The Swiss Cake Roll, also called a jelly roll or cream roll, is a sponge cake filled with whipped cream, frosting, or jams and jellies. Despite its name, the Swiss Roll doesn’t get its origins in Switzerland. Most historians believe it is an old English recipe which was invented around the 19th century, likely in Austria. When sliced, a spiral pattern is revealed.
The sponge cake is usually white or vanilla, but using chocolate, sponge cake has become quite popular in recent years. When the Swiss Cake Roll is a chocolate one with a white whipped cream filling, it is sometimes called a “chocolate log.” In Belgium, France, and several other European countries, the chocolate Swiss Cake Roll is called a “Yule log” or “Buche de Noel” for Christmas and is decorated with chocolate frosting and confectioners’ sugar to resemble snow on a Yule log.
Swiss Cake Rolls are also very popular in Asia. The Chinese version is lighter, only slightly sweet, made with a plain sponge cake, and spread with a thin layer of whipped cream. In India, you can hardly find a bakery that won’t have these Swiss Cake Rolls (called jam rolls), and normally filled with a thin layer of sweet jam. In Japan, green tea powder and sweetened red bean flavored whipped cream is often used to flavor the sponge cake. And in Malaysia, Swiss Cake Rolls are often filled with fruits like coconut, strawberry, and blueberry.
Don’t let all the Swiss Cake Roll history discourage you, however. If you think of Swiss Cake Roll as a gourmet dessert that is really hard to make, you might want to think again. Simply bake your cake, spread it with cream filling, roll it up, chill it for a few minutes, and then slice it. It really is that easy! The tips and recipes below will help even a beginner make a wonderfully delicious (and slightly addictive) Swiss Cake Roll.
1. Bake your cake layer on a silicone mat or parchment paper so it will peel off easier.
2. Once your cake layer is baked, flip it onto parchment paper. If you’re making a Chocolate Swiss Cake Roll, dust your parchment with cocoa powder. If you’re making a Vanilla Swiss Cake Roll, use icing sugar.
3. Always roll up your cake layer in a tea towel or parchment paper while it’s still warm so it will be flexible, easy to manage, and less likely to crack.
4. Whipped cream is normally used to fill Swiss Cake Rolls, and some people even add strawberries. Whatever you decide to use, don’t stuff the filling too much or it will be harder to roll up your cake.
5. If your cake happens to crack while you’re rolling, don’t panic! Simply sprinkle the top with icing sugar. If you’re making a Chocolate Swiss Cake Roll, you can pour a chocolate ganache right over the top for a rich glazed finish.
1. Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
Eat it for breakfast. Make it for your friends. Feel like a giddy little kid again. Get the Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
2. Chocolate Mousse Cake Roll
Chocolate wrapped in chocolate—oh my! Get the Chocolate Mousse Cake Roll recipe from Hershey’s Kitchen.
3. Strawberries and Cream Swiss Roll
A refreshing treat that is sure to impress and satisfy all. Get the Strawberries and Cream Swiss Roll recipe from Real Housemoms.
4. Chocolate-Raspberry Swiss Roll
A simple but delicious cake recipe created in honor of the classic European princess cake. Get the Chocolate-Raspberry Swiss Roll recipe from Food & Wine.
5. Fruit Spread Swiss Cake Roll
An elegant yet easy dessert that everyone will love and you can be proud of. Get the Fruit Spread Swiss Cake Roll recipe from Parade.
Nothing is better than homemade desserts and with the tips and recipes above, you’ll be a pro cake-roll maker in no time. Happy baking (and eating)!
Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek / Picjumbo via picjumbo.com