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Sponge Cake Layers

These are not complicated, but they ARE fussy.Before you try one of these light cakes, please read the extensive tips for baking and assembling Swiss rolls and jelly rolls on the Swiss Rolls page. Remember, if the cake gets too done to roll, it will still make wonderful Classic Sponge Cake Layer
Eggless Sponge Cake Layer
Sugarless Sponge Cake Layer sweetened with Splenda or sucralose

Sponge Cake Introduction

Swiss rolls, jelly rolls and roulades are sponge cakes. They are rather delicate to bake and roll, so there is a whole page on tips for rolling the cakes. Here are the recipes.
  • BE SURE you use the size pan requested in the recipe. Swiss Rolls are just a bit more challenging than jelly rolls or roulades because the sponge cake layer is thicker so it cannot be rolled as tightly.
  • Ingredients should be at ROOM TEMPERATURE before you start.
  • PREHEAT your oven.
  • If your recipe calls for whole eggs, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer on high until the mixture resembles a thick stable foam, and the mark from a spoon dragged through the mixture doesn't disappear.
  • If the recipe calls for separate egg whites, place egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean and dry mixing bowl. Beat with medium speed until bubbly. Add sugar gradually and continue to whip at high speed just until stiff peaks form. Overbeating dries out and flattens the cake.
  • Separating the eggs will make the cake a little less fragile and easier to roll. Try this is you have trouble getting your cake to roll.
  • Take 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and fold into the flour mixture. Then pour all this combined mixture on top of the remaining whipped egg whites.
  • Once the egg whites and flour mixture are combined, NEVER beat the batter. Use a cutting and lifting motion to gently fold the egg whites into the combined mixture.
  • Deeper sides on the baking pan help to protect the cake edges from overbaking.
  • Aluminum bowls will turn beaten egg whites greyish.

Cream of Tartar csn be added when beating egg whites to stabilize the whites and give them volume and strength. Cream of tartar can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores. It should be stored in a cool dry place and replaced after one year.


Basic buttercream filling for Swiss Rolls

1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter/margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
OPTIONAL 4 ounces marshmallow cream
OPTIONAL 1-3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Bring butter to room temperature. Cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Continue to beat until the cream turns pale.
Beat in cocoa or marshmallow cream if used. Set aside. The purpose of the marshmallow cream is to make the filling more moist and spreadable.


Mocha Coffee Filling

1 cup fresh whipping cream, not whipped
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated
3 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Prepare this filling BEFORE you start making the sponge cake: it has to chill. In a bowl, combine the cream with the chocolate and coffee granules; heat over a pan of hot water and then mix with a whisk. Refrigerate until the mixture is cold and has just started to thicken; whip with an electric beater until thick.
When ready to roll, brush the layer with the liqueur mixture, then spead the filling and roll.


Fruit and Cream Filling

1 pound/ 450g fresh raspberries or strawberries, divided
1 1/2 cups (360ml/12 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream (Double Cream), whipped
sweeten whipped cream to taste

Mix half the cream with the berries, reserving a few for decoration. Add sugar to taste then spread over the cold sponge cake layer. Roll it up according to the discussion on the Swiss Roll tips page. Chill 6 hours or overnight to set filling before slicing.
To serve - transfer to a serving platter, cover with the remaining cream and decorate with the reserved raspberries.


Filling Jelly Rolls and Lemon Rolls

4 ounces jam, jelly or lemon curd
powdered sugar to dust the rolled cake before serving
May use 4 ounces lemon curd or jam to fill. Warm slightly to make spreading easier. Spread a thin layer, in the US this is often just a ribbon of color. After rolling, dust with powdered sugar before slicing.


Simply Sponge Cake

This is a favorite never-fail sponge cake recipe, ideal for Swiss rolls. It is simple to adapt to many flavors and will also work as a cake layer. The self rising flour adds a little baking powder for rising insurance; once you master the technique, you can use all regular flour.

Use shiny pans to prevent over-browning.
Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the thin layers at a slightly higher temp than round layers. For a four egg cake in a thin layer pan, preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C, Gas mark 7). Reduce heat about 25 degrees for each egg less, 400 for 3 eggs, 375 for 2 eggs.

