When the pandemic hit and we started our first lockdown, I made it my mission to reshoot as many old blog posts as I could. I buried myself in my blog to distract myself from well, everything else in the world. Nine months later, I have just completed my 200th reshoot. I gotta admit, I'm actually proud of what I was able to finish. Now I can turn my attention to creating new and exciting recipes like this hojicha roll cake. I've become obsessed with hojicha treats over the last couple of years so it only made sense to finally cook with the ingredient. This Asian roll cake has hojicha in the cake and is filled with an infused hojicha cream, making it the ultimate hojicha dessert. It's beyond delicious.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I tried making roll cakes earlier in the year but decided to give up after one too many failures. No matter what I tried, the cake would always crack when I tried to roll it. I was hesitant to make yet another roll cake but after buying a jelly roll pan, I decided it was time. Plus, it didn't hurt that the flavor was going to be hojicha.
At this point, you may be wondering, "so what is hojicha?". It's a type of Japanese tea but what makes it extra special is that it's roasted. Because the tea is roasted, all the bitterness is removed and what's left is a naturally sweet, slightly smoky tea. It's quite delightful if I do say so myself.
To make the hojicha roll cake, we're going to first make the hojicha infused cream. Simmer the hojicha tea in heavy cream over low heat for 5 minutes. It's important that you do not boil the cream or it can curdle. Turn off the flames and let the tea steep in the warm cream for 1 hour. Strain the mixture and chill it overnight.
Meanwhile, melt white chocolate chips in a bit of heavy cream in the microwave until the white chocolate chips melt, stirring every 15 seconds. Let this mixture cool completely as well. We're using white chocolate chips as the sweetener for the cream filling instead of powdered sugar. It adds the perfect balance of sweetness without imparting too many white chocolate flavors.
You can choose to make both of the cream mixtures the day you bake the cake, just make sure the cream is cold before whipping it.
The next day, make the hojicha roll cake. I was unable to find ground hojicha so I purchased hojicha tea leaves and ground them with a mortar and pestle until fine. If you can find the ground version, you can use that instead, using the same amount as listed in the recipe.
Since we're using the chiffon cake method, we're going to separate the eggs and whip them. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then in a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks until pale yellow. Make sure to fully whip each part so that you will have a light fluffy cake.
Gently mix the egg yolks with the other wet ingredients then stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Mix in a small amount of the egg whites to loosen up the batter and make it easier to fold. Then, carefully fold in the egg whites in two batches, making sure not to deflate the whites you spent so much time whipping.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 10 minutes. It's a thin cake so it doesn't need much time in the oven before it's done. In fact, if you overbake the cake, it can quickly become dry. Trust me, I know from experience.
Some websites say to let the cake cool for 10 minutes before you roll it but I found the most success when I roll it straight from the oven. Prepare your towel and parchment paper while the cake is baking and invert it onto the paper when it's done.
Okay so if you want your cake to look perfect, you can take one extra step. Flip your cake onto a clean sheet of wax paper or a silicone mat. Then, flip the cake again onto the towel-lined with parchment paper. Why take this step? The top of the cake ends up being the outside when you invert it straight onto the towel. However, if you're like me, you may not have spread the cake perfectly so it won't be completely smooth. The bottom of the cake, on the other hand, will be. Thus, we have to flip the cake twice to make sure the bottom of the pan is what's going to face the outside.
Let the hojicha roll cake cool completely while it's still rolled up. Meanwhile, whip the infused cream until stiff peaks form, and then add the white chocolate mixture, whipping until combined. Unroll the cake and spread that lovely cream in an even layer. You may have extra cream but it never hurts to have a little extra on the side! Roll up the cake again, this time without the towel, finish with a light dusting of powdered sugar, and voila!
I cannot tell you how excited I was when I realized I finally nailed the swiss roll cake. No cracks, perfectly moist, and intense hojicha flavor. Don't mind me, I'll be shoving my face with this cake while doing my happy dance.
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