Cake decoration

“When you celebrate, there is sure to be cake.”
Florence Ditlow

Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade … that’s what I made because I was craving coffee in cake. It’s been a while since I did coffee in a dessert. Roulade or Swiss Roll also because a load of my friends have been making them of late, and yes, I got tempted. First it was Himanshu, then Ruchira. Yesterday, I sauntered into the kitchen with no specific plan in mind, and this is what I came up with. Was yum! Hit the right coffee spot!

KitchenAid Inida Probaker 2015Just a short while ago, I got an email confirming that I made it to KitchenAid India’s Probaker challenge, one of top 50 Indian home bakers. It’s going to be a fun challenge, and for me, hopefully will give me more creative exposure. Will be baking with friends, and cannot wait to see how differently ‘baking minds‘ think when presented with similar ingredients. ‘Marching‘ ahead in anticipation!

Spring I love this month. Come March, and there is inspiration galore. The weather fills you with energy, the air is nice and crisp, new blades of grass, ladybugs, flowers… so much INSPIRATION! There’s also something terribly inspiring about a cake that rolls. It’s a whole lot of fun too! My recipe for a V E R Y simple roulade lives in my head. I’ve made it with variations for years. 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour. Quick, simple, fun!

Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade

A roulade is a dish of filled rolled meat or pastry. Traditionally found in various European cuisines, the term roulade originates from the French word “rouler”, meaning “to roll”. Some roulades consist of cake (often sponge cake) baked in a flat pan rolled around a filling. Cake rolled around jam, chocolate butter cream, nuts or other fillings, is an example of a sweet roulade like the bejgli or the Swiss roll. The bûche de Noël or “Yule log” is a traditional French Christmas cake roll, often decorated with frosting made to look like bark.

I find it comforting that everything sits snug inside a cake. It’s a funny way to look at it, but nice. One of my most memorable ones was a savoury Ricotta & Spinach Roulade from Ottolenghi. That was special and carried trademark Ottolenghi flavours and philosophy. Fresh, seasonal, simple. And then another, the Raspberry Pistachio Swiss Roll {or Spring Roll to herald in Spring one year!}

GF Mango Almond Quark Roulade I’ve done a couple of gluten free ones as well. Those I loved heaps! A GF Mango Almond Quark Roulade and a GF Strawberry Almond Roulade. I also like that you can customise them to moods and ingredients on hand. So Spring often sees loads of strawberry flecked roulades, while summer will definitely see a mango and cream. Oh and summer will also see an ice cream roulade. That is even more fun!

Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade This one went the  coffee way. I prettied it a lil too as everything came together really quick which meant extra time. I had forgotten how soon these come together. With March still quite cold, the bake cooled a lot faster too. So I saved some ganache in a piping bag and did some free hand doodling over the roll. Wasn’t sure if the contrast would work, but I think I did OK. It looked pretty, subtle but pretty!

Barnis {Indian Pickling Jars}Oh and before I go, did I show you the very sweet Barnis {Indian Pickling jars} I got in the mail 2 days ago? My dear and very talented food blogger/food stylist friend Sanjeeta mailed them from Chennai. It was love at first sight. I couldn’t resist filling one with coffee beans and sneaking them into the frame!

Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade

You can find loads of COFFEE in my desserts here. That’s my most favourite flavour ever!

[print_this]Recipe: Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade
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Summary: A quick Coffee Dark Chocolate Roulade that comes together with minimal fuss. If you like love coffee, then this is for you. Paired with a dark chocolate ganache, flavoured with a hint of Kahlua, dressed up with doodles, what’s not to love about it! Serves 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours

  • Coffee Roulade
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup – 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1tbsp instant coffee
  • Coffee Syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 1tsp Kahlua {optional}
  • Filling/Chocolate Ganache
  • 120g dark couverture chocolate
  • 100g single cream
  • 1 tbsp Kahlua {optional}
  • Icing sugar for sifting


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Line a jelly roll pan with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric beater, whisk the eggs and brown sugar until tripled in volume and light and mousse like, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the coffee and vanilla extract, and beat for another minute.
  4. Sift the flour over the bowl, and gently fold in making sure you don’t release the beaten in air.
  5. Turn batter into prepared tray, smoothen out and bake for approx 25 minutes until light golden and firm to touch. Keep an eye during the last 5 minutes.
  6. Lay a kitchen towel flat on the counter and sift over with powdered sugar. Turn the baked cake onto it, and gently peel off the parchment. Sift over with icing sugar, cover with sheet of parchment and roll gently into a tight roll, using the kitchen towel to guide you. Leave to cool completely.
  7. Coffee Syrup
  8. Place all ingredients in a small pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Cool and stir in the Kahlua if using. Reserve
  9. Filling/Chocolate Ganache
  10. Place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl. Heat until the chocolate is 3/4 done in the microwave, one minute at a time, or over a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Add the Kahlua if using, whisk again. Cool completely. Reserve 2 tbsp in a piping bag if you wish to decorate the outside.
  11. Assemble
  12. Gently unroll the cake, paint over with syrup, and then spread the chocolate ganache all over it. Roll back gently but firmly, wrap in cling wrap and allow to chill seam down for an hour or two {or overnight} to allow the flavours to develop.
  13. Unwrap and place on serving platter. Pipe a design over the roll if desired, slice and serve.


