Roll Jelly Cake (1893) ★★★★★

When I lived in Japan in 2008 roll cake was one of my favourite desserts. My first host mother, Mama, once brought home a chocolate roll cake with whipped cream filling because she knew how much I enjoyed it. I had never tried the deliciousness that is roll cake before I arrived in Japan.
This recipe from 1893 is quite different from that Japanese roll cake, and not just because it is from an American cookbook. The flavour and texture are completely different. But that doesn't mean its bad, it just means its different.




Original Recipe: 
Roll Jelly Cake.


From MRS. FLORA BEALL GINTY, of Wisconsin, Seventh Vice-President Board of Lady Managers.
Five eggs, two cupfuls of sugar, two of flour, one-half cupful of milk, two teaspoonfuls of cream of tartar, one of soda; bake in square tins, spread with jelly and roll while warm. Lemon jelly is very nice. This recipe makes four rolls.

Flora Beall Ginty


The Verdict:
I was kind of worried about this cake but it actually turned out really good! Mr. Man practically devoured all of it on his own!
I have only tried to make a roll cake once before, and it didn't turn out well. So I looked for modern instructions online and found this guide. I mixed and baked my cake, dividing the batter among 4 9x9 pans. When the cakes started pulling away from the sides of the pan and it was spongy and springy to the touch, I removed them from the oven. I wanted to try two techniques - the modern guide and just rolling up the cake immediately as the original instructions indicated. I had some trouble with the second technique, but that was probably because I overcooked that cake. I think both work okay, since this kind of filling isn't really impacted by heat. I could see the benefit from rolling and cooling the cake for whipped cream, for example.
Anyway, I used lemon filling, which I bought in a jar at the store. While it was okay, I think that using homemade lemon curd would have made this seriously amazing. The cake was alright on its own, although a little bland. But it's okay because the filling really provides enough flavour on its own (or should, anyway). I think one strong flavour is enough.
Also, while making 4 small rolls is definitely good if you wanted to make 4 different flavours, for example, its possible that this could be made in 2 9x13 pans instead.
Overall, this dessert is definitely worth five stars!




Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from Favorite Dishes)

4 LARGE EGGS
2 cups SUGAR
2 cups FLOUR
1/2 cup MILK
2 teaspoons CREAM OF TARTAR
1 teaspoon BAKING SODA
FILLING (jam, curd, etc.)
POWDERED SUGAR

1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour 4 9x9 pans.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar. Add the flour, milk, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Mix well and divide equally among the prepared pans.
3. Bake the cakes for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and pull away from the sides and the top is springy and spongy to the touch.
4. Immediately remove the cakes from the pans to a work surface which is lightly coated with powdered sugar. Spread the filling on the cakes and roll them up. Let them cool before serving.


Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.

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