The slightly bitter richness of dark chocolate is emphasised
when paired with chilli. It is a combination that I am very
The Mexicans add chocolate to their moles (sauces) resulting
in a complex piquant.
I decided that if this partnership is so successful in a meat
sauce, maybe chilli could be a taste sensation in a chocolate
I tried it and it is very good. It is not really chilli hot,
nor does it disguise any of the other flavours, but it does
add depth and a little sweet heat. If the idea of chocolate
and chilli does not appeal, simply leave the chilli out.
The apricot filling, sour-sweet and tangy is the perfect foil
for the cocoa-rich darkness of the chocolate cake that
This is a straightforward cake to make, the only tricky part
is separating the eggs. I am not a gadget person but I do
have a handy little device which makes separating the whites
from the yolks much easier.
Position it over a small bowl and crack the egg into it. The
white drains into the bowl below and the yolk stays in the
device. Not surprisingly it is called an egg separator and
the cost is around $3.
Adding cream of tartar when beating egg whites helps prevent
overbeating. When overbeaten the foam becomes dull rather
than glossy. It clumps, separates and begins to leak some
liquid. This is quite undesirable when the aim is to
incorporate air into the whites to lighten them into an airy
Chocolate chilli roll can be made up to two days ahead of
serving. Store well wrapped in the refrigerator. Add the
filling 2-3 hours before serving and then ice the top of the
Chocolate chilli roll with apricot
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Makes 12 slices
40g cocoa powder 1/8 to ¼ tsp hot
chilli powder (optional)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
5 large eggs (size 7), separated
½ tsp cream of tartar
150g caster sugar
1½ tsp vanilla essence
extra caster sugar for sprinkling
⅓ cup apricot jam
3 Tbsp Cointreau or orange juice
100g New Zealand dried apricots, finely sliced
2 Tbsp orange juice (more if needed)
20g dark chocolate chips
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
4 Tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
Beating the egg whites to a foam before creaming the yolks
and sugar eliminates the washing of the beaters. However, egg
whites do not hold their stiffness for long so it is
necessary to have all the ingredients weighed and measured
ready to be added when needed.
Preheat the oven to 180degC. Line a sponge roll tin, either
26cm x 33cm or 24cm x 36 cm with non-stick baking paper.
To make the cake.
Sift the cocoa powder, chilli powder and ground cinnamon
together into a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in a clean
grease-free bowl until stiff and glossy. Set aside.
Put the egg yolks and the caster sugar into a medium-sized
bowl and using the same beaters (no need to wash) beat until
thick and creamy. Add the vanilla essence and then stir in
the cocoa and spices.
Using a metal spoon, fold a few tablespoons of the beaten egg
whites into the yolk and sugar mixture to loosen it then add
all the remaining egg whites and carefully and thoroughly
Gently spread the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until springy to
the touch and the edges are firm. Meanwhile, spread out a
clean tea towel and sprinkle it with caster sugar.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for about 5
minutes. Invert the cake on to the tea towel. Remove tin and
peel off the baking paper. While still warm, starting with
the short side, roll up the cake like a sponge roll,
enclosing the tea towel. The cake is rolled with the tea
towel so that it can be easily rolled up or unrolled without
sticking. Cool seam side down on a wire rack.
While the cake cools, make the filling.
Place the apricot jam, Cointreau or orange juice and the
dried apricots in a small saucepan and slowly bring to the
boil and simmer, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes until
the mixture thickens slightly.
Remove from the heat and cool until lukewarm.
Carefully unroll the cake, remove the tea towel and spread
the apricot filling over the cake. Reroll and transfer to a
Do not worry if the roll splits or cracks as you are
unrolling or rolling it up. The apricot filling helps to hold
it together and the icing can disguise any not quite perfect
To make the glaze, place the orange juice into a small
saucepan and heat until just simmering. Remove from the heat
and stir in the chocolate chips. They will soften and start
to melt. Add the sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder and mix
until smooth, adding a little more orange juice if necessary
to make a thick icing. Spread it over the top of the roll and
down the sides. Serve just as it is or with cream or yoghurt,
but fresh summer fruits served alongside are delectable; try
strawberries, raspberries or slices of fresh apricots,
nectarines or peaches.