rocambole (caramel cake roll!)

I am all about vegetables and legumes but we eat our fair share of sugar too, so it’s time I pass on some of that sweetness to you. Just when we thought spring was here for real, a snow storm swept in and ruined my dreams of spending the weekend in my newly acquired community garden. But it also provided cool enough weather that I was willing to leave a pot of water containing a can of sweetened condensed milk simmering on my stove ALL DAY. A couple of months ago I tried to make doce de leite, per C’s request. Unfortunately 2 hours just wasn’t long enough for the milk to caramelize. However, a second very lonely can of condensed milk was still sitting in the pantry last week and bravely I decided to give milk caramel a second chance. Turns out you can make caramel that way it just takes about 4 and a half hours with 20 minute water refills. Also, it simultaneously turns your house into a sauna so. . . maybe not something you want to do mid summer.

Of course, caramel is tasty all on its own, but I couldn’t stop there. It needed to make its way into something. And that is how this lovely cake found its way onto my table at 10 p.m. last Thursday, just as the flurries of snow started to sift down in earnest. I’ve tried to make cake rolls before with varying degrees of success. This recipe doesn’t require you to pre-roll the cake while cooling, a step which has usually caused me some grief. It does, however, require parchment paper: a kitchen item that has become a staple in my home since moving to  CO and sporting a normal sized oven.

Rocambole (8 slices)

Ingredients:
for sheet cake:
4 eggs separated
pinch of cream of tartar
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar (divided in 2)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
for simple syrup:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tbsp liquor (I actually used marsala because that is the only alcohol I had around)
for filling:
1 can dolce de leche (you can usually find this in the Hispanic section of your super market, or you can buy a can of sweetened condensed milk and boil it for several hours).- enough for 1 cake sheet of 17 by 11-in.
to sprinkle on top:
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon – or to taste
utensils: 17 by 11-in. baking pan, parchment paper

Directions:
1- Preheat oven at 400F
2- Separate the egg whites from the yolks. In a mixer or by hand whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking. As soon as it looks like shaving cream add half of the sugar asked in the recipe and whisk it until glossy and very fluffy.
3- In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks with the other half of sugar until pale yellow and fluffy.
4- Add 1/3 of the meringue to the yolk mixture. Stir well and add the melted butter. Now start alternating between the meringue left and the flour making a total of 3 additions.
5- Line a baking pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Spread your batter evenly to fill the pan (it will be quite thin)
6- Bake it for 7 minutes.
7- After baked, flip the cake over another piece of parchment paper and immediately remove the paper that is still on the cake.
8- In a small bowl add sugar and water. Microwave it for one minute. Add the rum and stir. Brush this simple syrup all over the cake. Don’t use all the syrup, just a thin layer is enough.
9- If you want clean edges, trim the uneven edges of the cake and let it cool completely (as you can see, aesthetics weren’t a high priority when I made this). Spread the dulce de leche all over it and roll it into a log starting from the short end. After rolling the first edge under I kept rolling by lifting up the parchment paper and peeling it back, yielding a fairly loose roll. The cake will be sticky from the simple syrup, this is normal and keeps the sponge cake from becoming dry. Sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon on top. Serve at room temperature, however if you have leftovers you might want to refrigerate them due to the milk in the caramel. We ate it cold the second day and still thought it was delicious.
Love from CO,

Bethany

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