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Chocolate Swiss Roll

close up shot of Chocolate Swiss Roll with rolls sliced off
Our delicious chocolate swiss roll is a sweet, old-fashioned treat featuring a sponge chocolate cake stuffed with creamy filling and topped with rich ganache.
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Table of Contents
  1. CHOCOLATE SWISS ROLL INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CHOCOLATE SWISS ROLL RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Our chocolate swiss roll is a perfectly moist chocolatey sponge cake rolled around a sweetened whipped cream filling and drizzled with chocolate ganache glaze, making this treat anything but ordinary. The possibilities are endless as to what you can add to this simple fluffy cake.

Roll cakes are nostalgic treats that take us back to childhood. Try our pumpkin roll and strawberry roll cake for two more vintage cake roll recipes.

CHOCOLATE SWISS ROLL INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the Ermine Filling

  • 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

For the Chocolate Cake

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  • Linen tea towel that is 2 inches longer at the top and bottom of the cake pan
  • A large cutting board for the cake transfer

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

FILLING: For this simple recipe, you could change up the filling and use vanilla buttercream, chocolate mousse, simple whipped cream, or marshmallow fluff. 

EXTRAS: Take your filling to the next level with a touch of coffee, jam, peppermint extract, or your favorite liqueur mixed in.

TOPPING: Instead of or, in addition to, the chocolate ganache, top your decadent cake with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, fresh fruit or crushed peppermint candies for the holidays.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS CHOCOLATE SWISS ROLL RECIPE

For the Ermine Filling

STEP ONE: Using a small (2 to 3 quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Bring to a low boil, whisking continuously to avoid the milk scorching until the mixture looks and feels like a thick pudding. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.

STEP TWO: Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour it into a small heat-safe bowl. 

STEP THREE: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Be sure to allow the plastic wrap to drape onto the surface of the flour-milk mixture. This will keep a skin from forming. 

STEP FOUR: Place in the refrigerator until the flour and milk mixture is completely cooled. 

STEP FIVE: Once the mixture is completely cooled, remove it from the refrigerator and set it aside.

STEP SIX: Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the softened butter for 1 minute.

STEP SEVEN: Reduce the mixer to medium speed. Begin adding the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time.

STEP EIGHT: Once all of the flour and milk mixture has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and continue mixing for another 1½ to 2 minutes until the filling is light and fluffy. Set it aside. 

PRO TIP:

You can leave the filling at room temperature, as long as the room temperature is not too hot. It is a very stable filling and can be left out for up to 6 hours.

For the Chocolate Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10x1 jelly roll pan with a piece of parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Set it aside.

STEP TWO: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.

STEP THREE: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a hand mixer on high speed, beat together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla for 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is a frothy pale yellow.

STEP FOUR: Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Mix until completely combined.

STEP FIVE: Evenly pour batter into the prepared pan. Use a silicone spatula or an offset spatula to spread the chocolate cake batter. Bake cake for 10 to 12 minutes.

STEP SIX: Remove the cake from the oven, and using a sharp knife, carefully run the tip along the edges of the pan that were not covered by the parchment paper.

STEP SEVEN: Heavily dust the top of the clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

PRO TIP:

Be sure not to use any fabric softener when you wash the tea towel. It will transfer to the warm cake and make the flavor “off”. Also, make sure not to use a terry cloth tea towel. The terry cloth will leave lint that will transfer to the surface of the cake.

STEP EIGHT: Immediately place the dusted tea towel powdered side down on top of the cake.

STEP NINE: Lay the cutting board on top of the tea towel. The cake pan will be hot, so you will need to be careful to protect your hands. Quickly flip the cake pan over so that the cake is lying on top of the dusted towel.

STEP TEN: Carefully and slowly peel the parchment away from the cake.

STEP ELEVEN: Heavily dust the top of the cake with the remaining powdered sugar.

STEP TWELVE: Flip one end of the tea towel over one of the short sides of the cake. Carefully begin to roll one end towards the other. Once rolled, set aside to completely cool.

PRO TIP:

Be very patient and slow when rolling the cake and unrolling. Rushing can cause cracks.

For the Cake Assembly

STEP ONE: Once the cake is completely cooled, carefully and slowly unroll the cake. If there are a few small cracks, it will be ok.

STEP TWO: Using a rubber spatula, or an offset spatula, spread the filling over the top of the cake, avoiding the edges.

STEP THREE: Slowly, with gentle even pressure, carefully roll the cake bake in a “roll”. Tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap to ensure it holds its shape. Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to overnight.

PRO TIP:

When the chocolate cake roll has been in the refrigerator for 2 hours, you can place the cake roll in the freezer for 30 minutes before you top the cake roll to serve.

For the Chocolate Ganache

STEP ONE: Using a small heat-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and the heavy cream. 

STEP TWO: Heat the chips and cream in the microwave for 45-second intervals, stirring after each interval until the mixture is smooth.

STEP THREE: Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator, unwrap the cake.

STEP FOUR: Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Place the chilled cake roll on top of the cooling wrap. This will help keep the dripping chocolate contained.

STEP FIVE: Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake roll. Keep the cake roll refrigerated until serving. Slice the cake roll into ½ inch slices.

