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Start your Christmas prep with Niall McKenna's chocolate roulade and orange and lemon drizzle cake

WITH this week's recipes, I am turning to cakes in preparation for Christmas desserts.

I think it's a really good idea to get baking at home, especially if you have children, as some of my fondest memories are baking apple pies and buns in my granny's kitchen.

Of course, there was always still a run to the bakery in the morning for a Belfast bap - as, after all, we are a nation of bakers in Northern Ireland.

If you are entertaining guests this Christmas, it's always a good idea to have a chocolate and a fruit dessert to cater for different palettes.

This week we have a chocolate roulade, which you can fill with redcurrants, and a very simple to bake orange and lemon drizzle cake.

These are two great recipes to get the kids involved with, before sitting down and enjoying your bakes with a nice cup of tea.


(Serves 8)


6 eggs, separated

150g caster sugar

60g cocoa powder plus extra for dusting

Icing sugar for dusting

For the filling:

250ml double cream

1tbsp icing sugar

250g redcurrants


Start by pre-heating the oven to 160C. Line a Swiss roll tin approximately 23cm in size and grease with a little bit of butter before setting aside.

Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk until the mix is thick and creamy. Sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and whisk until it is mixed thoroughly.

In a second bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Fold in a third of the egg whites to the cocoa mix and then gently fold in the rest of the mixture until it is evenly distributed. Pour into the tin and spread into the corners.

Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for up to 20 minutes. The sponge will not rise as there is no flour in the mix but it will shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Remove the tin from the oven and loosen from the sides with a palette knife before leaving to cool.

To make the filling, whip the cream and icing sugar together until it is thick enough to stand in soft peaks. Remove the redcurrants from their stalks.

To roll the roulade place the cake into a clean piece of greaseproof paper, cover the cake with the cream and scatter with redcurrants.

At one end of the cake, start to turnover and roll into itself. Do not squeeze too tightly as you do not want the cream filling to squeeze out. Continue rolling until all of the cake is turned into itself.

Dust with caster sugar and keep in fridge until you are ready to serve.


(Serves 4)

300g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

2.75tsp baking powder

300g vegetable oil

6 eggs

Zest of 2 oranges

Zest of ¾ of a lemon

To make the syrup:

20g caster sugar

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of a lemon


Pre-heat oven at 160C.

Place the sugar, ground almond and baking powder into a bowl and mix.

Add in the eggs and vegetable oil until all of the ingredients are well combined.

Grate in the zest of the oranges and lemons and mix again.

Line a cake tin with greaseproof paper and fold in the mix before placing the tin in the oven for 45-50 minutes.

To make the syrup, mix the caster sugar with the juice of the orange and the lemons, place the sugar and the juice onto a medium heat and, once dissolved, boil the mix, stir well and pour over the cake.

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