Better Baking Academy: Strawberry Roulade

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Strawberry Roulade

The classic roulade should be tender and light, gaining loft from whipping eggs alongside sugar, and moist and flavorful from simple syrup and decadent filling. For our May lesson of our Better Baking Academy with Bob’s Red Mill, we are celebrating strawberry season with a showstopping Strawberry Roulade, a rolled masterpiece showcasing a perfect swirl. We start by creating the base of this cake, the genoise, harnessing the power of simple ingredients and Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to master this sponge, from creating an extra-light batter to baking and rolling and all the sweet details in between. Achieving the mesmerizing swirls of this tender cake never seemed so straightforward —a proverbial cakewalk for the literal cake roll. Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson, or keep scrolling to view our digital lesson.

Before you get to baking, be sure to enter our Instagram giveaway to win Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour and a $50 Baking Essentials Gift Certificate. The giveaway closes on May 31, 2021, so hurry to enter!

INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN

Great recipes require great ingredients. Here’s how each key ingredient helps create a mesmerizingly swirled roulade.

EGGS: The genoise cake batter differs from that of American sponge cakes, in which egg yolks and egg whites are whipped separately to achieve maximum leavening. While still looking for a light and airy batter, the genoise also needs to be flexible enough to be rolled—so the eggs for our roulade are whipped in their entirety to strike the perfect balance of leavening and malleability.

GRANULATED SUGAR: The most common form of sugar used, highly refined white sugar is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. The removal of molasses and impurities leaves the sugar white. Whipped with eggs, granulated sugar creates the airy leaven to our cake base, in addition to adding the perfect touch of sweetness.

BOB’S RED MILL ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR: Our base cake recipe features the flour that is the ultimate pantry staple. Bob’s Red Mill’s versatile all-purpose wheat flour has a protein content of 10% to 12%, creating roulades that are tender yet have enough gluten structure to hold their rolled shape. This protein that all-purpose flour provides binds the cake batter and creates a base that withstands rolling, but it also ensures that the roulade bakes up fluffy and light.

UNSALTED BUTTER: Butter brings tender, rich milk fat to cakes and provides a welcome flavor boost. Unlike many American sponges, the genoise has a touch of fat, in this case butter, added to the batter to enhance flavor and create a moist crumb.

CORNSTARCH: Replacing some of the all-purpose flour with cornstarch creates a sponge with a delicate texture, a finer crumb, and a tighter grain. It will also provide increased flexibility to the cake layer, helping to prevent the cake from breaking up when it is rolled.

KOSHER SALT: Our salt of choice, kosher salt is a pure, mined, additive-free salt that dissolves readily and has a crisp, clean taste. It is flaked rather than granulated, which allows for more even distribution.

VANILLA AND ALMOND EXTRACTS: Because this cake consists largely of eggs, sugar, and flour, vanilla adds complexity and rounds out the flavor of the cake. Almond extract is a classic genoise flavoring and works wonders when paired with vanilla and strawberry.

CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR: Also known as powdered sugar, confectioners’ sugar contains 3% cornstarch to help prevent clumping (or caking). Essentially granulated sugar that has been ground into a fine powder, it comes in varying degrees of fineness (6X, 10X, 12X). The most common is 10X, which is perfect for its brief role in roulade-rolling, where it is used to create a nonstick barrier between the cake and the kitchen towel.

Strawberry Roulade

With a guaranteed one-to-one ratio of delicious sponge to filling, this Strawberry Roulade is a cake lover’s dream. A simple Strawberry Sauce made from juicy ripe strawberries is the secret weapon for delicious simple syrup and Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling. To create the picture-perfect finish, the light-as-air genoise envelopes the creamy filling, creating a pink-hued swirl.

