This week I was faced with a hard truth: Our budget did not have any wiggle room this week to pick up any blog related ingredients. I was tasked with making something quick and easy with ingredients we had on hand. Something low key.
In a recent magazine I happened upon an ice cream cake roll, which was the original inspiration for this dish. Sure, I had ice cream, but you can’t have it. Fat Kid Has Spoken. How would you like a classy looking Zerg Cake Roll instead? You would, eh? (Good, because I didn’t make anything else.)
So, what is a ‘Zerg’, anyway? The Zerg are an insect-like alien race from Blizzard Entertainment’s Starcraft and Starcraft II hell bent on destruction and evolution. You can play against them and as them. And yes, of course I suck at it. The purple pattern baked into the cake roll is the race’s emblem.
This is also the first recipe given a Four Skillet Difficulty Level. Yes, it is challenging to master. I myself did not, but I’m very satisfied with the results regardless. Would I dare make this cake again? Absolutely. Just let me get some more eggs first. No, really. It is worth the effort to make something this tricky, this pretty, this yummy. It’s worth it.
Admittedly, I almost Herobrine’d out (definition: a personal catastrophe so severe as to cause me to not post) this week. There was a situation on Tuesday evening (June 2nd) that compromised my Battle.net account. Yes, I got hacked. And I responded with a fiery wrath unknown to most mortals to wrest my account from the slimy grip of the trespasser. Fortunately, a live chat with Blizzard Support helped me reclaim all stolen materials in short order. Special shout-out here to Game Master Aerinaeil: You rock! Thanks for restoring my account and sharing my vision with your team. Seriously, you’re great.
Ready? Let’s go.
Gamers (and masochists), grab your mats:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup plus two teaspoons powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 4 tablespoons flour
- purple food coloring – Wilton’s Violet concentrated gel food coloring is ideal as it does not change the texture.
NOTE: This is a standard decor paste recipe. Mine initially turned out a little runny and I ended up adding another 2 tablespoons of flour. Use your best judgement.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
Another note: If you’re not into chocolate, use 3/4 cup flour.
You will also need:
- filling – I used a standard tub of white cake frosting, tinted green
- simple syrup (1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional))
Right. Pattern first.
Cream together butter and powdered sugar until well combined. This was hard, as the butter kept skittering away from the beaters and the sugar wanted to go everywhere. This should have been a sign.
Blend in egg whites.
Stir in your flour until you have a paste-like consistency. The recipe suggests 4 tablespoons; I used around 6.
Add food coloring and stir until you achieve the desired purpleness.
Dump edible not-tasty food paste stuff into a sturdy Ziploc sandwich baggie (read: not off-brand), seal, and snip the tip from one of the bottom corners. The less you snip off the better as this requires a lot of control.
Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper to fit the bottom of your cake pan. I used a jelly roll pan from my aunt because apparently this is a thing (Google it), but next time I might use something a little smaller. Place your Zerg emblem template under your parchment and start piping. You may want to tape the template down to prevent slippage but I found that holding the paper down with two pots of food coloring and my hands were sufficient. Try not to pipe any designs too close to the edges as you will be cutting the edges of the cake away later.
YOUR ZERG EMBLEM SHOULD BE PRINTED BACKWARDS. YOU ARE PIPING A BACKWARDS IMAGE. YOU CAN DO IT. IT’S OKAY. I KNOW I SAY ‘TRUST ME’ A LOT, BUT IT’S GOTTEN YOU THIS FAR, RIGHT?
See how I moved the paper down so I could make more designs? Yeah. You’re smart. You’ve got this.
Once the pattern is complete, freeze this for one hour.
Go eat lunch or do something meaningful for half an hour then get started with your cake prep. I’m telling you, I’ve got this down to a science.
For your cake;
Separate your eggs and put half of the sugar into the yolks and the other half into the whites. Add cream of tartar to the whites as well.
Beat egg whites mixture on high with an electric hand mixer (or if you’re fancy, a lovely stand mixer) until you get stiff peaks. Never done this before, never understood the difference until I saw it myself.
Transfer beaters to your yolk bowl and beat these until they turn pale yellow in color. Also takes a few minutes.
Gently fold your egg whites into the yolks in three batches. Apparently the goal is to fold as little as possible while combining to achieve maximum fluffiness.
Melt your butter in the microwave. Add half your butter to your egg mixture and your flour and fold through.
Then add the other half of your butter and the cocoa powder and fold through.
What did I do wrong? This herp-a-derp added the butter in two batches, then the flour, then the cocoa. So, way more folding than necessary. My cake wasn’t nearly as light as it should have been. Bollocks.
Remove frozen template from fridge and pour cake batter over template. Use a spatula to spread batter to the edges.
Bang the cake pan on your work surface a few times to ensure the batter fits into all the nooks and crannies of the template. GUESS WHO FORGOT. See also: Damn, I’m lucky.
Bake cake at 390 degrees F in the center of your oven for 7 minutes, Really, that’s it. I, of course, read the instructions incorrectly and put the cake on the top shelf (something I wouldn’t normally do). I ended up having to switch shelves at the end when I realized my mistake and bake it for a few minutes longer. Geez.
Remove from oven and IMMEDIATELY cut the cake away from the edges of the pan. It’s a good idea to make your cuts about half an inch in from the edges of the pan. Place a sheet of baking paper over the cake, followed by a large cutting board or cookie sheet or sheet pan. Anything large and flat, really. Turn the cake over and remove the original cake pan.
Quickly and gently peel the template baking sheet from the cake. I swear, this is probably the most satisfying part, seeing the design come out perfectly. This is the point where you realize it was all worth the effort. Allow cake to cool. (Sorry for the lack of pictures. This was a one woman job and I couldn’t do all this and take pictures at the same time. Forgive me?)
Once cake is cooled, add a fresh sheet of non stick baking paper to the top of the cake and flip on to your work surface. Remove baking paper and brush with room temperature simple syrup.
Cover cake with frosting. I think if you add some roughly chopped kiwifruit over top of the frosting it would be amazing but 1. I didn’t have kiwifruit, and 2. I’m the only one in the house who likes kiwifruit. If you have the opportunity to do it, please, tell me all about it.
Now it’s time to roll the cake. Possibly I did it wrong, possibly it was the cake to begin with because of previous issues, but this sucked. So. Much. Use the baking paper to help you roll the cake into, well, a cake roll. I had quite a bit of cracking, unfortunately.
Also, I found my cake to be rather thinner than I would have liked. A slightly smaller pan would have been better. But hey. I’m still thrilled. Garnish with fresh organic mint. Because I keep fresh organic mint in my windowsill and I thought it would look classy. (I am laughing at myself now.)
I don’t know. I feel that the Queen of Blades would approve. Bonus points if served with tea. That wasn’t so hard, was it? (Yes it was, dammit.)
Original recipe and inspiration from: https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/patterned-roll-cake-recipe/
Coming up next: An authentic recipe from World War I, Bullets in a Pot (a.k.a. ‘repeaters’ and pork), paired with Valiant Hearts: The Great War. Why the shift, you may ask? Or I hope you asked, because it’s exciting.
I have been asked by the illustrious Captain Max Virtus of Escapades in Bizarrchaeology (https://bizarrehistory.wordpress.com/) to come up with an offbeat (bizarre, if you will) WWI recipe he could use for an article. Naturally, the fellow was so charming I couldn’t help but say yes. Probably it was the accent, but I also love history. Seriously, I do. And you’ll find out all about it next week.