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Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savouryTime for our monthly date with the Daring Bakers. March has been a month that has crawled on a sad note with the natural calamity in Japan causing heartbreak. If an earthquake wasn’t bad enough, the tsunami that followed completely shattered the nation, and the world that watched in shock. Japan has withstood this catastrophe bravely and strongly, the Fukushima 50 continuing to risk radiation exposure in an attempt to secure the nuclear plant. The situation in the prefecture continues to pose serious challenges and the world watches in HOPE while the brave ‘Samurai soldiers’ battle on…Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweet

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryI made the yeasted meringue coffee cake 2 days after the natural calamity, and Japan was the only thing on my mind the whole time. The unfairness of the scale, the rush of tsunami waters with natures fury tossing cars, ships, trucks like little toys still does not leave me. Now a radiation spike in sea waters near the tsunami stricken nuclear power stationno answers to why the nation has had to suffer so much. Yet the people manage to stay calm, composed and ever so strong. I admire their resilience and strength!Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savoury I gratefully thanked the Daring Kitchen that day; doing the challenge offered some amount of therapeutic relief. While waiting for the dough to rise, my mind wandered to troubles in Japan yet again, the news channels rolling and re-rolling videos that were coming in. It’s very frightening and surreal to see a HUGE ship floating into a city and cars trying to escape the horror in their path. Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -painted doughWhat could I do with this challenge to give it a shade of creativity? I remembered a post that Michelle had posted on Big Black Dogs about ‘Painted Bread’. It was a beautiful post taking a trip down memory lane to a bakery she visited as a child in Akron and attempted to recreate her memories in her post. You must check out her post and tutorial to learn how dough can be sculpted into roses.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweetI couldn’t get onto her blog since the internet cables had been severed the previous evening {that’s been the bane of my life the past months though I do manage to get some work done from my Mum’s computer}, so I did what I could from memory. On the sweet yeasted coffee cake rests a single rose, and on the savoury version rests HOPE … both my cakes for Japan. The rose, particularly the leaves, got coloured a golden brown as I used light pastels in the egg wash and the heat of the oven browned the bread more than I would have liked.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryWhile the sweet version was baking, I sculpted out ‘HOPE‘ for the savoury version, giving it a postbox red colour-wash in the hope that it would fare better. It did. It was a fun challenge as I knew it would be. The recipe soure carried that promise… Jamie found this recipe on a piece of yellowed paper in her dad’s collection of clipped out and hand-written recipes from the 1970’s, no source, no date, and she tried the recipe and it was brilliant!Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - sweetThe sweet version got a huge thumbs up from the teen. It was wonderful warm with loads of flavour and a very light crumb. I think I rolled the dough too thin as I didn’t get the airy texture that Jamie had, but it was delish all the same.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - savouryThe lad preferred the cheesy savoury version, much like a pizza he exclaimed, and asked for seconds and thirds. I preferred the savoury version too as I don’t have a very sweet tooth and the oven roasted tomatoes with garlic and fresh herbs were delicious.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savouryThe past few weeks have crawled on a low note, on the home front and on the internet front too. I managed to read just a handful of blogs this week and find that a lot of us are caught in the rigmaroles of everyday life, facing daily challenges, ups and downs etc … yet in many ways these pale in comparison to the HUGE challenge that the people of Japan face each passing day. Do join me in extending a special thought for them.Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake -sweet & savoury

Thank you Jamie & Ria for the fun and delicious challenge, and thank you as always Lisa of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice for hosting this fab kitchen!! Do stop by HERE and check out how beautifully the other daring bakers have ‘risen’ to the challenge!


Recipe: Yeasted Filled Meringue Coffee Cake {Sweet & Savoury}

Summary: A charming and ‘adaptable to many flavours‘ yeasted coffee cake, from an old undated recipe, source unknown. I make a savoury version as well which was delicious!

