The term ‘roulade’ comes from the French word ‘rouler’ which literally means ‘roll’. In patisserie, it is simply a sheet of cake rolled around jam, buttercream or other fillings. This really simple and easy cake has somehow gained a reputation as being ‘Not for Beginners!’.
With this post, I am hoping to bust this myth and help you avoid the common mistakes responsible for it.
1. A flexible sponge
There are various recipes and techniques used to make the sponge for a roulade – French meringue, split egg, Genoise…. the list goes on. I tend to use the ‘Genoise‘ or egg foam method as this gives me a perfectly light textured flexible sponge.
2. Cooling it
To avoid cracking when you roll, you need to ensure your sponge doesn’t overcook, undercook or dry out too much. (I believe this was what caused all the roulade disasters in the ‘Great British Bake Off’ this week. Most of the contestants left their sponges to cool in their baking trays. The heat from the trays cooked them even further making them quite dry and prone to cracking.)
Remember to take the sponge out of the oven at the correct time and leave it to cool on the baking paper for 5 minutes. Then turn it over on a fresh baking sheet and peel off the one it was baked on. It should be cool enough to trim and roll in 10-15 minutes.
3. Rolling technique
I have seen people struggle to roll the roulade once they have spread their fillings. They fumble about with a baking sheet and declare that this is the realm of the professional chef! The truth is if your sponge is the correct texture, you will not need to use a baking sheet at all. All you need to do is this:
Roll all the way to the end near you till it rests on its seam.
Place the roulade in the fridge to set. This helps it retain its shape and stops the icing/whipped cream from squishing out when it is cut.
Garnish and enjoy with oodles of confidence and tea!