A little adaptation will also transform this cake into a traditional Christmas log (just cut it at an angle, attach the cut piece as a branch and cover in chocolate).
The Ultimate Chocolate RouladeServes: 8
Ingredients:175g (6 oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate, chopped into pieces
6 large eggs, separated
175g (1 cup, scant) caster sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
300ml (1 1/4 cups) double cream or whipping cream
icing sugar for dusting
fresh strawberries or fresh raspberries, to garnish
Method:You will need a Swiss (jelly) roll tin of about 23 x 33cm (9 x 13 in) which should be lightly greased and lined with baking parchment.
Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and melt either in a microwave or over a pan of barely-simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted then take the bowl off the heat.
Turn the egg whites into a large clean and dry bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until they stand in stiff and glossy peaks (but do not over-beat, or they will become dry). Combine the sugar and egg yolks in another bowl and beat with a whisk until thick and creamy (the whisk should leave a trail when its removed). Stir the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and stir well until blended.
Using a large metal spoon, stir 2 spoonfuls of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites, followed by the cocoa powder.
Turn the chocolate mixture into the prepared Swiss (jelly) roll tin and carefully level the surface. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until nicely risen and very lightly coloured.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin (do not worry if it dips and cracks a little, this is normal).
Once the cake is old, whip the cream until it just holds its shape. Sift icing sugar over a large piece of baking parchment then carefully turn the cake out onto this. Turn the cake so that one of the short edges faces you then spread the whipped cream all over the cake. Nw make a shallow cut through the cream and the cake along the short edge nearest to you (about 2cm [3/4 in] from the edge).
Nw roll up the roulade away from you, rolling tightly to begin with, using the paper to help, and then rolling more loosely.
Transfer the roulade to a serving dish, setting it with the seam side down. Dust with icing sugar and serve accompanied by the fruit.