delicious as it is, I can never get it to roll. It cracks immediately. It is flourless--and unlike a classic rolled cake, you are meant to leave it in the pan to cool before rolling. Any hints?

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  1. Temperature of the cream while melting the chocolate is critical in that recipe. I'd take the cream to a temperature just warm enough to melt the chocolate (perhaps around 100 degrees) over simmering (not boiling) water to melt the chocolate.
    I assume you're using parchment paper for the rolling process, rolling it tightly but slowly, and that the chocolate sheet is no cooler than 75 - 80 degrees when you're rolling it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      It still cracks. Cream at 100 degrees, and pan at 80 degrees. It's more like a souffle than a cake, which I don't really understand.

    2. I have not baked the Jacque Pepins recipe in "Cooking at Home" but I've made his flourless chocolate roulade from his "Art of Cooking". Ingredients are: hot coffee, sugar, eggs separated and chocolate. It has always cracked when I am rolling it (same for other flourless chocolate cakes that I've made). It has no flour or ground nut to give the cake structure. That is the reason the cake has such a soft crumb, melt in your mouth texture. I just dust the finished roulade with powder sugar and it looks fine. Of course, frosting it will hide the cracks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        What I don't get it, how could such an amazing chef and all of his staff have this work for them and not for us? I am a professional cook, even started out in pastry, and if it isn't working for us, who is it working for? I love Jacque Pepin, no doubt about it--I'm just wondering.
        I agree about the melt in your mouth. I used beautiful Belgian chocolate and gorgeous velvety heavy cream and we ate nearly the whole cake before dinner. (I stacked it with layers of whipped cream and gave it a shower of grated chocolate over the top.)

        1. re: fayehess

          What makes you think that the roulade does not crack when Pepin or any of his staff roll it? It is the nature of flourless chocolate sheet cake; he is sacrificing look for the melt in the mouth quality. From your comment, the cake was delicious. Can you not even get it to roll? That would be a problem.

          1. re: PBSF

            no rolling; not even the suggestion of a roll.

      2. I saw him make this on TV recently. Do you have JC's "The Way to Cook"? She has great instructions about how to roll the cake. That said, I made one for Thankgiving, and it did crack a bit (quite a bit) when I rolled it up, but I didn't really care as it was to be covered with chocolate frosting.