PRO TIP:

You’ll want to be sure to clean off your knife after each slice to keep those gorgeous layers intact. 

HOW TO SERVE

This amazing chocolate swiss roll is a fun dessert for any night of the week. Add whipped cream and a scoop of our no-churn vanilla ice cream on the side of this chocolate swiss roll cake for an extra special and indulgent treat.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Keep any leftovers of this cake roll covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  

IN THE FREEZER: You can freeze the chocolate roll cake before topping it with the ganache for 3 months. Wrap the cake roll in plastic, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Allow the cake to thaw, then drizzle with the ganache.

This cake tastes just like grandma’s chocolate swiss roll recipe. Fluffy chocolate sponge cake and a creamy filling will bring back plenty of warm memories once you take a bite into this decadent dessert.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this chocolate swiss roll cake recipe?

This easy chocolate swiss roll recipe can be frozen, well-wrapped, for up to three months.

What is the best pan to use for a roll cake?

It’s important to use a 15 × 10-inch jelly roll pan for this cake as you want it to be nice and thin.

Why did my chocolate swiss roll crack?

Your cake needs to be rolled into the towel as soon as it comes out of the oven. When the cake is rolled while warm, the heat and moisture will help give you a crack-free cake. The cake is much more likely to crack if it is rolled when cooled.

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close up shot of Chocolate Swiss Roll with rolls sliced off

Chocolate Swiss Roll

5 from 1 vote
Our delicious chocolate swiss roll is a sweet, old-fashioned treat featuring a sponge chocolate cake stuffed with creamy filling and topped with rich ganache.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 10

Equipment

  • linen tea towel that is 2 inches longer at the top and bottom of the cake pan
  • A large cutting board for the cake transfer

Ingredients
  

Ermine Filling

  • tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened

Chocolate Cake

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

Ermine Filling

  • Using a small (2 to 3 quart) heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil, whisking continuously to avoid the milk scorching, until the mixture looks and feels like a thick pudding. This should take 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat, and pour it into a small heat-safe bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Be sure to allow the plastic wrap to drape onto the surface of the flour-milk mixture. This will keep a skin from forming.
  • Place in the refrigerator until the mixture is completely cooled.
  • Once the mixture is completely cooled, remove it from the refrigerator and set it aside.
  • Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high, beat the softened butter for 1 minute.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to medium. Begin adding the flour-milk mixture 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Once all of the mixture has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and continue mixing for another 1½ to 2 minutes until the filling is light and fluffy. Set it aside. You can leave the filling at room temperature, as long as the room temp is not too hot. It is a very stable filling and can be left out for up 6 hours.

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 15x10x1 jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Set it aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set it aside.
  • Using either a stand mixer, or a medium-size mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high, beat together the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla for 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is a frothy pale yellow.
  • Fold in the flour mixture.
  • Evenly pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use a silicone spatula or an offset spatula to spread the cake batter. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, and using a sharp knife, carefully run the tip along the edges of the pan that were not covered by the parchment paper.
  • Heavily dust the top of the tea towel with the powdered sugar.
  • Immediately place the dusted tea towel powdered side down on top of the cake.
  • Lay the cutting board on top of the tea towel. The cake pan will be hot, so you will need to be careful to protect your hands. Quickly flip the cake pan over so that the cake is lying on top of the dusted towel.
  • Carefully and slowly peel the parchment away from the cake.
  • Heavily dust the top of the cake with the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Flip one end of the tea towel over one of the short ends of the cake. Carefully begin to roll one end towards the other. Once rolled, set aside to completely cool.

Cake Assembly

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, carefully and slowly unroll the cake. If there are a few small cracks, it will be ok.
  • Using a silicone spatula, or an offset spatula, spread the filling over the top of the cake, avoiding the edges.
  • Slowly, with gentle even pressure, carefully roll the cake bake in a “roll”. Tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap to ensure it holds its shape. Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Chocolate Ganache

  • Using a small heat-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and the heavy cream.
  • Heat the chips in the microwave for 45-second intervals, stirring after each interval until the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator, unwrap the cake.
  • Place a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. Place the chilled cake roll on top of the cooling wrap. This step helps keep the dripping chocolate contained.
  • Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake roll. Keep the cake roll refrigerated until serving. Slice the cake roll into ½ inch slices.

Notes

PRO TIP: You can leave the filling at room temperature, as long as the room temperature is not too hot. It is a very stable filling and can be left out for up to 6 hours.
 
PRO TIP: Be sure not to use any fabric softener when you wash the tea towel. It will transfer to the warm cake and make the flavor “off”. Also, make sure not to use a terry cloth tea towel. The terry cloth will leave lint that will transfer to the surface of the cake.
 
PRO TIP: Be very patient and slow when rolling the cake and unrolling. Rushing can cause cracks.
 
PRO TIP: When the chocolate cake roll has been in the refrigerator for 2 hours, you can place the cake roll in the freezer for 30 minutes before you top the cake roll to serve.
 
PRO TIP: You’ll want to be sure to clean off your knife after each slice to keep those gorgeous layers intact.

Nutrition

Calories: 377kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 241mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg
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