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Creamy Crunchy Sponge Cake Roll

Certainly one of the most extraordinary cake experiences! Many bakers have successfully mastered this cake that does require a little skill, by carrying out the steps in the recipe meticulously. It is certainly worth a try!

Note: Prepare the butter cream and almond praline before making the sponge cake. Assemble the roll a few hours or a day in advance to allow the cake, butter cream and praline to blend before slicing and serving.

Butter cream
500 ml milk
60 ml cornflour
125 ml sugar
5 ml vanilla essence
2.5 ml almond essence or 5 ml vanilla essence
250 g butter

Almond praline
100 g flaked almonds
15 ml butter
125 ml sugar

 Sponge cake batter
4 large eggs, separated
150 ml sugar
60 ml cold water
5 ml vanilla essence
250 ml cake flour
10 ml baking powder
pinch salt

  1. To make the butter cream, place the milk, cornflour and sugar into a bowl suitable for microwave cooking and mix well. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes, beat with a whisk, microwave 2 minutes more and beat well. Microwave 1 minute more or until the sauce becomes thick, smooth and shiny. Beat well and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. ALLOW TO COOL TO ROOM TEMPERATURE.
  2. Cut the butter into small dices (2 cm) and place slightly apart on a plate. ALLOW TO STAND AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES.
  3. NOTE: It is most important that the boiled sauce be cooled and the butter left to “warm” to the same temperature (room temperature) to ensure that the emulsion needed for the butter cream is formed – if either one is too warm or too cold it may not form or it may separate. If made in hot weather take care with the butter – it should be just softened from being out of the refrigerator but not melted.
  4. Beat the cooled mixture in the electric mixer (or with an electric hand beater) and add the butter bit by bit, beating each bit into the sauce completely before the next one is added. Continue adding and beating until a smooth thick emulsion is obtained. Add the rest of the butter bit by bit, beating in between as well. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until required.
  5. NOTE: If the mixture separates, place an egg yolk into a clean bowl and add single teaspoons of the mixture at a time while beating, to start or restore the emulsion, then beat in the remaining mixture a tablespoon at a time.
  6. To make the praline, place the butter and sugar into a saucepan and allow to melt over moderate heat, tilting the pan from side to side until the sugar has melted and starts to change colour.
  7. Add the almonds and cook while stirring until golden brown, taking care not to over cook or burn the praline. Turn out onto greased aluminium foil, spread evenly and allow to cool. Break into small pieces or crush lightly with a rolling pin.
  8. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 180 ºC and line a baking tray (38 x 28 cm) with baking paper. Grease lightly with butter or spray with cooking spray. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  9. Beat the egg yolks and sugar very well for 6 – 8 minutes until quite thick and pale yellow. Beat in the water and vanilla essence.
  10. Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together over the egg mixture and beat gently only until combined.
  11. Add the egg white to the batter and stir until evenly blended. Pour and spread the batter evenly into the baking tray, making sure to fill the corners as well.
  12. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until pale golden and just firm if tested with the fingertips.
  13. Turn out the cake onto a slightly dampened cloth and leave covered with the baking paper for 5 minutes to allow the steam to soften the edges of the cake. Peel off the paper carefully and roll up the cake gently with the aid of the cloth. Wrap in the cloth while cooling.
  14. Unroll the cake carefully and spread with about 1/3 of the butter cream. Roll up the cake and place onto a tray or kitchen board. Cover the entire roll with the remaining butter cream using a small spatula to spread it evenly. Press the praline into the butter cream covering it evenly.
  15. Refrigerate the roll at least an hour to allow the butter cream to become firm, then cover completely with aluminium foil. If time allows, refrigerate at least four hours or preferably up to a day before serving.

Serves: 12 slices

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe Book p. 568.

Creamy crunchy sponge cake roll