Chocolate Raspberry Cake Roll – Chocolate cake is spread with raspberry buttercream and rolled up into a beautiful cake roll
I tried to make it all month without baking anything sweet but I just couldn’t do it. Three weeks isn’t bad, though!! I finally broke with this cake roll. It’s just the treat for your Valentine’s Day baking needs, thanks to the beautiful pink raspberry buttercream. But can easily be adapted to work for any time of the year.
Before we get into the specifics of this cake roll, let’s answer some of the questions I’m sure you’re asking right now…
What is a cake roll?
A cake roll is just what it sounds like – a sheet cake rolled up into a log and sliced. The concept is simple but the execution doesn’t seem like it would be. How the heck do we get the cake to roll up like that without breaking into pieces?
How is a cake roll made?
The most important part about making a cake roll is rolling the cake up. But how exactly is that done? While the cake is still hot, it is rolled up into a kitchen towel and kept there to cool. As it cools, it sets it’s shape.
Once the shape is set, the cake is unrolled and the buttercream is added. The cake is rolled back up and voila! It’s ready for serving!
The buttercream recipe is so special because it not only has tons of sweet raspberry flavor but the buttercream stays smooth and creamy with the use of an awesome trick I learned. But before I tell you what it is, let me teach you a little about the basics of buttercream.
Buttercream is loaded with fat – this is what gives it the creamy texture we all love. But something you have to remember about fat is that it does not mix well with water or liquid of any kind. So we can’t just add juice or foods with lots of juice (e.g. fruit) to buttercream because that will cause the butter fat to separate from the rest of the mixture.
In order to avoid this disaster but keep the natural flavor of the raspberries, we use a raspberry powder made from real freeze-dried raspberries. To make the powder, you simply pulse the raspberries in a food processor.
Tips & Tricks
- You must cool the cake completely before spreading on the buttercream. Otherwise, the heat from the cake will melt it and it will ooze out of the cake and make a horrible mess.
- I finish my cake roll with fresh whipped cream but you can use chocolate ganache instead, if you want a stronger chocolate presence.
- The buttercream firms up when chilled so, if you store the finished cake in the fridge overnight, you must let it get back to room temperature before serving.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake Roll
For the chocolate cake:
- 4 large eggs separated
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon strong black coffee
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup natural unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the raspberry buttercream:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup freeze-dried raspberries
For the whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12x17 rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add a sheet of parchment paper and spray that with nonstick spray too. We need to make sure the cake doesn't stick to the pan.
- Separate eggs and place egg whites in a large bowl for a stand mixer. Whip egg whites and sugar together until stiff peaks form. Place into another bowl and set aside. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt to the same bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add egg yolks and brown sugar together and whisk until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Add melted butter, vanilla extract, and coffee and whisk to combine. Pour egg mixture over flour mixture. Mix together just until combined.
- Add 1/3 of whipped egg whites to mixture and gently fold together. Add next 1/3 of mixture and fold together. Finally, add the last 1/3 mixture and fold together. Pour mixture into prepared baking sheet. Spread into one even layer. Bake in preheated oven until cake bounces back when you touch it, about 10-12 minutes.
- While the cake bakes, lay a thin kitchen towel on the counter. Sprinkle with a thin layer of cocoa powder on it. When the cake is finished baking, flip cake over onto the powdered towel. Gently roll the cake up into the towel. Place it into the refrigerator to chill until completely cool, about 1 hour.
For the raspberry buttercream:
- Add freeze-dried raspberries to a food processor and pulse until a powder forms. Set aside.
- Add butter to bowl of a stand mixer, whip until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, salt, and raspberry powder together and mix for another minute.
- Unroll the cooled cake and add buttercream in one smooth layer. Roll cake back up and finish with the seam side down. Place onto serving plate. Top with fresh whipped cream, raspberries, and chocolate chips.
For the whipped cream:
- Add cream, sugar, and vanilla to a bowl fitted for a stand mixer. Beat with whisk attachment on medium high until stiff peaks form. *You can prepare this ahead of time and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.