When it comes to classic desserts, creme brulee is hard to compete with. Something about that cool and creamy interior hidden below a sweet shell of crunchy sugar is just hard to resist. It’s an elegant dessert but it’s really so simple, and yet we tend to wait until we’re out at a restaurant to order it… we never seem to make it at home! But why not bring creme brulee right into your home kitchen? In the sliceable form of cake!
This roll cake still has that cool and creamy interior and an outer shell of burnt sugar, but it also has a moist vanilla sponge holding it all together, and we think it’s a mighty fine addition. It’s not quite like many of the rolled cakes you’ve seen before; you want to roll this one long end to long end, like a log, not a spiral. This creates a large center for the custard filling so the cake surrounds it, rather than punctuates it.
The key to preventing cracks in a rolled cake is in not overbaking it. You want the cake to be moist and pliable, and it also helps to let it cool rolled up in a towel, so it has a chance to get used to the shape. It’s really not all that tricky, and the end result is lovely!
Creme Brulee Roll Cake
Serves 6-8; 45 minutes active, 2 hours inactive
- For the cake:
- 4 whole eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar, for dusting towel
- For the filling and topping:
- 1 large box vanilla instant pudding
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1-2 cups granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is pale yellow. Add vegetable oil and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Whisk in the flour and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Take 1/3 of the egg whites and gently stir them into the egg yolk mixture. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until just golden brown, about 25 minutes.
- Let cool slightly. Dust a dish towel liberally with powdered sugar; remove cake from pan and place on sugared towel. Roll gently long end to long end (you’re not forming a spiral) into a hollow tube. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, make the filling:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream on medium-high until it begins to thicken. Gradually add the pudding mix and continue beating until thick. Stir in vanilla.
- Unroll cake. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling, and spread the rest over the cake. Re-roll cake, from long end to long end with bottom ends overlapping, to create a long, thin log, not a spiral.
- Spread remaining filling over the outside of the cake and sprinkle liberally and evenly with sugar. Place under broiler until sugar turns golden brown, or use a kitchen torch. Place in refrigerator to chill for 2-4 hours before slicing and serving. Enjoy!