Photograph by Grant Cornett Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Magician’s Assistant Roll

Desserts from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

Originally performed by P.T. Selbit in 1921, the sawing illusion has been executed by many, from Horace Goldin to Harry Blackstone to Dorothy Dietrich, the first to turn the table and slice a man in half. Like the famous trick, our chocolate roll is more than meets the eye: sever to reveal decadent malted cream dotted with malt balls.

serves 8 to 10

chocolate sponge cake
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

malted cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp malted milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • a handful malted milk balls

  • 1

    Sponge Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang. Whisk together flour and cocoa and set aside.

  • 2

    Beat egg yolks with 6 Tbsp sugar using an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in cream and melted butter until combined. In a separate bowl, using clean beaters, beat the whites with a pinch of salt at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 6 Tbsp sugar. Increase speed to high. Beat until whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.

  • 3

    Stir one third of the whites into the yolk mixture then gently fold in the remaining whites until combined. Gradually fold in cocoa/flour. Spread batter onto a baking sheet and bake until cake is springy and dry to the touch, about 10 minutes. Cool completely in pan set on a rack.

  • 4

    Malted Cream: Whip cream, milk powder, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.

  • 5

    Spread cake evenly with malted cream and dot with malt balls. Using the parchment paper to help, roll the cake lengthwise into a log. Place seam downward. Roll can be served at once or chilled up to 3 hours.