This is the lightest ever Swiss Roll Cake recipe with a super soft vanilla sponge cake and dreamy creamy vanilla filling. The best part? No separating eggs required! It is such an easy recipe to put together and it doesn't crack. In my family, we LOVE roll cakes. I mean what's not to love about a soft, tender, light spongy cake with swirls of cream filling? Since I make them so often, I was on a mission to develop a roll cake that was EASY and fuss free. I have so many recipes for them... many of which require separating eggs and beating yolks separate from whites. This involves dirtying two bowls and.. well... more dishes! This recipe makes me want to make roll cakes all the time, and I hope you will too. It's so versatile since you can fill it with anything imaginable. Try adding a layer of jam, filling it with ice cream or chocolate fudge sauce to make it EXTRA special. For this you will need to make up a batch of my Easy One Pot Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce. If you love roll cakes, don't miss my Double Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake recipe.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- EASY to make - this Swiss Roll Cake (also called a "roulade") is very easy to make, which is why I always fall back on it. You just beat the whole eggs instead of separating them, and then add the rest of the ingredients. I would recommend using a hand mixer or a stand mixer for this recipe.
- Soft and tender vanilla cake - the vanilla sponge cake is SO super soft! It has a tender crumb texture and it stays moist with the cream filling. It doesn't dry out.
- Delicate vanilla flavor - you will love the light custardy vanilla flavor. It isn't eggy at all.
- Creamy vanilla filling - the filling is so simple with just 4 ingredients: sugar, milk powder, vanilla and cream! It is called "Chantilly cream" and it is light and airy and fluffy. It's also very thick and stable thanks to the milk powder so it holds up well to the rolling.
- No cracks - this roll cake recipe never cracks when I make it. Follow the instructions and you will have success too!
- Chocolate fudge filling - this cake is extra special because I add swirls of my Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce.
- Jam and cream filling - the classic combination for a roll cake is jam and cream. It reminds me of the cakes my grandmother used to buy from the shop.
INGREDIENTS FOR SWISS ROLL CAKE
- All purpose flour - simple all-purpose flour works just fine in this recipe. If you have pastry flour, that will give an even softer texture, but I promise it is not necessary. Adding too much flour is the most common mistake for roll cakes and leads to tough and dry cake. The most accurate way to measure flour is using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, spoon it into your measuring cup and use a knife to level it off.
- Granulated sugar - simple white sugar will keep this cake sweet, tender and moist.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is essential to this sponge cake so use a nice natural bourbon vanilla extract.
- Eggs - you'll need 4 whole eggs to make the sponge cake. Good news is you don't need to separate them!
- Oil - just a few tablespoons of oil will keep this cake soft and flexible. Butter tastes delicious, however it will make the texture more crumbly and difficult to roll the cake. Also, this cake is meant to be kept refrigerated due to the fresh cream filling, and oil will stay liquid when cold to keep the cake soft while butter would firm it up.
- Vinegar – this may seem like a strange ingredient, but it helps balance the taste of the cake since it isn't too sweet and it helps to soften the texture.
- Whipping cream - the filling is so easy to make with just 4 ingredients. Make sure you use cold heavy cream with minimum 35% milk fat content.
- Hot fudge sauce or jam - this is optional, but I really like the combination of two fillings for a more dramatic swirl. You can use my easy One Pot Hot Fudge Sauce recipe, or your favorite jam of choice.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Whip the eggs. Beat eggs for 3 minutes on medium-high speed until frothy and pale in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl if using an electric hand mixer.
- STEP 2). Beat in sugar. Gradually add sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes longer, until it nearly triples in volume and is very thick, pale and fluffy and billowy like shaving cream or marshmallow fluff. When you lift the mixture up with the beater and it slides back down into the base mixture, it should fall back onto itself in folds or ribbons rather than sink down into it. Mix in salt.
- STEP 3). Add wet ingredients. Combine milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla and then mix it into the whipped eggs gently.
