Chocolate-Cherry Roulade


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Preparation info

  • Makes

    8 to 10

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

  • About

The farms in the hills of the Danube are famous for their cherries. Tucked into kirsch-scented whipped cream for a chocolate roulade, they are put to very good use. A plunge-handled cherry pitter makes short work of the tedious job of stoning the cherries. In Europe, cooks use a few drops of bitter almond oil to heighten the flavor of the cherries. It’s hard to locate here, but a bit of almond extract has a similar effect.


  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Cherry Cream

  • 2 tablespoons kirsch or cherry schnapps
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 12 ounces fresh sweet cherries, pitted and cut into halves
  • Confectioners’ sugar and Dutch-processed cocoa, for garnish


  1. To make the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly butter a 15½ X 10½ X 1-inch jelly-roll pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Coat with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, and salt together. Whisk the eggs and sugar in the work bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer. Place over a saucepan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl). Whisk until the eggs are very warm to the touch and the sugar is completely dissolved (rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers to check). Attach to the mixer and fit with the whisk. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes. In two additions, sift the cocoa mixture over the eggs and use a balloon whisk or large rubber spatula to fold in.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and heat until hot. Pour into a medium bowl and add the vanilla. Whisk in a large dollop of the batter, and fold this mixture back into the batter. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly in the pan, being sure to fill the corners.
  4. Bake until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center, about 15 minutes. Sift a light coating of confectioners’ sugar through a sieve over the top of the cake. Place a clean kitchen towel over the cake. Invert the cake onto a large wire rack or baking sheet to unmold. Carefully peel off the parchment. Using the towel as an aide, starting at a long end, roll up the cake into a thick cylinder. Wrap the cake in the towel and cool completely on the rack.
  5. To make the cherry cream: Combine the kirsch and water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let stand until the gelatin absorbs the liquid, about 2 minutes. Place the bowl in a small saucepan filled with about ½ inch of simmering water and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. (Or microwave on medium at 10-second intervals, stirring well after each interval until the gelatin dissolves.) Remove the bowl from the water; cool slightly.
  6. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in a medium bowl just until soft peaks form. Still beating, pour the dissolved gelatin into the beaters and whip until the cream is stiff.
  7. Unroll the cooled cake. Spread with the whipped cream, leaving a ½-inch border around all sides. Arrange the cherries in rows over the cream. Roll up the cake into its original shape. Wrap the roulade in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the cream is chilled and set, at least 1 hour.
  8. To serve, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar through a sieve over the top of the roulade, then dust with cocoa powder. Using aserrated knife, cuton a slight diagonal into thick slices. Serve chilled.

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