You’ve probably heard horror story about kitchen disaster when making Swiss Roll cake. Cracked cake, hard cake, thin cake and anything else that could go wrong when making it. Swiss Roll cake is not the traditional cake that you bake in a round or square pan. The final shape of the cake is achieved by manually rolling it, and this is where some people get frustrated. But, worry no more. Believe it or not, this Chocolate Cream Cheese Swiss Roll Cake is the easiest Swiss roll recipe that will take your fear away. It’s soft and moist, easy to handle and it is delicious inside and out. It was filled with tangy homemade cream cheese filling and coated with melted chocolate that is so decadent and delicious. This cake will surely be welcomed on your table. Check it out!
The very first video I made in my YouTube channel was a Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake. It was a beginners video in every way, not the most beautiful but at that time I thought t was great. Nonetheless, I decided to keep it and published it. That video will always be a reminder on how I started my YouTube channel and first time I ever made a Swiss Roll Cake. Just like the video, it was not perfect but it was a nice learn in experience for me. Few years after that, I’ve attempted to make a Swiss roll cake again, and thank goodness most of them turned out pretty well. I guess practice makes perfect, and mistakes makes us better the next time around. I’ve made Peaches and Cream Swiss Roll Cake, Matcha Swiss Roll Cake and Purple Yam Swiss Roll Cake and now, this new addition to the Swiss roll family, Chocolate Swiss Roll filled with Vanilla Cream Cheese. I cannot express how happy I am on how this one turned out on my first try. It came out super soft, moist and no cracks! Yes, no cracks on top, which is a sign that I did everything right. Do you want to know the secret? Let’s talk more about Swiss Roll.
What are the Ingredients for Chocolate Swiss Roll?
- Cake Flour – Cake flour is a delicate flour with lower protein content. This makes it better for cakes as it produces a lighter softer cake.
- Cocoa Powder – Natural or Dutch processed will work, but the Dutch processed will give a darker chocolate color.
- Eggs – Use ONLY room temperature eggs as we need to beat the egg white to stiff peaks and the egg yolk to a creamy silky consistency.
- Caster Sugar – is NOT the same as granulated sugar. Granulated sugar is the normal table sugar (coarse and grainy), while caster sugar has a finer texture in between a granulated sugar and icing sugar. caster sugar is important here because it dissolves easier when whipped into the egg whites. You can make your own by simply processing the granulated sugar into a finer texture.
- Salt – Always advisable to add salt to cake as it enhances the taste
- Vanilla Extract – for flavoring. Make sure to use only pure vanilla extract as it gives a better flavor
- Oil – Use any flavorless oil, the likes of vegetable or canola works
- Cream Cheese – Use ONLY the original full fat cream cheese in a box, NOT the spreadable one in a tub. Have it in room temperature for easier whipping.
- Chocolate – You can use dark or semi-sweet but dark is highly recommended to balance the cream cheese frosting. use only good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating on its own. I suggest buying a block chocolate, not the chocolate chips as chocolate chips do not melt as smooth and as fluid as block chocolates.
- Honey – Aside from adding sweetness to the Ganache Frosting, this helps produce a smooth finish. You can also substitute it with Maple syrup or agave.
- Butter – This helps produce a nice fluid finish to the Ganache. You can use salted or unsalted.
What’s the difference between Caster Sugar and Granulated Sugar?
Granulated sugar is the regular sugar we use for almost anything. It’s has a coarse and bigger granules. Caste sugar is also a white sugar, but it has fiber smaller granules which makes it easy to dissolve. This recipe uses caster sugar so that it dissolves easily when whipped with the egg whites. We want the egg white to reach strife peaks and not have the grainy texture of the sugar. You can make your own caster sugar by simply processing the granulated sugar using a food processor or a small chopper which is what I used. Process the sugar until fine.
How to Make Chocolate Swiss Roll
Here is a summary of what you need to do to make this Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake. Making Swiss Roll Cake batter is almost the same as making regular cake, the only difference is you bake it in a jelly roll pan and it is super thin.
- Start by making the base cake, a thin chocolate sponge cake baked in jelly roll pan. The measurements are below in the ingredients, but I just want to stress out the importance of making sure you use the exact measurement indicated. Adding more or less flour or cocoa powder can affect the cake. Sift all the dry ingredients together to remove the lumps from the cocoa powder. When using cocoa powder, always sift it.
