Gâteau Rolla

This is an ideal party cake because it is best made the day before. And it uses up all the egg whites that seem to multiply in the refrigerator after an orgy of aioli and custard-making. While gâteau rolla resembles a French dacquoise, the absence of an egg yolk buttercream tells me that this could be Italian. I have made this cake for weddings; sometimes the memory of the cake lasts longer than the marriage.



  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup finely ground almonds

Chocolate Filling

  • 6 ounces sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ pound unsalted butter softened



For the meringues, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Oil or butter two large baking sheets. Cut 4 10-inch squares of baker’s parchment and trace a 9-inch circle onto each. Turn the paper squares over (tracing sides down) and place 2 on each baking sheet. Oil the papers lightly.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and ¾ cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer over simmering water until warm. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar on low speed. Fold in the almonds. Spoon the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and completely fill in each circle with piped meringue. (Or, spread the meringue about ¼ inch thick over the traced circles with a spatula.) Bake until set about 1 hour. Let the meringues cool completely on the parchment on a wire rack. Then peel off the parchment. Don´t worry if one of the meringues breaks or cracks; it can be patched with the filling.

For the filling, melt the chocolate with the cocoa in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water: set aside. Place the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl and beat over hot water until foamy. Remove from the heat and beat on high speed. Gradually beat in the softened butter, a bit at a time, and finally the melted chocolate. Beat until smooth. Chill until firm.

To assemble the cake, place 1 meringue round on a serving plate and thinly spread with the chocolate filling. Top with a second meringue round and spread with the filling. Repeat with the third meringue round and top with the remaining meringue. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining filling. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Cut into small slices with a warm serrated knife.