new year’s eve espresso roulade or coffee cake roll


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!