Makes One 9-by-5-in / 23-by-12-cm roll
Serves 4 to 6
This cake is perfect for any kind of celebration. It’s rich, and I oblige you to have a glass of cold milk ready before indulging into this lovely roll cake. Though it appears to be glam— and no doubt it is— don’t be fooled by its sexy, cut-to-the-chase appeal. What’s required isn’t an entire day of slaving in the kitchen, but rather a little bit of preparation and maybe some shortcutting.
The most daunting part about this cake isn’t the baking, which only take about 10 minutes, it’s the preparation. The preparation isn’t anything taxing or overly complicated, but it does require a little bit of proper planning and reading the recipe ahead of time, especially if you want it all to come together rather quickly. The Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse (which is very peanutty, slightly tangy and not overly sweet) and the Chocolate Ganache can be made up to 24-hours in advance, or made in the order as directed below. And the super-easy peanut brittle can be made several days in advance. The brittle is an optional addition, you can definitely use store-bought brittle, chop-up your favorite peanutty candy bar and use that, or just leave the topping component out entirely. It’s up to you!
Warning: be prepared to get a kitchen towel dirty; be sure to use a clean one that you don’t mind staining with cocoa. Also, do keep in mind that the higher the cacao content of the chocolate you use in the ganache, the richer and darker it will be. Also, be sure to refrigerate the ganache if you plan to make it ahead. Once you’re ready to use it, put the ganache in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water and let it melt back to pouring consistency.
1/2 cup / 60g all-purpose flour
1/2 cup / 50g unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, or Dutch-processed), sifted, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 125g granulated white sugar
1/4 cup/ 55g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Peanutty Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mouse
4 oz/ 113g cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup/ 160g peanut butter (try to stick to a commercial brand because oil won’t separate out)
2 tablespoons / 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup /100g powdered sugar
Pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup / 120 ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)
Peanut Brittle (optional; refer to headnotes for substitute)
1 cup/ 200g granulated white sugar
3/4 cup/ 100g salted peanuts
Chocolate Ganache (refer to headnotes, if making ahead)
6 oz / 170g chopped dark chocolate (54 to 70 percent cacao)
3/4 cup/ 180ml heavy whipping cream (double cream)
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup/ golden syrup / light agave nectar
Make the Cake
In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and salt on high speed until thick and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
With the mixer still on, steadily stream in all the granulated sugar; continue mixing on high speed for another 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and thick in consistency, and leaves a trail when the whisk is dipped in and lifted out. To also check if the mixture is done, press a dot of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger; you shouldn’t be able to feel granules of sugar in the mixture
With a spatula, carefully sprinkle the flour–cocoa mixture on top of the egg mixture. Gently folded in until just incorporated. Stream the butter down the side of the bowl, carefully stirring just to bring everything together.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and gradually tilt the pan back and forth so the mixture levels out and evenly spread into the corners.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the edges of the pan, the cake is springy to the touch, and the cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached.
While the cake bakes, evenly dust a clean tea towel or flour sack towel (it should be longer than the pan) with cocoa powder. Once the cake is baked, run a thin knife along the sides of the pan, then invert the cake onto the prepared towel. Carefully loosen and peel off the parchment from the bottom of the warm cake.
Working quickly, trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife just enough to square everything off when making a cut 1-in / 2.5cm from one of the shorter edges, being sure not to cut more than halfway through (this will allow the cake to roll neatly). Lightly dust the top of the cake with more cocoa powder.
Put a clean piece of parchment or wax paper on the dusted cake (you can skip this bit if you like living on the edge, but I like to take proper precautions). Firmly, but gently, roll up the warm cake from the cut end, including the tea towel in the roll, and leave the cake to cool completely. Doing this will allow the cake to be easier to fill later on. Put the rolled package in a loaf pan, if it fits, to help hold its shape, and set in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F for the Peanut Brittle.
Prepare the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Mousse
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Scrape the whipped cream into a smaller bowl, and set aside.
In the large bowl (no need to clean it), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter, followed by the room temperature butter and the vanilla extract. Scrape the sides of the bowl a bit.
Now, with the mixer on low, beat in the powdered sugar, sea salt, and ground nutmeg. Once the sugar and spices are incorporated, turn the mixer off and scrape down the bowl. Using the spatula, briskly stir in about 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture. Add in the rest of the whipped cream and fold it into the peanut butter cream cheese goodness. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it the refrigerator to chill.
Make the Peanut Brittle
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and evenly sprinkle in the sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until all the sugar is melted and golden. Once immediately out of the oven, carefully (sugar is very hot at this point!) sprinkle over the chopped peanuts, and allow to cool completely before casually breaking into pieces.
Make the Chocolate Ganache
Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then add in the corn syrup and stir until smooth. Set aside.
[Kamran note: if preparing the ganache a day ahead, be sure to press some plastic wrap (cling film) onto the ganache to prevent a skin from forming].
Decorate the cake
Once the cake is cool, carefully unroll it. Remove the sheet of parchment and evenly spread the mousse onto the cake, leaving a 1/2-in / 12mm border all around. Re-roll the cake (without the tea towel inside the cake, of course). Place the cake on a clean cooling rack, over a sheet of parchment paper. Evenly pour the ganache onto the cake, use a spatula or knife to help spread it out. Allow the chocolate to drip off onto the parchment (I scrape the excess into a bowl and serve it with the cake; it’s liquid gold!). Decorate the cake with the shards of peanut brittle, and move to the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour. After an hour, dole out slices, and enjoy!