Betty from Allouez, WI (2017 Week 7: Desserts)




Allouez, WI

Baking Challenge

Family-sized Roulade

Give your dessert a clever name – and tell us about your recipe.

Gooseberry Jelly Roll Cake (No Fooling!)
I used my antique store find, the Presidential Cook Book, printed in 1896 and 1901 for my recipes. For the cake, the recipe used was ‘Rolled Jelly Cake’ and beyond the called for jelly, I decided to add a ‘Cream Filling’ flavored with vanilla. For the jelly I used gooseberries and cooked up the jelly on the woodstove in the Belgian Farm 1905 kitchen at Heritage Hill State Historical Park.

What was the biggest surprise during your baking journey? Did you use any unconventional approaches? What did you learn along the way? Tell us about it!

One of the special things about summer is that there are a good number of fruits and berries available for making desserts with. If you have them growing in your own yard, then that is even better. I remember as a girl picking raspberries for ice cream, currants for making Bar Le Duc and gooseberries for pie. My mother always made desserts for our evening meal. When working with gooseberries this week, I was surprised how few of my visitors were familiar with them. Because they were now ripening to a red color, many thought they were grapes. They are actually a sour fruit which require lots of sugar. With breaks for tours, extracting the juice and boiling the jelly took into the early afternoon.

Upon arriving for my day of interpreting at the Belgian Farmhouse, I realized the pantry shelves only had one pan available suitable to bake a jelly roll in – and it was large. The small woodstove oven received it in only one direction – the long way back to front – and I worried how the back most part of the cake might burn. I would have to be attentive during the baking process due to a hot spot at the back of the oven. When my batter was made I spread it thinly on the pan and it did not reach the edges, leaving a 2-4 inch perimeter of space all around it. I felt it was doomed to failure. My biggest surprise, as I later peeked into the oven, was that the batter had actually spread out to fill the pan! I quickly turned the pan around because the back was browning faster. Without the use of any modern day parchment paper, my sponge, with some minor sticking, actually fell safely out onto my damp towel. I quickly rolled it up while warm in the towel and left it to set. It resulted as a thin layer but was easy to roll. The cream filling would now have to wait as it was nearing the end of the day of farm history tours. I cleaned up and took everything home to my modern kitchen to finish there.

What I learned along the way was that even though the experts on the British Baking Show warned not to over fill the roll, I did not heed, and proceeded to put all my cream on the cake along with the jelly. Well, what a fool I was – some of the filling oozed out as I rolled. But I quickly scooped the oozing up into a bowl, blended the cream and jelly together and it became a ‘Gooseberry Fool’ dessert topped with fresh whipped cream left over from the cake’s decoration. The Presidential Cook Book offers the Fool recipe as well, and is thus appropriate to my historic time frame. No fooling, I made a Gooseberry Fool Rolled Jelly Cake! Sour and sweet rolled up in one (or rather two) pleasant dessert(s). My mother would have approved, although I seem to remember her Jelly Rolls and Fools as being perfect.

How did you add a Wisconsin twist to your flavors or decoration?

I picked the Wisconsin grown gooseberries fresh from the Tank Cottage garden at the Park. If you note the yellowness of both the cake and the cream filling made with our Belgian Farm chicken eggs, the spiral is not very apparent.

How did you do?

Pleasantly satisfied.