This roulade is loosely based on a Helen Goh recipe – the roulade never fails or cracks and breaks. Baking should always reward, and this is no exception. I happened to have some leftover gold edible glitter and crystalised verbena leaves from a kids' birthday cake which look pretty, but are by no means a necessity.
4 large eggs, separated
2 heaped tsp mixed spice
130g castor sugar
2 tbsp water
70g almond meal (freshly ground is best)
80g self-raising flour
20g icing sugar
Spiced nougat and Christmas pud cream
250g cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
150g white chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
85g soft nougat, chopped into bite-sized pieces
100g Christmas pudding, roughly chopped
½ cup glace cherries, halved
2 tsp edible gold glitter (optional)
25g freeze-dried sour cherries
a few crystallised verbena leaves (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 170C and line a swiss roll tin (about 22cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
2. Place the egg yolks and mixed spice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start to beat on low speed.
3. Meanwhile, add the sugar and water to a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Stir regularly until the sugar has dissolved but not taken on any colour. Remove and allow to cool slightly (about 45 seconds), then pour down the side of the bowl of the egg yolks. Be careful that this isn't burning, or it will collapse the egg yolks. Increase speed to medium and whisk for about 4 minutes or until thick and creamy.
4. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer then gently fold through the almond meal and self-raising flour.
5. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gently fold the almond mixture through the egg white mixture, one third at a time.
6. Scrape the batter into the tray and bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch in the centre. Remove and set aside.
7. Sift half the icing sugar over the cake and cover with a clean tea towel. Place a wire rack on top then flip it so the wire rack is underneath. Lift the tray off, carefully peel away the baking paper and lightly dust the top of the cake with the remaining icing sugar.
8. With one of the short ends of the sponge facing towards you, roll up the still warm cake with the tea towel inside. Allow the rolled cake to rest for 20 minutes or so, then gently unroll and set aside to cool completely. The cake will be curved at the ends, but this helps prevent the sponge from breaking – it trains it for its second roll.
9. Add the filling ingredients, except the nougat and pudding pieces, to a bowl and whisk vigorously until thoroughly combined.
10. When ready to assemble, remove the tea towel from the cake. Use a small spatula to spread the majority of the white chocolate and cream cheese mixture across the surface of the sponge, leaving a 2cm border without any cream at the short end of the cake furthest away from you. Scatter the chunks of nougat and Christmas pudding over the cream.
11. Roll the cake up as you did before. Transfer the cake to a long platter.
12. If you have a few tablespoons or so of the white chocolate cream cheese remaining spread this along the top of the roulade, to help the toppings to stick. Scatter over the freeze-dried sour cherries, glace cherries and any other Christmassy toppings you'd like to use, then cut into 2.5-3cm-thick slices and serve.