What is it about baking books
from the UK, New Zealand and Australia that make us covet them? I
credit this fascination partly on the Great British Bake Off show
which delivered baking from the UK to the world and now has us all
in a snit about its
When the opportunity arose to review,
The Great New Zealand Baking Book, I jumped at it. The physical
book itself is just fun - pink checkered cover with an a super
stylish spine that sets out a few of the recipe names from the
Sixty of New Zealand's finest bakers share their favourite bakes
and desserts with over 165 recipes. Pictures accompany almost every
bake and a handy "The Cook's Companion" welcomes bakers with
"close-enough conversions". Thank goodness for digital scales so we
can be exact. Basic puff pastry and other doughs are shared in the
first pages before the bakers' recipes begin filling the pages with
crave-worthy cakes, tarts and more.
The classics are covered such as Lamingtons, Hot Cross Buns and
Croissants. There are also plenty of exciting flavour combinations
such as Saffron Créme Caramel, Tamarillo Clafoutis, and Afghan
Yoyos, a delicious chocolate/caramel sandwich cookie that I haven't
seen before in a baking book. Savoury bakes include an Asparagus,
Mint & Feta Bread, a luscious Savoury Breakfast Tart, and
Chicken Leek & Mushroom Pie. Recipes for crepes, fritters and
the like are included although they are technically not bakes, but
I wanted to challenge myself and bake something new so I chose
the Chocolate Roulade recipe which consists of three components -
the cake, mousse filling and chocolate ganache topping. I have made
swiss roll type cakes in the past - simple sponge cakes and whipped
cream fillings, relatively easy. A roulade, however, is a flourless
cake that is very light and somewhat delicate.
Suited up with my apron and armed with my scale, my first step
was to determine what size pan I owned that equalled a "sponge roll
pan" - after searching New Zealand sponge roll pans - I found a
rough measurement and went with a quarter sheet pan. My next step
was getting over being angry with myself for not following the
first rule of baking - read the recipe a day ahead of time. I had
skimmed the recipe a day before and bought the ingredients. The day
of the recipe, I read that it is best to make the cake a day or two
ahead of time. Nevertheless, I forged on.
The cake was done in relatively short order and I covered it in
plastic as directed and waited an hour. I made the mousse and
refrigerated as directed (that should have been done the day before
as well). After the allotted time, I flipped the cake with success.
It was very delicate and the power of reading the recipe in advance
really hit home (I knew this cake really needed to rest overnight).
Ignoring the voice inside my head that told me to wait, I filled
the roulade with the filling - rolled it up and placed it in the
fridge to set before making the ganache (it was much too delicate
to try to cover in ganache at that point).
I did follow the instructions for the ganache precisely and
while it thickened it never became "butter-like". After roughly
thirty minutes of allowing the cake to set and the ganache to
thicken, I covered the roulade in the chocolate. The result was
exactly as in the photograph of the cookbook and the flavour was
deeply rich and decadent. A small slice would be more than enough
for anyone, except my son who is a chocolate fiend. Next time, I
will be more prepared which will result in less anxiety - but the
finished roulade was still beautiful.
Pros: Delicious showstopper cake. Cons: No measurements for the
baking tin and this baker's lack of planning ahead. The Great New
Zealand Baking Book is a keeper - fun and teeming with
recipes that are approachable by any level baker who reads the
recipes in advance.
Special thanks to Thom & Co. for sharing the Chocolate
Roulade recipe with our members.
Recipe by Ruth Pretty from Ruth Pretty Catering
Serves: 8-10 - prep time: 1 hour, plus cooling &
cook time: 17 mins - skill level: 2 (moderate)
135 G dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids (buttons, or
tablet chopped coarsely)
35 Ml strong freshly brewed coffee
5 Eggs, separated
135 G caster sugar
Pinch of salt
125 G dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids (buttons, or
tablet chopped coarsely)
60 G full-fat cream cheese, coarsely chopped
70 G caster sugar
1 Egg yolk
300 Ml cream
315 Ml cream
315 G dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids (buttons, or
tablet coarsely chopped)
50 G butter
Make the cake and mousse one or two days ahead, then make the
ganache and assemble on the day you wish to serve.
To make cake: pre-heat oven to 180ºc. Line a sponge-roll tin
with baking paper and grease the paper with spray oil or melted
Place chocolate and coffee in a double boiler or a heatproof
bowl, set over a pot of simmering water, and warm over a medium
heat until chocolate begins to melt. Remove from the heat and stir
until chocolate is completely liquid.
Place egg yolks in a bowl and whisk briefly, then gradually add
sugar, continuing to whisk until the mixture is pale, fluffy and
very thick. Add warm chocolate mixture and salt to egg yolk mixture
and whisk until cool.
To a clean bowl, add egg whites and whisk until stiff peaks
form. Carefully fold half the beaten whites into the chocolate
mixture, and when almost combined add the remaining half and fold
in. Pour mixture into prepared tin and spread evenly. Bake for
15-17 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched
in the centre.
Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack. Cover with
plastic wrap and let cool for 1 hour. Invert the cake, leaving the
plastic wrap in place, and carefully peel away the baking
To make mousse: place chocolate in a double boiler or a
heatproof bowl, set over a pot of simmering water, and warm over a
low heat. Stir chocolate until it is almost melted. Cool.
Whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Set aside.
Place cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk in the bowl of a food
processor fitted with a metal blade, and process until mixture is
smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour chocolate through the feed tube
of the food processor and process until mixture is just combined.
Quickly transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and gently
fold in cream. Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before
To make ganache: place cream and chocolate in a double boiler
set over a low heat or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering
water, and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir gently until chocolate is
half-melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate
is melted, fully amalgamated and smooth. You may need to return pot
to heat to encourage melting of the chocolate. Add butter and stir
until melted and ganache is smooth. Rest at room temperature for
15-20 minutes or until it sets to a soft butter-like
To assemble: spread cake with chocolate mousse. Carefully roll
the cake up from one long side, lifting the plastic wrap to get it
started. Place the roll, seam-side down, and chill for at least 1
hour, or overnight, before icing with ganache.
Place roulade on a serving tray and use a palette knife or table
knife to spread chocolate ganache onto roulade. Do not apply water
or heat to the spreader, as the ganache will become streaky and
Photo of Chocolate Roulade by Jenny Hartin