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Chocolate Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Filling - Rocambole de Chocolate


Chocolate Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Filling - Rocambole de Chocolate

Chocolate Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Filling - Rocambole de Chocolate

Marian Blazes

The word rocambole has several different meanings. In France, it is the name of a 19th century fictional adventurer, a do-gooder who was often in trouble with the law. Rocambole is also, weirdly, the name for a variety of "hardneck" garlic. And in Brazil, rocambole is a cake roll - one of those swiss roll cakes with a rich creamy filling (often called a pionono in other parts of South America) - obviously the best meaning for this word!

This cake is fun to make and always a hit. The cake itself is a sponge cake, which makes it easier to roll up. The cake is soaked with coffee syrup and then filled with a rich chocolate ganache. This is an intensely rich cake, perfect for a birthday or other special occasion. In Brazil, it seems to be a popular choice for Father's Day (Dia dos Pais).


  • For the cake:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon expresso coffee
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting counter/rolling up cake
  • _____
  • For the syrup:
  • 3 tablespoons expresso coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or coffee liqueur
  • _____
  • For the filling/frosting:
  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 20 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Make the filling: Finely chop the chocolate, setting aside 2 ounces in a separate bowl. Place the remaining 18 ounces in a large, heatproof bowl.

  2. In a large saucepan, bring the cream, the butter, and 1/4 cup sugar just to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour hot mixture over the finely chopped chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then gently stir with a spatula a few times. Continue to stir every minute or so, very gently, until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in vanilla.

  3. Remove one cup of the chocolate mixture and set aside in a separate bowl. Add the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate to this separated one cup and mix gently until chocolate is melted. Set this mixture aside (at room temperature) - it will be the frosting/glaze for the cake.

  4. Chill remaining chocolate mixture for until very cold.

  5. Prepare the cake: Line a rimmed half sheet pan (18 x 13 inches) with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  6. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl until pale yellow and creamy. Whisk in the vanilla, coffee and a pinch of salt.

  7. In a separate bowl, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar as they are beaten.

  8. Whisk 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together, then gently fold dry ingredients into the egg mixture in 2 parts, until only just mixed. Spread cake batter into pan, lightly smoothing it with a spatula to an even thickness. Bake until cake springs back to the touch, about 12-15 minutes.

  9. Place a clean dish towel on the counter and dust it generously with powdered sugar. Loosen the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife, then invert the cake onto the dish towel. Peel off the parchment paper and dust top of cake with more powdered sugar. Using the dish towel, loosely roll up the cake (with the dish towel) starting with the short end. Let cake cool in the rolled up position, secured with the dish towel.

  10. Make the syrup: Place the coffee and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, let cool, and stir in brandy or coffee liqueur.

  11. Fill and frost the cake: Remove chocolate cream mixture from the refrigerator and beat until stiff and fluffy, like whipped cream. Gently unroll chocolate cake. Brush cake generously with syrup. Spread filling over cake, leaving 2 inches at one end uncovered. Roll cake back up with filling inside. Place cake seam side down on serving platter and chill for 1 hour. Before serving, cut a thin slice from either end of the cake to neaten the edges. Spread reserved chocolate ganache over the top of the cake (ganache can be reheated very gently in the microwave if it's not spreadable).

  12. Store cake in the refrigerator.
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