No kid will ever refuse anything with chocolates. That includes mine telling me continuously that it's good with their mouths outlined with chocolate mustaches. They look so funny but they don't care as long as what they are eating is chocolate mixed with strawberries. Big eyes, big bites and big appetites.
When I made my first Swiss roll with mascarpone and strawberries, there were jolts of interest and excitement in eating it because it looked beautiful laden with strawberries and white cream. But my son, ever the antagonist of anything white and creamy in his food (that also includes healthy greens and artificial blues), wouldn't stop complaining about it in between bites of the cake while trying to extricate the mascarpone from his almost delicious cake.
While watching him, I knew what I would be doing next to surprise him when he gets back from school. A fully-loaded dark chocolate Swiss roll with raspberries (or strawberries which are easier to find). He loves all three so there won't be anything to push away in his plate. I know him well because we are exactly the same. I am not a milk and fresh cheese lover myself but I can eat them at times when masked well with other ingredients like the strawberries in the Swiss roll I previously did. And we also agree on dark chocolates and mint.
So that was it. This dark chocolate Swiss roll was waiting on the kitchen table when he walked in. I had to divert my daughter's attention away from the kitchen and the cake while waiting for his brother to come home. She wanted to dig in and was already setting herself up, propped on her chair while I found a recorded cartoon episode of Barbapapa to peel her away from the cake. I, on the other hand, scraped the spoons and bowls clean while tidying up the kitchen. It was the reward I was waiting for.
We don't always get to sit down together on afternoon snacks unlike dinnertime. Dinner is the only time of the day when we can stay together as a family after a day of separate activities. Afternoons in the kitchen is a plus and I love the spontaneity of setting ourselves up together and enjoying a moment of eating something with pleasure. I value these times and they give me more reason to keep whipping up cakes to put my family together in the kitchen table.
I hope you are having a good week!
Dark Chocolate, Strawberry & Mint Swiss Roll
- Serves 6 - 8
- Strawberry Filling:
- 250 g. strawberries, hulled + 50 g. extra for garnishing
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons Marsala wine
- 3 eggs
- 100 g. caster or granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling
- 1 vanilla pod or 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- pinch of salt
- 80 g. plain flour
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (if using sweetened, lessen sugar to 80 g.)
- Chocolate Cream:
- 200 g. dark chocolate blocks + some for garnishing
- 100 g. cream
- 4 tablespoons Godet Belgian white chocolate liqueur (optional)
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- handful of fresh mint leaves, washed & dried well (amount depends on how strong your mint leaves are and how you like it)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Prepare the strawberry filling:
- Put 2/3 of the strawberries in a blender with 2 tablespoons sugar and blend well.
- Transfer them to a bowl and add the Marsala.
- Stir in the remaining strawberries and chill for 1/2 an hour in the fridge at the least. The flavour sets better the longer you leave them so a few hours ahead would be better.
Prepare the sponge cake:
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celcius (375F/Gas 5). Grease and line a 23 x 33cm (9in x 13in) Swiss roll tin or small roasting tin with parchment paper.
- Beat the eggs, 80 g. sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl with an electric whisk until the mixture is very pale yellow, foamy and mousse-like.
- Pour the flour and cocoa powder on one side of the bowl and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Add the water. This should help prevent cracking when you roll the cake later. Don't overmix so that the cake doesn't lose the air and fold as less as possible.
- Pour the mixture in the prepared tin and level it gently with a palette knife. Bake for 10 -15 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and turn the cake out onto a sheet of baking paper sprinkled with mint sugar. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then gently peel the lining paper off the sponge and leave to cool completely.
Prepare the chocolate cream:
- Prepare a waterbath. Pour water in a saucepan. Put a smaller saucepan on top that can hold on the sides.
- Put 200 g. of broken chocolate blocks in the smaller saucepan and move frequently until it melts.
- Add the cream.
- Pour the white chocolate liqueur.
- Cook 3 minutes more.
- Turn off fire and let it cool.
- Put mint leaves in a blender with the sugar.
- Blend until well combined.
- Set aside.
Assemble the Swiss roll:
- Trim off any rough edges of the cake with a sharp knife to make the sides tidy.
- Spread the chocolate cream all over the sponge, leaving just a small margin so that it doesn't squelch out when rolling. Leave about 2 tablespoons to fill up the ends of the roll when finished.
- Spoon the macerated strawberries over the chocolate cream and spread evenly.
- With the shorter side facing you, roll the sponge (going forward, away from you) using the parchment paper to help. Try to roll it as tightly as you could. Leave about a tablespoon to fill up the ends of the roll when finished.
- Once you have rolled it all up, make sure the end part is underneath so it doesn't open.
- Transfer to a serving plate carefully.
- If the ends of the roll are a bit empty, fill them up with chocolate cream & strawberry filling you set aside.
- Cover swiss roll with the chocolate cream and decorate with the extra strawberries & chocolate flakes.