Roulage Leontine [French Flourless Chocolate Roll]

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

The first non-drinkable form of chocolate consumed in Europe was in the form of little soufflé-like cakes or rolls. The following is one of the earliest modern recipes for flourless chocolate cake.

5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
6 ounces dark, sweet chocolate (Lindt Excellence, Surfin, German's Sweet, or Valhrona)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons coffee or 3 Tablespoons water & 1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Lightly oil a 15" x 10" jellyroll pan. Cut a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit precisely on the bottom of the pan. Lightly oil the top of the paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar into the egg yolks until the mixture is pale yellow, light, and creamy.
  3. Break the chocolate into pieces and combine with 3 Tablespoons of liquid in a small saucepan. Place this pan into a larger pan filled with 1 inch of water. Cook over a medium flame and stir until the chocolate melts. Do not let the chocolate mixture get too hot. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate to the egg-yolk mixture and beat slightly. Add the salt and the vanilla. Stir well.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until well combined.
  6. Spread the mixture carefully and evenly over the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 400°F for 5 minutes. While the pan is still in the oven, reduce the oven to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven, cover with a damp cloth or paper towel, and cool for 5-10 minutes (if the cake is too warm it will melt the whipped cream).
  9. Remove the cloth carefully and loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cover the pan with clean waxed or parchment paper and invert the cake onto this piece of paper. Gently peel off the piece of oiled paper.
  10. Beat the heavy cream in a bowl over another bowl of crushed ice or use a metal bowl which has been placed in the freezer for 15 minutes (this will prevent the cream from turning yellow or oozing some of its water content while it sits). When the cream has slightly thickened, add the sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until the cream is stiff and spreadable.
  11. Spread the cake with whipped cream and, with the help of the paper on the bottom, roll it up from either the long or the narrow side. Sift with confectioners' sugar (which will cover any fissures)

Additional Notes
  • Add a small amount of coffee to bring out the flavor of chocolate (it will not make the mixture taste like mocha).
  • Egg whites that are at room temperature will yield a larger volume when whipped than will cold egg whites.