I cheat a little when it comes to roulade – the sponge shenanigans make me nervous, so I often go for the meringue variety – I find them easier to work with and less likely to crack and break when rolling. They are delicate but without doubt the more low-maintenance variety.
Cocoa meringue roulade
180g egg whites (about 6)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
50g Dutch cocoa, plus extra to dust
For the filling
300g pure cream
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup mixed berries (I used raspberries and sliced strawberries)
1 cup mixed small Easter eggs, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional).
2. Line a 30cm x 40cm flat tray with canola spray and baking paper, making sure you have some baking paper along the sides to help you with the rolling.
3. Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at a medium-high speed until they reach firm peaks and look creamy. Add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, increasing speed of adding once the mixture begins to look firm and glossy. Beat until you can rub a dot of mixture between your fingers and don't feel any sugar granules. Add the vanilla and whisk only until combined, then turn off the mixer to add the cocoa powder and salt. Mix on low, to prevent the cocoa powder flying everywhere, until the mixture looks chocolatey, glossy and smooth.
4. Scrape the mix out onto the prepared tray and spread it right to the edges to create a large rectangular shape, and smooth out with an offset spatula.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top looks crunchy – similar to the top of a brownie but definitely not hard. Allow to cool completely on the tray.
6. Whip the cream to medium peaks then add the vanilla and briefly whip to combine. Spread the cream gently over the meringue. Scatter over the fruit and chopped Easter eggs in an even layer.
7. Turn the tray so that a long side is facing you. Picking up the edges of baking paper, very slowly and gently begin to roll the meringue into a log, peeling back the baking paper as you go. Once you have started the roll, move the edge of it to a serving platter, and finish the roll and peeling of baking paper directly on the serving platter. This minimises touching the meringue and making a dented mess of your hard work.
8. Generously dust the roulade log with extra cocoa powder before serving. This is best served straight after assembling to avoid the coloured eggs running into the cream. If you use speckled bird-style chocolate eggs, it also ensures the lovely crisp shell is maintained.