Christmas cook’s guide: how to make a roulade

Crowd-pleasing, indulgent and easy to make, roulades may be retro but they’ll never go out of fashion. Try a chocolate version and three tempting variations.

Christmas cook’s guide: how to make a roulade

Top tips

  • A classic chocolate roulade is quick to put together because, compared with a deep cake, the sponge cooks in no time.
  • It’s a brilliant dessert for dinner parties because you can assemble the roulade up to 5 hours ahead.
  • When you line the Swiss roll tin with a sheet of non-stick baking paper, trim the paper to stand proud of the tin by 3cm. This will give the roulade space to rise.
  • For best results use an electric hand whisk or mixer to whisk the eggs and sugar together at top speed until thick, pale and airy – the beaters should leave a ribbon-like trail behind when lifted. Use eggs that are a few days old and bring them up to room temperature before whisking – they will whip up more easily and make the roulade lighter.
  • When folding the flour and cocoa into the whisked egg mixture, try to retain as much air as possible. Use a large metal spoon or a spatula and gently cut through the mixture, rotating the bowl as you do so.

Before you start, click here for the classic chocolate roulade recipe.

1. Weigh out the ingredients, following your chosen recipe.

how to make a roulade

2. Grease and line a swiss roll tin with baking paper.

how to make a roulade

3. Gently fold the flour and cocoa into the egg mixture. 

how to make a roulade

4. Pour the hot cream over the butter and chocolate.

how to make a roulade

5. Spread some ganache over the roulade before rolling up.

how to make a roulade

6. When icing, use strips of paper to protect the plate.

how to make a roulade

How to make... chocolate leaves.

1. Melt 200g plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.
2. Use a clean, fine paint brush to spread a thin layer of chocolate on the underside of some clean holly or
bay leaves. Allow to set before applying the next coat to give you a double layer of chocolate.
3. Place in the fridge to set. When set, carefully peel away the leaves to reveal the chocolate leaves.

how to make chocolate leaves

Try these variations

Once you’ve got the sponge method cracked, the possibilities are endless. Start with these ideas…

Iced cherry and almond roulade

1. Make the sponge as in the master recipe but replace the flour and cocoa powder with 100g ground almonds. Roll up and cool as before.
2. Meanwhile, empty a 400ml tub of white chocolate ice cream (we like Waitrose) or vanilla ice cream into a bowl and soften in the fridge for 10 minutes.
3. Drain 500g cherry compote (we like Bonne Maman) in a sieve to remove any excess liquid and fold into the ice cream.
4. Unroll and spread the cherry ice cream over the unrolled roulade, re-roll and place in the freezer to firm up for 1-2 hours.
5. Decorate with toasted flaked almonds and white chocolate shavings, and serve in slices with extra cherry compote.

iced cherry and almond roulade recipe

Cinnamon spiced roulade with figs, whipped mascarpone and port syrup

1. Make the sponge as in the master recipe, replacing the cocoa with another 40g plain flour and adding 11/2 tsp ground cinnamon with the vanilla extract. Roll up and cool as before.
2. Cut 4 ripe figs into sixths. Beat together 200g mascarpone, 100g Greek yogurt and 2 tbsp icing sugar until light.
3. In a small pan, bring 200ml port, 90g caster sugar and a small cinnamon stick to the boil. Simmer for 7 minutes, until thickened.
4. Add the figs, turning carefully to coat them in syrup, and simmer for 2 minutes more. Set aside to cool. Unroll the roulade and spread with the whipped mascarpone and two-thirds of the drained figs, lifted out of the syrup with a slotted spoon.
5. Re-roll and serve with the remaining figs and syrup.

Cinnamon spiced roulade with figs, whipped mascarpone and port syrup recipe

Coffee and pecan praline roulade

1. Stir 2 tbsp hot water into 4 tbsp instant coffee granules to make a paste. Make the sponge as in the master recipe, with 100g light brown sugar in place of caster sugar and an extra 40g flour in place of cocoa powder.
2. Whisk the coffee mixture into the eggs before folding in the flour. Omit the vanilla extract and bake. Roll up and leave to cool as before.
3. Leave the oven on to toast the nuts for the praline. Whip 280ml double cream and 1 tbsp icing sugar together until just holding its shape, then spread over the unrolled roulade. Sprinkle with the blitzed praline and roll up. Decorate with the remaining praline.

For the pecan praline

1. Spread 150g chopped pecan nuts on a baking sheet lined with non-stick paper and bake for 8 minutes, until toasted.
2. Dissolve 250g caster sugar in 4 tbsp water in a heavy-based pan over a low heat. Turn up the heat and boil, without stirring, until the syrup begins to caramelise. When it’s a deep chestnut colour, pour over the nuts and leave to set for 15 minutes.
3. Break the cooled praline into rough shards then pulse half in a food processor until it looks like rubble.

coffe and pecan praline roulade recipe

Classic chocolate roulade

Classic chocolate roulade

Crowd-pleasing, indulgent and easy to make, roulades may be retro but they’ll never go out of fashion.


Please register or sign-in to leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think.

Alexandra Evans

February 4

Dear Delicious Magazine - I loved this recipe but HELP! I just couldn't get the leaves to work. I followed your advice to the letter, but each chocolate leaf I tried to remove from the bay or holly leaf simply cracked into litte prices and in the end I stuck the real leaves to the roulard! Where and how and what was I doing/did I go wrong? Alex Evans, South of France

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