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Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Susan Ottaviano and Stevie Stewart
  • Total Time

    1 hour 15 minutes (plus 40 minutes for cooling and at least 30 minutes for chilling)

If you’ve made a Swiss roll cake before and had roiling anxiety because the recipe requires you to perform cake calisthenics while it’s warm and in its most fragile state, this chocolate Swiss roll recipe is for you. If you’ve always wanted to but never made a roll cake before, this recipe is for you. If you just love soft, tender cake with a duvet of plush cream, this recipe is definitely for you!

A sheet of chocolate chiffon cake forms the base of this simple, straightforward Swiss roll. With its high fat content (for a sponge cake), the thin layer of cake stays soft and flexible even when cold, which means you don’t have to swaddle and roll the cake in a kitchen towel when it’s still hot to set its shape. Cream of tartar provides acidity and, with it, the assurance that your meringue is never too dry or overwhipped. Dutch process cocoa powder is preferred for its deep mahogany color, but natural unsweetened cocoa performs well too (the cake will simply look a bit more pallid). Cake flour, however, is nonnegotiable in this recipe—it keeps the cake light and fluffy. Substituting with all-purpose flour would yield a much denser version.

Instant vanilla pudding mix—just a couple of spoonfuls!—is the unexpected inclusion in the whipped cream filling, helping the cream stay luxuriously soft but stable for a few days in the fridge. Make sure to buy the instant version and not the cook-and-serve sort. You can flavor the whipped cream with the finely grated zest of an orange or lemon; a healthy splash (about 3 Tbsp.) of any sweet liqueur, such as Frangelico, Kahlúa, Irish Cream, or Cointreau; or up to ¼ cup freeze-dried fruit powder (banana! strawberry! raspberry!).

Ingredients

12 servings

Cake

4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
½ cup (32 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
½ cup (58 g) bleached cake flour
½ tsp. baking powder

Filling and assembly

2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
Powdered sugar (for serving)

Cake

Step 1

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line bottom of a 17x12" rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (do not grease pan or parchment). Separate yolks from 4 large eggs, room temperature, over a medium bowl to catch egg whites. Place yolks in a large bowl and set aside.

Step 2

Add 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, ½ tsp. cream of tartar, and ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar to egg whites and beat with an electric mixer until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, 8–10 minutes. (You can also beat on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.)

Step 3

Add remaining ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar to reserved egg yolks and whisk to combine, about 1 minute. Add ½ cup (32 g) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process, ⅓ cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract, and ⅓ cup room-temperature water and whisk until cocoa is fully dissolved. Sift ½ cup (58 g) bleached cake flour and ½ tsp. baking powder over, then whisk vigorously to combine.

Step 4

Add one fourth of meringue to cocoa mixture and mix thoroughly (you can use either a whisk or rubber spatula). Add remaining meringue in 3 batches, gently folding after each addition until only a few streaks of meringue remain (err on the side of mixing slightly less rather than more to keep the batter billowy).

Step 5

Scrape batter into prepared baking sheet and, using a small offset spatula, gently spread to edges of pan, smoothing surface. Bake cake until top springs back when lightly pressed, 18–20 minutes (cake may start to shrink from sides of pan). Let cake cool in pan, 30–40 minutes.

Filling and assembly

Step 6

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 2 cups heavy cream, 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix, 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract in a large bowl until medium-firm peaks form, about 4 minutes. (Or, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, about 1 minute.)

Step 7

Run a small offset spatula along edges of pan to release cake from sides. Place a wire rack (same size as cake and rimmed baking sheet) on top of cake and flip over to invert cake onto it; remove baking sheet. Carefully peel away parchment paper (start from a long edge where it might be embedded in the cake and pull gently to ensure you don’t tear cake); discard. Place a clean sheet of parchment on top of cake and flip cake over so wire rack is now on top; remove wire rack.

Step 8

Dollop filling over surface of cake. Using spatula, smooth cream evenly over cake, working all the way to the edges. Starting from a short end and using parchment as a guide, roll up cake. Transfer cake, seam side down, to a platter and chill until filling is set, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Step 9

Using a serrated knife, trim ¼"–½" off both ends of cake to create clean edges; discard (or consider them a snack!). Using a small fine-mesh sieve, dust top of Swiss roll with powdered sugar. Slice with serrated knife to serve.

Do ahead: Cake (without powdered sugar) can be assembled 2 days ahead. Tightly wrap and keep chilled. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

How would you rate Chocolate Swiss Roll?

Leave a Review

Tell us what you think
  • لقيلثل

    • Anonymous

    • 7/23/2022

  • Been making Swiss rolls for many a long year. When turning cake out, use a warm damp tea towel. Not sopping wet. This ensures the hot cake does not feel the chill of the cold parchment paper. This is how my Late Mother made Swiss rolls...and it works well. Even for gluten free ones. Plus..the term dollop in the text is great. Its a technical measure. How about a smidge?? Have fun all with your baking.....

    • Janet Woodward from Yorkshire in UK

    • Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire

    • 7/22/2022

  • This cake is AMAZING! Soft, tender, and light, I could finish the entire roll in one sitting. I served it with blackberries, and my family loved it; they asked me to make it again. This is a keeper.

    • Tanimi

    • New York, NY

    • 7/22/2022

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