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Chocolate Mocha Cake

Choco Mocha Cake-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Because we both work odd hours and often during the weekend, some Mondays offer the luxury of a quieter day. A day I like to spend outside or in my favorite room in the house, the guest bedroom. When we built the house, we designed the entire upper floor ourselves and B. did an amazing job at it, it really feels like a separate apartment complete with a reading/library space, office and large bathroom. We like it so much that we sometimes sleep upstairs and it does feel like a mini break. I set up a little photo studio up there and with views of the trees and the water ahead, it s very soothing for the soul and the spirit. Last Monday, we decided to shut away from the world for a little while and recharge our human batteries by taking a nap upstairs. He woke up before I did and when I opened my eyes, he was sitting at the desk, reading old books, savouring the warmth of the three o’clock sun entering the room. I went downstairs, made us a pot of coffee (we both at gigs that night) and cut a few slices of the Chocolate Mocha Cake I had made on Sunday night. I set both in front of him, sat on the bed with my book and we both smiled.

We had managed to shut the world away for a few hours and take a mini vacation, complete with reading, cake and coffee. Moments like these are truly a blessing, don’t you think? We are in full speed again as the week goes on and weekend draws near but all week long I knew we both thought about those couple hours stolen away from the hustle and bustle whenever we felt a moment of stress and anxiety. Spring in the South is truly a moment to be savoured and taken advantage of because it won’t be long before you feel the wrath of heat and humidity that makes you feel all sticky and slow all day long. I know, I know, with the bounty of fresh strawberries, watermelons and other produce out there right now, I could have gone a lighter route, but there is nothing like chocolate cake to enhance a feeling of comfort and well being.

The making of the cake started kind of backward, with the buttercream actually. In one of our many French tutoring Sunday mornings, Veronica and I were discussing the many different kinds and virtues of buttercream (I told her my theory that Ina Garten’s perfect camera glow comes from buttercream). I told her I was addicted to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mousseline Buttercream and she told me she was addicted to her egg yolk buttercream. As often, our phone conversation ended with an email swap of recipes, and I filed the buttercream recipe away…until Sunday night. I made it without a precise dessert in mind, thinking I would find something during the week to use it with, and I realised after tasting it that it’d better be sooner than later or there would not be a whole lot left given the way we were digging our spoons in it! I agree with Veronica that the addition of a good dose of vanilla bean paste really makes it taste like soft vanilla ice cream.

So I had the buttercream, I needed cake right? It was now, Sunday night past 11pm and B. had already retreated to the bedroom, so no option to use a mixer at that point. I fixed my easiest one bowl, no mixer cake recipe and proceeded to make a Swiss roll type cake. Once baked and cooled, I filled it with the buttercream flavored with coffee, covered it with a milk chocolate glaze and showered it with chocolate sprinkles. After a night’s rest in the fridge, the cake was ready for our little break at home Monday afternoon. The buttercream is not cloyingly sweet and the cake batter makes a very light spongy cake, perfect for a snack or to feel somewhat virtuous about a little coffee break!

Choco Mocha Cake-Copyright©Tartelette 2008
Chocolate Mocha Cake:
Serves 8-10 (Makes 2 medium or one long)
Printable Recipe

For the cake:

1 stick butter

2 tsp instant coffee

3/4 cup water

100 gr. chocolate

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 Tb cocoa powder

In a large saucepan set over low heat, stir together the butter, instant coffee, water, chocolate and sugar until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.

Whisk in the egg, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder until incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly coat with cooking spray. Pour the chocolate cake batter in the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes at 375F. Do not overbake or it will crack when you roll it. Check after 12-15 minutes, if it springs back when you touch it, it’s done.

Remove from the heat, cover with a towel and let cool a few minutes.

Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and unmold on the kitchen counter. Peel the bottom parchment layer that is now your top, roll the cake without filling with the parchment paper from the long side to give it some form and elasticity for when you fill it with the buttercream. Let cool completely.

