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Cocoa Souffle Roll by Rose Levy Beranbaum


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I have made this recipe twice out of the book (library copy) and copied it out for future use. The future is now as I have an order for it for Tuesday. For some reason the cake I baked today turned out a complete disaster :shock: I am sorta hoping that I simply made a copying error. I am also hoping to avoid having to run to the library tomorrow to get the book - if they even have it on the shelf - as I leave Friday very early morning to fly home for an emergency visit (sister is in decline... cancer) and won't be back until the day the cake is due. I really, really need to get the cake finished and in the freezer before I go.

Here is the recipe I have:

Cocoa Souffle Roll

¼ cup + 2 TBLS unsweetened cocoa

¼ cup boiling water

1 tsp vanilla

2 TBLS soft butter

2/3 cup sugar, divided into ½ cup and remainder

5 extra large eggs*, seperated

¾ tsp cream of tartar

1 TBLS cocoa for dusting baked cake

* I changed this from 6 large eggs and is what I used last time successfully.

Did I forget anything or copy wrong??

Thanks so much. I am like a chicken without it's head right now :blink:

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The cocoa measurement is 1/4 C. + 3 T. OR 1/3 C. + 1 T. She gives it both ways.

Otherwise, everything looks the same. Are you sure your cream of tartar is fresh? I've had that stuff ruin so many recipes for me, I don't even use it anymore.

The nuts are supposed to be optional. 1/3 C. toasted and finely ground almonds. Good luck.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help, especially righ now. I am crazed :blink:

Can being short 1 T of cocoa really make that big a difference?? The cake was flatter than a pancake. I did whip the egg yolks and sugar (the amount not used with the whites) the full 5 minutes... even used the kitchen timer.

Cream of tartar. I think mine is ok but who knows. I sorta remember it can be checked by adding a few drops of lemon juice to some and if it bubbles, it's fresh...?? My egg whites whipped up fine if that means anything. As I said, the batter looked great... just no rise in the oven.

I am going to make the cake again first thing in the morning - after checking back here. I simply can't face it again tonight. I'll move onto the other thousand things on my list. I did think of a Plan B... the woman did order Red Velvet Cake at first but I stupidly (!!) suggested this roll as something different. If the roll fails tommorrow, I'll make her the RVC.

When it rains, it pours :rolleyes:

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Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help, especially righ now. I am crazed  :blink:

Can being short 1 T of cocoa really make that big a difference?? The cake was flatter than a pancake. I did whip the egg yolks and sugar (the amount not used with the whites) the full 5 minutes... even used the kitchen timer.

Cream of tartar. I think mine is ok but who knows. I sorta remember it can be checked by adding a few drops of lemon juice to some and if it bubbles, it's fresh...?? My egg whites whipped up fine if that means anything. As I said, the batter looked great... just no rise in the oven.

I am going to make the cake again first thing in the morning - after checking back here. I simply can't face it again tonight. I'll move onto the other thousand things on my list. I did think of a Plan B... the woman did order Red Velvet Cake at first but I stupidly (!!) suggested this roll as something different. If the roll fails tommorrow, I'll make her the RVC.

When it rains, it pours  :rolleyes:

How's your oven temp -- have you calibrated recently? If the batter looked good going in, that's where my suspicion lies.

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I've had good luck with the recipe in the past, and I'm not as fastidious with measurements as I should be. Oven calibration is key, though.

all the best for your sister, I wish her well.


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I've had trouble with that recipe, and jelly rolls in general. It's more of a technique issue, and baking time seems to be ultra critical...over bake and it cracks when you roll it, under bake and it falls apart when you roll it.

You could do like a sheet of regular old chocolate cake and make a thin many layer cake with a bunch of mousse (like a loaf cake size)...you know, like a square "roll"

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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Well, the final try on the Swiss Roll was just as bad as the other attemps. No rise, fell apart, etc. I threw it out, I was so disgusted. On the bright side the Red Velvet Cake baked up as great as always and I got it crumb coated before I left. All I had to do Monday evening when I got back was the final frosting. Customer was very happy with it all. I would like to figure out what I am doing wrong though. The very first time I made it it came out very well and I was thrilled. All down hill from there :sad: I will maybe try again sometime in the future.... it's just so aggravating!

I did think of not rolling the cake but cutting it into layers and going that route. However I didn't think of simply switching over to a different cake recipe - duh! I'll try to remember that type of solution for the next time disaster strikes.

And the super best thing of course is that the visit with my sister went very well. We've not been close for many many years so I was particularly stressed to visit her but it went great. I am SO GLAD I made the trip and now have as best a last memory of her as I could have hoped for.

Thanks again for all the help, ideas, and suggestions. You guys are the BEST!

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This isn't what you asked for but it worked great for me when I tried it. So I use it now. I very rarely do rolls but I have a couple people who ask for buche de noel for their christmas parties every year.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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