ROLL WITH CHAMOMILE WHIPPED CREAM

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SOFT, SWEET, AND
ELEGANTLY FRAGRANT

UPON the realization that the previous few posts have been excruciatingly long and possibly obnoxious, I feel like today is a good day… to shut the hell up to let the recipe speak for itself.  And what’s better than to do it with a simple gorgeous cake? This is a soft, sweet and elegantly fragrant yellow sponge cake-roll hinted with almond flour, and filled with chamomile infused whipped cream.  Lost for words?  I know I am.

 

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Chamomile is a very popular tea in China, usually served with a bowl of Rock sugar on the side, which is also called “ice sugar” in Chinese.  It is a common and preferred sweetener for teas and cooking in Asia, which is not as sweet as typical granulated sugar, and many would argue that it brings a honey-like, more complexed sweetness without unwanted flavourings.

The almond flour I used is made with Chinese southern almond, which has a much stronger aroma (resembling bitter almond and almond extract) that I love.  There’s a more extensive post on that.  You can buy Chinese southern almond and grind it in a food-processor like I did, or use normal almond flour if you prefer.  But let me just say that the aroma of Chinese southern almond pairs beautifully with chamomile.

* I used a slightly larger baking-sheet than suggested in the recipe, and as a result, I felt like the sheet-cake was too thin.  So use a baking-sheet as suggested in the recipe, or smaller.

Ingredients:

  • Chamomile whipped cream:
    • 1 cup (240 grams) of heavy cream + 1/4 cup (60 grams) extra
    • 1/4 cup (8 grams) of chamomile 
    • 2 tbsp (30 grams) of rock sugar
  • Yellow sponge cake: roughly based on Bouchon Bakery
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 1/4 cup (85 grams) of honey
    • 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup (32 grams) of all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup (28 grams) of almond flour/almond meal (preferably Chinese southern almond)
    • 2 1/2 large egg whites
    • 2 tbsp of granulated sugar

To make the chamomile cream:  Combine 1 cup of heavy cream, chamomile and rock sugar in a pot and set over medium-low heat.  Gently stir, and turn off the heat just before the cream comes to a simmer, then let it steep for at least 5 min until the cream has turned light-yellow.  Drain through a fine sieve, and press on the chamomile to extract as much cream as you can then discard the chamomile.  Chill the chamomile cream until very cold (or to speed it up, place in the freezer and stir occasionally until very cold).  Meanwhile make the yellow sponge cake.

To make the yellow sponge cake:  Preheat the oven on 350ºF/170ºC.

With a handheld-mixer or a stand-mixer with whisk-attachment, beat large eggs, egg yolks, honey and granulated sugar together until very thick and velvety (scrape down the bowl once in between).  The mixture should form large ribbons when the whisk is lifted, approx 8~10 min.  Sift the all-purpose flour and almond flour directly into the bowl, and gently fold the mixture together until even with a spatula.  Wash and dry the whisk thoroughly.  Then with another clean bowl, beat 2 1/2 large egg whites and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar with the clean whisk, until glossy with soft peaks, approx 2~3 min.  Add half of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk-mixture, gently stir until evenly combined.  Then add the remaining egg whites, and fold it in gently with a spatula.

Line a baking sheet, about 15″ × 11″ (38 × 28 cm), with parchment paper and rub the surface lightly with butter.  Pour the cake-batter into the sheet and smooth the surface.  Bake in the oven for 13 ~ 15 min, until a wooden skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake.  Carefully transfer the sheet-cake to a cooling rack and cool completely.

To assemble the cake:  With a clean bowl and whisk, combine the chilled chamomile cream with another 1/4 cup of cold heavy cream.  Whip the cream until it holds its shape when the whisk is lifted.  Smear an even layer of whipped chamomile cream over the sponge cake, then carefully peel the cake away from the parchment and roll it from one side to the other.  The cake-roll may feel a bit soft at this point, which is why I like to wrap it firmly with the same parchment, and chill in the fridge until cold again before serving (dust with powdered sugar on top if you like).  It keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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17 Comments

  • That is what I like about your blog. The angry, raving posts make the recipe that much more meaningful and memorable (The Mapo tofu post is my fave).
    You know sponge rolls have a soft spot in every Asians heart. While the mock cream filled ones will do for a instant fix; nothing beats the originals with real cream and that only egg based sponge cake.

  • I certainly wasn’t annoyed by your posts, I found them very impassioned and enjoyable. :) But yes, this cake is leaving me speechless too. Chamomile whipped cream…that’s an epiphany right there.

  • I love chamomile. In Greece it is one of the most commonly used types of tea and we add it in desserts all the time. This is something else though, it looks fabulous and I can’t wait to give it a try!
    By the way, I enjoy your long posts. :)

  • Don’t worry about your long posts, they are quite therapeutical for me somewhat. I’m loving the colour of this cake. It’s also the first time I’ve seen chamomile in a cake (or cream to be more specific), I think… The annoying pharmaceutical part of me has only used chamomile for when I have a stomach ache as it can relax the smooth muscle tissues on the digestive tract. Funny how just yesterday I was thinking that I should learn to use almond flour in my cakes. And then voilà, you post this! :)

  • This looks amazing! I’ve made chamomile oats and was surprised with how potent these delicate little flowers can be when used correctly. Love that you’ve given them their due here! I just want to get my hands on this southern almond flour you mentioned…

    http://thatumamilife.wordpress.com – a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired.

  • I recently stumbled across your blog, your recipes and writing are fantastic! I am definitely trying out some of your recipes soon!

  • Ha – that’s good Mandy! You can’t fool me with your “I’m not going to go on about stuff”!! Maybe you’re just too tired do a long diatribe. You know we all love it cause it makes us laugh and we love food! Keep doing what you do, when you can. I still can’t believe you guys don’t weigh a million pounds! XXOO

  • Chamomile cream?! Swoon. I love roll cakes like these, but with a chamomile whipped cream filling that takes my love to a whole new level. Need to make this ASAP. PS Love all your posts, long and short and everything in between :D

  • This looks amazing, like a swiss roll on steroids. Want.
    Your blog is so tempting! I feel like as if i’m food shopping out of a catalog! – If only.

  • I made this today – delicious! The texture of the cake is amazing too, just like the roll cakes I usually buy from my local Chinese bakery. Fun and relatively simple to make, will definitely make it again.

  • Oh my days, it looks so yummy. I just so happen to have a tub of cream to use up… think I’ll go make this now :3

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