The first time I made this Yotom Ottolenghi recipe, all 6 of us took two bites, lay down our forks, and stared at each other in wide-eyed wonder! It’s that delicious. The original recipe calls for raspberries, but I think this celebration cake deserves to be the star that announces the first local strawberries. It does require a few steps but is relatively easy to make. So many delicious ingredients make up this dessert that it will be fantastic even if the cream oozes out or it doesn’t roll just right. Don’t let the stress of it not looking perfect stop you from making this delicious treat.
Using the technique I described for rolling and cooling the cake is key to helping this be successful.
½ cup shelled pistachios, salted or unsalted, plus extra for decoration
4 large room temperature eggs, separated
⅔ cup sugar
2 Tbsp hot water
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp almond extract (optional, but so good)
3 Tbsp icing sugar
2 cups strawberry pieces or whole raspberries, plus more for garnish
(cut strawberries into pieces the size of a raspberry. If they’re too big, the cake won’t roll properly)
White Chocolate Cream:
200 gm (7 oz) White Chocolate, roughly chopped (2 Lindor bars)
5 Tbsp or 75g butter, at room temperature
280gm (10 oz) Cream Cheese, at room temperature (don’t use light!)
270ml (9.5 fl oz) whipping cream (1 cup plus 2 Tbsp)
¼ tsp almond extract
Grease a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper, pressing it into the corner.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Separate eggs and place egg whites and yolks each in a large bowl.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside.
In a mini food processor bowl, chop pistachios until finely ground. A few smaller pieces are fine.
Using the same beaters (you don’t have to clean them after beating the whites), beat egg yolks with sugar until thick and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
Drizzle the hot water around the edges of the bowl, and stir to mix.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and add to the egg mixture. Stir until well combined. Using ⅓ of beaten egg whites at a time, gently fold into the flour mixture. Be careful not to overmix; take your time so the egg whites don’t deflate.
Fold in almond extract & chopped pistachios.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Immediately after taking it out of the oven, sift 2 Tbsp icing sugar over the surface of the cake, and cover with a thin, clean towel. Lay a wire rack on top of the towel. Flip the cake over so the wire rack is now underneath the towel and cake. Lift off the pan, carefully peel away the paper and lightly dust the top of the cake with another tablespoon of sifted icing sugar.
With the short end facing you, roll up the still-warm cake with the kitchen towel inside. Allow the cake to rest for 10-15 minutes. Then unroll and set aside to cool to room temperature.
The ends will curl a bit, and the cake may crack, but that’s OK as you’re covering it!
To make the white chocolate cream, melt chopped white chocolate on the top of a double boiler and set it aside to let it cool. Alternatively, place in an oven-proof microwave bowl and, using a low to medium temperature, heat in 1 minutes intervals until melted, stirring after each minute. Meanwhile, beat the softened butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds, add cream cheese at room temperature and beat until smooth. Add cooled, melted white chocolate and continue to beat until creamy. Finally, add the cold whipping cream and almond extract, and beat on medium-high speed till the cream forms soft peaks.
Use a small spatula to spread about two-thirds of the white chocolate cream evenly over the surface of the cake. Leave 1 inch of one short edge uncovered. Scatter the berries evenly over the top. Now roll up the cake as you did before, but this time without the towel. Start rolling with the end that has cream all the way to the edge.
Using your hands or a long spatula, carefully transfer the cake roll to a rectangular plate.
Spread the remaining cream on the top and sides of the cake. If it seems to loose to spread, refrigerate for no longer than 15 minutes and beat again.
Garnish with fresh berries and a few more pistachios.
Chill and serve.