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  • For the yeast coffee cake dough:
    {I used half this dough for the sweet version, and half for the savoury version}
    4 cups {600 g} flour
    ¼ cup {55 g} vanilla sugar
    ¾ teaspoon {5 g} salt
    2 ¼ teaspoons {7 g} active dried yeast
    ¾ cup {180ml} milk
    ¼ cup {60 ml} water
    ½ cup {100g} unsalted butter, room temperature
    2 large eggs at room temperature
  • For the meringue:
    3 large egg whites {I used 1/2 quantity for sweet and 1/2 for savoury}
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup cup {55 g} sugar
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 tsp dried mixed herbs
    1 tbsp sugar
    For the sweet filling:
    1/2 cup {55g} chopped pecans or walnuts
    1/3 cup homemade bitter orange marmalade
    1/2 cup {55g} dark chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
    1/2 cup tart dried cherries
    For the savoury filling:
    50gms ripe, firm tomatoes, halved
    6-7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 tsp sea salt
    Freshly ground pepper
    Fresh oregano
    Extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup Gouda {or cheddar}, grated
    Sea salt and pepper for topping
  • Egg wash:
    1 beaten egg yolk


    Prepare the dough:
    In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.
    In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.
    With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.
    Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together.
    Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.
    Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes.
    The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.
    Thermomix version, place all dough ingredients in the bowl of the TM. Process at Speed 6 for 10 seconds to combine. Then put dial to closed position, and knead at interval speed for two minutes. Turn onto a floured surface, form into a ball and place in oiled bowl for first rising
    Prepare your filling:
    In a small bowl, combine the chocolate chips, walnuts and tart dried cherries.
    Place the tomatoes cut side up, sprinkle with chopped garlic, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh oregano.
    Roast in a moderate oven / 180C for about 30-45 minutes. Cool, peel if desired and chop.
    Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
    In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Divide into 2 if making the sweet and savoury version.
    Sweet version:
    Add the vanilla then start adding the 1/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
    Savoury version:
    Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tsp dried herbs and beat until very stiff, glossy peaks form.
    Assemble the Coffee Cakes:
    Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    Punch down the dough and divide in half.
    On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle.
    Sweet version:
    With an offset spatula spread the bitter marmalade to about 1/2 an inch from the edges and top uniformly with the sweet meringue. Sprinkle over the reserved mixed walnuts, chocolate chips and tart dried cherries.
    Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal. Using sharp kitchen scissors {or a sharp knife} make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch intervals.
    Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.
    Savoury version:
    With an offset spatula spread the savoury meringue and sprinkle with the roasted tomatoes, followed by the grated cheese.
    Repeat the rest as for the sweet dough.
    Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Sprinkle vanilla sugar over the sweet cake, and sea salt and fresh pepper over the savoury one.
    Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.

Cooking time (duration): 3 hours

Number of servings (yield): 12

Meal type: Snack/Dessert

Culinary tradition: French

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Copyright © Deeba @ Passionate About Baking.
Microformatting by hRecipe.

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“When you make a cake, you truly express your desire to please the people you love, and show them how much you care.”
Roland Meisner
Time flies, and how! It’s was the daughter’s 14th birthday and as busy as every 2nd January has been since the day she was born. We barely recover from the kids New Year eve excitement, and there it is, her big day staring us in the face. What cake are you making for me she  religiously asks the day before? This year the situation was different. There was a huge power grid failure and our entire region was gripped with dense fog. My cake plans underwent many changes as time progressed. No power meant that filling couldn’t be whipped, and neither could frosting. Thankfully I had baked the sponge a day before!

This year I was spoilt for choice since I had 2 boxes of delicious strawberries on hand as they are just showing up in the market. Also have been fortunate enough to receive many new baking books I was itching to try out, and exciting dessert ideas off blogs and web sites. This is what the holiday season does to you; spoils you with so much visible eye candy, that you want to try everything at once. Strawberries in the market doesn’t seem to make it simpler, just widens the horizon!

I grabbed 2 books of my shelf for inspiration. One the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Cakes’, and the other Roland Meisner’sBasic to Beautiful Cakes’. The latter is a beautiful cake decoration book that I won at a cake decoration competition run by Lis and Ivonne at the Daring Kitchen for this Cinnamon Buttercream Autmn Cake. Both books are bursting with great cake ideas, and I eventually zeroed on the second one. Basic to Beautiful Cakes shows how to create desserts that can be beautifully embellished to serve any occasion by using a small set of foolproof cake recipes.

Roland Mesnier is a French-American Pastry chef and culinary writer. Basic to Beautiful Cakes is a book by this legendary White House pastry chef, and Lauren Chattman. It is inspirational in every way, and the narrative before each recipe is very engaging. The author adds a little trivia about who and why he made that particular cake for, and in some cases the reactions to it! It’s lovely!!
The book includes an enviable array of fruit cakes, dairy and wheat free cakes, nut, chocolate and coffee cakes amongst still many others! There is also a section dedicated to decoration basics, and basic filling, frosting,glazes and syrups etc, as also one on basic recipes at the very end which spans everything from pastry creams, whipped creams, sauces, to fillings.