Ingredient2 egg cake
serves 3-4
3 egg cake
Swiss Roll
serves 4-6
4 egg cake
serves 6-8
Whole eggs234
Granulated sugar1/3 cup1/2cup2/3 cup
Flavor or extract###
Corn starch2 tablespoons1/4 cup1/3 cup
Plain flour2 tablespoons1/4 cup1/3 cup
Self-rising flour2 tablespoons1/4 cup1/3 cup
Pan size/
baking time
Deep 8 inch/20cm round cake pan or recess pan
about 20 minutes
OR 8x12 inch/20x30 cm swiss roll about 7-10 minutes
2 deep 17cm cake or sandwich pans about 15 minutes
OR 15 1/2x10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan about 7-12 minutes
OR 10x12 inch/25cmx30cm Swiss roll pan
about 12-15 minutes
OR 7x11 inch/18x28cm pa
about 15-20 minutes
2 deep 8 inch/20cm round cake pans
about 20 mins
OR deep 9 inch/23cm round cake pan
about 40 mins
OR 17x12 inch/43x30 cm jelly roll pan about 8-10 minutes
After lining pan, may dust pan with flaked almonds before adding batter.
After baking and cooling, may brush layer with 2 tablespoons liqueur mixed with 1 tablespoon water or other flavored syrup before filling and rolling.

Have eggs at room temperature. Beat whole eggs in a narrow bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy (the small bowl is necessary to get maximum air volume beaten into the eggs); beating time on a moderately high speed should be about 7 mins. Once the egg foam begins to thicken, add sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until sugar is dissolved.
While eggs and sugar are beating, prepare and line pans as directed on the Swiss Roll Tips page.
Sift dry ingredients 3 times, to aerate and mix the flours. Once before measuring, once after measuring and again as you add to the egg mixture. Ellen's note: I don't sift other things, but I DO sift flour for sponge cake.
Once the sugar is dissolved into the egg, when you slowly raise the beaters the egg will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons. At this point beat in any flavoring extract.
For the three egg or four egg recipe, transfer mixture to larger bowl. This makes it easier to fold the dry ingredients through the egg mixture. It is not necessary to transfer the 2 egg mixture to a larger basin.
Sift half the flour mixture over the egg yolk mixture and fold in gently with a rubber spatula, just until the flour is incorporated. Sift the remaining flour mixture over the batter and fold in. Heavy handling at this stage will give a flat, tough sponge.
Spread mixture evenly into lined prepared pan(s), leveling the surface. For Swiss roll, pour in the cake mixture and spread with a spatula until it is even and about 1/2" thick.
Bake in moderate oven for cooking time specified. When cooked, the layer barely changes color but sponge will have shrunk very slightly from side of pan and top of sponge will feel springy when touched gently with fingertips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Check the sponge is cooked by carefully running your hand over the top. Your hand leaves a slight mark, which disappears quickly and springs back.
Turn sponge immediately onto wire rack to cool, then reverse sponge so that wire rack does not mark the top.

#Flavor Variations:
Vanilla or other extracts/essences: 2-4 drops, added to eggs after all sugar has dissolved.
Citrus: Beat in 1 to 2 teaspoons of your favorite grated citrus rind with the sugar. Try lemon, tangerine, lime, orange.
Nut: Fold in 1/4 cup of any type of ground nuts with the flours.
Chocolate: Sift in 1/4 cup cocoa powder with the flour or fold in about 2 ounces/60g grated dark chocolate with the flours. You might use brown sugar instead of white and add 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Lower baking temp about 25 degrees.

Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 6 hours. The cake with filling may be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in a freezer for up to 2 months. Unfilled or unrolled layers can also be frozen separately.


Buche de noel
Yule Log

10x12 inch/25x30 cm sponge layer. One log serves 8.
Swiss Roll taken to a new level. This chocolate roll with chestnut filling and chocolate butter cream frosting is decorated to resemble the giant Christmas logs placed in the castle fireplace for the Yule celebration. Along with real holly leaves, a French cook might add marzipan mushrooms growing out of its chocolate icing. This cake dates from 1870 when it was popularized by Parisien pastry cooks. It only takes about an hour and a half to make and can become a family tradition.

Prepare a 4 egg sponge cake, above, sifting in 1-2 tablespoons cocoa with the flour.