Mocha Buttercream:

6 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

4 sticks of butter (don’t roll your eyes, you won’t feel it:))

Butter should be soft but nor mushy (65F)

1 Tb vanilla bean paste

2 Tb instant coffee dissolved in 1 Tb hot water

In a stand mixer or with a hand held one, whip the egg yolks for a minute.

Boil water and sugar until the temperature reaches 238F on a candy thermometer.

Slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over the egg yolks on a steady stream, continue beating the yolks until pale in color and cooled. Beat in the softened butter until the buttercream is smooth a

and together. Add the vanilla bean paste and the coffee, beat a few extra seconds until incorporated.

For the ganache:

300 gr milk chocolate

3/4 cup heavy cream

Bring the cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Pour over the chocolate. Let stand a couple of minutes and then stir carefully until it is incorporated and smooth.

To assemble:

Unroll the cake from the parchment paper, fill with the buttercream (you won’t use it all). Reroll the cake, cut it in half (so it does not seem like a Yule log, but more like a Swiss roll). Set each half on a wire rack set over a piece of parchment paper. Cover with the ganache and douse with chocolate sprinkles. Refrigerate to set.

Choco Mocha Cake-Copyright©Tartelette 2008

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strawberriesinparis April 17, 2008 um 8:33 pm

rolls are awesome!! They always seem to be the right amount of cake and filling…and this one looks fantastic!!

grace April 17, 2008 um 8:57 pm

fact: i don’t think i could even draw slices that look that perfect.
yep, i’m pretty much in awe of your mad baking skills. 🙂

mimi April 17, 2008 um 9:27 pm

your beautiful roll has set the bar high for myself next weekend! it looks absolutely delectable!

Anonymous April 17, 2008 um 9:52 pm

Oh man, I am just a sucker for roll cakes and yours is just perfect.

And seriously, is there anything better to do late at night than bake? 😉

Susan from Food Blogga April 17, 2008 um 10:09 pm

Your day sounded sublime. It is so rejuvenating to take an occasional relaxation day and recharge. Good for you and yours. And good for sharing that cake. It’s delightful.

Peabody April 17, 2008 um 10:17 pm

You don’t need cake with buttercream. I often just eat it from the bowl. 😛
Looks super yummy.

Cannelle Et Vanille April 17, 2008 um 10:32 pm

Gorgeous cake, perfect for a relaxing afternoon with nap included. Those are my favorite days and yes you are right, we MUST take advantage of this beautiful spring weather before summer comes. It’s been quite chilly down here for the last couple of days and I have all the windows in my house wide open. I love that first phot with a little blue light, the red drape, the white coffee cup… Just suits the mood Helen. Gorgeous!

LizNoVeggieGirl April 17, 2008 um 10:35 pm

So lovely that you reserve a much-needed "coffee break," on Mondays – moments like those certainly ARE a blessing!!

And that Chocolate-Mocha Cake?? That makes coffee-breaks even sweeter! :0)

Anonymous April 17, 2008 um 11:07 pm

Chocolate? Mocha? Not too sweet buttercream?

Sold 😉

Mary April 17, 2008 um 11:12 pm

Our guest bedroom is basically a 8foot by 8 foot square with a computer in it. If I spent the entire day in it I would NEED a gorgeous cake like that one! It looks delicious!

Lori April 17, 2008 um 11:25 pm

Talk about licking the screen. This is one of my all time favorite flavor combinations.

That rendezvous sounds like something my husband and I would do before kids came into our life. Ahhh how nice it was to dream for a moment.

Ashlee April 18, 2008 um 12:30 am

that looks fantastic!!! and your photography is beautiful

Ginny April 18, 2008 um 12:32 am

This is something I can get behind! Looks sooo delicious! I really want some chocolate!

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 12:59 am

Looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this one.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) April 18, 2008 um 1:03 am

I love that you have created a hideaway in your own house — such a wonderful idea. If your next-door neighbors ever move, please let me know. I would love to live next door and be able to wander into your kitchen every day for a bite of some delicious cake or pastry.

