Jelly rolls used to mystify me. They seemed like the sort of thing that would forever elude me.
Until now. I had no idea how easy it could be, once you have a decent recipe.
Two years ago my mother-in-law (who is incredibly accommodating of my food allergies and an excellent cook) made a gorgeous gluten free yule log, complete with frosting and meringue mushrooms. She used a cake mix, which was very good.
But you know me. I prefer to bang my head against the wall a few times until I can make it myself.
I tried to make a gluten free jelly roll last year, and it was a total fail. I did, however, end up using the failed attempts to make both Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Balls and Vegan, Gluten Free Chocolate Pudding Pie .
As you can see, this year's attempt did not fail.
Oh no. This year's attempt was a spectacular success. And then I added chocolate leaves and it was even more spectacular.
I also wanted it to be a not-too-sweet, frosting-free Yule log, so it turned out more of a chocolate jelly roll. Which, as it turns out, is awesome.
So here it is, My Gluten Free Chocolate Jelly Roll Yule Cake recipe.
This is the perfect cake for someone who does not like things too sweet (unless, of course, you want to add frosting, which you totally can). It's essentially a chocolate sponge cake.
Since my husband is not a big fan of frosting-laden cakes, I wanted to make a frosting-free Yule cake. So rather than smothering the Yule log with frosting, I used my own Homemade Crabapple Jelly (another shout-out to my in-laws here, since I picked the apples from their tree, and they asked for pictures of this cake. Hi guys!).
I also dusted the cake with cocoa powder before rolling, rather than covering it in frosting.
And of course, I brushed a few leaves with chocolate, then chilled them and decorated the cake.
Recipe follows the little pictorial below.
Beat eggs 6-8 minutes, until thick and creamy
Fold cocoa and flour mix into eggs
Bake cake on a parchment lined baking sheet, and roll up while still hot
Unroll cake and add frosting or jelly. Then roll back up.
Ingredients for Gluten Free Chocolate Yule Log / Jelly Roll (makes 1 roll)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder + more for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp brown or white rice flour
4 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup Homemade Crabapple Jelly or other jelly of choice or frosting
Line a baking sheet or jelly roll with parchment paper. Brush parchment with olive oil. Preheat oven to 400F.
1. Beat eggs and sugar 6-8 minutes, until eggs are thick and creamy. This is an important step! If the eggs are thick and creamy the cake will be softer and fluffier.
2. Sift together dry ingredients and fold into egg mix. Don't overbeat. The texture should be similar to chocolate mousse. Pour over parchment paper and smooth with a spatula, jiggling pan to remove air bubble and evenly distribute batter.
3. Bake roll for 8 minutes, until cake is springy. Remove from oven, and dust top with more cocoa. Lay a second sheet of parchment paper - or a clean towel - over top of the cake. Flip the cake over onto the parchment or towel and roll the paper down the length of the cake. Let cool about 30 minutes.
4. Unroll cake and distribute jelly or frosting evenly. Roll cake back up.
To store cake, wrap in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.
To make chocolate leaves:
1/4 cup chocolate chips or chocolate nibs
Clean, non-toxic brush
Clean, non-toxic leaves (larger, strong ones are best), washed, rinsed, and dried
Wax or parchment paper
A plate or baking sheet
1. Heat about 1/4 cup chocolate in a microwave safe dish in 30 second increment, stirring after each 30 seconds until chips are melted.
2. Using a clean, non-toxic brush, brush chocolate over the underside of the leaves (this side has the deeper grooves and will provide the most detail) in a fairly thick layer. Lay leaf on parchment paper on a plate or baking sheet and chill 10-15 minutes, until chocolate is firm to touch.
3. Carefully peel off leaf. You can use a small amount of chocolate frosting or more melted chocolate to secure the leaf to the cake, if desired.
* A note on using holly leaves: There is some debate about the degree of toxicity of holly leaves. Some article have said they are very toxic, others suggest this is exaggerated, and they would need to be consumed in large quantities, and are most dangerous for children. Since I was only smearing chocolate on them, I didn't fuss too much. Several of us ate them. No one got sick.
You could use other leaves instead, like maple, or something safe from your yard.
The choice is yours.
I did also try using some mint leaves, which are the tiny ones in the middle. The mint leaves didn't hold up as well as the holly, but that's because the chocolate folded under the leaves as I was brushing, making it difficult to peel off the leaves after they chilled. Still, I think it turned out well!
Have you ever tried making a Yule log?
What's the most amazing decoration you've seen on a Yule log?
How do you like your jelly rolls?
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