These roll cake slices are decorated to look like (very grumpy) ewoks, and are inspired by the limited edition cake that was available last year at Ginza Cozy Corner in Japan called "Wicket Choco Roll" (see the image to the right). The face for the original Japanese treat was printed on a sheet of clear plastic wrapped around the cake piece, but I went ahead and piped the features directly onto the slice with melted chocolate. Also, the ears for Cozy Corner's cake were paper stuck into the sides, but I used chocolate candy melt wafers/discs for mine.
Note: The cake part of the recipe below is adapted from KitchenTigress–I followed her ingredients (and added orange coloring and flavor), but converted and changed the amounts to work for me :).
Wicket Roll Cake
4 Egg Whites, from room temperature eggs
1/4 Cup Sugar
4 Drops Orange Gel Food Coloring (I use Americolor brand)
2 Egg Yolks, from room temperature eggs
1/2 Cup Cake Flour, sifted
Pinch of Salt
4 Tbsp. Canola Oil
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Orange Flavoring
1 Cup Heavy Cream, chilled
4 Tbsp. Chocolate Syrup (I used Hershey's)
2 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1/3 Cup Chocolate/Cocoa Melting Wafers + ~12-14 more for the ears
1. Place a metal mixing bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer to chill. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9"x13" baking dish with parchment paper, folding & sniping it to go up the sides as well.
2. Cake: Whisk the egg whites for several minutes (using an electric whisk is fantastic) until they turn white, the volume increases, and soft peaks form. Add in half of the sugar plus the orange drops & combine, & then add in the rest of the sugar & whisk until the peaks are firm.
3. Slip in one of the egg yolks & whisk manually (non electric) to combine & then slip in the other yolk & whisk (not too quickly!). Sift in 1/3 of the flour plus the pinch of salt & whisk (again, not quickly or hard, just to combine it), then sift in a little more flour, whisk, then the rest of the flour & whisk. Next, add in the flavorings & oil & use a spatula to gently fold the batter until combined.
4. Pour the batter into the paper-lined dish & tip to get into the corners & spread so it's even. Tap several times to release air bubbles. Place on a large baking tray & slide in the over to bake for about 12 minutes or until the center is puffy/springy to the touch.
5. Remove from oven & lift the cake out of the dish using the edges of the parchment paper. Place the cake on a cooling rack & peel the paper from the sides. Let the cake cool while you make the filling.
6. Filling: Pour the heavy cream into the chilled mixing bowl & whisk (electric mixer is best) until it begins to thicken. Pour in the chocolate syrup & sift in the powdered sugar. Whisk until combined & stiff peaks form, but NOT too much that it gets clumpy! You want it smooth, fluffy, & thick.
7. Flip the cake over, onto another sheet of parchment, & gently peel off the parchment that's now on top. Carefully flip the cake over again & make sure it's situated with one of the short ends close to you. Plop the chocolate cream onto the center of the cake, width-wise (meaning parallel with the short edges) & distribute it evenly from edge to edge (so it's a log of cream!). Gently roll the closest cake end up & over the filling (away from you) so that you have a large center of cream inside the roll. Where the edge of cake touches down, take a large sharp knife to the bottom cake & slice it at an angle away from you, & then complete the roll by resting the cake on the seam (eat the cut-away edge of cake–yum!). Wrap the cake roll in plastic wrap & place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (if you have an empty paper towel roll, slice it down one side, spread it open & place the roll cake inside, seam side down).
8. Decoration: Remove the roll cake from the fridge & unwrap it. Using a large sharp knife, cut a piece of cake about 1 1/2" wide & lay it on a serving plate. Slice a slit on either side of the cake piece, slightly towards the top, & shimmy a chocolate melt wafer, flat-side up, into the slits until they are in half-way. Do this for each piece of cake you're serving, making sure you wipe your knife in between each slice.
9. Place the 1/3 cup of chocolate melts in a candy decorating bag & heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Squish & then zap for 30 seconds more. Squish again, it should be fully melted. Press out all of the air & twist the bag closed (use a rubber band if you'd like). Cut a tiny opening & pipe the ewok features onto the cake slices (see photos for reference). Serve & enjoy! They are so delicious, fluffy, & moist! Wrap any unused cake in plastic wrap & refrigerate.