The frosted cake can be left plain or decorated with sanding sugar, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings and more. An offset spatula is good to have on hand for spreading the filling and for frosting.
Make Ahead: The filled, rolled, unfrosted cake needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours and preferably up to 1 day, or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost in the wrapping. Once covered with whipped cream, the cake should be refrigerated. It will keep for up to 12 hours.
- For the cake
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch allspice
- 6 large eggs
- Pinch sea salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- For the filling
- About 1/2 cup spice cookie spread, such as Biscoff (may use peanut butter or Nutella; see above)
- About 1 cup thick preserves, jam or fruit butter
- For the frosting
- 3/4 cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- Sprinkles, colored sanding sugar, Biscoff cookie crumbs, chocolate shavings, toasted nuts or anything that strikes your fancy
Sift together the flour, cornstarch and spices in a bowl.
Separate the eggs. Combine the whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment (or in the bowl for a handheld electric mixer), and place the yolks in a medium bowl.
Beat the whites at medium-high speed until they are opaque and just start to thicken and hold their shape. Little by little, whip in the granulated sugar and then continue to beat for another minute or so. The meringue should be glossy and very firm.
Whisk the yolks by hand until they are well blended. Scoop out about one-quarter of the meringue and whisk it into the yolks. The whites will deflate a little, but that’s fine. Scrape the lightened yolks onto the meringue, then pour the flour mixture over the yolks.
Use a large, flexible spatula to gently fold all the ingredients together. Work with a light hand, knowing that it’s impossible not to knock some air out of the meringue, and blend the ingredients together as best as you can. It’s better to have a few patches of egg white than to deflate the batter, so work quickly and carefully, and don’t aim for perfection.
Turn the batter out and smooth it evenly over the pan, making sure to fill the corners. Bake (middle rack) for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cake is uniformly puffed, feels just set and is lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack, but don’t let it sit for longer than 5 minutes.
Spread the towel out on the counter and dust it with confectioners' sugar; be generous. Run a table knife around the sides of the warm cake, then invert the cake onto the sugared cloth. Gently peel away the parchment paper. Dust the cake with confectioners' sugar, flip over the parchment and place the clean side against the cake. Position the cake so that you’ve got a long side running parallel to the counter, and roll the cake up snugly in the towel, making the roll as tight as you can. Twist the ends of the towel to secure the roll, and let the cake come to room temperature on the rack.
To fill the cake, place the cookie spread in a bowl and stir vigorously to loosen it (so it will be easier to spread). Do the same with the preserves.
Unroll the cake and remove the parchment, keeping the cake on the kitchen towel. Spread the cookie spread evenly across the cake, leaving a margin of about an inch around the cake’s perimeter. Cover the cookie spread with a layer of jam.
Using the towel to help you, gently lift and roll the cake, starting at a long side and finishing so that the seam is on the bottom. Again, try to get a snug roll. Transfer the cake to a serving platter (or cutting board) and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or, better yet, for up to 1 day. The log is better when the filling has had time to meld with the cake.
Pour the chilled heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon-whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer); beat on medium speed until the cream just starts to thicken. Little by little, add the confectioners' sugar followed by the vanilla extract. You want to beat the cream until it is thick and holds its shape. Use a flexible spatula to fold the sour cream into the stiffly beaten whipped cream.
Use a serrated knife to cut off the uneven ends of the cake. (Reserve for a baker’s treat.) Use an offset spatula or a kitchen knife to generously cover the cake with the whipped cream mixture; you'll use all of it. If you’re not serving the cake immediately, return it to the refrigerator. (The frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.)
When you’re ready to serve the cake, top it with sanding sugar, sprinkles or other decorations of your choice.