Photo: Greg DuPree; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
The secret to making a roulade: Line your baking pan with parchment paper. Use the paper as a guide to roll the cake when it is still slightly warm. After the cake has cooled, unroll it, add the filling, and reroll it back into a spiral. Cake flour has 8-9% protein, making it the weakest flour on the shelf, and it bakes up into meltingly tender cake layers making it ideal for delicate products such as sponge cakes and some cookie doughs. Serve this rich, earthy cake as a brunch option instead of the usual coffee cake or as the perfect ending to a fall meal.
Serves 10 (serving size: 1 slice)
1. Prepare the Apple-Cream Cheese Filling: Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apples and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a bowl; toss well to coat. Spread apples in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven until tender and well browned, about 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove apples from pan, and cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar; beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Fold in roasted apples. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 17- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line with parchment paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray.
4. Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a separate bowl at medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high, and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until medium peaks form. Stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture; gently fold in remaining three-fourths egg white mixture.
5. Sift together cake flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift cake flour mixture over egg mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, folding in until blended after each addition. Spread batter in prepared baking sheet.
6. Bake at 400°F until puffed and lightly browned on top, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons powdered sugar over top of cake. Invert cake onto a parchment paper-lined surface. Peel off top layer of parchment paper from cake. Starting at 1 short side, roll cake and bottom parchment together. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
7. Unroll cake onto a flat surface. Spread Apple-Cream Cheese Filling over top, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Starting at 1 short side and using parchment paper as a guide, roll up cake in jelly-roll fashion. Place cake on a platter, seam side down. Sprinkle top and sides with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Serve immediately.