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Easy Swiss Roll Recipe

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 5

The following Swiss roll recipe has been broken down into simple stages so it is easy to follow. A lot of people get nervous about making a Swiss roll because it looks like it might be complicated, but I'm here to walk you through it.

Actually if you get the steps right as you go, the final rolling of the sponge will be made much easier, but of course I have some great tips to get you rolling in the right direction!

What is a Swiss Roll?

Despite its name, a Swiss roll is very much the domain of British bakers. It is essentially a kind of roulade - a thin sheet of sponge, filled with jam, cream or both that is then rolled to form a swirl shape that is evident once it's cut in to.

Chocolate covered Swiss roll

It can be either a plain or vanilla sponge, or more often than not it is a chocolate sponge - no real reason other than the world loves chocolate!

The Swiss roll is also the basis for a Yule Log (AKA Bûche de Noël). This is where a Swiss roll is covered in chocolate frosting and decorated to resemble a log - often powdered sugar is used to make the log look like it is covered in snow.

They can be quite fiddly to make, so don't worry if you don't get perfect results on your first go - hopefully these tips will help though.

Creating the Sponge

If you aren't usually great at making sponges then do not fear - this is not one of those recipes where you need to get a huge rise or lots of air into your cake mix. In fact things will be made easier for you later on if you have an even, flat sponge.

Rolling a Swiss roll

To do this you will need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 oz superfine sugar
  • 3 oz flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder 

We miss out the butter here as we don't want a rich sponge, but a light flexible one; this is also why we use a larger number of eggs than you would usually use for a regular sponge.

  • Swiss roll tin (about 9x12 inches) lined with baking parchment. A shallow dish with similar dimensions will work too.
  • Your oven preheated to 400f/200c.
  • More baking parchment/greaseproof paper.


Mixing and Baking

1.Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they are pale and fluffy. I highly recommend using an electric mixer here to make life easier. It will also make sure you have a light sponge. We want it to be flexible and this is the only way we can get air into the mix to make this happen.

2.Fold the flour and baking powder in using a metal spoon, trying to keep as much of the air in as possible. Once it is thoroughly combined you can tip the mix into your tin.

3.Bake for only 8-10 minutes.


Do not let your cake get too much color or allow it to dry out, or it will crack when you try to roll it. Remember that the cake will continue to cook a little from the residual heat once removed from the oven so it's better to have a pale looking cake for making Swiss rolls.

Get Rolling Rolling Rolling

Prepare a large sheet of your baking parchment out on the work surface with a generous sprinkling of superfine sugar.

Now quickly flip your Swiss roll sponge onto this surface. Your sponge should now be face down on the sugar with the original paper baking facing upwards. You can now peel this paper away from the sponge. Note that at this stage the sponge should still be warm.

Score a line about 1 inch from the narrow end of your sponge; make sure not to cut right the way through the sponge.

Using this as a starting point begin to roll your sponge, using the paper to help you. 

You can now unroll it and leave until it cools. This rolling exercise makes it easier to make the final roll when your sponge is cooled.

Choose Your Filling

Strawberry and Cream Swiss Roll
If you are creating a chocolate Swiss roll then you are likely to want to stick with traditional whipping cream or buttercream frosting for the filling, although a cherry jam or fresh chopped strawberries are a great combination for a chocolate Swiss roll too.

For a more traditional Swiss roll, using the plain recipe from above I would recommend a jam and cream filling.

Whichever filling you choose make sure when you put it onto your cooled sponge that you don't go right to the edges. Pressure builds as the sponge is rolled and you could end up with filling squirting out all over the place and making a huge mess!

And Roll Again!

Again use the paper underneath to help you get started as you roll - pull it up high and then release it. Your hands can then get to grips with the sponge and make sure you get a nice tight roll.

Continue in this fashion, using your other hand to pull the paper towards you to roll the sponge.

Keep going until you get to the end, and press gently to seal the filling - the end should be underneath the roll. Do not worry if you get some escaped filling as you finish, this is normal and easy to clean up.

Problems Do Happen

Even using this Swiss roll recipe, of course some problems may occur - that is the nature of baking.

Here are some golden rules to remember:

Thick and overfilled Swiss Roll
  • Overcooking is the main problem, so remember to keep an eye on your oven and make notes on how long it took in your oven so you can adjust the timings for next time.

  • Make sure your sponge mixture isn't piled too high before you bake - you are looking for a thin layer of sponge.

  • Do not overfill your Swiss roll. Not only does it make a mess but your sponge is more inclined to crack when rolling due to the excessive filling.

  • The sponge is more pliable when rolled a few minutes after being removed from the oven. But remember that it needs to be unrolled and then cooled before you add the filling; then roll again.

    Yule Log

If you get cracks then you can always disguise them with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of icing, or even create a Yule log and cover the whole thing with delicious frosting.




May 14, 2012 9:58am
You make it look so easy! I must try it. Great pictures too.
May 14, 2012 3:53pm
Thank you! Trust me it's through a lot of failing that this article came about. I must have tips and advice from about 50 different places going around in my head to come up with this. Always tastes yummy though, so just over up with frosting if it looks less than perfect :-)
Jul 4, 2012 6:24am
I will hopefully try this out.. I was looking for a recipe that someone has tried out. Thanks wendy.

Keep making my stomach growl :)
Jul 4, 2012 12:34pm
Oh do try it - bit tricky at first, but not as hard as it looks. I love the expression 'making my stomach growl'! Thanks yummy treasures :-)
Jan 21, 2013 10:05am
This sounds like great fun. Maybe I'll try this with my nieces.
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