Better Baking Academy: Strawberry Roulade
 
Makes 1 roulade
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams)
  • ⅔ cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) almond extract
  • ½ cup (63 grams) Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
  • 5 tablespoons (40 grams) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • Strawberry Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (recipe follows)
  • Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: fresh strawberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line bottom of a 17¼ x 12¼-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (See Note.)
  2. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and extracts by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43°C).
  3. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until thick, tripled in volume, and ribbon-consistency, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Using a large balloon whisk, gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture in two additions just until combined.
  5. Transfer 1 cup (75 grams) batter to a small bowl, and whisk in warm melted butter until combined. Fold butter mixture into batter in two additions just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth flat with an offset spatula using as few strokes as possible.
  6. Bake until lightly golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed, 10 to 15 minutes. Immediately run a thin knife or a small offset spatula around edges of cake. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust top of cake with confectioners’ sugar. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of cake. Using a baking sheet or a large cutting board, invert cake. Carefully remove hot pan and parchment. Starting with one long side, immediately roll up cake and towel together, jelly roll style. Place, seam side down, on a wire rack, and let cool completely.
  7. Carefully unroll cooled cake. Using a pastry brush, brush cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup. Spread Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling on cake, leaving a ½-inch border along long side that is bottom seam. Gently reroll cake without towel, making sure not to press too hard. Using towel as a sling, place cake on wire rack or a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  8. Just before serving, place chilled cake on a serving platter. Place a portion of Whipped Cream in a small pastry bag fitted with a 5/16-inch French star piping tip (Wilton 4B). Pipe Whipped Cream on top of cake as desired. Garnish with strawberries, if desired. Serve with remaining Whipped Cream.
Notes
It can be helpful to lightly spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray just to help hold the parchment in place, but it is not necessary; if you choose to do this, make sure not to spray the sides of the pan.

Strawberry Simple Syrup
 
Makes ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) Strawberry Sauce (recipe follows)
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together Strawberry Sauce and ¼ cup (60 grams) water until well combined.

Strawberry Sauce
 
Makes ½ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (170 grams) chopped fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cold water
  • 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) almond extract
Instructions
  1. In a medium stainless steel saucepan, stir together strawberries and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Using a potato masher, press (or mash) strawberry mixture until no large chunks remain. (It will not be smooth.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cold water and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and cornstarch flavor has cooked out, 1 to 2 minutes. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. Stir in almond extract. Let cool to room temperature.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
 
Makes about 3 1⁄3 cups
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) Strawberry Sauce (recipe precedes)
  • ¼ cup (45 grams) diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat at medium-low speed until sugar is melted and mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add cold cream, 2 tablespoons (30 grams) at a time, beating until combined. Thoroughly scrape sides of bowl. Slowly increase mixer speed to high, beating until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together Strawberry Sauce, diced strawberries, and vanilla. Fold strawberry mixture into cream cheese mixture just until combined. Use immediately.

Whipped Cream
 
Makes 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (240 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract*
Instructions
  1. Refrigerate a large bowl and a whisk until cold, about 10 minutes.
  2. In cold bowl, using cold whisk, whisk together all ingredients until medium-stiff peaks form. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Notes
Vanilla extract can be replaced with ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) almond extract, if desired.

 

A CLOSER LOOK

PREHEAT

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line bottom of a 17¼ x 12¼-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. It can be helpful to lightly spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray just to help hold the parchment in place, but it is not necessary; if you choose to do this, make sure not to spray the sides of the pan. Because there is no chemical leavening agent in this recipe, we rely on the air in the eggs to create the light and fluffy cake structure. Therefore, we want the batter to adhere to the sides of the pan to help provide structure to the cake.

BAIN-MARIE MAGIC

1. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and extracts by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F (43°C). We used the bain-marie method, a gentle heating of eggs and sugar over simmering water, to help the eggs whip up in dramatic fashion. Heating the eggs to just 110°F (43°C) allows proteins to denature, or unfold, and sets up the mixture to hold air more readily. Heating the sugar also means it will dissolve easily into the eggs.

2. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until thick, tripled in volume, and ribbon-consistency, 3 to 4 minutes. “Ribbon-consistency” is a common term used to describe the appearance of a batter or mixture. You will often find this term used for candy-making or in recipes for French macarons. The batter, when falling from the whisk attachment, creates a luxuriously thick ribbon. As the batter from the whisk settles atop the batter in the bowl, the edges of the “ribbon” should remain clearly defined on the surface for a few moments before slowly disappearing. This ribbon stage tells us that we have whipped enough air into the batter to leaven the cake and are ready to move on to the next step.

