Simple Classic Swiss Roll

Ahhh Yes there is something so satisfying in a simple Swiss Roll. That combo of cake swirled and filling swirled together looks so inviting. And intimidating.

It’s that intimidation for most people. ROLL A CAKE?? WHAT? How do I do that?? Won’t it break? I hear you on those feeling, I used to feel that way when I was a kid and learning to make a cake roll.

A slice of a classic Swiss Roll Recipe

In this post, we’ll go over the step-by-step directions for making a Swiss Roll. From turning it out, rolling it up hot, unrolling, and filling it.

Is a Swiss Roll a Roulade?

YES. Essentially a Roulade just means rolled. I’ve found that in my experience when people say roulade they usually mean savory like meat rolled around a filling. But roulade doesn’t ALWAYS mean savory and it can be sweet as well, such a the Meringue Roulade or the Swiss Roll or the Jelly Roll.

Swiss roll on a white plate with a serving spoon and tea towel.

Dessert Week on the GBBO

YES this is for the GBBO Bake-Along (join us if you love the GBBO). We’re on Dessert Week in Collection 4 on Netflix.

The Bakes are:

  • Signature Bake: A Sweet Roulade
  • Technical Bake: Marjolaine Cake
  • Showstopper Bake: Entremet
A slice of swiss roll on a plate.

How to ROll a Swiss Roll

This is how I do it, and it works almost every time. If you get cracks your cake was probably over-baked. If you look carefully at this cake you can see I over-baked it by about 1 minute.

  • Line your baking sheet properly. Butter it, line it with parchment OR waxed paper, and butter again. Waxed paper CAN be tricky but the bake time is so short it will work so use it if you have to.
  • Bake for the shortest time you can get away with. If the cake is overbaked it will crack.
  • While the cake bakes lay out a clean tea towel and sift some powdered sugar over the towel.
  • When the cake is just done take it out of the oven and immediately turn it out on the sugared tea towel.
  • Gently peel off the paper.
  • Roll the edge of the towel starting from the edge. When you get to the cake just keep on rolling. You don’t want to roll it TOO tightly just roll it up. When you get to the end of the cake keep rolling the towel until the whole thing is rolled up.
  • Set on a cooling rack and cool for a couple of hours. If you plan to cool it overnight place it in a bag or something else that will keep it from drying out.

How to fill a cake roll

  • When you’re ready to fill gently unroll the tea towel and get the cake out of it gently. It will want to stay rolled up and that’s a good thing.
  • Fill with whatever you’re going to fill it with, I like whipping cream or cream cheese frosting. But this particular Swiss Roll is filled with whipped cream and about 1/2 cup of this luscious Rhubarb Curd.
  • Do not overfill the Swiss Roll or the filling will just SQUIRT OUT. OR distort the cake roll. The goal of rolling the cake is to have the SWIRL, if you overfill it you ruin the swirl.
  • Once the cake is rolled around the filling place it on a serving tray or plate. Cover and chill.
  • Serve chilled to keep the swirl intact.

And that’s how you roll a cake. If you follow the steps you’ll have a good roll. It may be messy but the more you make the better they will look.

What can you put in a swiss roll?

Ingredients for a simple cake roll.

This recipe will make one cake roll. You can fill this classic roll with ANYTHING you desire. Because it’s so plain it’s the fillings that give it life so get creative with it! Until I watched the GBBO I was pretty plain and only did one filling but it seems that 2 work really well.

You could use:

  • Chopped fruit
  • praline crumble
  • shaved chocolate
  • curd
  • mousse
  • chopped nuts
  • frosting
  • whipped cream

I DO love my Cake Rolls Though

I make them quite a bit. I’ve got this Banana Roll which is a unique way to use old bananas!

photo of a slice of Banana Roll

And of COURSE the Pumpkin Roll and the Pumpkin Spice Latte Roll.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake Roll

And one of my personal favorites the Carrot Cake Roll!

Carrot Cake Roll Slice
Yield: 8 slices

Simple Swiss Roll

A slice of a classic Swiss Roll Recipe

This simple cake roll is made with a simple cake you can easily whip up in your mixer. You can fill it with whatever you like such as whipped cream, mousse, frosting, or even a curd.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 29 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 TBSP All-Purpose Flour
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting the tea towel
  • 1/2 homemade curd or jam or jelly
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Instructions

  1. preheat the oven to 425˚
  2. grease a 9x13 baking pan, line with parchment, grease again, set aside
    Swiss Roll pan lined with parchment.
  3. in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy and full-bodied, about 5 minutes, you want the eggs to drip off the whisk in a silky ribbon
    Whipped eggs beaten for five minutes.
  4. while the eggs whisk sift the flour and salt together once
  5. when the eggs are finished beating
  6. working quickly sift about half of the flour mixture over the eggs and fold in with a metal spoon
    Whipped eggs with the flour and salt folded in to them.
  7. repeat with the remaining flour making sure no floury streaks remain
  8. then scrape into the prepared pan, level, and bake for 9-10 minutes or JUST until the cake is done-it will spring back when done
    Simple cake roll batter in a jelly roll pan.
  9. while the cake is baking lay a clean tea towel out on the table and sprinkle with powdered sugar (this keeps the cake from sticking)
  10. when the cake is done immediately turn it over on the tea towel
  11. grab the edge of the tea towel and start rolling it up, when you hit the cake keep on rolling, and keep rolling all the way to the end of the towel
  12. lay on a cooling rack to cool for several hours
  13. when ready to fill have fillings ready-- you only need about a cup and a half of filling so no worries there, you can use whipped cream, frosting, curd, mousse, jams, or jellies
  14. unroll the cake gently and fill, remember to not overfill the cake roll or it will distort it and cause it to look weird, and the extra filling will just squish out as you roll it up or cut it
    Cake roll filled with curd and whipped cream.
  15. roll the cake back up and lay it seam side down on a serving tray
  16. cover and refrigerate before serving
  17. you can sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake or frosting it if you like, traditionally the ends are not frosted over so the swirls show up

Notes

Adapted from The Great British Baking Show Big Book of Amazing Cakes

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Nutrition Information

Yield

8

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 184Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 100mgSodium 58mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 0gSugar 31gProtein 4g

This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.

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