My favourite family recipe is a cake called a Chocolate Roll, passed down from my mother. It has been a Christmas and New Year's tradition in my family since I was born. and long before.
It certainly does not fit within the healthy living guidelines.
As one of five children, portions were controlled by sibling competition, and as child number three, I tended not to win those competitions. There certainly were never any leftovers.
After marriage and pre-children, portion sizes became more of a risk. but we made some alterations (whipped cream became lite Nutriwhip, cake no longer included five eggs) making it somewhat healthier. or perhaps, less unhealthy is a more accurate description.
Oddly my fondest memory of this recipe has no relation to Christmas or New Year's.
Not long after we were married, my wife decided a celebration of my birthday afloat was in order (I have been a sailing addict since childhood), so we borrowed my parents "well used" sailboat and off we went for a sailing adventure up Howe Sound.
Somehow she managed to bake a version of that recipe in that very little, very old, propane oven - but its tiny proportions did not allow the prescribed baking pan.
Consequently, the cake was too thick.
As she attempted to roll the cake, to her great frustration, it repeatedly broke.
While our philosophy was "more icing" could fix any Chocolate Roll problem, this one did not look like much of a roll. After dinner, contemplating the leftovers (no children at that point, so there actually were leftovers) she pronounced that the shape was all part of her master plan for the new tradition: the "Chocolate Apartment Building." Now, every time a Chocolate Roll does not turn out quite right, it magically transforms to the perfect Chocolate Apartment Building, which somehow tastes even better.
During birthdays and holidays, it really is all about having the right perspective (or maybe it's the extra icing).
Happy holidays to all!
The original recipe Ingredients:
5 egg yolks 1 cup icing sugar
¼ cup sifted enriched flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa 1 teaspoon vanilla
5 stiffly beaten egg whites
Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon col-ured. Sift sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa together three times. Beat into yolks until well blended. Add vanilla and fold in egg whites.
Bake in well greased, paper-lined, and greased again 15½" X 10½" X 1" jelly roll pan at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes.
Immediately turn out onto tea towel well sprinkled with icing sugar.
Quickly peel paper off cake and roll up in towel and let cool.
Unroll and spread sweetened whipping cream, then roll and ice with chocolate icing.
Robert McFarlane, Vice-Chair, Langley Board of Education