I saw the Summertime Strawberry Cake in his book (yes I am aware this is the peak of winter, LOL), and that inspired my Bavarian cream cake. My cake is similar in essence and would have made the base cake from the book, had it not been for the added 1 stick of butter. Decided to fall back on my Swiss roll cake recipe, an airy and light fatless option, I wasn’t sure it would work well as a cake base, but it certainly did.

For the filling I decided on a Bavarian cream for many reasons. Primarily because of the power failure. Also because the kids loved it when I had made it earlier from Tartlettes for this Peaches and Cream Cake, and finally, because I needed to collect whites for making macarons for MacTweets! Three birds with one stone …yes!

The Bavarian cream is inspired by this recipe by Michale Symon on Food Network. Not sure if it was supposed to be firmer, but worked fine for me even though I used 25% low fat cream. I think you could decrease the gelatin by a 1/4 tbsp if you use whipping cream.

I did initially want to leave the strawberries peeking out of the sides of the cake, but was inspired by Ria‘s post to try making a different border. I had already topped the cake with a dark chocolate ganache, as we can’t have a birthday cake sans chocolate, so I tried a white chocolate piped border. The white chocolate we get here doesn’t melt as easily and smoothly as the dark chocolate, so it wasn’t a very easy task. I managed something anyway, and here’s what it looks like…

To make a border for the cake, measure the height of the border that you would like, and the circumference of the cake. Cut our parchment paper to this measure and squiggle patterns or doodle with melted chocolate on it. (If you are unsure, keep a pattern under the parchment and trace out with melted chocolate). Wait for it to almost set, where the paper is still flexible and the chocolate is not set hard. Wrap it around the cake and press gently to the frosted sides so that the pattern sticks to the sides. Mine didn’t hold a 100% because I didn’t frost the sides, but it was fine anyway. Gently peel off the parchment.

Strawberry Bavarian Cream Cake
Inspired by Summertime Strawberry Cake by Roland Meisner
6 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup vanilla sugar, divided into 2 bowls
Separate the yolks and whites.

With clean beaters, whip the whites with 1/2 cup sugar until firm. Keep aside
Add the remaining sugar to the yolks and beat until tripled in volume or all the sugar has dissolved and the yolks are pale and creamy, about 8-10 minutes
Now add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold in gently so as not to release any beaten in air. Sift in half the flour and fold in gently, followed by 1/3 beaten whites, then remaining flour, and finally remaining beaten whites. Gently turn into prepared tin, and bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
Remove from tin immediately, peel off parchment and cool completely on rack.


as adapted from this recipe here
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup + 3 tbsps milk
1 1/4 tbsps gelatin (reduce to 1 tbsp if you use high fat cream)

400m cream (25% fat)

400gms strawberries (Reserve some for garnishing) 
Whisk the egg yolks with a balloon whisk with 1/3 cup of vanilla sugar until smooth.

Simmer 1/2 cup of milk and 200ml cream with 1 scraped vanilla bean, bean included. Turn off heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
Bloom gelatin in 3 tbsps of cold milk
Put the pan back on simmer. Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, take it off the heat and whisk into the yolk mix, somewhat like in French pastry cream.
Return to a heavy bottom pan, and place on medium heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly.
Take off and whisk in bloomed gelatin. Strain and leave to cool. (You can quicken the cooling by stirring the bowl held over a bowl of ice.)
Once it is completely cooled, whip 200ml of cream with 1-2 tbsps of Castor sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract, and fold it into the custard gently but thoroughly. You will notice the Bavarian thickening.
While the custard is cooling, slice the sponge into two, and gently paint with some sugar syrup with a little lime juice added. (like in this pineapple sponge here, note at the bottom). This moistens the sponge a bit.
Place the lower layer on your serving platter within a cake/dessert ring. Arrange chopped strawberriesand top with the cooled Bavarian cream. Place the top layer over it, and gently push over topping to level it. Cling wrap entire thing, and chill for 8 hours, preferably overnight for the Bavarian to set.

Unmold gently.


Make a dark chocolate ganache with 150gms dark chocolate and 2-3 tbsps cream. I eyeball the amounts. We just need enough for the top.
Whisk with a spoon till smooth and shiny. Leave to cool. It will thicken as it cools.
Spread over the top layer, allowing some to drizzle over the sides. Use it before it becomes too firm or it will be difficult to spread smoothly.

Top with chocolate shavings and reserved strawberries.

Border with chocolate lace if desired.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

The kids enjoyed the cake A LOT, as we did, and had a great time yesterday!

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