Fran’s Tropicale Coconut Roll

Fran made an important discovery back at her original store. She found that when she infused white-chocolate ganache with coconut, it suddenly became a grownup version of the filling of her favorite childhood candy bar—the Mounds bar. She has covered this luxuriously smooth confection with dark chocolate to make the Coconut Gold Bar and used it as the center of her favorite filled Easter egg. In the Tropicale, it provides the perfect creamy contrast to a thin nutty cake layer and an elegant dark-chocolate glaze. The Tropicale is perfect for an Easter buffet.

Serves 16 to 20


  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces unsalted macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dark-Chocolate Ganache Glaze


To Make the Filling

  1. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat just until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, add the coconut, and let steep for 3 minutes to infuse. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Pour the ganache into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the top. Let set at room temperature at least 5 hours or as long as 24 hours.

To Make the Cake

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the over to 325°F.
  2. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch or quarter-sheet pan and line with parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper.
  3. Place the macadamia nuts with 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until finely ground, remove, and set aside.
  4. With the whisk attachment of a standing mixer or using a hand mixer, whip the egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar on medium-high speed. Once combined, scrape the sides of the bowl and turn the speed to high, whipping until the mixture becomes thick, pale yellow, and the sugar has dissolved, 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, toss together the macadamia nuts and the baking powder. Add to the yolk mixture and gently fold.
  6. In another clean bowl, with a clean whisk or beaters, start whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed. Increase the speed to high and whip until quite frothy, slowly adding the remaining sugar. Continue whipping until the peaks are stiff but not dry.
  7. Lighten the yolk mixture by quickly folding in a quarter of the beaten whites. Gently fold in the remaining whites in 3 parts, trying not to overmix and lose volume. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden in color and a tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Allow cake to cool in the pan at room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill as long as 5 hours.

To Assemble the Roll

  1. While the layer is still well chilled, place the coconut ganache in a mixing bowl. With a paddle attachment of a standing mixer or a hand mixer, beat at medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Beat until ganache is lighter in both color and texture, less than 1 minute.
  2. Unwrap the cake. Leaving the sponge layer in the pan, spread the coconut ganache filling evenly over the cake layer, leaving 1 inch of cake bare along one of the longer sides. Begin to roll the layer toward the uncovered edge, loosening the parchment from the sponge only enough to continue the rolling process. The finished roll will be approximately 3 inches in diameter and 12 inches in length. Wrap the roll in the loosened parchment and chill 3 to 6 hours before glazing.

To Finish the Cake

  1. Have ready the Dark-Chocolate Ganache Glaze.
  2. Pour about ¼ cup into a small bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill for at approximately 20 minutes. Allow the remaining ganache to cool at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until it thickens and ribbons off the end of the spatula.
  3. Place the roll on a cardboard cake board cut to roughly 2¾ by 12 inches (slightly smaller than the roll). Thinly coat the top, sides, and ends with the chilled glaze. Transfer the board to a cooling or pouring rack positioned over a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Beginning at the end of the roll, slowly and evenly pour the glaze down the length of the roll, making sure that the sides and ends are sufficiently covered.
  5. If necessary, use a metal offset spatula to spread the glaze evenly over the top, letting the excess run down the sides. Let set 5 minutes and transfer to serving platter. Refrigerate for longer storage.

Gilding the Lily: The remaining glaze can be placed in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. A decorative border can be applied to the top of the roll.

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