Belinda Jeffery

Flourless chocolate roulade

This fallen chocolate souffle (for that’s what it is) is surprisingly simple to make. I love that it can be served pretty much as is, with a bowl of lightly sugared raspberries on the side, or dressed up to the nines with a coating of softly whipped cream and chocolate caraque or splinters of dark chocolate. (As you can see, I used chocolate caraque, decorated with silver leaf for this rather elegant version!)


Serves 8 -10

Icing sugar or dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Lightly sugared raspberries, to serve



180g good-quality 70% dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

50ml freshly-brewed, strong coffee, warm (or use water)

6 eggs, separated

¾ cup (165g) caster sugar

¼ teaspoon salt


Cream filling:

300mls thickened or double thick cream

2-3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted, to taste

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream, optional

Preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly butter a 34cm x 24cm x 2.5cm shallow baking tray. Line it with a sheet of lightly buttered baking paper, making sure the paper comes up a bit higher than the sides.


For the cake, put the chocolate and coffee (or water) into a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring it regularly. (Be careful that no steam from the water underneath gets into the chocolate or it will ‘seize’ and stiffen). I usually whisk the bowl off the heat just before the chocolate has completely melted, for the residual heat melts the rest perfectly. Leave the mixture to cool until its lukewarm.


In the meantime, put the egg yolks and half the caster sugar into a large bowl and using a hand-held electric beater, beat them on medium speed for 5-6 minutes until the mixture is creamy-looking and thick (you can also do this is an electric mixer.) Gently stir in the lukewarm chocolate mixture.


Quickly wash and dry the beaters, then, in a separate clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites with the salt on medium speed until the mixture is frothy. Trickle in the remaining sugar in one go, beating constantly, until the mixture is softly fluffy. I always find it hard to describe just how the whites should be – they need to have lots of body, but you don’t want them to be too stiff or they won’t fold into the batter easily. One of the ways I check is to lift the beater out of the mixture and look at the peaks that form; ideally, they should sit up but the pointy tips should curl over onto the mixture. Gently stir one third of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture to lighten it a little, then fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tray. Tilt the tray gently to spread it evenly. Pop the tray in the oven and bake the roulade for 15-18 minutes, or until it has puffed up considerably, the top feels dry, and the cake springs back when lightly touched.


Remove the tray from the oven and sit it on a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes. Cover the cake with a clean, dry tea towel. Now sit the wire rack on top of the tea towel, and invert the cake and tin onto the wire rack. Remove the tin and carefully peel away the paper. With one of the long ends facing you, roll the warm cake up with the tea towel so the tea towel is inside the cake. Leave the cake to rest for 10 minutes, then carefully unroll the cake and leave it to cool. It will almost invariably crack, but the cracks can be covered with cream later on, if you like. (I actually don’t mind these cracks…to me it’s part and parcel of this style of flourless cake.)


To make the cream filling, put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla extract into a large, chilled bowl. Beat them together on medium speed until the cream is thick and spreadable, but not so stiff that it looks grainy. Gently stir in the liqueur if you’re using it. Spread the cream evenly over the cake with a large palette knife leaving a 2cm border all around.


Now comes the slightly daunting part…rolling the cake. Sit a long serving platter at the back edge of the cake. Ideally the cake should be sitting a wee big higher than the serving platter so once you start rolling, you can virtually roll the finished cake straight onto the platter. Roll the cake again up again, as you did before, using the tea towel to help you, but this time without the tea towel inside. Try to get the first roll fairly tight and don’t hesitate to stop and use your hands to help it fold over properly. Once you’ve rolled the cake, shuffle it to the edge of the baking sheet (or board), then transfer it, seam-side down, with the help of the tea towel and a long spatula to the platter. At this stage, if you don’t need the roulade straight away, cover it lightly with cling film before putting it in the fridge (it keeps well for a couple of days, although it does soften a bit.)


To serve the roulade, dust it with icing sugar or cocoa, or, if you want to cover the cracks, whip some more cream and cover the roulade with this. (Alternatively, you can slice the roulade and serve individual portions…I do this if the roulade has cracked quite a lot and nobody realises it isn’t quite as it should be!). Serve with lightly sugared raspberries.