Swiss cake rolls are actually, despite their name, not from Switzerland. They originated in Central Europe with a simple jelly filling. Gradually, Hong Kong adopted this sweet treat from the U.K. and changed it so that it was lighter cake and used a whipped cream filling instead. Thus, the “Swiss Cake Roll” was born and became widely popular in asian bakeries.
I guess it’s actually a huge shock that this is the first asian recipe I am posting, but I’m trying to start posting more asian-oriented desserts as time progresses. My memory of swiss cake rolls goes back to when I was just 8 or 9 and my mom would buy delicious rolls for $2 a log, which is a bargain that you wouldn’t possibly find anywhere else. Nowadays, any asian bakery will sell you one of these babies for at least $10 or more, which is, in my opinion, very depressing. For me, I always think of a soft, fluffy cake with light and airy cream filling when I think of this cake roll, which is why the use of cake flour and stiff peak egg whites is so important for this chiffon-cake base.
I actually made this cake for my mom, who has a huge soft spot for chiffon cake and coffee. I used ground coffee beans in both my filling and cake batter for maximum caffeine taste. You can also choose to add finely chopped walnuts or fruits such as berries or bananas in your filling as you’re rolling it up. As always, adjust the recipe to your own liking. I prefer a less sweet cake so my recipe calls for just a few tbsp of sugar. If you want more filling, feel free to double the cream recipe. This was just my first try on this cake but I can’t wait to try more variations with matcha or sesame powder.
Some tips for this cake:
- USE CAKE FLOUR. Or at least use the substitute I provided below. If you don’t it will NOT be the light airy cake you are wishing for. You also need to sift the flour and dry ingredients multiple times so that there is plenty of air in the dry ingredients and you won’t end up with lumpy batter.
- When separating the eggs, separate them while they’re cold and then let them come to room temperature. It’s harder to separate them while they’re at room temperature. Before mixing and baking, though, all ingredients must be at room temperature!
- The egg whites must be beaten to stiff peaks. No exceptions. If you don’t reach that stage, the batter will fall and may become dry and crumbly. Also, DO NOT OVER-MIX THE BATTER. It’s so sad when people complain about a tough cake when they are mixing the whites and yolks together rather than lightly folding it in.
- When incorporating any flavoring into the batter, make sure they are finely grounded, otherwise, they may result in oddly textured cake.
- Do not over bake this cake! Keep a close eye on the oven. If it gets too brown, it will start to harden and dry up which will not only make it very hard to roll up without cracking, but will also taste very disappointing.
- If you want, slightly grease the parchment paper for the cake to come off the paper more easily. When I didn’t grease it, it stuck to the paper and I had to slowly peel it off using a knife.
- The cream for the whipped cream filling needs to be cold when mixing, which will make it form quicker. For best results, first cool the whisk and bowl before pouring in the cream to keep it cold at all times.
Note*** This version of the recipe is soley mine. When reposting, please cite me and my website.
Copyright september 2015 ©
Chinese Swiss Cake Roll
Soft and light cake roll–perfect for breakfast, snack time, or dessert
>>> Yields 1 cake roll
-Prep: 30 min
-Bake: 15 min
– 1/2 c cake flour *
– 1 tbsp cornstarch
– 1/4 tsp baking powder
– 3 eggs, separated
– 5 tbsp white sugar
– 2 1/2 tbsp oil
– 2 tbsp milk
– 1/2 tsp salt
– optional: 1 tbsp flavoring (finely grounded coffee powder, matcha powder, sesame powder, cocoa powder, etc)
– 1/2 c cold heavy cream
– 1 tsp white sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp salt
– optional: 1 tsp flavoring (see above)
* For 1/2 c cake flour, measure 1/2 c all-purpose flour and take out 1 tbsp. Add in 1 tbsp cornstarch and sift together twice
1) Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13 in. pan with parchment paper so that the cake roll can easily be pulled out. Leave enough paper around the side of the pan for when the cake rises.
2) Sift the cake flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together twice.
3) Separate the eggs into whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add 2 1/2 tbsp white sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks.
4) In another bowl, mix the egg yolks, 2 1/1 tbsp white sugar, salt, and 1 tbsp flavoring together. Mix in the milk and oil.
5) Combine the flour mixture and egg yolk mixture and stir just until there are no lumps.
6) Fold in the egg whites in 1/3 at a time using a spatula. Avoid over mixing and fold until it is combined.
7) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Make sure the mixture is even and get rid of any air bubbles by knocking the bottom of the pan on the counter.
8) Place a larger pan into the oven and add water into the pan until there it just barely covers the surface. Place the 9 x 13 pan with the batter inside the pan.
9) Bake for 13-15 minutes. Avoid over baking the batter so your cake won’t be dry.
10) Once finished baking, slowly open the oven a few inches to allow heat to escape. Then open the oven a few inches at a time to allow the cake to cool (around 2-3 minutes) . Remove the cake from the oven and the pan and allow it to cool at room temperature.
11) Make the filling by combining all ingredients and mixing until the cream is stiff.
12) Once the cake has cooled, flip the cake upside down so that the smooth top edge is now on the bottom and will be the outside of the cake roll. (You may need to use a dull knife the slowly peel away the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake)
13) Spread the filling on the cake evenly. If you desire to add any other fillings, now is the time to do so.
14) Slowly roll the cake starting from the bottom starting from the outer edges, making sure the not over squeeze but rolling tight enough so that the cake won’t unroll.
15) Wrap the entire cake with the parchment paper you used previously and seal the ends. Put the cake in the fridge and let it cool for 2-3 hours before serving.
16) Cut using a bread knife by using slow sawing motions into 1 inch pieces. Before serving, garnish with fruits or powdered sugar.