A beautiful Chocolate Cake Roll filled with whipped cream. Learn how to make the perfect chocolate swiss roll that doesn’t crack. This light and soft chocolate sponge is surprisingly easy to make, roll and fill.
Meet our Chocolate Cake Roll made from a soft and tender chocolate sponge filled with sweet vanilla whipped cream.
If you’ve ever had trouble making cake rolls or swiss rolls before because they’ve cracked or collapsed – this is the recipe for you.
I’ll show you how to make the perfect Chocolate Cake Roll that’s easy to roll and fill.
why you will love this recipe
- You only need a handful of everyday ingredients
- The chocolate sponge is soft and light
- It’s easy to roll and achieve a beautiful swirl
- You can make it ahead of time for easy entertaining
Im not going to lie. I’ve always had a fear of making rolled cakes and I had many fails when trying to perfect this recipe. But now I know exactly what you need to do to make the perfect Chocolate Cake Roll.
And it all starts with that glorious sponge. Just like my Genoise Sponge, this recipe requires you to whip the eggs to achieve that wonderfully light and tender texture.
Once baked, the cake is immediately rolled in a clean tea towel that’s been generously dusted with cocoa powder. I tried multiple times using baking paper so I didn’t have to wash cocoa-laden tea towels but found the thickness of the towel worked much better.
Once it’s completely cooled, it’s time to carefully unroll and fill. It’s hard to go past the traditional cream filling, but you can add your own twist to this recipe. Some finely chopped berries or a drizzle of jam or curd alongside the cream would also be divine.
The best part about this recipe is that you only need a handful of ingredients. The cake itself is made from just six ingredients and it is then filled with whipped cream. But you can use whatever filling you desire – some suggestions are listed below. Here’s what you will need:
Chocolate sponge cake
- Caster sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Plain flour: Or all purpose flour.
- Cocoa powder: You can use 100% natural unsweetened cocoa powder for this recipe or Dutch-processed cocoa powder – both work really well. Dutch-processed cocoa powder will give you a slightly darker-coloured sponge.
- Vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil: Or any neutral-tasting oil will work here.
Whipped cream filling
- Icing sugar: Or powdered sugar.
- Vanilla extract
- Thickened cream: Or heavy cream. Cream can have different names in different countries but look for a high-fat cream (at least 35% fat) that says it is suitable for whipping.
fillings for chocolate cake roll
I’ve chosen the classic filling here of vanilla whipped cream, however you can add additional fillings or flavours. You could dollop over your favourite jam, curd or syrup alongside the cream or add finely chopped fruits or berries. Here are some examples:
- Fresh strawberries or raspberries
- Raspberry jam or a berry coulis
- Lemon curd
- Passionfruit puree
how to make a chocolate cake roll
It may look fancy but making a chocolate cake roll from scratch is easier than you’d think. It all starts with that gorgeous chocolate sponge. It doesn’t have any raising agent like baking powder or baking soda, instead, it gets its rise from whipping the eggs.
To make this recipe even more simple, I’ve created it so you don’t have to separate the egg whites and egg yolks.
Here’s a brief breakdown of how to make the chocolate sponge cake – more detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below:
- Whisk the eggs using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined and foamy. Gradually add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue to beat until eggs become pale and fluffy, and triple in volume. This will take around 5-7 minutes.
- Gently fold in sifted flour and cocoa powder being careful not to knock all the air out of the eggs.
- Then drizzle in the oil and vanilla. Continue to gently fold until you have a creamy cake batter and there are no streaks of flour or cocoa.
- Transfer cake batter to prepared cake pan and bake for approximately 11 minutes or until cake is no longer sticky to the touch – but try not to over-bake!
how do you roll a swiss roll without cracking it?
Cracking is a common problem when it comes to making cake rolls or swiss rolls. Cake can be fickle! But here’s my advice for rolling the perfect chocolate sponge cake that doesn’t crack or collapse.
- Roll the cake while it’s warm
Once your cake is out of the oven, leave it for 1-2 minutes, then flip it over onto your clean tea towel that’s been dusted with cocoa powder. Generously dust the top of the cake with more cocoa powder, and then very carefully and gently roll her up.
- Wait for the cake to cool completely
Once you have rolled your cake, don’t touch it (not even to peek!) until it is completely cool. Carefully transfer it onto a wire rack to cool completely while still wrapped in the tea towel. Letting it cool in the towel will help it keep its curled shape.
