Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake is a classic treat made with light and airy chocolate sponge cake. The cake is swirled with a luscious cream filling and coated with a snappy chocolate glaze. This is a great make-ahead recipe.

beauty shot


ingredients for chocolate swiss roll cake in bowls on a marble surface.

Ingredient Notes

  • All Purpose Flour: With medium protein content, ap flour makes a sponge cake that is tender but has enough structure to roll without cracking.
  • Dutch Processed Cocoa: Dutch processed cocoa makes a cake with a dark brown color and deep chocolate flavor. You can substitute with “natural” cocoa powder and still get a good result if you replace some of the baking powder with baking soda.
  • Baking Powder: Because Dutch processed cocoa is less acidic than natural cocoa powder this recipe does not use baking soda for leavening. If you use natural cocoa powder replace the baking powder listed in the recipe with 1/2 teaspoon of the baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Oil: Oil helps make a cake with a soft and pliable texture. This makes it possible to roll the cake without a great deal of cracking.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch stabilizes the whipped cream filling so it doesn’t leak water.

How to make a Swiss Roll Cake

A bowl of eggs with a whisk. Cocoa being added to eggs. Chocolate batter before whisking and chocolate batter after whisking.
  • Combine the egg yolks, oil, water and vanilla and whisk.
  • Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the yolk mixture.
  • Increase the speed to high and whisk for 1 minute to lighten the batter.
a bowl of chocolate batter and a bowl of whipped eggs whites. Egg whites folded into chocolate batter.
  • Whip the egg whites to full peak
  • Fold the egg whites into the batter just until there are no visible streaks of white.
Spreading cake batter in a pan. A pan of cake batter. A baked cake and a cake covered with a kitchen towel.
  • Gently spread the batter into the pan. Bake until the center springs back.
  • As soon as the cake comes out of the oven place clean kitchen towel over the pan until the cake is completely cooled.

How to fill & assemble a Swiss Roll

A pan of cornstarch and cream cooking. A bowl of pudding with vanilla being added.
  • While the cake cools make the cornstarch pudding. This will stabilize the whipped cream.
  • Flip the cooled cake out of the pan onto the kitchen towel.
  • Peel the parchment from the cake then flip it back over onto the parchment.
  • Spread the cream filling over the cake.
Lifting parchment paper to roll a cream filled cake. Wrapping the rolled cake in parchment paper.
  • Use the parchment paper to lift the cake from the long side.
  • Continue rolling. Occasionally use your hands to tighten the roll.
  • Wrap the parchment around the roll. Use the side of the sheet pan to push against the cake while you pull the parchment tight. This will tighten the roll. Set the wrapped cake on the sheet pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Pouring chocolate glaze over a roll cake and spreading the glaze smooth.
  • Pour the glaze right down the center of the chilled cake.
  • Use a spatula to smooth the glaze over the top of the cake.
  • Use the spatula to cover any gaps in the glaze. Set the cake in the refrigerator until the glaze is set.
  • Trim each end of the cake on a diagonal. Run a spatula under the cake to separate the glaze from the rack. Use two spatulas to transfer the cake to a serving platter.

Pastry Chef Tips for making a Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

  • When you fold the egg whites into the chocolate base fold just until there are no streaks of egg whites. Over-folding can cause the batter to deflate which results in a dense cake.
  • Use a light touch when spreading the batter in the pan. You don’t want to deflate the batter by overworking it.
  • Bake the cake just until the center springs back when lightly pressed. Over baking the cake will dry it out and can cause it to crack when rolling.
  • Cover the cake with a clean kitchen towel as soon as it comes out of the oven. The towel will keep moisture in the cake so the cake is soft enough to roll easily.
  • Your cake roll can be split in two and served as two smaller rolls if you don’t have a serving tray long enough to fit the cake.
  • For a lighter cake you can skip the chocolate glaze and just dust the cake with powdered sugar before serving.

How to work ahead

  • It is best to bake and assemble the cake on the same day. Once the cake is baked you want to roll the cake before it has time to dry out. To work ahead, the assembled cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  • Before glazing, the filled cake roll can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for 2 days or frozen up to a month. Defrost before glazing.

How to store

  • The assembled cake can be held at room temperature for 3-4 hours.
  • The cake can will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Keep the cut ends covered with plastic wrap to prevent the cake from drying out.
  • Leftover cake can be sliced and the slices individually wrapped in plastic wrap. Lay the wrapped slices on a sheet pan and freeze until solid. Pack the cake slices in a freezer bag and they’ll keep for 1-2 months. Defrost in the plastic wrap.

Flavor variations

  • Double Chocolate – Fill the cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream.
  • Coffee – For a coffee flavored cream filling, add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the hot cornstarch mixture.
  • Orange – Add the finely grated zest of 1 orange or 2 teaspoons of orange extract to the warm cornstarch mixture and add finely grated orange zest to the chocolate glaze.
  • Coconut – Reduce the amount of heavy cream to 1 1/2 cups. Use 1/2 cup of coconut milk to make the cornstarch pudding. Use coconut oil in the cake instead of vegetable oil.
  • Raspberry – Spread a layer of raspberry preserves on the cake before you spread the cream.
beauty shot of cake roll slice

I think you’d love this vanilla Jelly Roll Cake too. Give it a try.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

swiss rpll beauty shot
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4.50 from 2 reviews

Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake Recipe

Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake is a classic treat. Light and airy chocolate cake is the perfect wrapping for luscious cream filling. The cake is coated with chocolate glaze. This is a great make-ahead recipe.
Prep Time1 hour
Bake Time12 minutes
Total Time1 hour 12 minutes
16 servings
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Cake Batter

