Torta de Viana (Portuguese Chocolate Roll)

Today is a special weekend as it is Mother’s Day on Sunday, and I’m beginning the celebrations today, with my mom.  I am also celebrating what great mothers and mother-figures the five sisters are to so many.

My mom was very young-20 years old-when she had my twin sister and I, and she was an amazing and strong young mother to us, and continues to be.  My grandmother Teodora, was also a very strong maternal figure in my life growing up.  My sister and I would spend a lot of time at my grandparents’ home when we were little and throughout our childhood, and my grandmother and grandfather were-and still are-a huge and loving influence in my life.  They still live in Idaho, and I miss them very much.  Another reason why I am so happy to be doing this blog and making these recipes is that it makes me feel much closer to my grandparents and definitely takes me down memory lane!

It’s easy to get caught up in our daily grind, going to work, letting the weeks and months pass by, and forgetting where we came from.  We sometimes neglect to give enough thanks (me included!) to the women who raised us and brought us into this crazy and beautiful world.  On this Mother’s Day, let’s all give these women a call or visit them, and tell them thank you and remember those moments as children that made us feel like they were the only people in the world who could protect us and love us, like no one else.  Today, as grown women and men, they will still viciously protect us and they still love us as much as when we were children, and needed them the most.

With that said, here are some photos down memory lane and the recipe today is from my grandmother, Teodora.  This dessert reminds me of a Swill Roll.  The final product was that I could have let the roll bake a little longer and I was a little heavy-handed with the chocolate (no surprise here)!  But it still tastes yummy.  I baked this today with the help of my mom.  Afterwards we’re spending the day at the Pimlico Race Course here in Baltimore, with our derby hats and betting hands.  All that’s missing is a mint julip! Hope you all have a beautiful Mother’s Day and enjoy!





Yields: 10-12 slices


Sponge Roll:

6 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Sauce:

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tip: You don’t want the sauce to be too thin or it will just soak up into the sponge.  Add more powdered sugar as necessary to thicken the sauce.


1) Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 1-inch deep baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly grease with cooking spray and dust with flour.

2) For the sponge roll, beat egg whites, gradually adding sugar, until meringue become stiff. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and gently fold them into the meringue.  Add flour and salt, folding in gently.

3) Pour batter evenly onto the baking sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, checking occasionally.  If it doesn’t bake long enough, the chocolate sauce will soak through the roll, but if it bakes too long, it will crack once you begin rolling. Keep a close eye on the sponge to achieve the perfect texture and consistency.

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4) Lightly dust a sheet of parchment paper (or a tea towel) with sugar. Once the sponge is baked, flip it over onto the sheet, and gently remove the parchment paper. Along with the paper, immediately begin rolling the hot sponge into a tight roll, and set aside. This will form its shape.

5) For the chocolate sauce, add 2 inches of water to a cooking pot, and bring to a gentle simmer. Place a heat-safe bowl over the pot, but be sure that it doesn’t touch the water. Add chocolate and butter.

6) Reduce heat, and stir gently and occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Set aside.

7) In a medium-sized bowl, mix together sugar and milk. Stir in chocolate and vanilla extract, mixing together really well.  Set chocolate sauce in the fridge to cool.

8) Once the sponge is cooled, gently unroll it and spread chocolate sauce evenly onto the sponge, spreading to the edges.  Roll the sponge carefully and tightly, until you reach its end.  Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.


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