- Once that is done, start working on the wet ingredients. This portion is crucial, as this is the step where you whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. This is what will give the cake the light airy texture. Make sure to use only temperature eggs as they whipped better than cold eggs. In fact, you will not even get a stiff peaks if you use a cold egg straight from the refrigerator. Separate the egg white and egg yolk once you take it out of the refrigerator then leave it to sit in the counter for about 30 minutes. It is easier to separate egg white and yolk while it is still cold. Use caster sugar not granulated sugar. Caster sugar dissolves easily when whipped with the egg white thus avoiding over whipping of egg white which could result to a lump of over whipped egg white. You can make your own by simply processing granulated sugar (I used my mini food chopper) into fine texture. No need to buy it separately. If you do not have anything to process it, that is the only time you resort to using granulated sugar but make sure to pay attention to the texture as you whip the egg whites. Spoon a small portion and rub it in your fingers and feel it the mixture to know if the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Adding the Egg Yolks one at a time: Once you have the egg whites to stiff peaks add the egg yolk one at a time to avoid deflating the egg white. Carefully stir then add the oil. Oil is what makes this cake soft and moist
- Sift dry ingredients for a lighter airy cake: Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt onto the wet ingredients, then manually whisk it. Tap the bowl 3 times to release the bubbles. This recipe uses very small amount of flour and cocoa powder, only 3 tablespoon each. The small amount of flour and cocoa powder helps keep the cake light. Do not be tempted to add more, especially the cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has a tendency to dry the cake batter, this could result to dry cake and dry cake could result to cracks when you roll it. Keep the cake light and flexible as possible.
- Pour the cake into the jelly roll pan. We’re almost there. This recipe uses a 10 x 9 inch cookie sheet which produces just the right thickness for the cake. If you use a bigger pan, the cake will be too thin, and a smaller pan will result to thicker cake which could be challenging to roll. Pour the cake batter into the parchment lined pan. Make sure to cut the parchment paper slightly bigger than pan, this will help removing it easy. Once you’ve poured the cake batter, tap the tray 3 times to release some bubbles. Then love the tray forward and backwards an also side ways. This will help even the top of the cake.
- While the cake is baking, take the time to make the Cream Cheese Frosting so that it is ready once the cake comes out of the oven. I used homemade Vanilla Cream cheese filling, as I like the tangy taste and the contrast o this frosting to the chocolate flavor. Simply beat plain cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and salt until smooth and spreadable. Do not add any liquid (like milk), you want his to be as thick as possible so that you don’t get a messy frosting inside. Spread the frosting on top of the entire cake. Alternatively, you can also use other frosting, like whipped cream or buttercream frosting. Although, buttercream will make this cake sweeter, I would recommend to stay on a subtle sweetness frosting. I’ll leave the choice to you.
- Once you have the cake baked, take it out of the oven and put a parchment on top, flip it, peel it. Leave the cake for about 5 minutes then spread the filling across the top.
- Wrap it as tight as possible: Now, moment of truth. Time to rock and roll! Starting from the shorter end (9-inch side), roll the cake forward making sure to roll it as tight as possible. The first roll important as this guide the entire rolling process. Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake this way your hands is not directly touching cake. Leave parchment paper to wrap the cake. This will protect the cake when you chill jt in the refrigerator.
- Chilling is strongly recommended: Keep it rolled in the parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the cream cheese filling to harden. Do NOT attempt to cut it immediately as you will not get a clean finish. If you can leave it overnight, even better.
- Frost it. You have the option to either just dust the top with icing sugar or cover it with melted chocolate. I suggest indulge and cover it with melted chocolate. You can use dark or semi-sweet but dark is my recommendation. Use only good quality chocolate that you enjoy eating on its own. Buy a block chocolate (the likes of Bakers baking chocolate, Ghirardelli or Lindt), do NOT use chocolate chips as it doesn’t melt as fluid as block chocolate.
Common Problem in Making Swiss Roll Cake and How to Avoid Them
- The cake is hard and dry
- Use oil rather than butter. Butter hardens as it cools thus making the cake not to flexible for rolling.
- Use less dry ingredients as possible. The more flour you add, the more you will have a dense heavy cake, and that is a recipe for a sure dry hard cake.
- Do NOT over bake. As always, over baking creates a dry cake.
