Disclaimer. In this post I’m talking in third person of two different me, Giulia and Juls. I’m not going nuts. Just wanted to let you know…
When four years ago I wrote the first post, no picture and no recipes, just in Italian at that time, I kept it in draft form for several days before clicking on publish. I wrote about how Tessa Kiros and her books had inspired me and I stepped with hesitation into a yet unknown world. A few months ago Tessa wrote the foreword to my second book and she’s still a source of inspiration with her calm, her friendly advice and sincere passion.
Juls of Juls’ Kitchen in the past four years has changed so much, she gained self confidence (not just happy weight), she changed more than a dress (not just hair cut, from long and curly to extremely short), but she remained the same who thought that cooking was the most effective therapy to fight the bad mood, to show your love and your friendship to others and to love yourself. Whether it is breakfast all by yourself, lunch with your family or dinner with your friends, the dishes are made not just with the ingredients that you can see.
There are other ingredients, sometimes you do not see them, you just feel and sense them, you cannot figure out why a simple bowl of spaghetti is so good. It is magic. In these four years being a foodblogger turned from being an awkward thing – what? what do you do? what do you do with foot? – to an understandable one, though many people still tell me so you write a blob, then… yes, kind of.
And then there’s Giulia. Giulia also has changed a lot in these four years, I would say that Giulia was turned upside down by Juls. Juls took Giulia’s hand as friends do and showed her that it is possible to realize your dreams, that what is imposed is not forever, because you can always choose what is best for you.
And if others make choices for you, there is always a way to turn them to your advantage and consider them as a new starting point. Juls taught Giulia to believe, to dare, not only as long as work and passion are concerned, but in life. That’s why I am grateful to Juls, because I, Giulia, in spite of everything, I still believe in fairy tales and happy endings.
On that February night of four years ago I made myself a gift and I had no idea how much love, friendship, fun, discovery, enthusiasm, growth, appetite and smiles it would take me. So now, more than Juls, I would like to celebrate Giulia, the Giulia of four years ago and the Giulia of today, that is me after all, and all of you that are here and have made this possible.
As usual, I do it with a simple dessert of my family tradition, the same cake we used to bake for Claudia when as a little girl she had no appetite at all, the same we make now on Sundays when our nieces visit us, because they greet the cake with a large smile and this make us melt. It is just a simple sponge roll and you can fill it with custard, chocolate, jam, ricotta mousse with coffee … Follow your instincts and you will have great satisfaction!
Sponge roll with chocolate
Ingredients for the sponge
- 150 g of egg whites, about 5
- 75 g of caster sugar
- 100 g of egg yolks, about 6
- 50 g of caster sugar
- 100 g of plain flour
- 50 g of potato starch
- Butter to grease the baking paper
Ingredients for the syrup
- 100 ml of water
- 50 g of sugar
- 50 ml of alchermes, or coffee, or other liqueur you prefer, not too strong, though!
Ingredients for the filling
- 500 ml of whole milk
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 200 g of dark chocolate, chopped
- Make the syrup. Boil the water with the sugar until dissolved. Pour in the alchermes and let it cool down.
- Make the chocolate filling. Bring the milk to a boil with the vanilla seeds and set it aside.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar and cornstarch, then pour the milk little by little and stir to mix thoroughly. Put the custard back on the stove on low heat and stir with a whisk until it gets firm.
- Remove the custard from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until it is completely melted, then let cool.
- Make the sponge. Preheat oven to 250°C.
- Whip the egg whites with 75 g of sugar until thick, firm and glossy.
- In another bowl whip the egg yolks with 50 g of sugar until light and pale. Fold gently the two masses together.
- Sift flour with potato starch and fold it gently into the batter.
- Line with parchment paper a baking tray and grease the paper with butter.
- Scrape the batter onto the tray and spread evenly: it should be about 1 cm thick.
- Bake for about 5 minutes, until slightly golden.
- Have ready a dampened kitchen towel and lay it on the table.
- As soon as the sponge is ready remove it from the oven and turn it upside down onto the dampened kitchen towel.
- Gently peel off the parchment paper and roll the sponge cake, being careful not to break it. Leave it like this for a few minutes.
- Unroll the sponge and brush with the Alchermes syrup.
- Spread the sponge evenly with the chocolate custard then roll again and secure tight with cling film. Leave in the fridge for a few hours before serving.
- Dust with icing sugar and slice as thick as you want!