Hazelnut Cake Roll and Our Engagement Story

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-60 The flavor of hazelnuts is one of my favorite of all time. Whenever I come up with an especially festive dessert, it’s always better if I can incorporate hazelnuts into it. This time, I decided to make a beautiful and festive cake roll, with hazelnuts being the star of the show. Cake rolls are so elegant, like a French twist for a lady’s undo. Coiffed and sophisticated, it’s always classy, but simply stunning.

The is light and delicate hazelnut cake roll takes minutes to put together and bakes up in no time at all. Filled with a creamy and luxurious mascarpone and hazelnut filling, I think this cake roll couldn’t have come out more perfectly.

Not only do we celebrate the most wonderful holiday, Christmas, but this time of year holds a really special memory for my husband and I. Eight years ago today, my handsome husband proposed, on an icy, snowy day in December.

EPSON MFP image

Newly engaged, eight years ago, enjoying some cappuccinos on a date.

I was in Nursing school at the time, and worked nights in a local hospital on a Pediatric Unit. My boyfriend at that time, Sergi, had moved away from NY to FL with his family, about a year before that. I missed him terribly, but during those weeks, I had a lot of other things on my mind, FINALS, to be exact. We were right in the middle of Nursing finals, of one of the hardest semesters of all, and I had a long review class the next day after work. I packed a simple outfit to change into the next day and had plans to meet up with some of my classmates, go to review class and spend all day studying. But first, I had to get my night shift over with.

That night, it was especially stormy. All night, an ice storm raged and by morning the roads were dangerously coated with ice and snow and the wind blew fiercely. All schools (not college, of course) were shut down because of bad weather and we were told to be prepared to work double shifts in case our day shift co-workers weren’t able to make it to work. As it was, they did come in, but I was late getting out.

As I walked out into the dark parking lot, the wind tore at my face and hair and blew right through my paper thin scrubs. If you live up north and wear scrubs to work, you know exactly what I mean:). I started my car and prepared to put in some elbow grease into getting the thick coat of ice off the windshield of my car. As I stood there, heartily scraping away, freezing with every ounce of my being, I heard a voice from behind me say “May I help you?”

That voice! It sounded so… familiar.

This was early the next morning, right before Sergi left for the airport.

This was early the next morning, right before Sergi left for the airport.

As I turned around, I saw Sergi standing there, with a bouquet of roses in his hand. Suddenly, the world started to spin in slow motion. I dropped my scraper and stood there, stunned.

“Ok, this night shift business is finally starting to get to me,” I thought to myself. “I’m hallucinating now. I’m actually seeing Sergi, of all people.”
I was suddenly so hot, confused and disoriented. I fumbled with my scarf and tore it off. He came over to me, gave me the flowers, I think, and then we went to sit in his car. I kept repeating, “Are you really here? Or am I imagining you?”
Unbeknownst to me, he had ordered a plane ticket, rented a car, drove over to Utica and rented a hotel there. The night before, he had driven over to the hospital parking lot, driven around and found my car, and came back the next morning to meet me as I got out of work. He got a little nervous when I took so long to get out.

It was an eventful day. Needless to say, I didn’t go to my review class, and all my studying plans were cancelled. My Mom was in college too, and she had a Final the net day too, so she was hoping to study that day as well. The house was a mess, we didn’t have any food cooked, so a quick trip to the store and putting all the younger kids to work cleaning, resulted in a family ready to celebrate. He certainly got our minds of our final. Thankfully, we both passed anyway:).

pic 045 He proposed, I said yes, and I started my last semester of Nursing school intermittently studying for exams, going to Clinicals, focusing on school and as soon as an exam was over, I would switch gears and focus on wedding plans for a week or so, until it was time to study for another exam. May 2006, I graduated from college and in June, we got married and started our life together.

After the Pinning Ceremony at Nursing Graduation, with some of my classmates and our families.

After the Pinning Ceremony at Nursing Graduation, with some of my classmates and our families.

So, in the midst of holiday preparations, I still take time to think back to that snowy winter day eight years ago, because that’s the day the man of my dreams asked me to be his wife.

Ingredients:

Cake Roll:

5 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts

Hazelnut Praline:

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup toasted and peeled hazelnuts

Hazelnut – Mascarpone Filling:

8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 – 1 1/4 cups hazelnut brittle, finely ground

1 Tablespoon hazelnut liqueur, optional (you can use 2 teaspoons of vanilla instead)

3/4 cup heavy cream

Cake Roll:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a rimmed half sheet pan (13 inches x 18 inches) with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray. Instead of baking spray you can grease it with melted butter or oil and dust with flour.

Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the bottom of the baking sheet.

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-2 In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the eggs for about a minute and then gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-4 Mix until the eggs are pale yellow and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-8 Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and then sift it into the mixed egg mixture. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-6

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-10 Gently fold with a wooden spatula to combine. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-12

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-14 Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared baking sheet.   Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-16

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-18

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-20 Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-24 Place a sheet of parchment on the counter and brush it with vegetable oil. Run a knife or thin spatula around the edges of the cake and flip out the cake onto the parchment paper. Take off the parchment that it was baking on and roll it up into the second parchment, to make a jelly roll. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-26 Roll it up lengthwise, to make a long cake roll. Set aside to cool. You can even make this a day in advance.

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-28

Hazelnut Praline:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with oil.

Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat and cook for about 8-13 minutes, until it turns golden brown. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-22

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-32 Add the hazelnuts and immediately pour it onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-34

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-36 Spread it out quickly into an even thickness and set aside to cool. I usually like to make the hazelnut praline in advance, even a fews days before using it in desserts.

