Queen Elizabeth II, 94, will be sitting down to watch the Royal Ascot Gold Cup race this afternoon around the same time she takes her daily high tea. This is the first time in her 68-year reign the Queen hasn’t been able to attend the five day racing festival which is taking place behind doors due to the coronavirus pandemic – and she’s sure to be sad at missing such an enjoyable day out.

As well as world-class racing, there’s something else the Queen is missing today.

Royal Ascot offers gastronomical delights and the Queen is usually treated to a special spread including a spectacular afternoon tea.

Ascot racecourse’s Head Chef and Executive Chef, Ben Dutson and Gemma Amor have shared how to recreate one of the Queen’s favourite cakes at home.

While chocolate roulade is usually associated with Christmas it is one of the delights that feature in the Queen’s afternoon tea every year at Royal Ascot.


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How to make Royal Ascot’s chocolate roulade


175g/6oz good-quality dark

chocolate, finely chopped

6 free-range eggs, separated

175g/6oz caster sugar

2 tbsp cocoa powder

300ml/10fl oz double cream

Icing sugar, to dust


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 33cm x 23cm/13in x 9in Swiss roll tin then line the base and sides of the tin with a large sheet of greaseproof paper, pushing it into the corners.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until stiff but not dry.


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Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl with the sugar and whisk on high speed for two to three minutes or until thick and creamy.

Pour in the cooled chocolate and gently fold together until well combined.

Gently stir two large spoonfuls of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen the mix, then fold in the remaining egg whites using a large metal spoon.

Sift the cocoa over the top and lightly fold it in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently move the tin around until the mixture is level.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes until the sponge is risen and its top feels firm and slightly crisp.

Remove from the oven, leave in the tin (expect the roulade to fall and crack a little) and set aside until cold.

Whip the cream until it just holds its shape.

Lay a large piece of greaseproof paper on the work surface and dust it lightly with icing sugar.

Turn the roulade out onto the paper so its lining paper is on top, then carefully peel off the paper.

Spread the roulade with the whipped cream, leaving a border of about 2cm around the edges.

With one of the shortest edges facing you, make a cut along it with a sharp knife, going about halfway through the sponge.

This will help to start the rolling up.

Now roll this cut edge over tightly to start with and use the paper to help continue the tight rolling, by pulling it away from you as you roll.

Finish with the join underneath then lift the roulade onto a serving plate or board using a large wide spatula or two fish slices.

Dust with icing sugar.

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