Two food philosophies by which I live are: Chocolate cures everything. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Our post today offers you this culinary twofer: When life gives you blackberries, make blackberry jam, spread that jam over a light, airy sponge cake. Roll it all up, dust it with confectioners’ sugar and in Sweden you have Rulltårta. In Iceland you have Rúlluterta. In the USA you have a jelly roll. Whatever you choose to call Oli’s creation for this post, it is delectable.
Just a few feet away from his front door he’s got a great berry patch. Wild strawberries, red and black currants, blueberries, raspberries and this blackberry bush. (Life is good, isn’t it?) Fresh blackberries are purplish black. The more red hued ones are not quite ripe. The other day those berries were ripe for the picking and just calling Oli’s name. He responded with a marathon blackberry picking session then some quality time with them in the kitchen.
His blackberry jam is no ordinary jam. Port wine adds a depth and richness that nicely softens the tartness of the berries. A few more twofers: You can use tawny port or ruby port. You can also substitute just about any kind of berry for the blackberries and successfully make this recipe. You’ll probably want to skip the Port and choose a liqueur that complements your chosen berry.
The Rulltårta is simple to make. Meringue in the dough produces a smooth sponge cake that is easy to roll. Another twofer: Add cocoa to the dough for a chocolate version and fill it with butter cream.
You can bet I’ll drizzle it with more chocolate too.
In Sweden it’s Rulltårta
In Iceland it’s Rúlluterta
In the USA it’s a Jelly Roll
4 extra large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup blackberry jam (or jam of your choice)
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Butter for greasing the parchment
2 10 x 12-inch baking sheets, one with sides
Before we start, here are two steps to ease your life when dealing with eggs.
Hate separating eggs? Try this: Set a slotted spoon over a bowl. Gently crack an egg over the spoon. Let the whites flow into a bowl. The yolk will stay on the spoon. Place the yolks in another bowl.
Before whipping egg whites make sure the bowl and the whisk are immaculate. If either have even a hint of fat or oil, you are doomed to fail. A good thing to do before you whip egg whites is to clean the inside of the bowl with a paper towel that has been sprayed with a little lemon juice or vinegar.
Armed with these two great pointers, let’s start.
Preheat oven to 375 F
Get organized. Put out 3 medium size bowls.
Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Yolks in one bowl, whites in another. Down the line the third bowl will hold flour.
1. Slide the yolks into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Dump in sugar and vanilla. Whisk at medium high speed for a few minutes until thick and light in color. Pour egg mixture back into bowl that held the yolks.
Wash, clean and dry the bowl and whisk from the mixer and return them to the stand. (When dry, this is when you clean the inside of the bowl with the paper towel that has a little dab of lemon juice or vinegar on it.)
2. Pour egg whites into the stand mixer bowl, add salt and whisk at medium high speed until stiff peaks form. (You know its ready when if you were to turn the bowl up side down, the merengue stays put.)
5. Line a 10 x12-inch baking sheet that has sides with parchment paper. Grease or butter the paper, then pour in the cake batter. Use a spatula or large spoon to even out the batter.
Bake at 375 F 15 minutes.
6. When a cake tester or tooth pick inserted into the cake comes out clean, it’s ready.
Sprinkle a little regular sugar onto a second baking sheet (same size or bigger). When the cake is cool enough to handle Oli just flips it onto the sugared baking sheet. Do this quickly and carefully. If you do this slowly, the cake will break.
7. Use a spoon or spatula to evenly spread the jam over the surface of the cake. Leave a 1/2- inch margin around the cake.
Now simply start rolling up the long side of the cake jelly roll style. Roll tightly, but not so tight that the filling oozes out of the sides.