The Chocolate Swiss Roll stands out as a testament to the allure of chocolate, combined with the artistry of baking. This dessert is not just a treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes, embodying the perfect harmony of a soft, chocolate sponge wrapped around a tangy cream cheese filling, all beneath a luscious layer of chocolate ganache frosting.

This recipe is an exploration of texture and taste, balancing the rich, velvety chocolate sponge cake with the smooth, tangy embrace of cream cheese frosting. The final touch of chocolate ganache adds a glossy, decadent finish that makes this dessert irresistible. It’s a sophisticated take on the classic Swiss roll, promising to elevate any dining experience.

A freshly made chocolate swiss roll on a red cake stand

The Chemistry Chocolate Swiss Roll

At the heart of the Swiss Roll’s texture is the delicate process of creating the chocolate sponge cake. The separation of eggs and the careful folding of the egg whites into the batter are crucial steps. Egg whites, when beaten to stiff peaks, incorporate air, giving the sponge its lightness. Meanwhile, the yolks contribute to the richness. The addition of hot water to the cocoa powder helps in releasing the coco’s full flavor, a technique known as “blooming,” enhancing the chocolatey essence of the sponge.

Why do we roll the cake while it’s still warm?

Rolling the cake while it’s warm, with parchment paper still attached, helps prevent cracking. This is because the cake is more flexible and pliable when warm, allowing it to take on the roll’s shape without resistance.

Can I make the Swiss Roll in advance?

Absolutely! The Swiss Roll can be prepared a day ahead, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerated. Just bring it to room temperature before serving to ensure the frosting softens and the flavors meld together perfectly.

A freshly made chocolate swiss roll on a red cake stand

How can I prevent the cake from cracking when I roll it?

Ensure the cake is not over baked and roll it while it’s warm. Over baking dries out the sponge, making it less flexible. Also, the towel or parchment paper helps distribute the pressure evenly, reducing the risk of cracking.

What’s the secret to a smooth chocolate ganache?

The key is to heat the cream just enough to melt the chocolate chips without overheating. Stirring the mixture until it’s smooth, glossy, and uniform is crucial. If the ganache is too thick, a little more warm cream can be added to achieve the desired consistency.

A freshly made chocolate swiss roll on a red cake stand

What is in a Chocolate Swiss Roll?

Eggs

Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

Cream of Tartar

Stabilizes the egg whites, ensuring they hold their structure when whipped.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Cocoa Powder

Provides a rich, sweet chocolate flavor. Creates a dark brown color in your treat. Absorbs water in your batter or dough at the same rate as flour. That means, if you add too much, you could end up with a dried, crumbly finished product.

Hot Water

Helps “bloom” the cocoa powder making it a richer chocolate flavor.

Baking Powder

Puffs up your batter or dough instead of spreading it out. Baking powder contains a little bit of baking soda, an acid & cornstarch. Because of this, it only needs a liquid to react. It also consists of two different acids, so it’s double reacting. It reacts as soon as it’s mixed with a moisture and then again when it’s heated up.

Cream cheese

Provides a unique, tangy flavor. When baked it adds moisture to your treat.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Makes a softer, more spreadable frosting. When melted with chocolate it adds more fat and moisture to the mixture, resulting in a silkier blend.

Chocolate Chips

Is a form of chocolate. Chocolate chips are not pure chocolate, they are typically made up of cocoa, sugar, emulsifier and vanilla.

Unsalted butter

Often the main ingredient of frosting, it adds structure to your buttercream. It also adds a smooth and velvety texture. Butter melts at body temperature, so it will make your frosting have a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.

Storage Tips

The chocolate Swiss Roll should be stored in the refrigerator, covered to keep it fresh. It can be enjoyed for up to 3 days. The cream cheese filling and chocolate ganache frosting require refrigeration to maintain their best texture and flavor.

You can freeze the roll. Wrap the unfrosted roll in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before applying the ganache and serving.

Making Ahead

Both the sponge cake and the fillings can be made a day ahead. Store the sponge cake rolled up in parchment paper to retain its shape, and keep the fillings in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Assemble before serving to ensure the freshest taste and appearance.

Quick tip, before frosting the roll, bring the filling and frosting back to room temperature and give them a whip before using so that they are soft and spreadable.

A freshly made chocolate swiss roll on a red cake stand

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Why make a Chocolate Swiss Roll?

The Chocolate Swiss Roll is more than a dessert; it’s a journey through textures and tastes, a celebration of chocolate in its most elegant form. Whether for a special occasion or a sweet indulgence, this recipe promises to deliver a slice of heaven with every bite.

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Chocolate Swiss Roll

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Assemble: 1 hour
Servings: 20
The perfect ratio of chocolate sponge cake wrapped around tangy cream cheese frosting topped with chocolate ganache frosting.

Ingredients 

Cake

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar separated
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  • Separate eggs, putting the whites in a standing mixer bowl and the yolks in a separate bowl.
  • In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites, tartar, vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of sugar. Beat on high until the mixture is at stiff peak.
  • In the separate bowl with the egg yolks stir in the melted butter, 3/4 cup sugar. Mix until combined.
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into another bowl.
  • Turn the standing mixer on low, slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture.
  • After that is combined, slowly pour the flour mixture into the standing mixer bowl. Add the 1/8 cup of hot water. Mix until smooth.
  • Pour batter into a light metal cookie sheet, greased and lined with a parchment paper
  • Bake for 12 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and place a clean kitchen towel draping over the cookie sheet, trapping in steam as the cake cools.
  • Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then remove the kitchen towel
  • Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of powder sugar on top of the sheet cake.
  • Carefully roll the cake up with the parchment paper still attached to the back side of the cake. Allow the cake to sit in the rolled up state while you prepare the cream cheese filling and chocolate ganache frosting.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • In a standing mixer, add cream cheese and butter, mix until slightly softened
  • add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, mix until combined
  • turn the mixer on high and whip for 2 minutes until light in color and texture.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • In a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips and cream, microwave for 30 seconds, stir vigorously. Repeat once. Stir until all the chocolate chips are melted.
  • In a standing mixer add butter, stir until softened.
  • Add powdered sugar and mix in until combined. It will be dry and chunky at this point.
  • Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the chocolate ganache.
  • Once the frosting is mixed, turn the mixer on high and whip for 2 minutes to incorporate air and lighten your frostings color and texture.

Assemble

  • Carefully unroll your cooled cake, spread the cream cheese filling on the top.
  • Re-roll your cake, this time peeling off the parchment paper on the back side.
  • Frost the outside of the roll in chocolate frosting. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 784kcal Carbohydrates: 98g Protein: 5g Fat: 43g Saturated Fat: 27g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 147mg Sodium: 161mg Potassium: 168mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 88g Vitamin A: 1240IU Vitamin C: 0.04mg Calcium: 56mg Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

A freshly made chocolate swiss roll on a red cake stand