Mom's Christmas Chocolate Roll

This is my mom's version of a Yuletide log, a Christmas tradition at the Magwood table. It's far more casual than the usual fancy version, and so delicious. Now that our family numbers ten adults and ten kids, she may need to make three! The chocolate sauce comes from a cookbook of my great-grandmother's. 



  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) sifted cake-and-pastry flour

  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) sifted cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

  • 4 large eggs, separated

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) sugar, sifted

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) sugar

  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) cocoa powder

  • 4 tsp (20 mL) cornstarch

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) boiling water

  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease a 17- x 11-inch (43 x 28 cm) jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper or greased waxed paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Sift three more times.
Lightly beat egg yolks with vanilla. In a large bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold in sugar. Fold in egg yolks. Fold in dry ingredients until no flour is visible. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Turn cake out right away onto a damp tea towel and roll up with the tea towel. (This keeps the cake moist while it awaits filling.) Cover with a second damp tea towel and set aside to cool. To make the filling, whip cream to soft peaks. Just before it's done, add sugar and continue whipping to incorporate.
Half an hour before serving, unroll cake. Cover with two-thirds of the whipped cream. Roll back up (without towel!). Put on a platter. Top with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate.

Just before serving, make the chocolate sauce: In a small saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch. Stir in boiling water and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 15 minutes. Add more boiling water if sauce gets too thick. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour warm chocolate sauce over the chocolate roll. Cut roll into thick slices and serve with remaining chocolate sauce.

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