- STEP 4). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
- STEP 5). Mix wet and dry ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients again over and into the bowl with the egg mixture and use a large rubber spatula to carefully fold the dry ingredients into the whipped egg mixture just until combined without over-mixing.
- STEP 6). Bake. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan in a thin layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes until it springs back when pressed gently. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool for 3 minutes so it is easier to handle.
- STEP 7). Roll. Dust top of cake evenly with icing. Run a knife along the edges of the pan to release the cake, then invert it onto a clean kitchen towel or another large piece of parchment paper. Gently peel off the top layer of parchment. While the cake is still warm, gently roll it into a log starting from the short side and incorporating the kitchen towel or parchment as you are rolling. Let the cake cool completely in this rolled shape.
- STEP 8). Fill the cake. Unroll the cake, spread the filling over it leaving about ½ inch border and then gently roll up the cake again. Transfer to a baking tray and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS
- Use a neutral tasting oil like pure sunflower oil for the cleanest flavor to let the chocolate taste stand out.
- Do not reduce the sugar - this sponge cake is already low in sugar naturally, and the right amount of sugar will make it stay soft because it binds water so that it stays tightly in the batter and doesn't evaporate excessively during baking.
- Have your eggs at room temperature - this is very important to ensure they whip up quickly and to their most potential.
- Keep an eye on the baking time - set a timer for the first time stated in the recipe and check for doneness. The cake should spring back when pressed gently with your fingertip.
- Use cold cream for the filling - very cold cream will whip better than room temperature cream. Also, make sure you do not over-whip or it can turn grainy. Keep mixing at medium speed - it may take longer but you will get lovely fine air bubbles for a silky filling.
Sometimes to make sponge cakes (like Genoise), you will place the bowl with eggs and sugar over a water bath to heat it before whipping it. Why? Heat slightly denatures the proteins in egg whites which means that it makes them change from a tight coiled up shape (like a spring, or a slinky) to a loose shape. Basically, heat unravels them! This increases the surface area that is exposed to air so that the protein strands can bind to air more easily. However, I wanted a recipe that didn't even require this step to make it extra simple for you!
1. Room temperature eggs: For this recipe you don't need to use a water bath nor separate eggs, but you cannot use COLD eggs. Your eggs must be at room temperature.
2. Use oil instead of butter. While I use butter in most of my recipes, oil makes the softest sponge cake! That's because oil is liquid at room temperature so the sponge will stay flexible even when it cools down. Butter is firm at room temperature so when it cools it will harden and make the sponge more susceptible to cracking as you roll it. This cake rolls so easily! Just watch the video to see how simple it is with no cracks!
Yes, for this recipe, DO sift the dry ingredients. Actually, sift them twice! Since this is a relatively wet batter, it is important that the dry ingredients are incorporated evenly without having to mix too much. Over-mixing will deflate all the air bubbles from the egg foam. Sifting the flour will ensure there are no lumps and the flour particles are evenly dispersed so that the they absorb into the batter quickly.
Sifting ensures that flour doesn't lump into the batter. Instead it will gently fall onto the egg foam. If you were to dump all the dry ingredients over the whipped eggs, then they would just sink to the bottom immediately and most likely leave you with a lumpy batter. I always sift half of the blended dry ingredients over the wet mixture, mix it in, then sift the remaining dry ingredients and fold them in. This creates the most homogeneous batter without having to mix excessively which would otherwise knock a lot of the air out of the batter.
Most of us store eggs in the fridge (at least if you live in North America), so planning ahead is important for baking to ensure your ingredients are all at room temperature. You can pull them from the fridge and leave them at room temperature for 1 hour. But what a pain in the butt that is! Who has time to remember? The good news is that there is a quick way to bring eggs to room temperature quickly! Take your eggs from the fridge and place them in a bowl. Submerge them in very warm (not boiling) water from the tap for 10 minutes. This will be enough to use in any recipe that calls for room temperature eggs (which is most of Scientifically Sweet recipes).
