I made a Swiss Roll Cake today and I’m happy to report that with this cake ends my spate of kitchen mishaps that were a part and parcel of getting acquainted with my new gas oven. I have made over-baked cookies and under-baked cakes that I tried to salvage them in whatever way I could (vanilla ice cream topped with crumbled cookies, anyone?) From constantly looking up Celsius to Gas Mark conversions to being unable to gauge the colour of the crust through the tinted windows I’ve finally figured it all out. During this learning curve of mine, the only things that survived my unfamiliarity with the oven were the very resilient loaf cakes.
For the Swiss roll cake I used the recipe from David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert. The only addition I made was adding a wee bit of melted butter in the end to keep the cake moist. Making this cake is a cinch if you’ve got electric beaters or muscle power (that’s how we made them at school). While a bunch of recipes for a Swiss roll cake call for using a special Swiss roll pan for making these, you really don’t need it. I remember one of the first cakes I baked was a Yule Log and the recipe called for a Swiss Roll pan – I went and bought a large pan thinking I’ll bake a nice, big log without realising that it wouldn’t fit in my oven! Back then I didn’t think I could use the Silpat alone (obviously, since I went and bought that pan), so I ended up using that pan placed at an angle in the oven with the oven door slightly ajar. Crazy times.
The one tool that will make things easy with this Swiss roll sponge is a large offset spatula. Of course, this can be put to many uses unlike that Swiss roll pan. When you use a large offset spatula, you will be able to spread the cake batter evenly and quickly without spending too much time trying to even it out. Using the large offset spatula you will also not end up over-working the batter and losing volume.
I love this cake because it’s got such a light texture and is filled with a layer of raspberry jam and strawberries cut into tiny cubes (or brunoise). Just writing this post I’ve eaten up three slices. Add a dollop of whipped cream on the side and it only gets better.
- 80g flour
- 30g cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 eggs, seperated
- 25g butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 100g raspberry jam
- 100g strawberries, diced
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F/Gas Mark 3. Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat.
- Sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder together a few times.
- Place the yolks and caster sugar in a bowl and and whip for 4 minutes until pale, thick and a ribbon of the mixture swirled into a number 8 is visible for a few seconds.
- Whip the whites to stiff peaks.
- Fold a third of the flour into the egg yolks until perfect mixed in. Next mix in a third of the whites - this is done to lighten the entire mixture so that from this point on it will be easy to fold the whites in without overworking the batter.
- Now fold in the whites and the remaining flour a little at a time alternately, making sure to finish with the whites. Finally, stir in the melted butter.
- Pour the batter on the baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (11.5"x16.5") and spread it with an offset spatula to an even thickness, making sure to keep a distance of 0.5 inch from the edges.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.
- While the cake it baking get the rest of the things ready: a parchment sheet cut to the size of the Swiss roll cake, jam, and strawberries.
- Pull the sponge out of the oven and turn the sponge over on the sheet of parchment sprinkled with sugar.
- Trim the edges of the cake to form a perfect rectangle, spread the jam leaving some gap at the edges and scatter the strawberries.
- Start rolling up from the shorter edge of the rectangle, keeping it tight as you go. Cut off the ends with a knife - let it cool slightly before you serve.
If you’re in the mood for something with hazelnuts and chocolate, this is the perfect roll.
PS: I was recently interviewed by Saveur. Here’s a link.