Swiss Roll Cake

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A classic and beautiful dessert, this Swiss Roll Cake is a rich chocolate sponge filled with pillowy whipped cream and covered in a chocolate ganache. This dessert is not only stunning, it’s also incredibly tasty and every chocolate lover’s dream!

I like to think of myself as a kind of cake connoisseur, meaning I’ve made and sampled a LOT of kinds of cake of course. From birthdays to holidays to a fun dinner, cake has a place at them all. This Swiss roll cake is going to be your new go-to cake for every occasion. A few of my other recipes that I can’t get enough of are this Easter Cake, this Eclair Cake, and this Better Than Anything Cake!

A slice of swiss roll cake on a plate.

Swiss Cake Roll

This Swiss roll cake is no average chocolate cake! It’s SO light and fluffy, and incredibly moist. It has to be the perfect texture and thickness so that it can roll into that beautiful spiral without tearing or crumbling. The secret? Sour cream and whipped egg whites! If you have never had a sour cream cake (I’m in love with sour cream pound cake), you are going to fall in love with this one.

What makes a Swiss roll cake so good? Well, for starters, it’s filled with fluffy whipped cream and topped with a silky smooth chocolate ganache. I’m already in love! The other reason to try this cake is it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s so fun to cut into and to see the swirl of cake and filling. It’s a cake that everyone loves when they see it. You can also decorate the outside in a lot of fun ways to ramp up the wow factor! It’s similar to a jelly roll cake, so if you have ever made one you are already a pro at this!

Ingredients

A Swiss cake roll is easier than you may think. I have definitely watched a lot of baking shows where they had to make this cake, and I feel like they make it look harder than it is just for entertainment! So forget everything you’ve heard about this cake, it’s easier than it sounds and the ingredients are very simple. You make a sour cream chocolate sponge cake, then whipped cream, and a delicious chocolate ganache. You can find the measurements below in the recipe card.

Cake Ingredients

  • All-Purpose Flour: This is the easiest flour to work with for this recipe.
  • Dark Cocoa Powder: Dark cocoa powder has a really deep flavor that is perfect in this cake.
  • Baking Powder: This helps to leaven the cake and keeps it light and fluffy.
  • Instant Coffee: Coffee helps to deepen the chocolate flavor, and adds a depth of flavor you can’t get without it!
  • Salt: I add salt to help balance out the sweet flavors.
  • Eggs: I always use large grade A eggs in my recipes.
  • Granulated Sugar: Your regular pantry sugar.
  • Sour Cream: If you have never added sour cream to a cake, you are going to love the flavor it adds! It actually makes the cake moister and richer, and you need a really moist cake for this recipe so it doesn’t crack or crumble.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter. You are going to melt the butter, so you don’t have to worry about it being room temperature.
  • Vanilla Extract: It brings out all of the flavors in the cake.

Filling

  • Heavy Whipping Cream: I like to use a high fat heavy cream for the best structure and flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar: This is to sweeten the whipped cream filling while keeping it really smooth.
  • Vanilla Extract: This is optional, but I love to add a little vanilla flavor because it brings out all of the flavors in the filling. I think it brings the whole Swiss roll cake together.

Ganache

  • Semi Sweet Chocolate: You can use pretty much any kind of chocolate chips for a simple ganache. I prefer semi sweet since the whipped filling is really sweet. You could use dark chocolate or lighter chocolate if you choose.
  • Heavy Cream: It is important that you use heavy cream to get the right consistency and shine. It’s traditional on a Swiss roll cake.
Process photos showing how to roll and assemble the recipe.

Swiss Roll Cake Recipe

I love this Swiss roll cake for so many reasons. It’s better than a layered cake if you ask me, because you get the filling in every bite! It’s not too sweet, and it’s SO moist. I can eat just one slice and feel totally satisfied. If you want tips for making this Swiss roll cake even more special, I share those below in the tip box.

Bake Swiss Roll Cake

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350° and prep a 17×12 inch rimmed baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick baking spray and lining it with parchment paper. Be sure to let the parchment paper have at least 1 inch overhang on all sides. Spray the parchment lightly with the non-stick baking spray.
  2. Mix Dry: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant coffee and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix Wet and Dry: In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined and light in color. Add in the sour cream, butter and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Whip Egg Whites: In another bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined and then add the rest and fold until just barely combined and no white streaks remain.
  5. Bake: Spread the Swiss roll cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed on.

Roll Cake

  1. Cool and Dust: Let the Swiss roll cake cool for just about 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a clean kitchen towel by dusting it lightly with powdered sugar. Once the cake has cooled for 2 minutes and is still pretty hot, run a knife around the edges and then very carefully and quickly turn the cake out onto the kitchen towel. Carefully and slowly peel back the parchment paper from the cake, making sure not to tear the cake at all. Dust the cake with more powdered sugar.
  2. Roll Cake: Starting from the short end, use the towel to roll the warm cake snuggly so the towel is being rolled up inside it. Place the towel with the cake’s seam side down and let it cool completely, about an hour.
  3. Unroll: Gently unroll the cake from the kitchen towel. Make sure none of the cake sticks to the towel as it’s unrolled.

