Bitter Chocolate Roll
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  • 3 eggs
  • 60 g sugar
  • 35 g cocoa
  • 180 ml cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 large dessertspoons sugar
  • 3 large dessertspoons cocoa
  • ¾ cup cream

Bitter Chocolate Roll

I found this recipe in a mad little book called 'Cooking for Brides' by Ted Moloney, published in 1965, and given to me recently by a friend in Balclutha, Joan Hasler. Mr Moloney's instructions are highly abbreviated so I've expanded them a little but I agree with his introduction: 'Remarkable that anything so delicious could be so easy.' And there are only three ingredients - eggs, sugar and cocoa. (The whipped cream comes in later.) I used Fair Trade sugar which is a pale golden colour and somewhere between granulated and caster sugar in fineness, and Fair Trade cocoa, which made a very dark sponge with an excellent flavour. The roll is very delicate and light and slightly nerve-wracking to handle, but it can be done! Take the time to get everything ready before you start and then follow the instructions. . .

Getting ready

  1. Have the eggs at room temperature and preheat the oven to 350ºC / 180ºF. Put a sheet of baking paper onto an oven tray and grease the paper lightly. Put a dampened clean teatowel on the bench, cover it with a sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle the paper with a tablespoonful of sugar.

Mixing and baking

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with an electric beater and add the sugar gradually. Keep beating until the mixture is fluffy and lemon-coloured.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with a rotary whisk until firm and snowy but not dry. When you lift the beater out the little peak of egg white should just bend over.
  3. Sift the cocoa onto the egg yolks and fold gently through with a metal spoon. The mixture will seem quite dry.
  4. Add the egg whites and keep folding gently, turning the bowl as you go, until you have a smooth, pale coloured mixture with no white streaks.
  5. Scrape this onto the baking paper and spread it out gently to a rectangle about 12 x 9 in / 30 x 22 cm.
  6. Bake for eight minutes and then remove from the oven. Pick up the sponge by two corners of the baking paper and gently turn it upside down onto the sugared paper.
  7. Leave for about a minute to settle, then carefully peel away the baking paper.


  1. Leave the sponge to cool for a few minutes while you whip the cream. You can sweeten the cream if you wish - I used about a tablespoon of fruit syrup which tasted very good. Spread the cream evenly over the sponge and gently roll it up from one of the long sides, using the greaseproof paper to help. The sponge may split a little, but don't worry, this just makes it look more log-like.
  2. Use two spatulas to lift the roll gently onto a serving platter, dust with icing sugar and leave in the fridge for an hour or so before cutting into slices. It will serve at least six people.
  3. NOTE I suggest that you make this recipe several times to remove its slightly intimidating quality. It is a really delicious, simple and impressive dessert, well worth mastering.