FOLDING FOR INFLATION

1. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Sifting removes clumps, ensuring that the dry ingredients will evenly distribute throughout the batter. Don’t be tempted to skip this step. Clumps can lead to a bite of something unpleasant or deflated batter due to trying to incorporate the clumps.

2. Using a large balloon whisk, gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture in two additions just until combined. A balloon whisk, with its amply spaced wires, helps thoroughly incorporate the flour without disturbing the aeration. No balloon whisk? Use your stand mixer whisk attachment like a handheld whisk. It lacks a comfortable handle to hold but will work in a pinch.

3. Transfer 1 cup (75 grams) batter to a small bowl, and whisk in warm melted butter until combined. Unlike many American sponges, the genoise has a touch of fat, in this case butter, added to the batter to enhance flavor and tenderness. The butter must be melted; solidified butter will weigh down the aerated egg. We first whisk the butter into a small portion of the batter to reduce any chance of overworking the entire mixture.

4. Fold butter mixture into batter in two additions just until combined. You want to thoroughly incorporate the butter but keep a gentle touch. Every second spent overmixing deflates precious aeration.

5. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth flat with an offset spatula using as few strokes as possible. Stiff with aeration, sponge cakes do not spread or even out of their own accord in the oven like butter cakes do, so smoothing the genoise with an offset spatula is key for a level cake. Make sure to spread the batter to touch the sides of the pan and use as few strokes as possible to minimize deflation.

JELLY ROLL STYLE

1. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust top of cake with confectioners’ sugar. Be generous. The confectioners’ sugar will help the cake release from the kitchen towel after it has cooled.

2. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of cake. Choose a kitchen towel that is lint-free and 100% cotton.

3. Using a baking sheet or a large cutting board, invert cake. Carefully remove hot pan and parchment. Starting with one long side, immediately roll up cake and towel together, jelly roll style. Place, seam side down, on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Roll the cake tightly yet gently. This will ultimately determine the cake’s final shape.

IN SEASON: SIMPLE STRAWBERRY SAUCE

1. In a medium stainless steel saucepan, stir together strawberries and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. The strawberries will start to gently break down, releasing their sweet juices.

2. Using a potato masher, press (or mash) strawberry mixture until no large chunks remain. (It will not be smooth.) We want to macerate the berries as much as possible to get the most flavor, but we will eventually leave behind the solids to create a smooth sauce.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon (15 grams) cold water and cornstarch until smooth. Whisk cornstarch mixture into strawberry mixture. Cornstarch needs to be dissolved in water first to activate the starch and to avoid clumping.

4. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook, whisking constantly, until thickened and cornstarch flavor has cooked out, 1 to 2 minutes. The starch molecules of the cornstarch will rapidly swell in the presence of moisture and heat, causing the sauce to thicken.

5. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. Stir in almond extract. Let cool to room temperature. This deliciously sweet-tart sauce will be the versatile component to the roulade’s simple syrup and filling.

HAVE YOUR FILL

1. Carefully unroll cooled cake. Using a pastry brush, brush cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup. Spread Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling on cake, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border along long side that is bottom seam. Gently reroll cake without towel, making sure not to press too hard. Using towel as a sling, place cake on wire rack or a baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes, or until ready to serve.

MARVEL IN THE PRESENCE OF GREATNESS

2. Place chilled cake on a serving platter. Place a portion of Whipped Cream in a small pastry bag fitted with a 5/16- inch French star piping tip (Wilton 4B). Pipe Whipped Cream on top of cake as desired. Garnish with strawberries, if desired. Serve with remaining Whipped Cream.

ROULADE TIMELINE

Pick one of these two timelines to make the roulade. To save time, the Strawberry Sauce and Strawberry Simple Syrup can be prepared 1 to 3 days ahead. Want to make the cake ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator? No problem! The assembled roulade can be stored without Whipped Cream and garnish for 1 to 3 days before serving. Our test kitchen noted that the Strawberry Roulade tasted best the day after assembly, as the filling sets up and the simple syrup moistens the cake.

