mm: almond-mocha roulade

martha, martha, martha! i mostly love your baking recipes, but this time you slightly drove me crazy.

i wouldn't describe this roulade as either easy or that difficult. but it was all very new to me, so i felt like each step was a learning process. when the learning went smoothly, how terrific! and when it didn't ... well, cursing out martha seemed better than getting into a fight with my darling mr. mimi. but for the purpose of full disclosure, the truth is ... i cursed out the book AND got into an "out of the kitchen, now!" fight. oh yeah, make your ever first mousse at midnight and see what happens ;)

since i don't feel quite like myself if i don't find 100 random reasons to procrastinate, it was friday afternoon when i realized that i would have to make all three of my daring bakers, tuesdays with dorie, and martha mondays baking challenges this weekend - ack! let's get going!

first, what is "espresso powder"? uhh, i hate coffee, so i had no idea. i bought some fresh ground italian roast at the lovely neighborhood leaf and bean but then i realized i need instant espresso, and this was brew. fine, forget the mocha in the mousse, i hate coffee anyway. i decided to make an almond mousse. disaster number one ... against my instincts i read in another recipe to add the almond extract to the chocolate. it may have used a different method than martha's (i can't remember, maybe the chocolate was already added to something else?) but i went and added the extract. go ahead, guess what happened. it tightened up to a big ball of no you didn't just add some liquid to this tempered chocolate. frick. next time, listen to you instincts!

but disaster number two was all of martha's making (plus a wee bit of not listening to instincts after the fact). in her mousse recipe, the sugar gets heated. then it says, take off heat. then it says, whip the egg yolks for 3 minutes. then add the sugar in steady stream. hmm, i bet you can guess what happened. sure enough the sugar hardened up. and unfortunately instead of listening to my nagging this isn't going to work doubts, i decided to try to scrape it in. yes, of course it didn't work!! by that time, now it really was midnight. but i refused to let this one get by me!!

so i went ahead and did it all over again. and wow of wowzers. i have never made mousse before and this was chocolately and creamy and fluffy. i could have just eaten this on its own, licking right out of the bowl.

but the next day i went ahead and made the cake. in the morning i did go out and buy some instant espresso, and so decided to make the cake as written.

and after that, how was the taste? as delish as the original martha photo enticingly predicted, and truly worth every minute of making (or re-making) it. i was going to bring it in to work. but alas, some pieces may just have to stay home with us ;)

thanks for reading this too-long post. here is the recipe, enjoy! if you also joined me for this martha monday, please email me and i'll get a link up here for you!

update: zakia at frosted bakeshop made a beautiful blackberry roulade and alexandra over at addicted sweet tooth created a lovely chocolate roulade. please go visit their yummy looking cakes! and we'd love to have you join us next time ...

so for the next round of martha mondays ... i'm going all pro-choice! pick any recipe from a current magazine issue and post on monday may 12. it can be sweet or savory. if you don't want to buy her magazine, you can find some recipes from current issues here.

almond-mocha roulade: serves many or few, depending on your mood
adapted from martha's baking handbook (2005, p. 187)

for mousse:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tb boiling water + 1 tb water
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
2 tb light corn syrup
4 large egg yolks

1. whip cream to soft peaks, cover with plastic and refrigerate. in double boiler, melt chocolate. heat water (in the original, hot water was used for espresso. wasn't sure if this would change the consistency. so i used half the amount of water just in case).

2. with whisk attachment, beat yolks on medium speed until lightened, about 3 minutes. in the meantime (but not too far in advance), in small saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1 tb water to boil over medium heat, until 238F.

3. with mixer still on medium, slowly pour in sugar syrup. change to high speed and beat about 2 minutes more, until ribbon like trail holds for 2 seconds when whisk is lifted.

4. beat in melted chocolate, extracts, and water to combine. gently fold in the chilled whip cream until well combined. refrigerate overnight.

for cake (bake cake same day as you assemble it):
1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted (plus more for dusting)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tb instant espresso powder
1 tb hot water
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar

1. preheat oven to 325F. line a 17 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. dust a large, clean kitchen towel with cocoa and set aside. sift together cocoa and flour, and in small bowl stir together the espresso and water. set aside.

2. with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks on high until thick and pale (with ribbon trail) about 5 minutes. transfer to large bowl, set aside.

3. with whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed until foamy. raise to medium-high, and add sugar in slow steady stream. beat until stiff peaks form.

4. fold a third of egg-white mixture into egg-yolk mixture to lighten. gently fold in remaining egg whites until just combined. fold in espresso mixture, then gradually fold in cocoa mixture. do not overmix.

folding eggs, espresso, and cocoa

5. pour batter onto prepared sheet, spread evenly and smooth. bake, rotating halfway through, for 10-12 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched. immediately place prepared towel on top, turn over, lift off pan and gently peel off parchment. starting on long side, roll towel and cake into log, incorporating towel as you go. transfer to cooling rack, seam side down, and cool completely.

6. unroll cake. spread almond mousse evenly. gently roll cake again and wrap with the towel. refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. slice with serrated knife.


  1. Hi Mimi,

    I made the cake but still have to write the post....tonight, promised!

    There are a few things I would change myself too, but I have to say that I am impressed with your instincts, specifically without having done such a thing before - great! Sorry you had to learn those things "the hard way" (literally for the sugar and chocolate ;-) ).

    The photos look terrific,

    until tonight then...


  2. Hi Mimi, I'd be real interested in your Martha Monday's...I like the every two week thing (if it is still every two weeks?) Will you contact me and let me know how to join? grumpyshoneybunch at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

  3. this sounds totally stupid, but i love a good roulade! i think it's such a great form of cake! also am liking the martha mondays idea...may have to join in on the next one!