Wednesday, 2 October 2013

"Snickers" cake

I remember this time last year there was an abundance of stone fruits. Peaches, nectarines, plums, all these shades of crimson and canary lined up beautifully in the markets. Peter's favourite cake was peaches and cream sponge cake and I earnestly wanted to make him one that brings him back to his childhood. I got to the supermarket and there they were. Peaches and nectarines side by side. This is quite embarrassing because being someone that not only cooks/bakes, but also LOVES fruits, I should know the difference between peaches and nectarines right? But I didn't. And the signs were pretty ambiguous. Being on a hurry that day, I just grabbed 3 of the one I thought was peach. And guess what? Yup, I grabbed nectarines. 

But matters not, I used them in the cake anyway. The cake was organic, simple and covered with delicious cream (shown in the pictures above). I actually screwed up with the icing of the cake. And in my attempt to fix it, the strokes of the palette knife on the icing gradually and organically led to a rather radical decoration. I loved it. It was so different from the usual icing, but it was bold and it showcased what the cake was. Though the nectarines were on the raw side, the cake was delicious. And I was determined that next year, I'd get it right and make PEACHES and cream cake! 

Flash-forward a year, and it is now time to reconquer that cake. But low and behold, I combed through the markets and there were no signs of peaches OR nectarines! Or any kind of stone fruits for that matter! The only peaches I found, besides the canned ones swimming in those sugary pools that I absolutely refuse to use, were some sad looking ones that were flown thousands of miles here from America. And they were $9/kg. No thanks! So, no peaches and cream birthday cake yet again this year. But of course I had to come up with a brilliant enough cake to make. 

After much deliberation and loads of ideas jumping around in my head, I decided to make a vertical swiss roll. The recipe for swiss roll on Sorted Food seemed easy enough to make. Five minutes to whip up and only takes 5 minutes to bake! Win. Since I haven't made anything chocolatey in a while, I decided to bash some good old dark cocoa powder in and make it a chocolate cake. For the icing, the extra cream cheese leftover from my previous shopping spree found its way into the equation. Mix in some shiny melted dark chocolate and the richness instantly leveled up 10 notches. The chocolate sand(!) from What Katie Ate's cake sounded too good to not be included. Instead of hazelnut, I used peanut. So, this cake is basically an amalgamation of much foodie genius and brilliance. 

First time making a vertical swiss roll (Scroll down for photo of what it looks like inside), I didn't know what to expect. The cake turned out smaller than I wanted it to be. I was contemplating whether or not to make more, but the prospect of having to do all the washing up again pushed me to deciding against that idea. And it turned out that after slicing up the cake, each person got a perfect portion! As the cake was so rich, any more than that would've been severely overkill. Some people even thought that smaller pieces of cakes would've been better.Although I think my chocolate sand didn't turn out quite how it was supposed to (my meringue was too soft, and my ground peanut was slightly too fine, so it turned out more like chocolate mud?), the gooey meringue gave a nice caramel touch. The combination of flavours - chocolate, peanut, some caramelly notes resonated with the taste of a Snickers bar. So, unknowingly, I've created a Snickers cake! And comparing the cake from last year and this year, I just realised they both have that similar organic touch. 

[Snickers Cake]

Serves 8
The recipe has many components and seem quite long, but it is actually pretty easy to make and put together. 

Chocolate swiss roll
Recipe adapted from Sorted Food
3 eggs, separated
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
90g raw sugar, blended
90g flour
45ml olive oil

Chocolate cream cheese icing
Recipe adapted from Cupcake Project
250g cream cheese, room temperature
50g butter, room temperature
3/4 cup raw sugar, blended
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
90g melted dark chocolate 

Chocolate sand
Recipe adapted from What Katie Ate
45g ground, roasted peanuts
50g roughly ground meringue**
50g dark chocolate, melted

1. For the cake: Line a swiss roll pan, or any flat pan. I used a 32cmx32cm pan. Preheat oven to 200C. Beat together the egg yolks with half the sugar and vanilla until thick and pale. In another bowl, whip up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until you form soft peaks. Add in the other half of the sugar and whip until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture appears glossy. Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Add in the flour and olive oil and stir gently until there are no lumps, but take care not to knock out the air you have whipped in. Pour the mixture into the lined pan, spreading it evenly and well into the corners of the pan. Bake for 5-6 minutes until golden. Tear out a piece of parchment paper big enough to put your cake on. sprinkle on some sugar and cocoa powder. Remove cake from oven and flip onto the sugared parchment paper. Peel back the other parchment paper carefully, so as to not tear the cake. Roll up the cake + sugared parchment to form a swiss roll shape (do this while the cake is warm so it's easier to roll!). Set aside. 

2. For the icing: Beat the cream cheese on low speed until it has softened and is slightly aerated. Add in the butter and beat until well mixed and light. Add in the sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Finally, beat in the melted chocolate* until well incorporated. 

*To melt the chocolate, heat up some water in a pot. Place a bowl on the pot. The bowl must be able to cover the pot so no steam can escape from the sides. The bowl must not touch the water, because you only want heat from the steam. Once the water has boiled, turn it down to a simmer. Add the chocolate, which you have chopped up. (Add in the portion for the chocolate sand as well). Leave the chocolate, don't be tempted to stir it! Gradually, the chocolate will turn glossy as it starts to melt. You can aid the melting process by pushing the unmelted pieces into the melted pool of chocolate. Turn of the heat and once the chocolate has melted you can give it a little stir. The chocolate will appear silky and glossy. Cool it slightly before adding it to the cream cheese mixture. Reserve some chocolate for the chocolate sand.

3. For the chocolate sand: Mix the ground peanuts and meringue** together. Add them into the melted chocolate and stir. 

**For the meringue, you can either buy it, which probably will ensure that it's crunchy. Or you can make it like I did. For a my melty, gooey meringue, whip up 2 egg whites + pinch of salt + 100g of raw blended sugar, until you form stiff peaks, and when you tip the mixture upside down, it doesn't fall off the bowl. Drop little tablespoon fulls of meringue onto a lined tray. Bake at 100C for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

4. To assemble the cake: Unroll the swiss roll. Cut into three equal sized strips. On each strip, pile on some chocolate cream cheese icing. Smooth the filling out into every inch and corner of the swiss roll. Sprinkle on the chocolate sand. It's fun to use your fingers! Take one strip of cake and start rolling it up as you would a normal swiss roll. Make sure to roll it up firmly and quite tightly. Once it's rolled up, line the end of that first roll with the start of the second strip (so the roll is continuous), and roll the second cake over the first, again make sure it is firm, tight and nicely aligned. Repeat with the third strip.*** Now, flip the cake so that it stands vertically, and walah! You now have a vertical swiss roll. Apply icing onto the cake how you would a normal cake. Decorate the top with some nuts. 

Refrigerate the cake before serving. 

***If you don't want your cake as tall as mine, you can always cut the cake into 4 strips instead of 3.


  1. What a gorgeous cake! I love that it is really a swiss roll cake under all of that delicious icing. What a great idea.

    1. Thank you! Although I can't take credit for this great idea. I've saw pictures of the vertical swiss roll on the internet ages ago and have wanted to try it out. But yes, it's definitely very cool when you cut into it and the layers are vertical!