A Swiss roll or roll cake is a type of sponge cake filled with vanilla cream, cream cheese, or jam.
When you think about the Swiss roll, you may think it is difficult to make, but it is not at all. The Swiss roll has that fancy-dessert appearance, but making one requires only basic culinary knowledge.
This chocolate Swiss roll combines the softest chocolate sponge with delicious whipped vanilla cream, for the ultimate dessert.
I have also coated it with the marshmallow fluff, but it is not mandatory. You can coat your Swiss roll with the chocolate ganache or just dust with more cacao powder.
Each slice is a perfect balance of tender cake and creamy frosting. Swiss rolls are festive enough for a birthday or holiday, but easy enough for everyday baking.
Roll cakes in general are a thing of beauty. They look quite impressive while requiring just a bit more effort than a plain sheet cake.
Tips For Making Swiss Rolls
The Swiss roll is a specific type of cake – a thin sponge cake that goes around a delicious and fluffy filling to make a gorgeous swirled slice.
Swiss rolls come in lots of flavors, but the best one is the classic chocolate swiss roll with vanilla creme filling.
As with any cake, it all starts with selecting the ingredients. The most important ingredient is cacao powder. This is what gives the cake its unique flavor and appearance.
Regarding the filling, I just whipped heavy cream with some vanilla, and that is it. For some extra flavor, you can add 2 tbsp of the marshmallow fluff into the heavy cream before whipping.
The sponge cake is made like any other sponge cake, but this one is baked in a thin layer in a sheet pan. Once the sponge cake is baked, you should roll it on a damp kitchen towel and allow to cool down.
This step will help you with the final rolling and prevent the sponge from breaking.
If you leave it to cool down in a flat position, you will not be able to roll it properly, and big cracks may appear.
Here are some useful steps you can follow:
- Bake the cake in a thin layer on parchment paper – The parchment paper will keep your pan clean, but also help you to roll the cake up.
- Do not over bake the cake – The exact baking time is 11 minutes. Do not go over or under as you will ruin your sponge cake.
- Roll the cake while it is still warm – Remove the cake from the oven and transfer on the damp kitchen towel. The heat from the cake and damp towel will give some steam which will allow you to roll the cake easily and without any cracks. The cake is hot at this point so watch out for your fingers.
- Let the cake cool completely before covering it with whipped cream – If any heat is left, the cream will simply melt.
- Refrigerate the cake – This is a mandatory step. Yes, I hate it too, but this is something we have to do. Just a 30-minute chill in the fridge will be enough to bind the cake and the filling. If you start slicing one just after rolling, you risk ruining all of your hard work.
Swiss Roll Recipe Variations
If you are looking for a different variation of swiss roll cake, here is what you can do:
- Replace instant coffee granules with cinnamon powder – Cinnamon is a spice that gives fragrant and warm aromas. It will pair amazingly with the cacao powder.
- Add some fruit to the filling – You can add chopped strawberries or another type of berry inside the filling. It will give a refreshing fruity twist.
- Vary the topping – This cake allows you to play with the topping. I microwaved the marshmallows until they became fluffy then just stretched them over the cake top. You can do this as well, or cover the cake with cacao, chocolate ganache, or shaved chocolate. For a holiday theme, you can crush some peppermints and place them on top.
How To Store A Swiss Roll
You can roll the Swiss roll cake in a fridge for 2 to 3 days. Wrap the Swiss roll in an aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store it in a fridge.
The cake is freezable too. Wrap it in parchment paper and plastic foil and store it in a freezer for up to 1 month.
To serve, defrost it in the fridge.
How To Make A Light And Fluffy Swiss Roll
Gather your ingredients. Separate the eggs and place the egg whites in a large bowl. Add 1 pinch salt and beat until soft peaks form.
Gradually add half the sugar and beat until the stiff peaks are formed.
Place egg yolks in a separate bowl.
Beat egg yolks with the remaining sugar, butter, and vanilla.
Fold in flour, baking powder and cacao powder.
Gradually fold in the egg whites, stirring gently, until you have incorporated all. Make sure your moves are light.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12x17inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the sponge mixture over the baking pan and smooth the top. Make sure it is all even.
Bake the sponge cake for 11 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a damp and clean kitchen towel.
Just after baking, remove the sponge cake from the oven and slide on top of the damp cloth. Let it rest for a minute and start rolling from a shorter side. Let the sponge cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff.
Unroll the sponge cake and spread over the filling, leaving a ½-inch border-free. Roll the sponge cake while rolling peel off the parchment paper.
Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in a fridge.
As a final touch, decorate the cake with chocolate ganache, dust with cocoa powder, or spread over marshmallow fluff.
For the chocolate cake:
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup plain flour
- 4 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
For the vanilla filling:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- Chocolate ganache, cacao powder, or marshmallow fluff
- Make the sponge; separate eggs. Place egg whites in a large bowl. Add 1 pinch salt and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add half the sugar and beat until the stiff peaks are formed.
- Place egg yolks in a separate bowl.
- Beat egg yolks with the remaining sugar, butter, and vanilla.
- Fold in flour, baking powder, and cacao powder.
- Gradually fold in the egg whites, stirring gently, until you have incorporated all. Make sure your moves are light.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12x17inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the sponge mixture over the baking pan and smooth the top. Make sure it is all even.
- Bake the sponge for 11 minutes. In the meantime, prepare a damp and clean kitchen towel.
- Just after baking, remove the sponge from the oven and slide on top of the damp cloth. Let it rest for a minute and start rolling from a shorter side. Let the sponge cool completely.
- Make the filling; in a large mixing bowl, beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff.
- Unroll the sponge and spread over the filling, leaving a ½-inch border-free. Roll the sponge, and while rolling peel off the parchment paper.
- Let the cake cool for 30 minutes in a fridge.
- As a final touch, decorate the cake with chocolate ganache, dust with cocoa powder, or drizzle some marshmallow fluff.