new year’s eve espresso roulade or coffee cake roll

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When I made the bûche de noël for Christmas, I realized what I had really done was make a roulade, otherwise called a cake roll or a Swiss roll. I decided to make it again for New Year’s Eve, but this time I went all out for the coffee flavor. This roulade has a sponge cake base coated with coffee syrup  then filled and frosted with coffee buttercream. My guests commented that the cake was a tad sweet because of the powdered sugar. If you would prefer a less sweet product, I would recommend using unsweetened cocoa to roll up the cake.

First, make the Sponge Cake (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup cake flour plus 2 tablespoons for dusting the pan
5 eggs separated when cold then brought to room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons (28g), melted and cooled to room temperature
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C

Brush 2 tablespoons melted butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour on a parchment lined 12x17x1 inch baking tray. Flip. Brush more melted butter-flour on the other side of the parchment and on the sides of the baking tray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 7-8 minutes. Stop mixer and remove the bowl.

Sift the flour over the egg yolk mixture and gently fold in the cake flour. Don’t over mix.

In another large bowl of the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar, beating on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t over mix—the whites should look glossy and smooth, and the peaks should just curl over.

Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 egg whites into egg yolks and flour mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently.

In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 2-3 tablespoons batter. Gently fold this mixture into the remaining batter, being careful not to deflate the eggs.

Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula, being sure to get into the corners. Tap pan lightly on counter top to dislodge any large air bubbles. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cake top should spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Remove cake from oven and let cool in the pan 2 minutes. Gently ease a thin blade around the edges of the cake.

Spread a large kitchen towel on the work surface and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Flip cake over on top of the sugar. Remove pan and carefully remove parchment paper. Sprinkle more powdered sugar on top. Roll up cake with the towel inside starting from the nearest longer side, and roll away from you. Let cake cool in towel 30-35 minutes.

Then, make the Coffee Syrup (adapted from Cooking LSL)
1/2 cup espresso coffee (1 teaspoon coffee powder to 1/2 cup hot water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Tia Maria liqueur

In a small saucepan combine the espresso and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to a simmer. Let coffee reduce to 1/3 cup, about 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add liqueur. Set aside.

Next, make the Coffee Buttercream (adapted from Food Network)
4 (120g) egg whites, room temperature
1 cup superfine sugar
340g unsalted butter cubed, room temperature
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder
2 tablespoons dark rum

Dissolve coffee powder in the rum and set aside.

Put 2 inches of water in a large saucepan on the stove and bring it to a simmer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk in the sugar. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl. Continue whisking the egg whites until foamy and opaque, and the sugar dissolves. The egg white mixture should be warm to the touch and not at all gritty.

Remove the bowl and attach it to the mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on high speed 5 minutes until the egg whites have cooled—the bottom of the bowl will be cool to the touch—and the meringue holds stiff peaks.

Turn off the mixer and switch to the paddle attachment. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beating on medium speed until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly pour the coffee mixture into the buttercream while the machine is still beating. The buttercream will curdle but keep beating because it will come together, about 1-2 minutes to completely blend in the coffee mixture. Set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate. Before using, let frosting come to room temperature then beat until smooth.

Finally, assemble the roulade

Unroll the cooled cake. Brush off any excess sugar. Dab the coffee syrup all over the cake with a pastry brush. Fill with half the coffee buttercream to about 1/2 inch thickness. Leave a 1 inch border at the longer side opposite you. Roll up again, but not too tightly, and keep the towel on the outside. Chill, seam side down until filling is set, about 30 minutes.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you’re not going to frost right away, wrap the roulade in plastic and refrigerate.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on top or frost with remaining buttercream. Leave the ends unfrosted. Chill until ready to serve. Before serving, trim 1/2 inch from each end to make clean edges. Discard or eat the trimmings!

Refrigerate leftovers. Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Happy New Year everyone!

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gai yang roulade with corn grits

Sometimes food gets boring. Every night it becomes the same old, same old. So I tried spicing up a chicken fillet by rolling it. So revolutionary. Here’s a chicken breast fillet rolled up in a gai yang marinade adapted from an America’s Test Kitchen recipe.