Towards Paris April 18, 2008 um 1:07 am

What a great Monday. I love how you describe the guest bedroom. It really does sound like a retreat and a very welcome one at that. Paired with this amazing chocolate mocha cake and coffee sounds like utter bliss. So happy you were able to enjoy it.

Looking forward to trying this recipe and drooling over your many other beautiful, and no doubt delicious, recipes. I am particularly fond of macarons and yours look absolutely amazing. I appreciate that this is no small baking feat!

Pittsburgh Needs Eated April 18, 2008 um 1:26 am

This sounds so pleasant. I’ve never had a space that was completely my own, and i’m looking forward to the day I have my own place to settle into. The ganache adds a nice touch of class 🙂 Lovely work!

Pittsburgh Needs Eated April 18, 2008 um 1:26 am

This sounds so pleasant. I’ve never had a space that was completely my own, and i’m looking forward to the day I have my own place to settle into. The ganache adds a nice touch of class 🙂 Lovely work!

Cynthia April 18, 2008 um 1:40 am

You are very fortunate to have such a place in your own home to get away to 🙂

LyB April 18, 2008 um 1:47 am

Don’t laugh, but my favorite treat as a child was a Swiss Roll. I just loved those tiny rolled chocolate delights, and this cake is just the perfect grown up version of it! It looks just perfectly delicious!

Manggy April 18, 2008 um 2:33 am

You whipped up a cake on a whim?! You are truly magical! Your family’s lucky to have you 🙂

I needs to tries de jelly rolls one of these dayz!

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 3:11 am

that cake looks so enticing. I have a soft spot for roll cakes because they are the only ones that graced our table growing up. Chinese bakeries tend to carry this kind of cake, and since my mom is Chinese, only this roll cake would do… But the highlight of eating this cake is the cream filling. Like a bigger and better oreo 🙂

PheMom April 18, 2008 um 3:31 am

I loved this post and I think that first picture with the books in the background is one of my most favorites ever. Makes me want to curl up with a good book right now!

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 4:01 am

This looks/sounds awesome! I’ve never tried making a buttercream with egg yolks. How does this change the texture from one made just with butter or with egg whites?

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 4:50 am

you just make me hungry again…i’ve always loved roll cake so thanks for sharing the recipe!

Mama Mia April 18, 2008 um 5:20 am

my weakness… chocolate roll cake! Looks amazingly perfect

Pixie April 18, 2008 um 5:39 am

You set a beautiful image in my head; all I need to do is attempt to make something sweet and delicious today as we both intend on spending the day at home. 🙂

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 6:04 am

Ton roulé est si parfait, hypnotisantes les spirales! Je note ta recette, merci!

Rosa's Yummy Yums April 18, 2008 um 6:34 am

A wonderful cake! Mocha always tastes great!

I like your new banner!



Finla April 18, 2008 um 7:02 am

Oh I am comming over with my hubby to your upper floor.
Lucky you that u can have a small break like this in your home itself.
Love the rolls

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 8:09 am

Oh, I would pay just about anything for a piece of that right now.
This is something that I think the whole family will like – which is a pretty big deal at my house – we all have pretty different tastes in desserts!

defientchef April 18, 2008 um 8:50 am

I agree with peabody about not needing cake with buttercream haha. Always love reading your blog..and such great photos. As im sure you saw I can NOT take pics.

Sylvie April 18, 2008 um 9:15 am

That looks just perfect.

Rachel@fairycakeheaven April 18, 2008 um 10:15 am

What a perfect few hours of solace!!! This cake looks divine, moist and rich and coffee chocolatey!!! YUM!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy April 18, 2008 um 10:29 am

There’s something about a roll cake that makes it so much more enjoyable to eat – I think it takes me back a little to being a kid. YUM!

Inne April 18, 2008 um 10:45 am

Wow, Helen, seems like you’ve got a little boutique hotel stashed away in your home! It’s the little moments like that that count in life.

And of course a good serving of something chocolatey doesn’t hurt either. That cake looks absolutely gorgeous!

