If you’ve ever found yourself hovering to close over the display at your local bakery, daydreaming about recreating the cakes in your own kitchen, a Swiss roll is the best place to start. The cake is baked as a flat sheet, so you can use much less flour than you would with a normal layer cake without worrying about its structural integrity. With less flour and more egg white and liquid, you can get closer to the soft, fluffy texture found in many store bought cakes. There’s also fewer things that can go wrong during the baking process – less chance of doming, collapsing, an undercooked middle, sticking to the pan… the list goes on. Best of all, you can achieve a professional look without needing to invest in any additional kitchen tools.
The chocolate is really the star of this recipe, so it’s best to use a highly quality dutch cocoa powder. The recipe will still work with natural cocoa powder, but the cake colour will be lighter and the chocolate taste won’t be as rich or intense. Blooming the cocoa powder with hot coffee also helps to release more flavour. If you don’t have coffee, plain hot water or oil is another option, however you lose out on the extra depth that coffee brings.
Once the cake is assembled, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for around 5 days. I like to bake it on the weekend, then slice it up and store it to have a sweet treat to look forward to on a dreary weekday afternoon. If you’re planning to serve this to guests, remember to cut off some extra when trimming the ends to save for yourself!
Ingredients (makes one 10 inch roll)
Chocolate sponge cake
- 25g hot coffee
- 10g dutch cocoa powder
- 60g egg yolks (~4 large eggs)
- 30g sugar
- 45g milk
- 30g oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 55g all purpose flour
- 15g cornstarch
- 140g egg whites (~4 large eggs)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 40g sugar
Whipped cream filling
- 300g heavy whipping cream
- 15g sugar
- 1 tsp instant pudding powder
Optional cocoa powder for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 340F. Line a 10×15 inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- Pour hot coffee over cocoa powder and mix together until it forms a thick liquid. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with 30g sugar on medium speed until thick and pale. Add the milk, oil, coffee and chocolate mixture, salt and vanilla. Whisk together until well incorporated.
- Sift in the flour and cornstarch, then fold with a spatula until it forms a thick batter.
- In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and lemon juice on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add in 40g sugar. Continue beating on medium high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the meringue into the batter in thirds. Once the mixture is well incorporated, slowly pour onto the prepared baking sheet to prevent any large air bubbles from forming. You may need to use a spatula to help spread the batter to the corners of the baking sheet.
- Remove any remaining air bubbles by running a toothpick through the batter and/or banging the baking sheet against the counter.
- Bake at 340F for 20 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream. In a clean, cold bowl, beat together the heavy whipping cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add the instant pudding powder and beat until whipped cream becomes firm.
- Once the cake cools, flip it onto a clean sheet of parchment paper and peel off the backing paper. Use a spatula to spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the entire cake.
- With the short edge facing you, carefully start to roll the cake away from you, peeling off the parchment paper as you go. It may help to use something to hold down the parchment paper at the far edge to prevent the cake from shifting too much as you roll. If you see cream start to come out along the edges, you are rolling the cake too tightly.
- Once the cake is rolled, adjust it so that the seam side is facing down. Use a sharp knife to trim off the edges. Transfer the assembled roll to a plate and dust it with some cocoa powder if desired.