- The crust sticks to the paper the cake is wrapped in
- Do NOT dust with sugar: The crust sticks to the cake normally because the heat that is trap in the cake melts the sugar coating. So skip that dusting of sugar part and just proceed with the filling and rolling. No need to let it sit while wrap to let it cool.
- The cake cracks during rolling
- Whipped Egg Whites to Stiff Peaks: Now, this is big deal and can be avoided if done properly. This cake is more flexible, the cake can stretch and bend into a roll without breaking. The flexibility is due to the way the eggs are beaten. The whites are whisked to firm peak stage (like when making a meringue), then the yolks are added one at a time and whisked manually.
- Use Oil, and Less Flour, Do not Over Bake:
- Also, the cake is soft and moist because of the oil, the cake is light due to less dry ingredients, and baking the cake just right is also a key.
Tips To Beautiful Crack Free Swiss Roll Cake
- Use Oil instead of Butter: Oil provides more moisture to the cake, thus making the cake more flexible and easy to roll thus avoiding the major swiss roll problem of the cake cracking or breaking while rolling. Plus, oil keeps the cake soft even when stored in the refrigerator.
- Use Less Flour As Possible: Using too much dry ingredients, that is flour and cocoa powder can make the cake heavy which can cause the cake to crack when rolled. The goal is to have a light airy cake that is flexible and easy to roll.
- Do NOT Dust the Cake with Sugar Before Wrapping: This may sound odd and questionable to you as a lot of recipe online suggests wrapping the cake in a towel right after taking it out from the oven to avoid cracking. I am not saying that the wrapping method doesn’t work, but for me if that can be avoided then why not. Since this cake is very flexible and soft, there’s no issue of the cake cracking when you roll it which means you do not need to dust the cake with sugar and wrap the cake in a towel to let it cool. One issue with dusting the towel with sugar while the cake is still hot is that it could cause moisture, and moisture could make the sugar melt, and melted sugar could make the cake sticky.
- Use Less Cocoa Powder: I used only 3 tablespoon of cocoa powder for this recipe, but it is more than enough to give a nice chocolate flavor without compromising the texture of the cake. One thing I learned from making swiss roll cake is that cocoa powder could easily make the cake dry when not handled and used properly. And when it comes to cake roll, dry cake means cracking. Of course you can hide the cracks by covering the cake with icing sugar or spreading frosting on top, but you don’t even have to do it if you make the cake properly. One thing with baking is that kitchen disasters and failed baked product could actually be traumatic. So I guess it’s worth doing it right, nothing beats the sense of accomplishment of seeing the cake you made being devoured and admired by your friends.
- 3 tablespoon Cake Flour
- 1/8 teaspoon fine Salt (pinch)
- 3 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
- 4 Eggs (White and Yolk separated)
- 5 tablespoon Caster Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/3 cup flavorless Oil
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz plain Cream Cheese (1 box) – softened at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted Butter – softened at room temperature
- 3/4 cups Icing Sugar – sifted to remove lumps
- 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 cup Chocolate – chopped
- 2 teaspoon unsalted Butter
- 2 teaspoon Honey
- pinch of Salt
A Simple Hack to Turn Granulated Sugar to Caster Sugar
- You can make your own caster by processing the granulated white sugar to make it finer. I used my mini food chopper and just process it for 1-2 minutes until the texture is fine. Caster sugar dissolves faster when used to whisk egg whites.
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390F. Measure and prep ingredients as detailed above. Grease 10″ x 9″ pan with butter or oil. Line pan with 11″ x 11″ parchment paper. You want an extra overhang on the side for easy lifting.
- Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift salt, cocoa powder and cake flour. Set aside.
- Wet Ingredients: Whisk egg whites and 2 tablespoon of caster sugar on medium-slow speed for 3 minutes. Add another 2 tablespoon of caster sugar and whisk another 3 minutes. Add the last 2 tablespoon of caster sugar and whisk for another 3 minutes. Keep whisking till egg whites are at soft peak stage (not foamy anymore but still does not hold firm peaks). Reduce speed to slow and continue to whisk till firm peak stage (when whisk is lifted, egg whites form peak that’s hooked). Add egg yolks one at a time, manually whisk till evenly mixed after each addition. I do this manually to avoid deflating the egg whites too much. Add vanilla extract and oil and gently mix using a whisk.
