Antidote to Easter indulgence

This deep, dark and densely flavoured coffee roll is spectacularly delicious, an antidote to all that rich sweetness of Easter, writes Joan Bishop.

The intensity is tempered a little by the creamy ginger and Cointreau filling. Ground cinnamon, too, has the sweetness and depth to counter the sharp, slight bitterness of espresso coffee.

I love this cake, it is not cloyingly sweet and it does make a chic ending for a special dinner or for almost any other occasion I can think of.

It is also easy to make. The sponge roll is a breeze, particularly if you have an electric beater, and rolling the sponge up in a tea towel requires no dexterity whatsoever.

For the filling, you simply stir the four ingredients together, and the syrup is foolproof.

One of the great pluses for me is that the roll can be assembled hours before serving. Such a relief to know that no last-minute fiddling is required.

If you decide to serve the coffee roll during Easter and would like to give a nod to Easter and its traditions, go ahead and decorate the cake with miniature chocolate eggs - after all, coffee and chocolate are a very harmonious match.

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied

Coffee roll with Cointreau and ginger cream

SERVES 10-11

2 Tbsp espresso instant coffee granules
100g dark cane sugar
4 large eggs, size 7, at room temperature
11/2 tsps vanilla essence
70g ground almonds
30g standard flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp caster sugar, to sprinkle on tea towel

Cream filling
200g light cream cheese at room temperature (I use Philadelphia light, spreadable)
2 Tbsp Cointreau
11/2 Tbsp icing sugar
50g crystallised ginger, chopped

Coffee syrup
3 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp espresso instant coffee granules
3 tsp water
3 Tbsp Cointreau

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180degC on bake.

Lightly oil the inside of a 33cm x 20cm Swiss roll tin and line with non-stick baking paper, taking the paper a few centimetres higher than the sides of the tin. I like to grease the insides of the tin to ensure the paper fits snugly.

Rub the espresso coffee granules and dark cane sugar together with your finger tips, until well mixed. Set aside. The eggs increase in volume quite dramatically, so use the large bowl of your electric mixer. Warm the mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat on high speed until very thick, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and coffee mixture and keep beating for another 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla essence.

Stir together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs.

Gently spread the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until puffed and springy to the touch.

Meanwhile spread out a clean tea towel and sprinkle with the caster sugar.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 8-10 minutes. Then invert on to the sugar dusted tea towel. Remove the tin and peel off baking paper.

While the cake is still warm, start with the long side and roll up the cake like a sponge roll, enclosing the tea towel. The cake is rolled with the tea towel so that it can easily be rolled up or unrolled without sticking. Cool seam-side down on rack.

To make the filling

Stir together the light cream cheese, Cointreau and icing sugar until smooth. Add the chopped ginger and stir until well mixed. Refrigerate until needed.

To make the coffee syrup

Combine the sugar, instant coffee granules and water in a small saucepan, and over a gentle heat stir until the sugar and coffee granules dissolve. Increase the heat and bubble up for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the Cointreau. Set aside to cool.

Several hours before serving, carefully unroll the cake and remove the tea towel. Brush the surface of the cake with about half the coffee syrup. Save remaining syrup for the top of the cake.

Spread the Cointreau and ginger cream filling evenly all over the cake. Then with one of the long sides facing you, roll up into a long roll.

Brush the top and sides of the roll with the remaining coffee syrup.

Place the coffee roll seam-side down on a serving platter.

Decorate with miniature roses, tiny chocolate Easter eggs or both.

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