  • 2 oz vegetable oil (¼ cup)
  • 3 large eggs (separated)
  • 3 oz water (⅓ cup)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ oz all purpose flour (¾ cup)
  • 1 oz dutch process cocoa powder (¼ cup, see note)
  • 6 oz granulated sugar (¾ cup, divided)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt

Cream Filling

  • 1 oz confectioner sugar (¼ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 16 oz heavy cream (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze


  • Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine the oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla in a mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
    2 oz vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 3 oz water, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sift the flour and cocoa with ½ cup of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to yolk mixture. Whip on high speed for 1 minute, then set aside
    3 ¾ oz all purpose flour, 6 oz granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon table salt, 1 oz dutch process cocoa powder
  • Whip the egg whites on medium speed to soft peak. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, increase the speed to medium high and whip to full peak. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture in three increments. Fold just until there are no streaks of white.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and smooth until level. Don't overwork the batter while spreading or you'll deflate the air bubbles in the batter. Bake until the middle of the cake springs back with lightly pressed, about 12 minutes. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and cool the cake completely in the pan.
  • To make the filling, combine the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan, whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of the cream. Heat the mixture over medium low, whisking constantly, until it begins to boil and thickens to a pudding-like texture. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl. Add the vanilla and cool to room temperature.
    1 oz confectioner sugar, 2 teaspoons corn starch, 16 oz heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Whip the remaining cream to soft peak. With the mixer running on low speed, add the pudding. Increase the mixer to high speed and whip the cream to full peak. Use immediately to fill the cake.
  • Run a small knife around the edges and flip the cake out of the pan onto the towel. Peel the parchment off the back of the cake. Use the towel and the parchment to flip the cake back over onto the parchment paper.
  • Remove the towel and spread the cream over the cake. Use the parchment paper to lift the long side of the cake then roll the cake tightly. Wrap the parchment paper around the cake and let it overlap at the bottom. Place the sheet pan at the seam of the paper. Push the pan against the cake while you pull on the overlap to tighten the parchment around the cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour to set the cream and chill the cake.
  • Remove the cake from the refrigerator and remove the parchment. Set the cake on a baking rack over a clean sheet pan.
  • Microwave the the chocolate with the butter in 30 second increments until both are melted. Add the corn syrup to the chocolate/butter mixture. Pour the warm glaze over the chilled cake, using a small spatula to fill in any gaps. Allow the glaze to set before moving to a serving platter. Trim both ends of the cake for a clean finish.
    8 oz semi sweet chocolate, 4 oz unsalted butter, 1 ½ oz light corn syrup

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You can substitute with “natural” cocoa powder and still get a good result if you replace  the baking powder in the recipe with 1/2 teaspoon of the baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
It’s best to bake and assemble the cake on the same day. To work ahead the assembled cake will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Keep the cut ends covered.
If you don’t have a large serving platter to fit the cake you can cut the roll into two smaller cakes and present them together on one platter or on two smaller platters.
For a lighter cake you can skip the chocolate glaze and just dust the cake with powdered sugar before serving.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 556IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

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Recipe Rating


  1. This cake looks so good, so I got everything to make it. I have made tons of pumpkin rolls,
    so the first thing I noticed you didn’t roll your cake as soon as it came out of oven, but I did it your way, just put towel on top. Then I made the filling, pudding came out beautiful, whipped the cream, added the cooled pudding and it got all lumpy and it look like it was butter, I. Had a big thick chuck that looked like butter, and the rest was liquid milk.
    Horrible. So since I didn’t have any more heavy whipping cream, I frosted it with canned icing, and when I go to roll it , it just kinda of fell apart the whole time I’m rolling.
    Really disappointed, looks so good. I’m a pretty good baker, and did each step, so I don’t know what happened. Still going to eat, not pretty , but cake is good.

    1. Sorry you had trouble with your cake. Did you make any ingredient substitutions? Did you use a standard 18″x13″ half sheet pan? If you roll the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven you have to unroll it to fill it and that often causes cracking. This is a nicely spongy cake and should have no problem rolling if it’s properly baked. If your cake fell apart it could be from over-baking. As I note in the recipe tips section, bake the cake just until the middle of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. If you overbake the cake it can crack when you roll it. Regarding the cream filling, it sounds like the cream was over-whipped. When cream is whipped too long the fat will separate out. That’s exactly how you make butter, so those lumps you had were probably butterfat. As noted in the recipe, just whip the cream to soft peak and then start adding the pudding on low speed. By the time the pudding is in the cream should be whipped to full peak.

  2. This cake looks so tempting! I’ve got lots of sourdough discard right now. Do you think the cake would turn out well if one cut back on the flour and water in the cake and substituted an appropriate amount of sourdough discard? (Fresh discard, not old) Thanks!

    1. It’s probably possible, but I have tried it. You do have to be careful with a roll cake since any change in texture could make rolling more difficult. If you try it let me know how it turns out. Also, if you have lots of discard you can try drying it then grinding it to a powder which can be added to some recipes (links to recipes in the post).

    2. @Eileen Gray, thanks! If I try it, I’ll let you know how it turns out. Focusing on more classic fall dishes at the moment. Also, different recipe, I know, but my family loves your sourdough biscuit recipe. So good!

  3. Hi! Nice recipe, I’d like to make it for the fam. Could you please tell me the size of the pan used in making it. Thank you so much.