Light and Fluffy Flourless Mocha Cake Roll

6 Apr

Happy holiday weekend! Whether you are celebrating Easter or Passover make sure to enjoy this time to be with the ones you love. I wanted to share with you this delicious, Passover-approved Mocha Roll Cake that my family and I enjoyed tonight.

In my family we look for any excuse to celebrate, incorporating holidays from different religions into our own life. That’s why after having our Passover Seder tonight, we are heading off to celebrate Easter in Santa Barbara. Yes it’s untraditional for a Jewish family to celebrate Easter (and Christmas too) but we view it as a joyous opportunity to celebrate the changing of the season, without attaching any religious implications to it.

Cake batter ready to go in the oven

Baked cake

Our Passover may be every bit as untraditional as our non-Christian Easter. To enliven our telling of the story of Passover, each child receives a goody bag of stick frogs, plague masks, candy blood, and other plague-themed knickknacks. We also make sure to give prizes to everyone who hunts for the afikomen, not just the winner who finds it. These alternations to the typical Seder ensure that our family always looks forward to Passover as a joyous time to be with family and friends, instead of a dreaded 8-day bread fast.

Cake topped with cocoa powder, ready to roll

Rolled cake cooling...first scary rolling part done!

This year I allowed our non-traditional variations on Passover to influence even our menu. I decided to skip the usually dense chocolate cake, and instead make this airy chocolate roll cake that resembles a Christmas Buche de Noel more than anything else. This cake is super light and fluffy thanks to its light lack of either flour or butter. I’ll admit that I was too much of a wimp to risk rolling the cake myself, so my mom rolled it in the tea towel initially, then my older sister rolled it into its cream-filled final form. Yes it takes a bit more effort than most cakes to get it to roll without breaking, but Passover is a celebration, so there’s no better time to attempt a daring recipe. This flourless, yet indulgent chocolate cake is the perfect way to end your Passover Seder or Easter Brunch.

Unrolled and frosted cake

Successfully rolled cake thanks to help from my big sister

The less than attractive "drizzle" of chocolate ganache

Light and Fluffy Flourless Mocha Cake Roll

Our Passover chocolate cake, in one beautiful piece

Serves 10-16

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll



  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons strong coffee
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar (if making for Passover, make sure your powdered sugar is kosher for Passover)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder


  • heaping 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking or jellyroll pan. Then line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of waxed or parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.
  2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips with coffee and stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and creamy, then add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are even creamier. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.
  4. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks (it takes a while, but be patient because it will make all the difference). Gently fold the egg white mixture in four batches into the chocolate-yolk mixture to lighten it.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top, then bake it for 15 minutes, or until cake layer feels dry (but very soft)
  6. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes, then gently remove towels; don’t fuss if they have a bit of cake stuck to them.
  7. Run a knife around the edges of the cake and lightly sift one tablespoon cocoa over the top of the cake and cover the cake with a thin tea towel that is a bit longer than the pan. Place the back of a baking sheet or a large flat tray over the towel and invert the cake and paper onto it.
  8. Gently peel back the parchment or waxed paper that lined the pan. Sift the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder on the other side of the cake.
  9. Using the towel underneath to help lift and roll the cake, roll the cake from short end to short end with the towel inside. Let cool completely, encased in its towel. This will probably take about 20 minutes.
  10. While waiting for the cake to cool, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and espresso until it holds stiff peaks, then set it aside.
  11. In the top of a double boiler, melt your chocolate for the ganache, and once it is completely melted, remove it from the heat and pour the whipping cream over it. Then rapidly whisk the cream and the chocolate together until it forms a shiny liquid.
  12. Once the cake is fully cooled, get your serving plate ready and place it nearby. Gently unroll chocolate cake and remove tea towel. Place another sheet of wax or parchment paper on the top of your cake, and invert it on the back of a baking pan once again, so that your parchment paper is underneath the cake.
  13. Gently spread the whipped cream filling evenly over cake. Use the paper once again to re-roll cake.
  14. Place on serving platter, seam side down, then pour or drizzle the ganache over it. If your ganache looks pretty with a simple pour, leave it as is. If, however, it does not elegantly glide over the edges of the cake, take a knife and smooth it over the top of the cake. The entire ganache coat is optional; if your cake turns out perfectly without it, feel free to forgo this step.

Enjoy! What are your holiday plans this weekend?

11 Responses to “Light and Fluffy Flourless Mocha Cake Roll”

  1. Julie Kendall April 9, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    XXOO Love this!

    • ModernAlice April 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      Thanks Julie! Miss you!

    • ModernAlice April 13, 2012 at 11:39 am #

      Thanks Julie! You should come to our Seder next year!

  2. Lucy's Cafe April 7, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    I’m making a cake right now! Yours sounds delicious…

    • ModernAlice April 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Oooh! What kind of delicious cake did you make?

      • Lucy's Cafe April 11, 2012 at 4:22 am #

        A Vanilla-Lemon pound cake. I’m embarrassed to say it was gone in two days. I hope you had a nice Easter!

      • ModernAlice April 13, 2012 at 11:44 am #

        Oooh, that sounds delicious! Thanks, you too!

  3. piesandeyes April 7, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Looks delicious!

  4. trixfred30 April 7, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    We do this and call it a roulade – it looks delicious!

    • ModernAlice April 18, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      Awesome! I always love finding out how about differences from country to country!

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