That’s how I roll

May. 13, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

I just turned 50 last month, so I now have the legal right to say this: Kids these days don’t know what they’re missing.    

Foods like Hydrox cookies, chocolate-peanut butter Oompa Loompas, Mickey D’s McFeasts, and Fruit Float; they’re all but a memory. 

When I was little, in the freezer section of most supermarkets was an ice cream cake. This wasn’t some gaudy, fancy-pants Fudgy the Whale; it was chocolate cake slathered with vanilla ice cream, and rolled up like a jelly roll. My mom and I especially loved it.

So when I had the amazing chocolate sauce that Chef Amy Tornquist serves with her churros at Watts Grocery (1116 Broad St), for some reason it made me think of that ice cream cake.  I decided to make one for my mother’s birthday, and serve it with the yummy sauce.

Watts Grocery Chocolate Sauce

1 lb. dark brown sugar

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

1 stick cold butter, cubed

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, add milk and cream, then sugar, butter and chocolate. Melt slowly, but completely.   Add vanilla and salt.  Make sure it's well incorporated. Done.

Makes approximately one quart.  Refrigerate or freeze extra.

* Recipe courtesy Amy Tornquist.

Then I had to figure out a cake recipe.  A sponge cake is the best type for rolling and structural integrity.

A true French Genoise or sponge is made by cooking the eggs over a water bath.  I decided to make a chiffon type.  In that cake the eggs are separated, and both whites and yolks are whipped, then folded together.

One big consideration is that flavors of frozen food are muted significantly, so I needed to jack up the cake’s flavor, to hold up to sauce and ice cream.  The cocoa powder I use is Hershey’s Special Dark.  It’s deep and rich, with big chocolate flavor.

As for ice cream, I used 1 pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla. 

Chocolate Roulade

4 eggs, separated

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

½ plus 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 teaspoon chocolate extract

1 teaspoon espresso powder, dissolved into ½ tablespoon hot water

Let eggs come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9x13 metal pan. Line bottom and short sides with parchment paper.  Also grease paper.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt, set aside.

At high speed, beat egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.  Remove whites to another bowl.

In the original mixing bowl beat yolks ‘til pale and thick. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, chocolate extract, and espresso liquid.  Add flour mixture and beat until well combined.  It will be almost as stiff as clay at this point.

Using a spatula, put about ¾ cup of the egg whites into yolk mixture.  Stir briskly until incorporated and batter is much looser.  Add the rest of the whites and gently fold until the batter is completely mixed; if there are still a few faint white streaks, that’s OK.

Spread mixture into prepared pan.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

When the cake is done, spray another piece of parchment with cooking spray cut to the size of the cake.  Turn the cake out of the pan, with parchment on both top and bottom roll it the long-way, so the roll is 9 inches long.  Wrap snugly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight.

Take out ice cream to soften 40 minutes before using.  Carefully unroll cake, and with an offset spatula spread ice cream into an even layer.  Reroll, rewrap and freeze overnight.

Cut into slices, and serve with cold chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream.  Serves 6-8.

Remember playing outside all day without supervision until the street lights came on? Riding bikes with no more protective gear than shorts, T-shirts, and Keds? And rattling around the back of station wagons like BB’s in a Pringles can? Those were the days.

But when I think about it, it really is kind of a miracle that we made it out alive.

Thanks for your time.


Debbie Matthews lives, writes and cooks in Durham. Her email address is