Chocolate-Orange Cake Roll

End of the world cake.  End of Hostess Swiss Cake Rolls cake.  Gluten-free, nut-free cake.  The perfect holiday cake.  I don’t care what you call it, it’s tasty, visually pleasing, and it’s the kind of cake I want to show off to my friends and family.

Chocolate-Orange-Cake-RollPossibly a little labor intensive, but if you’re making it for a special occasion it’s totally worth it.  The beauty of this cake is that the ingredients are fairly simple.  Chocolate, eggs, sugar. It’s even gluten-free.

cake-roll-ingredientsThe egg yolks, sugar and vanilla get beaten together, then stirred gently into melted chocolate.  It should be thick, glossy and ribbon-like.  Notice that I had to go to the living room to get some decent light.  Winter is not a good playmate for indoor photography.
Beat the egg whites.  Show them who’s boss.  You can use a mixer, a whisk (punishment), or an egg beater.  Make them light and fluffy.  The merest hint of yolk will prevent them from stiffening.
whipping-egg-whitesAdd some cream of tartar or lemon juice to help them hold their stiffness.  Add a pinch of salt, too.
homemade-whipped-cream homemade-whipped-cream-2

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.  Prepare a 17×12 cookie sheet with greased parchment paper.  Pour the cake onto the parchment paper.  No need to be a perfectionist here, smooth it out a bit but don’t worry about a little unevenness or swirls.  Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes.

cake-roll-batterThe cake should come out looking spongy.
cake-roll-bakedWhile the cake is baking / cooling, start working on the filling. Beat heavy whipping cream with sugar, vanilla and orange extract.  I added a little food coloring to make my whipped cream a mild peach color.  If orange isn’t your thing, try a little mint extract and some green food coloring.
orange-whipped-creamIf you’re whipping the eggs and cream by hand, you are getting a serious workout today. That much arm pain deserves a dramatically lit whipped cream photo.
homemade-orange-whipped-creamDon’t forget to taste it as you go.  You absolutely need to make sure it has the perfect hint of orange flavor, and just enough sugar.  Fair warning:  it tastes like creamsicle and you probably won’t be able to stop after that first taste.
cake-ready-to-rollSpread the whipped cream over the cooled cake.  Gently roll it up.  Don’t worry about cracks.  Whip up a ganache and drizzle it over the top. The ganache covers all those little cracks and imperfections.
Chocolate-Orange-Cake-Roll-2Refrigerate to firm up the ganache.  Keep the cake chilled until serving.  This cake is light and goes well with a hot cup of coffee. 
Chocolate-Orange Cake Roll

Chocolate-Orange Cake Roll

A creamsicle-whipped-cream-filled chocolate cake roll, drizzled in a rich chocolate ganache.


  • 4 oz finely chopped semi sweet chocolate
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 c plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar OR a few drops of lemon juice
  • Cream:
  • 1 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp orange extract (start with one teaspoon and add more according to your taste)
  • A few drops of red and yellow food coloring
  • Ganache:
  • 1 c finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate pieces
  • 2/3 c heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a 12x17 cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make the cake: mix the egg yolks with 1/4 c sugar until thick and pale yellow (5 - 7 minutes). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When the chocolate is melted, slowly mix it into the sugar/yolk mixture. Add the vanilla. Stir until thick and glossy.
  3. Whip the egg whites. As they start to get stiff, add the salt and either cream of tartar or lemon juice. Beat into stiff peaks. Gently fold in thirds into the chocolate mixture. When just mixed, spread the cake batter on the parchment paper, using the spatula as little as possible. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes.
  4. Make the whipped cream: while the cake is baking / cooling, stir sugar, vanilla, orange extract and food coloring into the heavy whipping cream. Whipped the cream until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Spread the whipped cream over the cooled cake. Gently roll the cake, loosely. Don't worry about cracks.
  6. Make the ganache: heat the cream to almost boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Let stand 30-60 seconds, then stir until smooth. Pour over cake roll, covering any blemishes. Refrigerate the cake to re-harden the ganache. Refrigerate until serving.

adapted from joythebaker

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