First  brine 3 boneless skinless chicken breast fillets in 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons sugar dissolved in 4 cups water 30-60 minutes. Slice each breast in half horizontally and pat dry. Place each fillet between two sheets of plastic and pound each one to 1/4 inch thickness. In a large bowl combine

  • 12 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (1/4 cup)
  • 1 piece fresh ginger (about 2 inches), minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lime juice from 2 to 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, optional
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat the oven 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Marinate the fillets in the garlic-ginger mixture for at least 30 minutes. Scrape most of the marinade from one side and paste in the center. Roll up around the garlic-ginger paste and place seam side down on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until the inside of each roulade measures 160˚F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from oven and slice into pinwheels.

Serve with yellow corn grits. So simple! This recipe is from Zea Rotisserie and Brewery.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup yellow corn grits
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1/2-1  tablespoon salt or to taste (use more or less salt depending on whether the butter was salted)
  • 1 ear grilled corn, kernels removed

Strip off most of the husk and silk. Soak in water to cover 15 minutes. If you don’t have a grill, broil the corn in the broiler for 15 minutes or until the kernels turn brown. Set aside to cool

Bring liquids to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in the grits. Add butter and salt. Cook at simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Cut the corn off the cooled cob, and crumble in your fingers. At the end of cooking, stir in the corn.

egg roulade with spinach and mozzarella

The original America’s Test Kitchen recipe used Gruyère cheese but why be fancy? I used mozzarella, which was all I had on hand in the Teeny Tiny Kitchen. In fact, whether or not you have Gruyère cheese on hand is immaterial. This isn’t hard to make at all and makes a quick delicious and filling breakfast when you are tired of eating scrambled eggs and omelets! To make this you will need a large rimmed baking tray approximately 18×13 inches, and a large sheet of parchment paper that extends about 1-2 inches over the sides. What I did was crease the parchment into the edges and corners of the baking sheet to “mark” the boundary. This will be important later.

5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
10 large egg whites or 1 1/4 cups store-bought egg whites
5 large eggs
1-2 garlic cloves, minced to a paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded cheese (Gruyère in original recipe)
Vegetable oil spray

1. Prepare to bake. I set the oven rack to the middle position and heated the oven to 375˚F. Then I lined an 18×13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, with about 1-2 inches extra to overhang on all sides. This will help you to keep the egg mixture on the paper so that you can roll it up easily when it’s cooked. Finally I coated the parchment generously with cooking spray and set it aside.
2. Microwave the spinach. I put the spinach and water in a microwave-safe bowl, covered the bowl and microwaved it on high heat until the spinach wilted and decreased in volume by half, 3-5 minutes. Using potholders, I removed the bowl and transferred the spinach to a colander. Using a potato masher, I pressed out the water. I find that when it is cool enough to handle, squeezing the spinach with my hands is the best way to press out excess water.
3. Make garlic paste. Using a chef’s knife, I chopped up 1-2 cloves garlic until fine. I sprinkled the garlic with a pinch of salt then dragged the side of the knife at a slight angle over the mixture to make a fine paste. I continued to mince and drag the knife until the paste was smooth. Then I set it aside so I could make the batter.
4. Make the batter. In a medium bowl,  I whisked together the milk and flour until it was smooth. In a large bowl, I whisked the egg whites, eggs, garlic paste, salt and pepper. Then I whisked in the milk mixture until combined. Carefully, I  poured the egg mixture into the prepared baking sheet within the marked boundary. You need the overhang otherwise the egg mixture will get under the paper and you will bake the paper into the roulade.  Finally, I sprinkled the drained spinach and cheese on top.
5. Bake and serve. I baked the roulade (that’s French for roll)  until the cheese melted and the eggs were just set, about 11 minutes. I rotated the baking sheet once about halfway through the baking time. When the time was up I removed the baking sheet from the oven. Beginning at the short end, I used the extra end of the parchment paper to lift and roll the egg over itself into a tight cylinder. Careful, it’s hot. Then I picked up the two ends of the parchment paper to transfer the roulade to a cutting board. I sliced it into pinwheels and served it with Sriracha sauce.*

Egg Roulade with Spinach and Mozzarella

*Sriracha is a hot sauce made in Thailand. It’s available from Asian markets.