Vanilla Chocolate Swiss Roll

I don’t know when I first noticed that this cake for different? It wasn't the regular square/round shape with icing. So is it really a cake, I thought. Of course, it is. But it’s more of a fancy cake, with icing, decoration, and effort. Growing up, this cake was almost staple for me. And varieties of it, at that. Evening tea party, dessert for a potluck, or sometimes, just plain ol’ cake to eat at home.

A Swiss Roll is a basic sponge cake – no fat – cake. Traditional Swiss Rolls (at least those in my head) are made with a plain white sponge. Then play around with the fillings, and if you are feeling particularly indulgent, bring on some more icing. Fillings can be as basic as Fruit Jam (flavour – your choice), whipped cream and fruit, chocolate butter-cream, or a fancy ice-cream flavoured, multi-coloured rich icing. The trick is to have a sturdy recipe, to work fast, and then the rolling. There are various ways to roll the sponge, but its best done when the cake is hot – 5 minutes out of the oven.  Upturn the cake on a tea towel or a butter paper dusted with icing sugar. You must roll it with the attached bottom butter paper, I found out later, that it is easy to remove it later, and prevents the cake from sticking when it is rolled.

One day, I had decided to take a cake for a friend, and could not decide what to take. She is an excellent baker herself, so I wanted to take something new for her. Aha, I thought, why not take a Swiss Roll? Bakeries here don’t really make those authentic Swiss Rolls.

 I picked up my Mom’s recipe – you see it is a slightly fancier recipe (and I just have to make it more challenging for myself). I separated the eggs, whipped the egg whites to stiff peaks – which even held when inverted (yes, I tried that test), added the yolks, flour, mixed the batter gently – no lumps, might I add. I poured this out on the lined tray – and put it in to bake. And waited. Right in front of the oven. The cake bakes fast, in about 12 minutes and I was keeping an eye on it. What I could not understand was, while the cake seemed to bake fine, the top layer wasn’t turning golden. At about 11 mins I saw why. I, the enthusiastic baker who sees fit to write about her baked adventures (or mis adventures) and raise her eyebrows often, had not turned on both the oven filaments. Only the bottom one was on. Result? A one sight yellow, one side completely dry, flaky and dark brown cake. I should have stopped right then shouldn’t I? I should have baked the whole thing all over again. But did I have time? No. And I was not about to give up easy.

There are two recipes, both that I have tried, and both are excellent. One is my Mom’s classic recipe, which I’ll tell you about, and one is Rachel Allen’s version 

To make the Swiss Roll,

You Need
3/4 cup Flour (maida)
3/4 cupCastor Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

For the Chocolate Filling -

100 gms soft unsalted butter
3 tbsps Cocoa
3 tbsps Castor Sugar

To make the cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Line the base of a 25 x 38cm Swiss roll tin or tray with butter paper.

2. Sift the flour and the baking powder and keep aside

3. Separate the eggs carefully. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form.

3. Separate the eggs carefully. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form.

4. Then add the caster sugar together and beat the whites again till light and fluffy.

5. Add the yolks to the mixture one at a time.

6. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients and the essence at a low speed. Stop mixing when it comes together to avoid over-mixing of the flour.

7.  Pour the mixture gently into the tray and bake in the oven for about 12–15 minutes,  Till the cake is light brown on top.

8. Spread a piece of butter paper that is larger than the tray sprinkle some powdered sugar.  You can also use a Tea towel for this. Quickly turn the tray paper, carefully remove the tray and then if you are confident enough, remove the butter paper. (Removing the paper later will make it easier to roll and avoid the roll from sticking

9. Roll this cake. Some say to cool it, but I rolled it out when it was hot. That way I find it’s much easier and it rolls easily. Chill it in the fridge for an hour.

10. Next open the roll on a flat surface (removing the first butter-paper). Make the filling by combining the butter, sugar and cocoa in one bowl and beating it together until smooth.  Spread this on the cake evenly. Keeping the short side towards you, roll the cake. Transfer it to a serving plate and dust it with cocoa and icing sugar.


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