Whiped Cream Filling

  1. Whip Cream: Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until medium stiff peaks form.
  2. Add Cream to Cake: Spread the cream over the cake, leaving about ½ inch border along one short end free of cream.
  3. Roll Cake: Gently roll the cake up, carefully pulling the towel off the outside of it as it is rolled up.
  4. Wrap in Plastic Wrap: Carefully wrap the Swiss roll cake with plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
  5. Unwrap: When ready to serve, unwrap the cake and place on a cooling rack with parchment or wax paper underneath.
  6. Add Ganache to Top: Prepare the ganache and pour over the top of the cake. Let the ganache set before carefully transferring the cake from the rack to the serving plate.

Make Ganache

  1. Make Ganache: Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave until steaming but not boiling, about 1 minute. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a whisk to combine the chocolate and cream until smooth. Add ganache to top of Swiss roll cake.
An overhead view of the swiss roll pieces on a cutting board.

Tips for Making Swiss Roll Cake

This Swiss roll cake is stunning on its own, but I love to take recipes and change them up all the time. You can add extra flavors and designs to make this cake new every time.

  • About the Pan: You will need a 17inch x12inch pan for this recipe. That is just your standard large cookie sheet, so hopefully you already have one. I don’t like to use the jelly roll pan because it’s just slightly larger than this pan and you won’t really use it for anything else!
  • Flavor the Whipped Cream: One way to add more fun to this recipe is by flavoring the whipped cream. You can add any zest or juice. You could add pieces of fruit or pretty much any extract you want. I love orange and chocolate together, so sometimes I add some orange juice and zest to the whipped cream. I also love using freeze-dried fruit powders to add flavor and color without adding extra liquid.
  • Add a Jam: This is another great way to add extra flavor. I personally love apricot jam, homemade strawberry jam, and peach jam. You can spread the jam on the cake before adding the whipped cream.
  • Decorate the Outside: You can use stencils and dust powdered sugar in designs on the outside. I love using things like edible paint and flowers. You can also make the outside look like a log for a Yule log cake effect. There are so many ways to make this cake stand out!
A close up on the Swiss roll cake.

Storing Leftovers

This Swiss roll cake is so simple to store! Because it is covered in a ganache, it doesn’t dry out as quickly as your average cake with layers. Once you pour the ganache over the top, you will want as little touching the outside as possible or it will pull the ganache off.

  • In the Refrigerator: If you cut into your cake, make sure to press plastic wrap on the ends so that piece doesn’t dry out. You can also cut the entire log into slices and put a piece of wax paper on either side and stack them on their sides. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
A piece of cake on the plate with a bite taken out of it.

Swiss Roll Cake

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A classic and beautiful dessert, this Swiss Roll Cake is a rich chocolate sponge filled with pillowy whipped cream and covered in a chocolate ganache. This dessert is not only stunning, it's also incredibly tasty and every chocolate lover's dream!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 8 People

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs divided
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

  • 1 ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream chilled
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 6 ounces semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350° and prep a 17×12 inch rimmed baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick baking spray and lining it with parchment paper. Be sure to let the parchment paper have at least 1 inch overhang on all sides. Spray the parchment lightly with the non-stick baking spray.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, instant coffee and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well combined and light in color. Add in the sour cream, butter and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.
  • In another bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold ⅓ of the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined and then add the rest and fold until just barely combined and no white streaks remain.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when gently pressed on.
  • Let the cake cool for just about 2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a clean kitchen towel by dusting it lightly with powdered sugar. Once the cake has cooled for 2 minutes and is still pretty hot, run a knife around the edges and then very carefully and quickly turn the cake out onto the kitchen towel. Carefully and slowly peel back the parchment paper from the cake, making sure not to tear the cake at all. Dust the cake with more powdered sugar.
  • Starting from the short end, use the towel to roll the warm cake snuggly so the towel is being rolls up inside it. Place the towel with the cake’s seam side down and let it cool completely, about an hour.
  • Gently unroll the cake from the kitchen towel. Make sure none of the cake sticks to the towel as it’s unrolled.

Filling

  • Whip the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until medium stiff peaks form.
  • Spread the cream over the cake, leaving about ½ inch border along one short end free of cream.
  • Gently roll the cake up, carefully pulling the towel off the outside of it as it is rolled up.
  • Carefully wrap the cake with plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours, or overnight.
  • When ready to serve, unwrap the cake and place on a cooling rack with parchment or wax paper underneath.
  • Prepare the ganache and pour over the top of the cake. Let the ganache set before carefully transferring the cake from the rack to the serving plate.

Ganache

  • Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream in the microwave until steaming but not boiling, about 1 minute. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a whisk to combine the chocolate and cream until smooth.


Nutrition

Serves: 8

Calories543kcal (27%)Carbohydrates46g (15%)Protein8g (16%)Fat38g (58%)Saturated Fat23g (115%)Polyunsaturated Fat2gMonounsaturated Fat10gTrans Fat0.3gCholesterol164mg (55%)Sodium198mg (8%)Potassium337mg (10%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar32g (36%)Vitamin A1155IU (23%)Vitamin C0.4mgCalcium99mg (10%)Iron3mg (17%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake recipe, jelly roll cake, Swiss roll cake, yule log cake
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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