Every time I come around to writing a new post, I’m stuck with the same question, ‘How do I start this? Do I open with a knock knock joke? Or Oh, I’m back!?’ Every. Single. Time. I think I’ll have to just accept the fact that this IS going to happen time & again, and although I do feel a bit embarrassed for my lack of consistency on the blog, it’s all I can manage with uni, assignments and work 😦 As for the silver lining, no matter how infrequent our little blog interactions are, I always come bearing good news 😀 Also, you can totally connect with me on instagram to see more of what’s going on on a daily basis! Okay, now that the opening is out of the way (you see what I did there 😉 ), let’s come to today’s topic- give me a drumrolllll for theee swisss rollllll ! Okay, that sounded a bit more cool in my head… Anyhow, so swiss roll yes! Or also known as a Roulade. Can I just say as to how fun swiss rolls are?! I mean, cake with frosting is great, but a cake filled with frosting and then rolled up sounds so much more fun right? Also kinda makes you feel like you’ve earned that slice, haha 😛 I made a chocolate & peanut butter roll a while ago, and oh good lord, it was by far the best thing ever! I’m not even a big peanut butter fan and I absolutely LOVED it! Inspired by that successful event, I made them again, and this time with not just one filling, but TWO fillings!
NERD ALERT: Now, making swiss rolls can seem a bit intimidating and they do require more care than your usual one bowl cake, but trust me, it’s nothing you can’t do. I have tried a couple of chocolate roll recipes before but this one by Sally seemed to be the most stable one so far. It’s basically just making an enriched chocolate sponge cake. I say enriched because a regular sponge is only eggs, sugar & flour, quite literally. Adding fat (melted butter in this case) to a sponge cake make it an enriched sponge. Think of genoise. So the process is very simple & straightforward. You whip up your yolks with sugar, and the whites with more sugar to make a meringue, and you mix both, adding flours & butter. Eggs are the key ingredient here. They provide volume & stability to the cake, and basically just hold the cake together. You want to use melted but cooled butter for flavour & moistness. Why melted? For easy mixing, essentially. You don’t want to chuck in a thick brick of butter, you’ll end up deflating the eggs in the process of trying to mix in the butter. Creaming method of butter & sugar doesn’t work here. And the key to holding all of this together is: GENTLE FOLDING. No mixing, only folding. We want to retain as much air in the eggs as possible.
So that’s baking out of the way. However, the real struggle begins after the baking. Or even during the baking. Because the baking time is so short, it’s very easy to overbake the cake in a matter of a minute. I don’t usually follow the exact time that the recipe states, simply because every oven is different. Estimates, yes. But it’s about knowing how to tell when a cake is done because every oven varies. What happens if your cake isn’t baked right? An under-or over baked cake will break very easily when you’re trying to roll the cake, because it doesn’t have the same elasticity. Ever noticed when you’re making an omelette, it tends to break when you try to fold it in half if you have under or over cooked your eggs? Undercooked eggs haven’t got the time to set yet and overcooked eggs are already a bit too set. Same principle. So, how to tell when the cake is ready? After the initial timer goes off, check your cake. Lightly press the cake with your fingers and see if it springs back. If it doesn’t, bake it for a minute or two longer depending how far the cake is from being done. I like to do this with the entire cake and not just a small section of the cake because again, ovens have heat spots. So I’ll just quickly and lightly press around the cake to check if it springs back. If it does, voila, it’s done!
Now that the cake is out of the oven, you want to work quick. As soon as the cake is out, life it out of the pan and place on your work surface. I don’t invert my cake because I like the bottom side to be on top when I roll the cake. It’s much more even and looks cleaner. So, just lift it out of the pan as it is, lightly dust with cocoa powder all over the surface of the cake, and then roll the cake. With the seam tucked under, let the cake cool down while rolled up, about an hour or so. You want to make sure you tuck the seam under or else the end is just awkwardly handing out, and the cake might even unroll. Rolling the cake while it’s still hot (and therefore flexible) helps to familiarise the cake with the rolling process so that it remains flexible when you roll the cake with the filling, after it’s cooled down. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, trust me! It’s a walk in the park once you understand the concept behind it. Okay, let me list it down for you:
- Make the batter: We want to retain as much air as possible for a nice fluffy cake, therefore, be gentle while folding egg whites into the cake batter.
- Bake the cake: It bakes very fast, so you want to be precise as every minute makes a difference. Lightly press the cake to check if it springs back.
- Roll the cake while it’s hot: Immediately out of the oven, lift it out of the cake tray. Dust with cocoa powder and roll the cake. With the seam tucked under, let the cake cool down completely in the rolled up position.
