Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013 and another year of firsts in the kitchen!
I may have lost half of December to vertigo, but I was consciously putting off the task of making my Swiss Roll long before that. I actually dreaded this challenge, even though I selected it. It makes no sense. But it does.
You see, while I wanted to eat a Swiss Roll, the thought of making one made my heart race a little. For the very idea of rolling up a cake and expecting it to not only not crack, but stay perfectly intact in a beautifully balanced spiral of cake and frosting–well, that gave me a bit of anxiety. Not trapped-in-a-crowded-elevator level of anxiety, but enough that I wasn’t exactly relishing making this a reality. I was kind of hoping it would just magically happen on its own without my intervention and I could call it a day. It didn’t.
New Year’s Eve left me home alone this year. My husband had volunteered to help a new hire at his winter night job learn the ropes during the first couple Monday nights of the season and–lucky him–New Year’s Eve was one of them. My kids were off at my father-in-law’s house for the annual Grandpa’s Rockin’ Eve celebration (bless him! he had 4 little ones in his house overnight!). Just me and the dog remained behind. And in my state of feeling sorry for myself, tinged with a sore back, a nasty case of PMS overflowing past the P and just plain into MS territory, and a general unease about having the vertigo dizziness return while out alone, I decided to stay home. Watch some streaming videos. Read some books. Have a drink or two. And maybe, just maybe, tackle that nagging First on the First baking task I hadn’t yet attempted. If I could pull myself off the couch for long enough and not have my uterus fall out in the process. (I know. Just what you want to hear about in a discussion of cake!)
So I did it. I selected my recipe. I gathered my tools. And I went to town.
All seemed well… until I tried to unroll the cake. I don’t know if it hadn’t cooled enough (I was feeling a little cocky and perhaps a tad too eager to continue on with the recipe). I don’t know if I just plain screwed it up. I followed the recipe to a T–a rarity, but I was anxious enough that I didn’t want my tweaking to be the culprit for any mishaps. And still, it broke into 4 pieces, 1/3 of which was off the parchment paper and therefore impossible to try to roll back into the cake and pretend nothing had happened. Arrrrrrrgh!
I salvaged the two biggest pieces and made something resembling a Swiss Roll with the remains, but it just wasn’t the same. Defeated, I retired to the living room to mope for a bit. The crumbs and frosting were a tasty combo, just as perfect as I had envisioned, but it was all for nothing if it didn’t actually look like a roulade. My plate looked more like I dropped the cake on the floor and quickly scraped it onto the first thing I could find. I know I’m always saying “as long as it tastes good,” but this was pushing it. Ugh.
What it comes down to isn’t the cake. It’s my unrealistic vision of myself and my abilities. That I can waltz into these recipes like a kitchen prodigy and master techniques that take years of practice without putting in more effort than an afternoon or evening of baking. And that’s wrong. And I know it.
So I ate my delicious mess. And I toasted the New Year. And resolved–as a person who doesn’t make resolutions–to stop waiting til the last minute on First on the First challenges and start being a little more serious about them. I’m not learning anything from this if I’m not putting my all into it. And that’s not fair to anyone.
I won’t repost the recipe, as I clearly need more practice before I can become any sort of authority on the matter. But I think you’ll very much enjoy Deb of smitten kitchen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll. I did sub out the filling with my Car Bomb Whoopie Pie filling and I would do that again. And I will do it again. And again. And again. Until I get it right. That’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?
Have you ever made a roulade-style cake? Did it work? Did you have problems? What advice would you share?
How did everyone else do with their Swiss Rolls?