To say I'm obsessed with The Great British Baking Show would be a massive understatement. I've rewatched all seasons on Netflix at least twice, I have nightmares about soggy bottoms and raw bread dough, and the thought of getting a handshake from Paul Hollywood is basically the equivalent to receiving a gold medal in the baking olympics (can that become a real thing?). The bakers on that show and similar US versions like Spring Baking Championship always blow me away with the things they're able to create, but the one thing they always seem to struggle with? Swill roll cakes.
From cracked sponge cakes to too much filling to not having an actual swirl in the middle of the cake, making this beloved dessert always seems like an uphill battle. And since I love baking and also love a challenge, I recently decided to try and make a Swiss roll cake at home. And while it was definitely a process, I think my end result came out pretty good!
I wouldn't make a Swill roll cake for no reason going forward, as I think they're best enjoyed within one day of baking. And while there are a lot of steps and time involved (the roll needs to cool and then set for a long time), it was a really fun one to try. Keep reading for the full recipe and more tips below!
When whipping your egg whites, you want to make sure you get stiff peaks when checking the consistency. This may take several minutes, so keep whipping until the eggs whites are able to stand tall when you take the attachment out of the mixing bowl.
The biggest thing I found in making a good Swill roll cake is gently folding your egg whites into the batter. And I mean gently. Even if you think you're being gentle, be softer. It'll be worth the time and effort this takes. If you're too aggressive with mixing in the egg whites, your cake might turn out too rubbery or chewy instead of fluffy and light.
When you roll the baked cake, make sure to act quickly once it comes out of the oven. Don't let it sit and cool!
One thing I will say is I wish I added more cream filling for a more equal cake-to-cream ratio. When I was spreading it on the cake, it felt like it was too much and would be too hard to roll, but once rolled, it was clear I could have added a bit more.
I'm pretty happy with my swirl! While I do think it could have been a bit better, I think it turned out really nice and clean. Oh, and the cake was delicious. It's so light and refreshing, and is the perfect treat.
- For the sponge cake:
4 tablespoons powdered sugar (for dusting the towel)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs (two whole, three separated into whites and yolks)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the berries and cream filling:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup berries (I used fresh raspberries)
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 15 x 10 inch baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
- Dust a clean kitchen tea towel with powdered sugar and set aside (make sure you use a towel that doesn't give off any lint or fabric).
- In a small bowl, measure out flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside to be sifted later.
- Separate egg whites and egg yolks for three of the eggs into two large bowls. Reserve the other two eggs for later. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until white and frothy, and gradually add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (about 2-4 minutes).
- Add the two remaining eggs to the egg yolks, and then beat with the electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 cups granulated sugar, water, and vanilla extract and then beat one more minute. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix again on low until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter. Be patient, trying to keep as much air in the batter as possible.
- Pour the sponge batter into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The top will be golden and the cake will spring back when pressed in the center.
- Remove the cake from the oven and quickly and confidently invert the pan onto the powder sugar-coated tea towel. Remove the parchment paper from the cake, and place a clean sheet of parchment on top of the inverted cake. Starting from the short end, roll up the cake with the parchment and tea towel and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the cream filling:
- Place the room temperate cream cheese into a large bowl. Add heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed for 1 minute. As the cream thickens, increase the speed of the mixer until the cream is whipped, about 2-4 more minutes.
To assemble the cake:
- Carefully unroll the rolled up cake and remove the parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the sponge cake evenly, leaving a slight border on the long edges. Arrange the berries evenly over the cream. Starting at the same short end, re-roll the cake. Don’t worry if some of the outside of the cake sticks to the tea towel.
- Place the cake seam side down onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and wrap snuggly to hold the cake roll together. Refrigerate for at least three hours before slicing and serving.
- Serve with additional berries and dust with powdered sugar if desired.
- About 8 Slices
- Prep Time
- 1 hour 40 mins
- Cook Time
- 12 minutes
- Total Time
- 1 hour, 51 minutes, 59 seconds