- Don’t unroll it completely flat
Be very gentle and unroll the cake just enough to spread your filling. You don’t need to force it to be completely flat. Let it keep its curved shape, particularly at the end where you started the roll.
how do you store cake rolls?
Once rolled and filled, you need to keep your Chocolate Cake Roll in the fridge. Keep it covered or in an airtight container. Because of the generous filling, you’ll find the cake will keep soft and moist for days.
Tips for making the perfect chocolate cake roll
- Beat your eggs well
To ensure your sponge is soft and light (and rolls well), you need to beat your eggs to the correct consistency. The easiest way to check your eggs are done is if you can draw a figure 8 on the surface of the eggs using a trail of the egg mixture, and if it still sits on the surface when you’re finished, it’s good to go. If it sinks straight away, keep mixing.
- Use a light hand when mixing
If you mix your cake batter too vigorously, you’ll lose all the air in your cake and it’ll turn out flat and rubbery. Be sure to use a light hand to gently fold the flour and cocoa into the eggs.
- Try not to over-bake your cake (or under-bake it)
Overbaking will make your cake dry and prone to cracking. However, under-baking your cake will also cause it to collapse as the cake will be wet and won’t hold its shape properly. I find exactly 11 minutes at 160 C (320 F) is perfect for me.
frequently asked questions
The main reasons why a cake rolls cracks are:
1. Not whisking your eggs enough so the sponge is flat and rubbery.
2. Over-mixing the cake batter and knocking the air out of the sponge.
3. Under- or over-baking the sponge.
4. Not rolling the cake while it is still warm.
5. Being too rough or heavy-handed when rolling and filling.
The eggs will become pale and creamy and triple in volume. The easiest way to check if your eggs are done is if you can draw a figure 8 on the surface of the eggs using a trail of the egg mixture. If you can still see the number 8 on the surface when you’re finished drawing, the eggs are good to go. If it sinks, keep mixing.
Yes! Once you fill and roll this cake, you can cover it in chocolate. A chocolate ganache – part chocolate, part cream – is the most common topping. You’ll just need to give it time to set in the fridge once covered before you slice.
An easy chocolate sponge cake filled with whipped cream.
Chocolate cake roll
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 70 grams (1/2 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 20 grams (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 20 ml (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 grams (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder or Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted, for dusting only
- 300 ml (1 and 1/4 cups) thickened cream or heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar or powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan or swiss roll pan with baking or parchment paper.
- Place eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Beat eggs for 1-2 minutes using an electric mixer on medium speed. Once eggs start to become thick and foamy, add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while continuing to mix.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and continue to beat until eggs become pale and fluffy, and triple in volume – this is called ribbon stage. It will take around 5-7 minutes.
- You’ll know your eggs have reached ribbon stage when you can use the whisk to draw a figure 8 on top of the batter. If the number 8 is still there when you have finished drawing, your eggs are ready. (See photo below).
- Sift together the flour and cocoa powder. When the eggs are ready, add half the flour and cocoa and start to gently fold with a spatula. Add remaining flour and cocoa and continue to gently fold the mixture until there are no more pockets of flour or cocoa powder. Use a light hand, so you don’t lose the air in your eggs.
- Drizzle the oil and vanilla down the side of the bowl. Gently fold until combined.
- Transfer your cake batter to your prepared pan and gently smooth out to form one even layer. Bake for approximately 11 minutes or until cake is no longer sticky to the touch.
- Prepare a clean, dry tea towel by generously sifting over half of the cocoa powder reserved for dusting. Take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for 2 minutes just to firm up ever so slightly. Then, in one swift movement, tip the cake out onto the prepared tea towel, then very gently remove the baking paper.
- Sift over the remaining cocoa powder on top of the cake. Then gently roll up the cake, from the short side, keeping the tea towel wrapped around the cake.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before filling – around 1-2 hours.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your cream and whisk on medium speed until whipped and soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla and sugar.
- Very gently, unroll your cake, keeping the end slightly curled. Spread whipped cream over the cake, going right to the edges. Then, gently re-roll the cake back up.
- Place cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Cocoa powder: I prefer to use dutch processed cocoa powder in the cake batter as it yields a darker colour, but natural unsweetened cocoa powder will work here too.
Vegetable oil: Or you can use any neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed oil or canola oil.
Thickened cream: Cream can have different names in different countries but look for a high fat (at least 35% fat) cream that says it is suitable for whipping.
Storage: Once filled and rolled, keep cake covered or in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.