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook April 18, 2008 um 12:10 pm

That looks like a fantastic afternoon snack! Such a beautiful roll!

Vanillaorchid April 18, 2008 um 12:12 pm

I lke roll cake especially with chocolate!

The roll is fantastic!!!

I love the way you present the cake. 🙂

MyKitchenInHalfCups April 18, 2008 um 12:18 pm

I am so glad to know somebody else who sleeps around with their husband. Gorn & I do move from bed to bed in the house and it is like a mini away time! Just perfect as is this cake! It looks so easy when you do it.

Brilynn April 18, 2008 um 12:26 pm

I haven’t yet mastered the roll cake but maybe I haven’t found the perfect recipe either, I’ll have to give yours a try, it looks great!

Veron April 18, 2008 um 12:33 pm

I can just imagine how this taste with the buttercream. You are right, it is best to use the buttercream right away or it’s going to be eaten like soft-serve ice cream!

Susan @ SGCC April 18, 2008 um 12:46 pm

It sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon, with or without cake. Of course this cake would definitely make it even moe special. It looks wonderful!

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 12:51 pm

It all sounds so perfect!

Eileen (passions to pastry)@

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 1:37 pm

Oh wow…one of my favorite desserts of all time…why not for afternoon? And your afternoon sounds so lovely.

Ben April 18, 2008 um 1:48 pm

Hmmmmm, que rico! I love chocolate mocha cake. I think I am going to forget about my diet for a day and eat a big piece of this delicious looking cake :-p

Patricia Scarpin April 18, 2008 um 2:28 pm

That is a sinful mid afternoon snack, Helen! It looks mouthwatering.

And that is a guest room I’d love to spend time in! 🙂

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 2:57 pm

Can I come for a holiday in your upstairs bedroom? Does it come with chocolate cake on the pillow?

amycaseycooks April 18, 2008 um 3:21 pm

Just what I will make this weekend. Along with the other 50 or so recipes I have picked out so far today!! Two of my favorite ingredients – chocolate and coffee.

Mansi April 18, 2008 um 3:42 pm

chocolate and coffee! you couldn’t go wrong with that pair! they looks simply superb Helen!:)

Anonymous April 18, 2008 um 5:47 pm

I love the swirl in this cake, it reminds me of my childhood for some reason. Yummm.

Cakebrain April 20, 2008 um 6:16 am

I wish I had a sanctuary like you have upstairs! The mocha roll looks divine!

Dwiana P April 21, 2008 um 1:49 am

oh may, this is absolutely yummy!! I love rolls. I shall try your recipe and love those pictures.

Botacook April 21, 2008 um 6:38 pm

Un gâteau parfait pour un petit break 'hors du temps' avec un café, un livre et son homme 🙂
J’aime bien l’histoire de la recette!

Jaime April 27, 2008 um 6:59 pm

my husband would love me forever if i made this! 🙂 he loves coffee!

Hilda July 17, 2008 um 12:54 pm

Oh my God….
I´ve just find your blog and I don´t know how i´m gonna read it all… it´s marvellous, wonderfull, sweet… fantastic…

And I´m crying ´couse it´s a long time ago I don´t read or speak english and I´ve forguet it all.

Congraulations for this page, for the work you do…
You are an ARTIST.

Kisses from Spain

jacksavvy March 3, 2009 um 3:31 pm

I made this last night. Here’s how things went:
1. Definitely check the cake after baking 10 minutes. I probably should’ve taken mine out at 10 minutes but I was worried it would be mushy in the middle. So I left it in for 3 more minutes. The cake cracked everywhere when I rolled it up.
2. When I unrolled the cake, it was broken in to strips. I pushed them together and just put a lot of the cream filling over them to piece it all together. It wasn’t as pretty as the one shown here, but it held together well and didn’t look too bad!
3. For the ganache, you could probably cut the recipe in half and still have enough chocolate to cover your cake.

Overall it went really well (for my first ever roll cake).

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