Swiss Roll is cake that reminds me of being a kid. There’s something quite comforting about a little swirly roll of cake, filled with sweet strawberry jam. It’s one I always remember getting from our local Safeway but one I seldom remember Granny baking.
With that being said, I was keen to give it a go. I seemed to have this mental block at Swiss Roll was overly complicated and that was the reason Granny didn’t make it much. Spoiler alert: it’s not. In fact, it’s really quite simple and takes very little time to make – although there is a few must-dos and must-not-dos for success. Which is exactly why I made a video to go hand-in-hand with this recipe!
The sponge itself for this Swiss Roll is one of my most favourite sponge cakes. It is made from just 3 ingredients: sugar, eggs and flour. That’s right, no butter or margarine, in fact no fat at all. This makes it super light and fluffy but also means there’s less room for error in getting it “just right.” In particular you need to get the whisking your eggs and sugar to the perfectly pale, light in texture consistency. Plus you have to be right on top of the baking time – a minute or two over/under and you’ll not have success in your Swiss Roll.
Then comes the rolling! This was the part of Swiss Roll baking that I had been dreading. But with a bit of preparation it’s actually no where near as difficult as you first think. You want to work with your Swiss Roll sponge as soon as it’s baked; letting it cool too much will cause the sponge to crack. And if you use greaseproof paper to your advantage, it will make rolling a million times easier, not too mention much less messy!
I’ve covered each step for success in the recipe below but the video is also a great tool in getting your Swiss Roll method perfect; and it is less than a minute long.
As this is a fat-free sponge, the eggs play and extra important role. Fresh eggs are preferable but size isn’t the be-all and end-all; just be sure to use free-range eggs.
Caster sugar is the sugar of choice for a Swiss Roll and is always better over granulated sugar in this recipe, as it is finer and mixes better into the batter. It is also used to dust over once baked, giving a nice bit of extra sweetness and texture.
Flour is a must in a cake batter and self-raising is used here to allow it to rise. No additional raising agents are required but be sure to sift the flour.
You could of course mix things up with a raspberry or blackcurrant jam but when I think of Swiss Roll, I think of strawberry jam! There is also the option to add a butter cream too but the rolling routine does need to vary slightly, as you don’t want to add the buttercream to a warm Swiss Roll!
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°c (180°c for fan assisted ovens or Gas Mark 3). Generously grease a 30cm x 22cm Swiss Roll Tray and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, gently whisk the eggs until the whites and yolks are combined, before adding the caster sugar. Whisk the eggs and sugar until you have a pale and thick mixture.This is much easier when using an electric hand whisk but can also be done by hand.
- Sift the flour into the mixture and gently fold together to create a light batter, being careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into your prepared tin and evenly spread to the sides and corners.
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for 7-8 minutes until a light golden colour and dry in appearance.Whilst the sponge bakes, place an additional piece of greaseproof paper on a flat surface and dust with a little caster sugar. Warm the jam, either in the microwave or over a bain marie – this isn't essential but it will make your jam easier to spread.
- Take the sponge from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the tray and gently tip it from it's tray onto the sugared greaseproof paper. Trim the edges of the sponge and remove the baked-on greaseproof paper.
- Spread the jam on the sponge, right to sides but leaving a little gap at the shorter ends. Gently fold one about 1cm of one of the shorter ends over (gently press with a knife to mark first, if required); this is the start of your rolling.
- Using the greaseproof paper, continue to roll the sponge over itself, using gentle pressure to make sure there is no big gaps. Finish by ensuring the end is on the underside of the Swiss Roll; the weight of the rest will stop it from unravelling.
- Dust with a little more sugar if desired and allow to cool completely before cutting.