Today was my advisor's birthday. What better reason to bake a cake? I had been eyeing this lovely lemon roll over at Tartlette's so I finally got over my reluctance to use lots of eggs for a dessert (a lingering effect from starving chinese family during cultural revolution syndrome) and hopped to it. Except I subbed orange for lemon and agar agar for the gelatin. The cream turned out great. The cake was another story. After I carefully measured and whipped and folded, and finally slide the batter gently into the oven, I started cleaning up dishes and found that I had totally forgotten to put the butter in! I took the cake out after 10 minutes and inverted it to find something akin to a 2 by 4. I tried to roll it but the stiffness made the roll rectangular rather than a nice spiral. It was a dilemma for me (Oh!). Bake another cake or just make do with this one? Well, I thought, it only takes 10 minutes to throw together and 10 minutes to bake and I could deal with using more eggs. But this time I used a roll cake recipe from Paula Deen. It turned out beautifully and my advisor (and the rest of the group) was pretty happy.
Orange Roll Cake (adapted from Paula Deen's Jelly Roll recipe)
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, sifted
1 cup orange cream
In a small bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form and set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and lemony and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, zest and vanilla, and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the sifted flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture. Stir in half of the egg whites into the yolk mixture then fold in the rest. Pour the batter into jelly roll pan and smooth out. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cake is golden and springs back with pushed lightly with a finger.
Meanwhile, prepare a kitchen towel by dusting it with some powdered sugar. Loosen edges of cake, invert cake onto the towel (Wow! I should really read directions better. That is so much easier than inverting the powdered sugar towel over the cake, which is what I did and ended up with a gentle cloud of powdered sugar descending over the front of my shirt). Gently peel wax paper off cake. Trim 1/4-inch of hard crust off each long side of the jelly roll cake. Begin with the narrow side and roll the cake and towel up together. Cool cake on rack, seam side down, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Once cake has cooled, gently unroll and spread cake with orange cream and re-roll. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or cover with whipped cream.
Orange Cream (from Pierre Herme by way of Tartlette)
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 oranges
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tb agar flakes, softened in 3 Tbs hot water
1 stick butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, softened
Make a water bath by putting a saucepan of water over heat to simmer and placing a metal bowl over, without the bottom touching the water. Rub the sugar and zest with your fingers and add to the metal bowl. Whisk in the eggs and juice.
Cook the mixture over the water bath, whisking constantly until the cream reaches 180 degrees (btw - this is hard to do with my meat thermometer). Put it into a blender with the agar mix until a taste test shows no sign of agar lumps. Let the cream cool to 140. Blend in the butter until smooth. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.