This dessert is delicious, with a marvelous blending of flavors and textures united by a hint of liqueur, and it looks far more difficult than it is. The pinwheels of golden cake are striped with a creamy chestnut mousse. This is a real showstopper! The cake must be started two days in advance of serving, since the prunes have to marinate overnight and the completed cake should chill overnight.
- Pitted Prunes - 1/2 pound
- Jack Daniels whiskey - 1/2 cup (alt. bourbon)
- Lemon Juice - 1/4 cup, freshly squeezed
- Eggs - 5, separated and at room temperature
- Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Vanilla Extract - 1-1/2 teaspoons
- Cake flour - 1 cup, sifted
- Pinch of salt
- Chestnut Mousse
- Eggs - 4, separated and at room temperature
- Sweetened Chestnut Puree - 1-1/2 cups, canned
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- Jack Daniels whiskey - 1/4 cup (alt. bourbon)
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice - 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1-1/2 cups
- Pinch of salt
To make the filling: Combine the ingredients in a non-aluminum bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate overnight at room temperature. Drain the prunes and place in a blender or processor. Add a few teaspoons of the marinade and puree until smooth, adding liquid as needed to make a smooth puree. Set aside.
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Prepare a 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan by buttering it, lining it with parchment paper, and buttering the paper. Spread an 18-inch-long strip of plastic wrap on a work surface and lightly oil.
Beat the egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and lemon-colored. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when drizzled back upon itself, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vanilla to the yolks and beat an additional minute, then sift the cake flour over the yolks and beat to incorporate. Set aside.
Using a clean bowl and beaters, beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until foamy. Add a pinch of salt and beat again until soft peaks form. Beat one-fourth of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and then quickly fold in the remaining whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread until even. Rap the pan on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles and level the batter. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and invert onto the prepared plastic wrap. Lift away the pan. When slightly cool, remove the parchment paper. Spread the warm cake with the prune filling, roll it lengthwise into a roll, wrap it in oiled plastic wrap, and freeze it to facilitate slicing.
To make the chestnut mousse: Beat the egg yolks at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and lemon colored. Continue to beat until thick. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the chestnut puree and butter until light and fluffy. Add the whiskey, lemon juice, and vanilla and continue to beat to incorporate. Beat in the egg yolk mixture and set aside.
Beat the cream until foamy. Add a pinch of salt and beat until soft peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Fold the cream into the chestnut mixture, then fold in the egg whites.
To assemble the cake: Line a 10-inch springform pan with oiled plastic. Slice the roulade into 1/2-inch-thick slices and line the bottom and sides of the pan with the slices, putting them as closely together as possible. Fill the pan with the chestnut mousse. Placing any leftover slices of roulade on top. Cover the cake and refrigerate overnight.
To serve: Invert the cake onto a serving platter, releasing the pan. Peel away the plastic. Cut into wedges.