Brac de Gitano

(Andorra Cake Cream Roll)

October: National Dessert Month

Islander’s Mommy and Auntie Maria B. would make Filipino pianono (cake rolls with filling) for the family on special occasions, like birthdays and the holidays. The dessert seemed so fancy to make that Islander never created a cake roll until now—and discovered that it was not that difficult to do! She already had all the ingredients in the pantry and decided to try a cake roll recipe from Andorra called brac de gitano (gypsy’s arm). Since the Philippines and Andorra have Spain as a common country in their histories, the cultural cuisine and cake roll recipe and technique are similar. This Andorra version has an apricot jam and cream filling. Feel free to experiment with other fillings.

Home chefs can challenge themselves and make a surprisingly simple cake roll like brac de gitano. Impress family and friends on special occasions and try this recipe during National Dessert Month.


(Adapted from

For the cake

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ½ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup flour, all purpose
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with sugar until pale. Add the flour, butter and salt.

Add the almond extract. Continue to mix well. Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the flour mixture.

Line a 9×13-inch lipped pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the edges to use as “handles”. Lightly grease the paper. Pour the batter in the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Pick up the cake by the “handles” and place in a cotton towel. Roll from the short end. Leave in the towel to cool. Meanwhile, make the cream filling.

For the cream filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons plus ½ cup apricot jam (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds


In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 5 tablespoons of apricot jam into the cream and mix well. Unroll the cake and spread the remaining ½ cup apricot jam on the cake, leaving ½ inch edges. Then carefully spread the cream mixture on top of the jam.

Roll the cake back into shape, using the towel as a guide. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours. When ready to serve, dust powdered sugar then cocoa powder on top and sprinkle with almonds. Slice and serve cold.


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