- Unroll, spread the filling, roll back: After the cake has completely cooled down, unroll gently. Spread the filling onto the entire cake and slowly roll the cake again. And there you have your perfectly rolled swiss roll! 😀
I love swiss rolls because they are like the perfect canvas for endless flavour pairings! You can fill them up with any filling of your choice, I have shared the recipe for two of my most loved fillings- Vanilla Baileys & Peanut Butter , and oh god, I’m not kidding when I say that I could eat an entire roll of each by myself! Yup, extreme but true *guiltyyyy* I mean, the best thing about these (you know apart from being ridiculously good! ) is that they make for a great show off if you wanna impress your friends by being all *fancy* but in actuality not really, you get what I mean? So go on, make a batch and you’re gonna be everybody’s favourite 😛 Or maybe just eat it by yourself, nobody is judging 😉 (I would totally eat that by myself) Bon appetite! 🙂
Chocolate cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes: 1 large roll
For the chocolate cake
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 65 g castor sugar
- 65 g packed light brown sugar
- 15 ml strongly brewed coffee or 1 tsp espresso powder
- 60 g salted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 62 g plain flour
- 20 g good quality cocoa powder, plus more for sifting
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the peanut butter filling- makes enough for 1 cake
- 200 g crunchy or smooth peanut butter (I prefer crunchy), at room temperature
- 50 g cookie butter *, at room temperature
- 250 g double cream, or whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50 g softened butter, salted or unsalted
- 20 g icing sugar
For the Vanilla Baileys filling – makes enough for 1 cake
- 300 g mascarpone cream
- 150 g double cream, or whipping cream
- 80 g icing sugar
- 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
- 30 g baileys
For the chocolate cake
- Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12″ x 17″ sheet cake tray with butter and line with parchment/baking paper. I suggest using parchment paper here instead of just greasing the tray for easier handling of the cake.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl or onto a baking paper. Keep aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt** until foamy. Add the castor sugar gradually while still whisking and whisk until stiff peaks form. You can do this either with a hand beater or in a stand mixer. (You can do this by hand too but there’s a whole arm workout there) Set aside.
- If you’re using a stand mixer for the egg whites, you can simultaneously do this step. In another large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the brown sugar and vanilla extract until pale and creamy ~ approx 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients, melted butter and brewed espresso to the egg yolks and mix until just combined.
- Using a spatula, gentle fold in the egg whites with the cake mix until just incorporated. Don’t overwork it, stop as soon as you can no longer see white streaks. Make sure to fold and NOT mix, to not deflate the egg whites.
- Spread the batter evenly onto the prepared cake tray. Gently shimmy the tray to smoothen the top. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the cake springs back when you press gently. Mine was done in 10 minutes but I would check at 9 first. We don’t want to over bake the cake.
- As soon the cake is out of the oven, lift the cake along with the parchment paper and place onto a clean work surface. Dust lightly with cocoa powder.
- Carefully start rolling the cake with the wider end with the parchment paper stuck on, tucking the seam under the cake. Allow to cool the cake completely in this position. (I usually put a bottle of something against the cake to support the cake and stop it from falling. )
For the peanut butter filling
- In a stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together the peanut butter, cookie butter, vanilla, softened butter and icing sugar until combined. (You can do this with a hand beater too.)
- Add in the double cream (whipping cream) and whip until firm and medium peaks form. Do not over mix or you’ll end up with split butter. Refrigerate or keep aside until use.
For the vanilla baileys filling
- In a stand mixer bowl, fitted with a whisk attachment, mix together all the ingredients until firm & medium peaks form. Refrigerate until use.
- Place a large sheet of baking paper on the work surface. Once the cake has completely cooled down, gently unroll the cake. Take off the parchment paper from the cake and place the cake on the new baking paper.
- Spread the filling evenly on the cake. Do not spread to the ends too much as the filling will spread once you roll the cake.
- Start rolling the cake carefully and keeping it tight, making sure to tuck the seam under. If the filling leaks out a little, you can always scrape it off.
- Fold the baking paper over the cake and gently tuck at the bottom of the cake using a ruler to tighten the roll and also straighten it.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least half an hour or until use.
- At this point, you can either serve as it is or cover the cake in melted chocolate for extra goodness. Cut into slices and serve! 🙂
- The fillings make enough for 1 whole cake. If you want to use two fillings in one cake, simply halve the recipe. Spread one filling on half of the cake, and the other filling on the other half of the cake.
*- If you dont have cookie butter, just add 25g more of peanut butter and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder.
**- Salt helps to break down the protein in egg whites and therefore whip better.