“Who would have thought?” Molly Wilkinson comments on her journey into the world of crackling sugar cages and rich mousse.
Dallas-born Wilkinson recently published French Pastry Made Simple: Foolproof Recipes for Eclairs, Tarts, Macarons and More (Page Street Publishing Co.), a gorgeous little cookbook which she penned from the apartment in Versailles where she now lives and teaches in-person and virtual classes.
For last week’s profile of Wilkinson, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and a description of the book, read here. Meanwhile, we’ve got recipes to share.
Make some time this week or weekend to dive into confecting a rolled raspberry mousse cake with berries nestled in its lofty, cloud-like spirals.
Rolled Raspberry Mousse Cake
Rolled cakes are often seen in France only around the holidays, with the traditional Bûche de Nöel, but they are delicious any time of the year. Why not enjoy a raspberry rolled sponge cake for a summer pique-nique? It’s easy to make and the perfect project for the whole family.
A raspberry mousse fills this fabulous rolled génoise cake. It comes together in a flash with just two ingredients: heavy cream and jam. Simply whip up the cream and then add the jam for a beautiful thick mousse to spread inside. Add even more flavor with fresh raspberries and more jam to this easy slice and eat cake! —Molly Wilkinson
Rolled Génoise Cake
Baking spray, for pan
½ cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp (20 g) unsalted butter
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar
Simple Raspberry Mousse
1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, cold
⅓ cup (110 g) raspberry jam (like Bonne Maman)
About ¼ cup (80 g) raspberry jam
1 cup (4 oz [125 g]) fresh raspberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Make the Génoise Cake
Spray a 10-by-15–inch (25x 38–cm) jelly-roll pan with baking spray. Line with parchment paper (it should go up the long sides, but if it doesn’t entirely cover the shorter ends, that’s totally fine; just crease the paper into the corners). Spray the top of the parchment with baking spray as well.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Measure out the flour and set aside with a sieve or sifter nearby. Melt the butter and set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer, put the eggs, egg yolk (for a rolled cake) and sugar. If your eggs feel the least bit cool to the touch, place the whole uncracked egg in a bowl of warm water for several minutes before cracking.
Whip the egg mixture on medium-high speed until triple in volume, very pale yellow in color (practically white) and mousselike and thick in texture. Lift the beater to check the texture. The batter should fall in a slow, thick ribbon and take a couple of seconds to disappear.
Note: It is important to whip until this texture is achieved. It can take 8 to 10 minutes to get to this point, or sometimes even longer! Set a timer for 8 minutes and check. If it looks as if the eggs aren’t whipping up after several minutes, your mixer speed is too low; in that case, increase the speed slightly. However, it’s important to not whip fully on high speed, or else very big bubbles will be created. Instead, stick to medium-high speed, whipping for a longer time so a sturdier structure is created— this is what creates the lift in the sponge.
Sift the flour over the whipped eggs in two additions, gently folding after each until mostly incorporated. The trick is to keep as much air in the batter as possible. To fold, I repeat in my head, “Into the middle, out to the sides.” Fold with a spatula dipping into the middle, scraping the bottom and then coming up and over the top. After each fold, turn the bowl a little. I’ll scrape around the sides every once in a while, too.
Once the flour is just about incorporated, grab a spatula full of batter and add it to the cooled melted butter. Whisk well to mix the two together. This makes it much easier to blend into the batter. Pour the butter into the batter and fold carefully
Pour the batter in a line down the prepared jelly-roll pan. Use an offset metal spatula to first spread the batter into the corners, and then fill in the rest of the pan. Do this quickly and aim for an even layer.
Immediately place in the preheated oven to keep the batter from deflating. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The cake is done when the top is lightly browned across the whole surface, and is pulling away from the sides of the pan.
As soon as you remove it from the oven, cover with a damp, clean cloth. It’s okay if the cloth touches the cake. This will keep the moisture in and help prevent any cracking. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
Make the Simple Raspberry Mousse
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cold heavy cream at medium-high speed to medium peak and then add the raspberry jam. If the jam seems very thick (which will make it hard to incorporate), stir in a little water to thin it slightly before adding it to the whipped cream.
Continue beating the mixture to medium-firm peak to where it will hold its shape, scraping the bowl as needed. If the jam is not incorporating well, fold it in with a spatula.
Assemble the Cake
Remove the towel from the cooled génoise cake and transfer to a clean work surface, leaving the parchment paper attached to the cake. Make sure your serving platter is nearby.
Dot the top of the cake with the raspberry jam. Spread to cover the surface in a thin layer, using an offset metal spatula. This will help keep the cake nice and moist and add more framboise (raspberry) flavor!
Spread the raspberry mousse to cover the top, allowing for a 1-inch (2.5-cm) margin on the short ends.
Distribute the fresh raspberries on top, reserving a few for decorating, if you’d like! Press the raspberries into the mousse.
Roll from one of the short ends, using the parchment paper to help. It’s a little awkward at first but be patient, rolling a bit and then peeling away the parchment. Then, once you have the roll going, use the parchment to move the cake. This allows for more even pressure when rolling. Don’t press too hard, or the mousse will come out the ends.
When you’re just about at the end of the roll, transfer the cake and trailing parchment to your serving platter. This makes it much easier to move. Then, finish rolling the cake and pull the parchment completely off.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
Before serving, cut off the ends with a serrated knife for a clean line. Waiting to do this until the cake has chilled and the filling has set will make this much easier!
Dust the top with powdered sugar and decorate with the reserved fresh raspberries (if using). Serves six.