This is the best vanilla Swiss roll cake! Light and fluffy sponge cake filled with equally light and airy whipped cream. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, serve with berries, and you have an easy and simple dessert that everyone will love.
(Fan of Swiss rolls? Try this delicious ube roll cake — soft ube cake with whipped cream cheese filling. So good!)
I’m fairly new to the world of sponge cake rolls. My first ever recipe was for a pianono, a simple Filipino vanilla roll cake filled with butter and sugar.
I was surprised how easy it was to make so my jelly roll pan and I have been busy trying all kinds of recipes since.
Today we have this incredibly simple but wonderfully delightful vanilla Swiss roll cake. The recipe is based on my ube roll cake and it is delicious.
Why you’ll love this recipe
I was hesitant to try my hand at making Swiss rolls because let’s face it, they look very challenging to make. But after my first cake, I was hooked!
While I admit there are more steps than your usual cake recipe, each one is simple and the end result is so satisfying.
This vanilla Swiss roll cake recipe, in particular, is a classic. And you’ll love making it over and over because:
- The sponge cake retains its height beautifully. While the cake will deflate a little while cooling, it’s not by a significant amount so you will still have that lovely thick roll when you’re ready to serve.
- It’s easy to customize the filling. Vanilla goes with everything! I like filling my cake with whipped cream which I stabilize (more on that below) but you can certainly fill it with your favorite buttercream like chocolate, lemon and even pumpkin. You can also mix and match — vanilla cream with strawberry jam, for example. The possibilities are endless.
- It’s a stress-free recipe. Each step is simple and manageable and if you’re worried about cracks, don’t! We’re sprinkling the cake with powdered sugar and nobody will ever know. They will just notice how delicious each bite is.
- Delicious. Did I already mention how yummy this cake is? Especially when served with fresh berries. Perfect dessert for spring and summer, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, every day!
How to make
Ingredient notes and baking tools
Another thing I love about this recipe is how simple the ingredients are. You’ll need pantry staples like eggs, granulated sugar and baking powder. Some things to note:
- Cake flour — I use cake flour in this recipe for that light and tender texture. You can use all-purpose flour in a pinch but note that it’s not a 1:1 substitution and I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same result. What I would recommend is to make your own cake flour instead. It’s easier than you think!
- Vanilla bean paste — I like using vanilla bean paste for a slightly more intense vanilla flavor and for those pretty specks of vanilla beans. If not available, vanilla extract will work just fine.
- Maple syrup — I use maple syrup but you can also use honey, agave or light corn syrup. The flavour will change a little but these alternatives can provide you with the same moisture that maple syrup brings.
- Oil — when baking, I always use canola oil because that’s what we use for cooking so that’s what’s always available. However, you can use another flavorless oil, such as vegetable oil.
- Cream of tartar — this recipe has a meringue component and the cream of tartar helps us achieve egg whites that are stable, billowy and glossy. I haven’t personally tried it but other readers have said they’ve used vinegar or lemon juice to achieve the same effect.
- Heavy cream — heavy cream might be called by a different name where you are. To make sure you’re buying the right thing, check that the milk fat content is at least 36%. It should say right on the packaging.
- Cornstarch — note that we need cornstarch (white powder) and not corn flour (yellow grain)
- Powdered sugar — sometimes called confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar
As far as tools go, for best results, I highly recommend using a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan. Regular sized baking sheets won’t work because the cake will come out too thin.
If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, a 9×13 inch pan is the closest alternative.
How to make the vanilla sponge cake
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease the bottom (just the bottom) of a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla paste or extract, water and sugar.
Beat on high speed until thick and incorporated (8-10 minutes).
In another bowl using clean whisks, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar on low-medium speed.
Whisk until foamy.
Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time.
Whisk until you reach stiff peaks.
Add half of the meringue mixture to the egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended.
The cake batter should be light and airy.
Add flour mixture to cake batter in 3 equal parts.
Gently fold each addition until combined.
In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, microwave the oil in 10-second increments until the bowl is warm (not hot) to the touch. Add about ¼ cup of cake batter to the oil…
…and mix until incorporated.
Add back the oil mixture into the cake batter.
Fold until incorporated.
Add the rest of your meringue to the cake batter.
Fold in gently until evenly blended.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan. Gently tap on your counter a few times to release air bubbles and to help the batter settle in.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
How to roll the cake
While the cake has cooled enough to handle safely but still warm, run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the pan, place a clean, slightly damp kitchen or tea towel on top, and carefully invert.
Lift the pan up and peel off the parchment paper.
Roll the cake and place on your counter seam side down.
Allow the cake to cool completely before un-rolling and frosting.
How to make stabilized whipped cream
I like to use stabilized whipped cream in this cake because it keeps its shape longer, won’t weep or separate, and lasts longer than regular whipped cream.
It’s extremely useful and helpful especially when you want to make this cake ahead.
And making it is very easy.
Simply combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl…
…and whisk until stiff.
When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting.
Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than ¼ inch.
Re-roll the cake using the tea towel to help you push the cake over.
Chill at least 2 hours before dusting with powdered sugar and serving.
Expert baking tips
There are lots of steps in this recipe but they are simple ones so organization is key. And here are more tips to make baking a breeze.