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-38 Break the praline into small pieces. Set aside some of them to be used as a decoration. Put the rest of it in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-40

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-42

Hazelnut – Mascarpone Filling:

In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese with the powdered sugar using a rubber spatula. It should be easy to mix since the mascarpone cheese softens at room temperature. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-44 Add the ground hazelnut praline (you will only need 1 – 1 1/4 cups of it, not all of it) and the hazelnut liqueur. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-46 In a chilled bowl, using a chilled whisk attachment (in a standing mixer or hand mixer) mix the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-48 Gently fold the whipped cream into the filling.

Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-50

To Assemble:

Roll out the cake roll. Spread the filling evenly over the surface. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-52 Roll up the cake roll, the same way that it was rolled up in the parchment. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-54 Garnish with more finely ground Hazelnut Praline and pieces of the praline as well. Hazelnut Cake Roll-1-60

 

Hazelnut Cake Roll
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 1 cake roll
Ingredients
Cake Roll:
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
Hazelnut Praline:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup toasted and peeled hazelnuts
Hazelnut - Mascarpone Filling:
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 - 1¼ cups hazelnut brittle, finely ground
  • 1 Tablespoon hazelnut liqueur, optional (you can use 2 teaspoons of vanilla instead)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
Instructions
Cake Roll:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a rimmed half sheet pan (13 inches x 18 inches) with parchment paper and spray it with baking spray. Instead of baking spray you can grease it with melted butter or oil and dust with flour.
  2. Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the bottom of the baking sheet.
  3. In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, mix the eggs for about a minute and then gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Mix until the eggs are pale yellow and fluffy, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together and then sift it into the mixed egg mixture.
  5. Gently fold with a wooden spatula to combine.
  6. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Place a sheet of parchment on the counter and brush it with vegetable oil. Run a knife or thin spatula around the edges of the cake and flip out the cake onto the parchment paper.
  9. Take off the parchment that it was baking on and roll it up into the second parchment, to make a jelly roll. Roll it up lengthwise, to make a long cake roll. Set aside to cool. You can even make this a day in advance.
Hazelnut Praline:
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with oil.
  2. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium heat and cook for about 8-13 minutes, until it turns golden brown.
  3. Add the hazelnuts and immediately pour it onto the prepared parchment lined baking sheet. Spread it out quickly into an even thickness and set aside to cool. I usually like to make the hazelnut praline in advance, even a fews days before using it in desserts.
  4. Break the praline into small pieces. Set aside some of them to be used as a decoration. Put the rest of it in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Hazelnut - Mascarpone Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese with the powdered sugar using a rubber spatula. It should be easy to mix since the mascarpone cheese softens at room temperature.
  2. Add the ground hazelnut praline (you will only need 1 - 1¼ cups of it, not all of it) and the hazelnut liqueur.
  3. In a chilled bowl, using a chilled whisk attachment (in a standing mixer or hand mixer) mix the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the filling.
To Assemble:
  1. Roll out the cake roll. Spread the filling evenly over the surface.
  2. Roll up the cake roll, the same way that it was rolled up in the parchment. Garnish with more finely ground Hazelnut Praline and pieces of the praline as well.

 
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Comments

  1. Olga says

    AW lovely story! I love reading those. You have a beautiful family! And way to go on achieving your goals. This Roll looks so GOOD! Its going to be added on my to do list. So many lovely cakes/desserts are out there, just don’t know which one to try first. And Not so great with the waist line. Just need to buy some more ingridents. Where could I find mascarpone cheese?

  2. Oksana says

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe! I actually have all the ingredients on hand! I will be making this this week!

  3. Tina says

    awww what a lovely story:) thanks for sharing:))
    and your roll, looks delicious!!! ….on my way to buy some hazelnuts and mascarpone, rest of the ingredients are in. Thank you once again!

  4. says

    First of all, what a sweet story! Both of you are such good, sweet people – I wish there were more people like you in the world! It makes me smile to read posts like this one. Second, but not less important :) , this cake roll is gorgeous! I am pinning it because I love everything hazelnut! :)

  5. Katia B. says

    Hi, Olga! Wonderful story and great recipes as always :) This cake roll will make perfect Christmas dinner dessert. I am wondering about the filling, is it going to be crunchy? Thanx!

  6. says

    Hi Olga,
    I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your story. I wish you lots of God’s blessings. I love your blog. You’re such an inspiration. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!

  7. Cindy Dupin says

    I so enjoy cooking and do allot of baking for our Church. We have a group called “Mercy Gate” we give to the less fortunate and homeless. Owning one of these would greatly help me out, and take all the pressure off my arms !!!! Thanks for all your recipes you post…

  8. yelena palich says

    HI, olga i made today this roll, and i found mascarpone cheese, i was using it for the fist time… it does look different than what you have on the picture..and mine tastes funny… it has some weird smell to it.. i wander if they all have this funny taste or its the one i got… to me it smells like goat milk… thank you)

    • says

      Hi Yelena,
      I don’t think it has a funny taste, but taste is very subjective, so maybe it will taste funny to you, I’m not sure.
      Sorry, I couldn’t be more helpful, it’s hard to describe the exact taste and smell through writing.

  9. Larisa says

    Hi Olga,

    I am just starting to pick up cooking and baking and love your site because all the recipes are delish and easy. I wanted to start baking with something delish and simple as well. Which one of your recipes do you think meets that criteria and you would recommend?

    Larisa

    • says

      Yes, you can, Nataliya. It will have a different taste and texture, but it will work just as well. Make sure the cream cheese is softened to room temperature before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients.

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