A Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake is an impressive dessert recipe that is not difficult to make. With a few tips and tricks, you can make this wonderful chocolate cake roll filled with sweet meringue buttercream and coated in a shiny chocolate glaze. Slice, serve, and you will wow your family and friends with this chocolate treat.
When I started baking, there were many dessert recipes I would look at and think, “how did they do that?” and also “I could never do that!” Well, luckily I didn’t listen to that second one because I happily discovered many times that even the most difficult-looking desserts were actually not hard to make at all.
A chocolate swiss roll cake was one of those desserts that seemed intimidating to me. How do you go about rolling up a cake with a filling? And how does it stay rolled up? Well, after making this classic cake many, many times since then I can say it’s actually quite easy.
So, if you are where I was all those years ago when I first started baking, I am happy to share this recipe with you. Even a beginner baker can make a swiss roll cake with success and, once you do, your family and friends will think, “how did you do that?”. They will think you’ve been going to pastry school in your spare time.
What is a Swiss Roll Cake?
There are three parts to this type of cake: the actual cake (or sponge), the filling, and the glaze (or another type of frosting).
These types of cakes can be made with many different flavors. This version is a simple chocolate cake with a buttercream filling and chocolate glaze.
For this type of cake, you make a flat cake and, while it’s still warm, roll it up. Once it cools you unroll it, add the filling and roll it up again. Then it is sliced to show off the cake and the filling spiraled together.
Cake rolls can be very elaborate. Have you ever seen a Buche de Noel? Those traditional Christmas cake rolls can be very fancy with frosting and decorations to make them look like a festive holiday yule log.
The swiss roll cake recipe I’m sharing today is perfect for a beginner. It’s simple but delicious and once you know how to make one, you can experiment with other flavor combinations and decorations.
- All-purpose flour
- Unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Large eggs
- Granulated sugar
- Swiss meringue buttercream – this can be made in advance, see more about this in the tips section.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Chopped good quality dark chocolate
- Corn syrup – optional
How to Make the Cake
For the cake, you will need a 10×15″ (25×28 cm) jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. You will also need a sheet of parchment paper that is at least 2″ (4 cm) wider on all sides than your sheet pan.
Line the pan with the parchment paper and then lightly grease and flour the parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
In a large bowl (or stand mixer), beat the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. Beat the mixture for one minute.
With the mixer at low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time. Once all of the flour mixture has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the batter for one minute.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Rap the pan a few times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter.
Bake the cake for about 12 to 15 minutes at 350°F (180°C). The cake is done when you can lightly press the center of the cake and it springs back.
As soon as you take the cake out of the oven, carefully lift it from the pan using the edge of the parchment as a handle.
Roll the hot cake up into itself (with the parchment paper) like a jelly roll. Place the roll on a baking rack to cool.
How to Fill the Cake
Once the cake roll is cooled, unroll roll it. While you unroll it, remove the parchment paper and discard it.
Spread a little more than 1/2 of the buttercream filling on top of the unrolled cake.
Roll the cake up again and then coat the outside of the roll with the rest of the buttercream. Place the cake roll on a plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes.
How to Glaze the Swiss Roll Cake
While the cake chills, you can make the chocolate glaze.
Place the chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a heat-proof bowl.
Pour the cream into a saucepan and heat it on the stove until it’s steaming hot but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, let it sit for a couple of minutes, and then stir until you have a smooth glaze.
Remove the chilled cake roll from the fridge and pour the chocolate glaze evenly over the roll. Refrigerate the cake roll for at least 45 minutes to an hour before slicing and serving.
- Cake Batter Tip: It’s always a good idea to use room-temperature eggs and milk when you make the cake batter. Room temperature ingredients are easier to combine without having to overmix the batter. This will make your cake more soft and tender.
- Baking Tip: It’s very important to not overbake the cake. The first time you make it, be sure to keep an eye on it and check it. Once it springs back in the center it’s ready. Every oven is different and your cake may need more or less time.
- Filling Tip: The buttercream meringue is a wonderfully stable frosting/filling that you can make up to five days in advance. You can even make it ahead and freeze it for several months.
- Glaze Tip: I like to add corn syrup to the glaze because it makes it nice and shiny when it’s set. You can omit it if you prefer but your glaze won’t be as shiny.
- Decorating Tip: Top the glaze with shaved or grated chocolate, finely chopped nuts, or even sprinkles for extra decorations.
When you roll the cake, you will want to roll it into itself like a jelly roll. It’s important when you start the roll to tuck the end in tightly as you start to roll and keep the roll somewhat tight so it will hold a round shape.
If your cake cracked it’s mostly like because it is over baked. If it cracks as you are rolling it, just keep rolling it carefully. Cracks can easily be covered up with the buttercream filling which is added inside the cake and on the outside.
If your chocolate glaze hardens, just gently warm it up on the stove or microwave until it’s pourable.
I like to store this cake in the refrigerator. Keep it covered and it will keep for up to three to four days.
You can also freeze the cake, firm up the chocolate by refrigerating the cake for approximately 30-60 minutes, then wrap it in plastic then again in foil, place in a freezer safe bag, it will keep for up to two months in the freezer.
The tender chocolate cake rolled up with the light and fluffy filling is the perfect match. The chocolate glaze adds the finishing touch! Give this chocolate swiss roll cake a try and you will love it – it’s perfect any time of year. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the Holidays. Enjoy!
More Dessert Recipes
- Creamy Vanilla Panna Cotta
- No-Bake Coffee Cheesecake
- Homemade Small Chocolate Peppermint Cake
- Glazed Lemon Yogurt Cake
Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
FOR THE CAKE
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (dutch processed)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 large eggs (room temperature)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup milk (room temperature / I use 2%)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups cream whole/heavy or whipping cream (at least 30% fat)
- 4 ounces dark chocolate chopped (good quality, I used one with 52% cocoa)
- 1 teaspoon corn syrup (optional)*
*corn syrup makes the glaze shiny.
FOR THE CAKE
- Pre-heat oven to 350° (180C). Lightly grease a 10×15 inch (25×38 cm) jelly roll pan or cookie sheet (I used a cookie sheet) line it with parchment paper, make sure it is about 2 inches (4 cm) wider on all sides of the sheet. Then lightly grease and flour the paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat eggs until light and fluffy about 3 minutes, continue to beat while slowly adding the sugar, then add the milk and vanilla and beat well for 1 minute.
- Add the flour mixture a little at a time and beating on low speed, when all the flour has been added increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute.
- Spread the batter evenly on the prepared pan, bang the pan a few times to release the air bubbles. Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes, do not over bake. Check for doneness by lightly touching the cake in the middle with the tip of your finger if it springs back it's done. Immediately remove the baked cake with the parchment paper from the cookie sheet and roll up with the paper still attached to the cake. Place it on a wire rack to cool.
- Unroll the cake, removing the parchment paper as you unroll, then spread it with a little more than ½ of the buttercream, roll it up again and cover the outside of the roll with the remaining buttercream. Place on a plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate for approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the fridge, place the roll on a wire rack, on a cookie sheet and pour the chocolate glaze (if the glaze is too firm then heat gently until thinner) evenly over the roll. Refrigerate approximately 45-60 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream.
- In a medium bowl add the chopped chocolate and corn syrup.
- Heat the cream until very hot but not boiling then pour over the chocolate, let sit 1-2 minutes then stir until melted and smooth. Let cool until warmish.