1-Day Timeline

8 a.m. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Assemble all ingredients and equipment, and line the bottom of a 171⁄4×121⁄4-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
8:15 a.m. Make the cake batter according to directions.
8:30 a.m. Bake cake until lightly golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed, 10 to 15 minutes.
8:45 a.m. Roll the cake into a clean dish towel and let cool completely.
9 a.m. While the cake cools, make the Strawberry Sauce and let cool completely.
9:45 a.m. Make the Strawberry Simple Syrup and the Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling.
10 a.m. Carefully unroll cooled cake. Brush cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup and fill with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling. Reroll cake and refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes, or until ready to serve. (The cake can be stored for 1 to 3 days without Whipped Cream or garnish. If storing for longer periods of time, transfer the cake to a serving platter, and gently wrap with plastic wrap.)
When ready to serve: Make Whipped Cream. Place chilled cake on a serving platter and decorate cake with Whipped Cream and strawberries as desired. Cut and enjoy!

2- or 3-Day Timeline

Day 1
8 a.m. Make Strawberry Sauce and let cool.
8:45 a.m. Make Strawberry Simple Syrup.
9 a.m. Place Strawberry Sauce and Strawberry Simple Syrup in airtight jars and store in the refrigerator.

 
Day 2 or 3
 
8 a.m. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Assemble all ingredients and equipment, and line the bottom of a 171⁄4×121⁄4-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
8:15 a.m. Make the cake batter according to directions.
8:30 a.m. Bake cake until lightly golden and cake springs back when lightly pressed, 10 to 15 minutes.
8:45 a.m. Roll the cake into a clean dish towel and let cool completely.
9 a.m. While the cake cools, make Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling.
10 a.m. Carefully unroll cooled cake. Brush cake with Strawberry Simple Syrup and fill with Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling. Reroll cake and refrigerate until set, about 45 minutes, or until ready to serve. (The cake can be stored for 1 to 3 days without Whipped Cream and garnish. If storing for longer periods of time, transfer the cake to a serving platter, and gently wrap with plastic wrap).
When ready to serve: Make Whipped Cream. Place chilled cake on a serving platter and decorate cake with Whipped Cream and strawberries as desired. Cut and enjoy!

 

4 COMMENTS

    • Hi Cory,

      Thanks for reaching out! I can imagine that living at 6800 ft makes baking much more experimental. We have not tried this cake at elevation, but there are a few resources that might help you overall. The Baker’s Appendix by Jessica Reed is a resource that we use often, and there is a page (page 11) for altitude conversions. The book has the following recommendations for your altitude: increasing flour by 3 to 4 Tbsp, decrease sugar by 3 to 4 Tbsp, and increase liquid by 3 to 4 Tbsp each. As you may already know, this is in addition to increasing oven temperature and decreasing bake time. There is also another resource that was published last year, but we have not had the chance to look through it: The Mountain Baker. We have a short article highlighting a high-altitude baker here as well! Happy baking

  1. If I want to make 1/2 this recipe, what is the best way to approach the cake portion? Can I use an 11 x 7 pan or would it be better to make the whole cake recipe and freeze 1/2 the cake after I roll the just cake and let it cool. At a later time I could make the filling for the second small cake.

    • Hi JoAnn,

      Thanks for reaching out! This recipe calls for a 11×17 sheet pan (often called a jelly roll pan), so if you have a pan that is half that size (ie your 11×7-inch pan), that would be a great way to halve the recipe. The only caveat is that some stand mixers may have difficulty whipping air into the small amount of eggs/sugar, and this step is important to leaven the cake. Depending on your mixer, a hand mixer may bypass that problem. You may also have success with freezing half, although we have not tried this. I would roll the cake, let it cool, then unroll the cake and replace the towel with parchment paper before rolling it again for freezing. An airtight container will keep out any freezer aromas. Hope this helps and happy baking!

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