Celebrity Chefs Recipes: Emily Luchetti's Chocolate Roulade with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Photos: Vic Chin, Video: Vic Chin and Peter Ruocco

Jelly rolls are classic desserts that look nice but frankly taste boring. But if you make a chocolate cake and substitute ice cream for the jam, you have a must-eat dessert. Call it by its French name “roulade”, serve with caramel sauce, and your friends and family will be over-the-top impressed. The cake has the texture of the cookie on ice cream sandwiches that we all enjoyed as kids...and still do as adults.

Feel free to use this chocolate cake recipe with any of your favorite ice cream flavors. Serving it with caramel sauce makes the ultimate flavor-trifecta of vanilla, chocolate and caramel.

To make spreading the ice cream on the cake easier, put it, straight from the freezer, into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment. You can also let it sit out at room temperature for a few minutes before putting it into a bowl and mixing it with a wooden spoon to make it spreadable but still frozen. I don’t recommend the microwave as it can become a melted mess before you know it.

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This dessert can be made a day or two, or even a week, in advance. Wrap well in plastic wrap and keep frozen until ready to serve.

Chocolate Roulade with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Serves 8 to 10

Chocolate roulade filled with chocolate chip ice cream and topped with the best caramel sauce.
Chocolate roulade filled with chocolate chip ice cream and topped with the best caramel sauce. (Vic Chin)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons water
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pints chocolate chip ice cream
  • Confectioners sugar, to serve
  • Best Ever Caramel Sauce, to serve (recipe follows)

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 11-inch-by-17-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and water together in a double boiler over hot water. Stir until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the egg yolks on high speed until light in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add 1/3 cup of the sugar. Increase the speed to high, and continue to whip until thick and ribbony.
  4. On low speed, stir in the melted chocolate, 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  5. Using a clean bowl and clean wire whisk, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and beginning to increase in volume. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a steady stream. Continue to whip on high speed until satiny, stiff peaks form. Place one-third of the egg whites on top of the chocolate mixture, and using a large rubber spatula, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg whites and fold just until there are no white streaks remaining.
  6. Gently and evenly spread the mixture in the prepared pan taking care to get the batter all the way into the corners.
  7. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when pressed with your fingertip and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes.
  8. While the cake is baking, lay a clean thin cotton dish towel on the work surface with the short end toward you. Dust an area of the towel the size of the baking pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately cut around the inside edges of the pan with a small, sharp knife to release the cake. Place one of the long ends of the cake pan on the right side of the towel and invert the pan and the cake on top of the towel so it falls at the end of the towel closest to you and on top of the cocoa dusted area.
  9. Carefully remove the pan and then gently, starting with a corner, peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is not sitting at the end of the towel, fold the towel under itself. From the end closest to you, carefully roll the cake and the towel up together like a jelly roll. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

To assemble the roulade:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, soften the ice cream while the cake is cooling. It should be firm but spreadable. Carefully unroll the cake. If it splits anywhere, gently push the broken pieces together.
  2. Gently spread the ice cream over the cake with a large, thin metal spatula, leaving a 1/4-inch border on all sides. Reroll the cake without the towel. Place on a large platter or baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, about 3 hours, depending on your freezer.
  3. When ready to serve, dust the top of the roulade lightly with confectioners sugar, cut into slices, and serve with a drizzle or puddle of the caramel sauce.

Caramel sauce makes any dessert better. The trick in making caramel sauce is cooking it to the right color. It’s not hard, you just have to pay attention. You want a rich mahogany color. If it comes out more tan colored and a little thin, the next time cook it a little more. If it has a bit of a burnt taste, next time cook a little less. Using a pot with a light colored interior, like a stainless steel saucepan, will make it easier to see the color of the sugar. Making caramel does take a little practice, the second and third time you make it will be better than the first. It’s like riding a bike. Practice a few times and then you won’t forget.

Since caramel sauce goes with everything, it’s a good recipe to have in your pastry repertoire. The sauce is easily reheated in a microwave or on the stove top. Caramel sauce lasts for months in the refrigerator if kept in a covered jar.

Best Ever Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 ¾ cups

Best ever caramel sauce
Best ever caramel sauce (Vic Chin)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

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Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, using a heat-resistant spatula, stir together the sugar and the water. Heat over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved, 3-5 minutes. Do not stir once the mixture is clear.
  2. Brush the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to eliminate any sugar sticking to the sides. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the sugar is a rich amber color, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat. Wearing oven mitts, slowly add one-quarter of the cream to the hot sugar mixture. Be careful as the caramel will sputter as the cream is added. Using a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula, gently stir the cream into the caramel. If the cream sputters, stop stirring. Let the bubbles subside before stirring again. Carefully add the remaining cream. Stir until combined.
  4. Let cool slightly before using.
Emily Luchetti with slices of chocolate roulade with chocolate chip ice cream.
Emily Luchetti with slices of chocolate roulade with chocolate chip ice cream. (Vic Chin)

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