Food & dining

Recipe: Roll a flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream for a grand holiday dessert

Flourless chocolate roll with vanilla whipped cream
Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
Flourless chocolate roll with vanilla whipped cream

Serves 10

A light-as-air flourless chocolate cake, rolled up with vanilla-scented whipped cream, is covered with the cream and sprinkled with grated chocolate. Think of it as a poor man’s buche de Noel.


Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
4ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6eggs, separated
6tablespoons sugar
½teaspoon vanilla extract
½teaspoon cream of tartar
1tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch overhang on both short sides. Butter the paper and dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.


2. In a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often. Remove from the heat.

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3. In an electric mixer, combine the egg yolks and 4 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat for 5 minutes, or until pale yellow and creamy. Add the chocolate and vanilla and beat to combine thoroughly.

4. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

5. Fold ¼ of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whites until blended and no white streaks remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

6. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until slightly puffed and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack.


7. Place the cocoa in a small sieve and dust the top of the cake with cocoa. Loosely cover with wax paper and a lightly dampened, clean kitchen towel over the paper to prevent the cake from drying out; cool.

8. Remove the towel and paper, run a dull knife around the cake, and holding the parchment paper at the short sides, transfer the cake to a work surface. Place the cake with one long side in front of you.


1cups chilled heavy cream
tablespoons sugar
½teaspoon vanilla extract
2tablespoons grated bittersweet chocolate

1. In an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla over medium speed until soft peaks form.

2. Spread ¾ of the whipped cream over the cake, leaving a ½-inch border on the short sides.


3. Have a large cake platter nearby. Starting at one short side, roll up the cake using the parchment paper to lift the cake up and over to form a spiral. If necessary, hold the parchment in one hand and a dull-edged knife in the other to peel the paper from the cake. When the roll is almost complete, position the cake on the last piece of parchment and lift it onto the cake plate so you can roll it directly onto the plate seams down. Discard the parchment.

4. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the roll (frost the ends or leave them unfrosted). Refrigerate.

5. Before serving, sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Lisa Zwirn. Adapted from “The Cake Bible”

Lisa Zwirn can be reached at