Some recipe instructions ask you to bake sponge cakes for roll cakes at a higher temperature, such as 375 or 400 degrees F. I find that in doing this you get over-expansion of air bubbles which collapse quickly. The reason for this is because a sponge cake batter is so delicate and there is very little flour compared to moisture to hold the air bubbles in place. When large air bubbles collapse, it can create a dense sponge. I prefer to bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees F for more even baking so you will have an even flat height for the whole cake.
If your sponge cracks when you try to roll it, it could be two things: it was over-baked and dried out on the surface, and/or it was too cold when you tried to roll it. Since this recipe is simplified with whole eggs instead of beating the eggs separately, it slightly lacks the flexibility from whipped egg whites. That's ok though, it still works! It's just important that you do roll it while slightly warm so the proteins are still flexible. I find that it may have some slight superficial cracks when you bake it thinner in the 12x16-inch pan since the surface dries out a bit more in a thinner cake, however it's just minor and worth it to me for the ease of this recipe!
I have never had issues with this sponge cake cracking excessively. Sometimes when I'm distracted and it bakes a little too long, it may crack just at the surface as I roll it but it never cracks in half so that I can't still roll it. A few small superficial cracks will get filled with cream and won't even be noticeable, so don't even fret about it.
Store this cake in the fridge for up to 3 days. It will stay soft even while cold and the filling is stabilized by skim milk powder, so it holds up well! I actually love eating this cake cold.
Soft Vanilla Swiss Roll Cake with Cream Filling
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅔ cup 135g granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 142g all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon 30ml milk
- 3 tablespoon 45ml sunflower oil (or olive oil or canola oil)
- 1 teaspoon 5ml apple cider or white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups 300ml 35% whipping cream
- 2 tablespoon 12g skim milk powder
- 1 tablespoon 12g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- 1 recipe Easy One Pot Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce prepared and completely chilled
- or ¾ cup jam (I used Morello cherry preserves)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan or 16x12-inch rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
- Make the sponge batter. Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on high speed for 3 minutes until very frothy and doubled in volume. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat for 5-8 minutes until pale, thick and tripled in volume. If you're using a hand mixer, it will certainly take 8 minutes on high speed, so don't under-whip it. The eggs should reach the “ribbon stage” where it can hold a figure “8” as it falls back onto itself when lifted with the beaters. Mix in salt.
- Whisk together milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla in a small bowl and gradually pour it into the egg mixture while mixing gently on low speed.
- Sift flour and baking powder into a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly. Then, sift it again over the mixer bowl with the beaten eggs in two parts and mix it in gently on low speed until just incorporated, then finish mixing it in by hand using a large balloon whisk or wide spatula until evenly combined, scraping along the bottom of the bowl to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes if using a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan or 10-12 minute if using a 12x16-inch sheet pan. Bake until lightly golden and it springs back when pressed gently. Do not over-bake or it will tend to crack since the surface will be dried out. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for a minute.
- Meanwhile, lay a tea towel onto a work surface. Sift icing sugar generously over the warm cake to cover the surface and then place a large piece of parchment paper over the sugar-coated cake. Carefully but swiftly invert it onto the towel so the sugared surface is facing down. Carefully peel off the paper that was baked onto the cake. Tightly roll the cake up with the towel/parchment and let cool completely like this. NOTE: the additional layer of parchment is optional, but I find it keeps things a bit neater.
- Make the filling. Combine cream, skim milk powder and sugar in a medium bowl and beat until it forms firm peaks. Mix in vanilla.
- Assemble the cake. Unroll the cooled cake and first spread the jam or hot fudge sauce in a thin layer over the cake. Then, spread the cream filling over the surface leaving about ½-inch border. Gently but tightly roll up the cake with the filling and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Dust with icing sugar before slicing.