This log-shaped confection is a fixture on French tables at Christmas. Chocolate sponge cake is rolled with peppermint buttercream, then iced in chocolate “bark.” It’s a gluten-free stunner.
This gluten-free cake is a festive alternative for anyone with a gluten intolerance.
Sponge is an amazing type of cake because it’s very flexible, thanks to lots of egg whites. It should roll naturally, but it’s quite fragile so be careful.
This cake is best served on the day it is made. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Want to keep the serving platter clean while frosting the cake? Cut three 4-inch strips of waxed paper or parchment and tuck under the edges of the cake. After the frosting has set, simply remove paper and you’ll have a beautifully clean plate.
Back in the day all recipes were done by hand, so it’s fine if you don’t have an electric mixer. (We’re big fans of wooden spoons and whisks.) It will take a bit more time, but you get a nice arm workout!
Wow, you’ve got some gorgeous ingredients! Once you’ve unpacked your Red Velvet kit, preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a jelly roll pan with parchment paper provided. Tuck or fold over edges for a snug fit. Butter the parchment using 1 tbsp or less of butter (for frosting) provided. Bring 4 tbsp of water in a small saucepan to a boil, and mix in instant espresso powder so it dissolves. Add chocolate and reduce to very low heat, stirring with a heat-proof spatula until nearly melted. Remove from heat and stir until the chocolate is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Take 6 eggs out from your refrigerator. In two large bowls, separate 6 eggs into yolks and whites. Add granulated sugar to yolks and beat, using an electric mixer, until pale and thick. Gently stir the melted chocolate into the yolk mixture. In the bowl of whites, using clean beaters, add the salt and beat on high speed until whites hold stiff peaks. With a spatula, fold 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate-yolk mixture, keeping the batter airy; add the remaining whites in three additions. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake feels dry (but very soft) to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Transfer pan to a wire rack. After 2 minutes, run a knife around the edges of the cake to make sure no batter is sticking to the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. In the meantime, in a medium bowl, beat butter (for filling) with confectioner’s sugar (for filling) and peppermint extract, and beat until it is thick and spreadable.
With an off-set spatula, spread the peppermint buttercream in an even layer on top of sponge cake. Now, time to roll the cake! Start at one short end, and begin to roll gently. As you roll, VERY gently peel back the parchment paper that lined the cake bottom. Take your time! Continue to roll the cake until it’s fully rolled. Transfer roll to a serving platter, seam side down.
In a small bowl, create a paste with the cocoa powder (for frosting) by mixing it with 1 tablespoon of water. If it’s too thick, add another 1/2 tablespoon. Smooth out any clumps. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter (for frosting) for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add cocoa paste and continue to beat on medium speed, then slowly add the confectioner’s sugar (for frosting), and beat until fully incorporated.
Using a sharp knife, cut off 1/3 to 1/4 of the cake roll on an angle; place the new piece near the mid section of the larger roll, facing outwards, so the cake starts to resemble a tree and branch. Using a spatula, frost the entire cake using the chocolate buttercream. Once frosted, run the prongs of a fork through the frosting to create a “bark” effect. Swirl the ends to create “tree stumps.” Serve in 1-inch thick slices, or refrigerate until needed.