- Dry Ingredients + Wet Ingredients: Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, gently mix until combined. Bang the mixing bowl against work counter 2-3 times to release bubbles.
- Pour the Cake Batter into prepared pan. Spread as evenly as possible, pushing batter into corners of pan. Push the pan back and forward, and side ways until batter is level. Tap pan against work counter twice to release bubbles.
- Bake on middle shelf till middle of cake for 8 minutes until center is springy when pressed. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: While waiting for the cake to bake, start making the cream cheese frosting. In a bowl, transfer the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until fully combined and smooth. Keep in a cool place while you wait for the cake to bake. If you store it in refrigerator, take it out at least 30 minutes before using it so that it is easy to spread on top of the cake.
- Make the Chocolate Frosting: In a small bowl, transfer the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave in 30 seconds interval until fully melted. Stir after every 30 seconds. Add the honey and salt and stir.
- Flip time: This is an important step, make sure to do it carefully to avoid tearing the cake.
- What you have now is a cake with parchment paper at the bottom. Put another parchment paper on top and a flat pan or chopping board to hold the cake when you flip it. Flip the cake carefully. At this stage you now have a cake with the bottom parchment paper facing up. Remove the parchment paper slowly. What you have now is a cake with the bottom facing up (this is the wrinkled side as shown in the 2nd photo). This is the side where you will spread the frosting.
- Peel the parchment paper. Let sit for about 5 minutes to let it slightly cool before spreading the cream cheese frosting.
- You are now ready to spread frosting and roll the cake.
Serves 8 – 10 slices (depending on how thin or thick you slice the cake)
To Fill the Swiss Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Spread Cream Cheese Frosting on top of the entire cake. You should be spreading on the wrinkled side of the cake (photo #5), the bottom part.
- Roll the Cake: Using the parchment paper (the one that you put on top when you flipped the cake) as a guide, roll tightly to avoid gaps. The first roll is important as this is the part where it gets more space if not rolled tightly. Use your palm to smoothen the top while you roll the cake. Use the parchment paper to handle the cake when transferring it to a serving plate.
- Dust top with icing sugar or decorate as desired. If you want to spread cream cheese frosting on top, you have to make 2 batches of cream cheese frosting. 1 batch is enough only to fill the center of the cake.
- Alternatively, you can cover the cake with melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate on top as evenly as possible.
- Chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or until frosting is set, but I recommend leaving it overnight in the fridge to allow the cake to absorb the frosting. It will also give a smooth and clean cut.
How to Serve Swiss Roll Cake?
- Fruit and Cream filled Swiss Roll Cakes (like Peaches and Cream Swiss Roll Cake, Matcha Swiss Roll or Purple Yam Swiss Roll) are best eaten after an overnight rest in the fridge, when the filling has had time to perfume the cake and the cream has slightly harden.
- Chocolate spread Swiss Roll Cake (like Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake) are best served after it’s made while the chocolate filling is still soft. Otherwise, the oil will start to separate from the chocolate spread and it will seep into the cake, making it hard.
- Swiss roll filled with cream cheese frosting are best eaten after at least 1 hour rest in the refrigerator, overnight recommended. This will allow the cream cheese to harden thus giving a better texture and structure to the cake. To store it unrolled, refrigerate and place pan in plastic bag making sure bag doesn’t touch swiss roll surface to avoid the skin from sticking to the plastic bag. Rolled and decorated swiss roll can also be stored in refrigerator as any regular cake.
How to Cut Swiss Roll Cake Neatly:
Have a tall glass with hot water in it. Dip the knife into the glass with hot water, cut the cake using serrated knife then wipe the knife with paper towel. Do this after every cut. As mentioned above, I would recommend storing it overnight to get a solid and clean cut like what is shown in the photo.
How to Store Swiss Roll Cake
- Un-rolled Swiss Roll Cake: Let the cake cool down on the tray then cover with plastic bag making sure bag do not touch the surface of the swiss roll cake to avoid the skin from sticking to the plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator then thaw in the counter when ready to spread the filling. The cake should be at room temperature so that it can be roll easily without cracking.
- Rolled and Decorated Swiss Roll Cake can be stored in refrigerator as any regular cake.
Happy rolling! If you like this post, kindly click on the “Like“button below, or leave me a comment. I would like to know what is your favorite Swiss Roll Cake. Thanks!
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