- Use room temperature eggs. They are easier to combine and using room temperature egg whites results to a more stable meringue.
- Patience is key. Speaking of meringue, don’t go higher than medium speed (using my KitchenAid stand mixer, I stay on speed 3). It takes longer to get stiff peaks but this results to a more stable meringue that won’t deflate after baking.
- Roll the cake while still warm. Cracking is not as big an issue in this recipe because we’re covering the cake with powdered sugar but the best way to achieve a crack-free cake is to roll the cake with a slightly damp tea towel while it’s still warm. It also helps to handle the cake gently.
- Use cold cream for the whipped cream. When making the whipped cream, we want our cream to be cold. It’s going to be easier to whip and you’d achieve a fluffier volume.
Encountered baking issues? Here are the possible causes and the easy solutions.
|Cake deflated||Unstable meringue||For stable egg whites, whip at a low, steady speed|
|Cake cracked||Over-baking||Check and watch cake closely for signs of doneness|
|Rolled when cool||Cake is best rolled while still warm and pliable|
|Pressed too hard||Handle the cake gently when rolling|
|Rolled too tightly||You want the cake to hold its shape but avoid rolling it too tightly|
|Cream won’t whip||Wrong kind of cream||Remember to use heavy cream, or cream with milk fat content of at least 36%|
|Filling overflowed||Too much filling||Spread evenly but not too thickly, no more than ¼ inch thick|
There are many kinds of Swiss rolls.
From chocolate Swiss roll with a vanilla buttercream filling to a Yule Log, the kind of cake you see around Christmastime, to a pumpkin roll that bakers love to serve at Thanksgiving.
The filling is usually a kind of buttercream, a combination of jam and whipped cream, or Chantilly cream (which is really just a fancy name for whipped cream).
Some bakers even put sliced fruit inside their roll cakes.
Yes they are.
In North America, they’re usually called jelly rolls while in Britain, they’re more commonly known as Swiss rolls.
Ironically, in Switzerland, people typically use the French name for rolled meats and pastries — roulade.
Its other names include roll cake, cream roll and Swiss log.
You can, but I don’t recommend it.
A kitchen towel is ideal because it’s softer, more flexible and the cake is less likely to stick.
It will also absorb some of the moisture coming from the cooling roll.
I prefer to use cake flour instead of all purpose flour to achieve a lighter, less dense cake. But if it’s not available, you can substitute all purpose flour.
See the ingredients section for more details.
You can make this cake up to 2 days ahead. Keep it chilled in the fridge and only sprinkle with powdered sugar when you’re ready to serve.
I don’t cover mine; I just make sure my fridge doesn’t have smelly things while the cake is in there!
Leftovers will last another 2-3 days in the fridge. During that time though, the powdered sugar will start to melt so you may need to dust the cake again before serving.
Other easy cake recipes
If easy cake recipes are your jam, you’ll enjoy baking these:
Did you make vanilla Swiss roll? I’d love to hear all about it! Leave a comment or a star rating below. You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see your creations!
You can also find me on Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube.
Vanilla Swiss Roll
For the cake batter
- 1 cup cake flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 6 pieces egg yolks from large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla paste can also use vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp water room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup canola oil you can also use vegetable oil
For the meringue
- 6 pieces egg whites from large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
For the stabilized whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy cream cold
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom of a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan then line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer or using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine egg yolks, maple syrup, vanilla paste or extract, water and sugar on high speed until thick and incorporated (8-10 minutes).
- In another bowl using clean whisks, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar on low-medium speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the sugar – about a tablespoon at a time – until you reach stiff peaks.
- Add half of the meringue mixture to the egg yolk mixture and gently fold until well blended. The batter should be light and airy.
- Add flour mixture to cake batter in 3 equal parts, gently folding each addition until combined.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, microwave the oil in 10-second increments until the bowl is warm (not hot) to the touch.
- Add about ¼ cup of cake batter to the oil and mix until incorporated.
- Add back the oil mixture into the cake batter and fold until well blended.
- Add the rest of your meringue to the cake batter and fold in gently.
Baking and cooling
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan. Gently tap on your counter a few times to release air bubbles and to help the batter settle in.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- While the cake is still warm, run a thin sharp knife around the edges of the pan, place a clean, slightly damp kitchen or tea towel on top, and carefully invert.
- Lift the pan up and peel off the parchment paper.
- Roll the cake and place on your counter seam side down. Allow the cake to cool completely before un-rolling and frosting.
Stabilized whipped cream
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat all ingredients until stiff.
- When the cake has completely cooled, unroll and fill with frosting. Spread evenly but not too thickly; no more than ¼ inch.
- Re-roll the cake using the tea towel to help you push the cake over.
- Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours before dusting with powdered sugar and serving.
- Serving size depends on how thick you slice the cake. The estimated nutrition information is based on 8 servings.
- When making the meringue, don’t go beyond medium speed (I stay on speed 3 using my KitchenAid stand mixer). This ensures your meringue is stable and less likely to deflate after baking.
- Make sure to use cold cream when making the filling.
- See the post for lots more baking tips, FAQs, a troubleshooting guide, and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Leave a Reply