150 ml (¼ pint) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon milk
250 g (8 oz) can sweetened chestnut puree (find at specialty groceries or online)

Frosting AKA "Creme au beurre au chocolat":
75 g (3 oz) caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 egg yolks
125-175 g (4-6 oz) unsalted butter
50 g (2 oz) plain baking chocolate, broken into pieces
Powdered sugar, sifted, for decoration
cocoa powder, sifted, for decoration
holly leaves for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F(190 degrees C). Bake 15-20 minutes until just done and handle according to the Swiss Roll tips, dusting the rollong paper with sugar before placing the layer on it. Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife, then roll up the cake with the rolling paper still inside. Cool rolled up on a wire rack.
Make the chestnut filling. Whip the cream and milk together until stiff, then fold the mixture into the chestnut puree.
Unroll the cake carefully, remove the paper, and spread the layer evenly with the chestnut mixture. Re-roll carefully.
Make the frosting "crème au beurre au chocolat". Place the chocolate with 1 tablespoon water in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water and stir continuously until smooth and melted. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the frosting mixture. Place the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with the water and heat gently until dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil steadily for 3-4 minutes until it reaches 110°C (225°F) or until the syrup forms a thin thread. Pour the syrup in a thin stream on to the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk until the mixture is thick and cold. Beat the butter until soft and then gradually beat the egg mixture into the butter. Then beat the room temperature melted chocolate into the egg/syrup mixture.

Coat the cake with the chocolate mixture; then scrape and dimple the frosting with a spatula or palette knife to look like tree bark. Chill until set. Before serving, dust lightly with cocoa powder and powdered, and decorate with holly leaves.


Eggless Sponge Cake and
Filling for Strawberry Custard Roll

1 roll, 8x12 inch (20x30cm) sponge layer. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk in place ot the beaten eggs. The milk causes the cake to brown more than a regular sponge cake.

3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup (2 1/4 ounces or 70 grams) plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 can (scant 4 ounces or 100 grams) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 ml.) water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 ml.) melted butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
rind of 1 large orange or 1 teaspoon orange marmalade
1/2 cup strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped coarsely
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups vanilla pudding, chilled
1/4 cup fresh strawberries for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar for garnish

Prepare a soaking syrup by mixing 3/4 cup water and 3 tablespoons powdered sugar. Chill. You may substitute 3/4 cup thin simple syrup.
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F (200 degree C). Line an 8x12 inch (20x30cm) Swiss roll tin with grease-proof or waxed paper and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together and set aside
In a bowl, mix the milk, butter water vanilla and orange flavor and beat well. Fold in the flour by the usual sponge cake procedure.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared Swiss roll tin and level the top and edges.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the sponge is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with the fingertips. Remove and cool by the sual roll method.

To assemble this roll, soak the sponge lightly with the refrigerated soaking syrup.
Spread the cold pudding/custard on the sponge.
Spoon the strawberry filling evenly over the custard. You may substitue thawed drained frozen strawberries here.
Carefully roll up the sponge as discussed on the tips page. Transfer to a serving dish. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Arrange the whole strawberries over and around the roll. Sprinkle the sugar over it.


Sugar-free Glazed Pineapple Roll using Splenda/ Sucralose

Yield: 8 Servings
Not a true Swiss Roll (it is kneaded). but an edible reduced fat and reduced carb dessert.

2 tablespoons reduced fat margarine
2 cups self rising flour, sifted twice, divided
4 teaspoons Splenda/ sucralose sugar substitute
1 egg yolk, beaten
4 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
1/4 cup cold water
4 teaspoons honey
1 short can crushed pineapple packed in juice, save juice
1 ound (#202 can) diced pie apples NOT apple pie filling
4 teaspoons brown sugar substitute
4 teaspoons corn starch

Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
Rub margarine into flour (reserve 4 teaspoons flour) and stir in Splenda.
Beat egg yolk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and water and add to flour. Combine to form a firm dough.
Knead lightly about 10 times, like a biscuit dough, and refrigerate 30 mins. Sprinkle work surface with reserved flour & roll out to a large rectangle.
Mix softened honey into pineapple & apple, spread over pastry and roll Swiss roll style. Spray baking dish with cooking spray and place roll in prepared dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake 400F 30 mins till cooked.
Heat pineapple juice, made up to 1 1/4 cups with water,till boiling. Blend cornstarch with a little water and add to mixture. Cook, stirring till mixture boils, then simmer 1 minute until it thickens. Stir in remaining lemon juice and pour over warm roll.