KitchenTigress: Vanilla Swiss Roll

Vanilla Swiss Roll

vanilla swiss roll with chocolate filling
My Swiss roll is very stretchy. It can stretch and bend into a roll without cracking.

The flexibility is due to the way the eggs are beaten. Egg whites are whisked to firm peak stage, then yolks are added 1 at a time and whisked thoroughly. Compared to the whole egg or chiffon method, this makes a cake that's more stretchable.

Not all cakes are flexible and stretchy. When you roll a stiff cake, it's bound to crack. It's not how you roll it. It's the cake.

If you make your cake with the wrong method, it'll be stiff. Remember: stiff cakes don't roll well.

Besides being flexible, my Swiss roll is also fluffy and moist. You know what's wrong with a lot of Swiss roll recipes? They have way too much flour. The more flour there is, the firmer the cake.

A cake that's 1-2 cm tall should have very little flour because it doesn't need much structural support. If it has as much flour as a cake that's 5-7 cm tall, it'd be dense and hard.
vanilla swiss roll with dairy cream and orange filling
What makes my cake moist? Oil. Water doesn't make a sheet cake moist. Why? Because the cake is so thin, H2O in the batter evaporates very quickly. It's gotta be fat that keeps the cake moist.

Don't overbake the cake or it'll be dry. Timing is critical because a 1-2 cm thick cake may overbake in 1-2 minutes. Make sure the cake is removed from the oven once the middle is springy when pressed lightly.

How to stop the crust from sticking to the paper it's wrapped in? Easy. Just don't wrap the cake in paper.

A lot of Swiss roll recipes tell you to roll the cake whilst it's piping hot, when it's most flexible and least likely to crack. This (the rolling, not telling) is done after placing the cake on parchment paper, and then dusting the crust with icing sugar.

The cake is rolled along with the paper, which stops the cake from sticking to itself.
rolling vanilla swiss roll with chocolate filling

The sugar is supposed to stop the crust from sticking to the paper, in theory. In practice, however, it doesn't because moisture released by the cake is trapped by the paper. H2O makes the crust wet and hence, sticky.

How about using a tea towel instead of parchment paper?

That works only if the cake is quite dry when it's removed from the oven. If it's moist as it should be, it'd stick to the tea towel.
I let my sheet cake cool down on a wire rack after it's baked, without rolling or covering it.

Is my cake dry after it's cooled down? Not at all, because it has loads of fat and it's not overbaked.
rolling vanilla swiss roll
Some people wrap their Swiss roll, after rolling, to set the shape. If you want to do that, I suggest you use a tea towel. Parchment paper, if tightly wrapped around the cake for a few hours, will stick to the crust.

I prefer not to wrap the cake. There's really no need to do so provided the filling is firm when I'm rolling the cake.

If you follow my recipe, your Swiss roll will be fluffy and moist. It will roll like a dream. Don't want vanilla flavour? Check out chocolate and matcha:

How to make vanilla Swiss roll

Step-by-step guide

This recipe makes a Swiss roll that's very flexible and stretchy. The cake can stretch and bend into a roll without the crust cracking or peeling off. The flexibility is due to how the eggs are whisked. A stiff roll cracks no matter how you roll it.

vanilla swiss roll
(For one 13" roll)

  • 140 g egg whites
  • 60 g castor sugar
  • 60 g egg yolks
  • 40 g cake flour
  • 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 60 g corn oil
  • butter for greasing pan
  • 80 g chocolate spread, OR
  • 215 g whipped cream (click here for recipe), very cold
  • 1 can (312 g) mandarin orange, drained and chilled
🇨🇭 This recipe is double the small 10" x 7" cake in the video.
🇨🇭 Chocolate spread doesn't melt, and it's sticky. For beginners, it's easier to handle than whipped cream.

  1. TO MAKE CAKE, preheat oven to 200°C. Measure and prep ingredients as detailed above. Grease 13" x 10" pan with butter. Line pan with 13" x 13" parchment paper.

  2. Whisk egg whites on medium-slow speed till thick foam forms. Gradually add castor sugar whilst continuing to whisk. Keep whisking till egg whites are at soft peak stage. Reduce speed to slow and continue to whisk till firm peak stage (when whisk is lifted, egg whites form peak that's hooked).

  3. Add yolks to whites in 4 batches. Whisk on slow speed till evenly mixed after each addition. Sift half of cake flour into mixture. Add salt. Mix with whisk till almost even. Sift remaining cake flour into mixture. Mix with whisk till just even. Add vanilla extract and corn oil. Fold with spatula till just evenly mixed, banging mixing bowl against worktop 2-3 times.

  4. Pour batter into cake pan. Spread with spatula as evenly as possible, pushing batter into corners of pan. Jiggle till batter is level. Tap pan against worktop twice. Bake on middle shelf till middle of cake is springy when pressed, 10-11 minutes.

  5. Remove cake from oven. Drop pan from 1' high 3-4 times. Unmould cake onto wire rack. Peel parchment paper from sides of cake. Leave till cool.
  6. rolling vanilla swiss roll with whipped cream and orange filling
  7. TO ASSEMBLE, place cake on new sheet of parchment paper, face down. Peel parchment paper from bottom of cake.

  8. Spread evenly with chocolate spread or whipped cream. Place mandarin orange, if using, in middle of cake. Roll cake as shown in video.

  9. To cut chocolate spread Swiss roll neatly, dip serrated knife in hot water before each cut and wipe dry/clean with paper towel.

  10. To cut orange cream Swiss roll, chill till cream filling is set. Use a serrated knife that's wiped clean after each cut. Best eaten day after it's made, after the filling has perfumed the cake.