Chocolate Roulade

March 29, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: After years of roulade-hating, I'm finally a convert. The finished cake is moist and creamy—it makes me nostalgic for cakes my grandma made and served to me cold right from the fridge with a glass of milk. I tried rolling it slightly differently to create a roulade with vertical stripes, but this recipe works well for a traditional roulade too. Erin McDowell

Makes: one 12- by 17-inch roulade


For the roulade:

  • 2 ounces water
  • 3/4 ounce cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 5 ounces sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1.2 ounces cake flour, sifted onto parchment
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F. Grease a very flat 12- by 17-inch baking sheet with butter or nonstick spray. Line the baking sheet with parchment (cut slits in the paper at the corners to prevent bunching of excess paper) and grease the parchment.
  2. In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the cocoa powder in a small, heat-safe bowl. Bring to room temperature (or refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes). Stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks with 2 1/2 ounces of the sugar. In another medium bowl, place the 3 egg whites with the cream of tartar, reserving the remaining sugar.
  4. Using an electric mixer, whip the whole eggs and yolks to ribbon stage (until the mixture is pale yellow and thick), 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Gently fold the cocoa mixture into the whole egg mixture. Sprinkle the flour into the whole egg mixture as you fold it gently, until fully incorporated.
  6. With clean whips, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 1/2 ounces sugar and continue to whip to stiff peaks, 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Temper the whole egg mixture with 20% of the egg whites, mixing somewhat vigorously to combine. Gently fold in the remaining whites in two additions, mixing until just combined.
  8. Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to smooth the batter into an even layer in the pan.
  9. Bake until the cake springs back slightly when touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake.
  10. When the cake comes out of the oven, sift an even layer of cocoa powder all over the surface. Use a paring knife to loosen the cake and parchment from the edges of the pan, then roll up the cake tightly, using the parchment to assist you if the cake is too hot to touch easily. For a traditional roulade, roll from the longer side. For a vertical roulade, roll from the shorter side. Cool completely in the parchment paper cocoon.
  11. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla to medium peaks.
  12. To make a horizontal (traditional) the roulade, unroll the roulade and spread an even layer of whipped cream in the center. Re-roll the roulade tightly. Chill until ready to serve.
  13. To make a vertical roulade, unroll the roulade, and use a ruler to help divide it into three even strips (about 3 3/4 inches long). Cut the strips with a pastry wheel. I used a pastry bag to pipe the whipped cream onto each strip, but you can also just dollop and spread.
  14. Starting with one strip, roll it up tightly into a roulade starting on the shorter side. Place that roulade at the end of the next strip, and continue rolling. Place the roll at the end of the final strip, and continue rolling. Turn the entire roulade on its flat side to create a cake with vertical layers.
  15. Frost the outside of the cake with whipped cream and chill until ready to serve.

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Shine February 25, 2018
Made this for Christmas dessert. Instructions were easy to follow and all elements came out perfectly. The only change I made was, since I hadn’t rolled it quite tight enough, it felt a bit flimsy. My hubby came up with a solution: cut it in half top to bottom and lay the two semi circles end to end, then frosted it as a log. When we sliced it to serve, there were lots of lovely layers and it looked and tasted great.
kasha July 8, 2017
Should the recipe state 12 oz of cake flour rather than 1.2 oz?
Phaedra H. May 17, 2016
Blank stare. I'm maybe too ADD to do this one. It looks amazing, though!!
Lolostar February 20, 2016
Is there a video available for how to construct the vertical version of this roulade/cake? I found the directions to be confusing, but would love to see a hands-on demo! Thanks!
Nina May 17, 2016
I think I understand but certainly visuals would be trés helpful. Merci!
Author Comment
Erin M. May 19, 2016
Hi Lois and Nina - be sure to check out the full article linked with this recipe, it had more step-by-step pictures!<br /><br />