This easy chocolate Swiss Roll cake has a light sponge, creamy filling, and coated with a silky ganache. It will be the star of the show while entertaining!
Only second to Twinkies, Little Debbie Swiss Rolls were an absolute childhood favorite. And the only thing better than a little Swiss Roll Cake is a giant Swiss Roll!
Scrumptious chocolate cake rolled around a cream filling, then covered in rich fudge, this dessert is always a crowd pleaser.
How to Make Swiss Roll
Making a chocolate roll cake is not difficult at all, there are just a few critical steps that cannot be tampered with to ensure optimal results. (You can bypass all the photos and instruction by scrolling to the end for the video and printable written instructions, if you prefer!)
First, you will need to make the chocolate cake batter (easy!); bake it, roll it in a clean tea towel, and set it aside to cool completely.
In the meantime, make your filling. Then unroll the cooled chocolate cake, spread the filling on top, re-roll, wrap in plastic wrap, and transfer to the refrigerator.
Make the ganache and pour it evenly over the top of the cake, let set, slice, and serve!
Swiss Roll Cake Tips
- For optimal results, use a 15×10-inch Jelly Roll pan. (<< Affiliate link.) Jelly Roll pans look similar to baking sheets, but have unique dimensions specific to making sponge and sheet cakes in order to stay together after filling and rolling. IF you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, you might be able to get away with using a baking sheet, but don’t go bigger than a 15×12 or the batter will spread too thin.
- Line your jelly roll pan with parchment paper and leave an extra inch sticking up on all sides. This will allow you to grab the parchment and not the hot baked cake, making it easier to roll.
- Don’t over-bake the cake! This sponge is done at approximately 11 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched.
- Roll the cake immediately after it’s done baking (be careful, it’ll be hot!) The cake will be more pliable when it’s warm, and will lead to a crack-free cake.
- Let the rolled cake cool until it is completely room temperature (usually a few hours.) As it cools, it will be “trained” to hold its shape when you fill it and re-roll, and also ensures that your filling won’t melt and ooze out the sides.
- Wrap it and refrigerate. After you’ve filled it and re-rolled it, you can serve right away, but I recommend wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerating for at least an hour to allow the filling to firm up a bit so you get solid slices.
- Change up the filling. I went with a traditional cream cheese filling, but you could use vanilla buttercream, chocolate mousse, marshmallow fluff, or a simple whipped cream.
- Sprinkle in a touch of cinnamon or espresso to the cake batter for additional flavor.
- Add flavor to the filling with a touch of coffee, jam, peppermint extract, or your favorite liqueur.
- Vary the topping. Instead of the chocolate ganache, top the cake with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or crushed peppermint candies for the holidays.
How To Store Swiss Roll
This assembled roll cake will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Or you can make this roll cake recipe ahead and freeze it for up to 2 months. (Prepare without the ganache, wrap in plastic wrap and again in tinfoil. When you’re ready, defrost in the refrigerator, then coat with the ganache before serving.)
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Watch the Video for Swiss Roll Cake
Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
For the Cake
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Filling
- 8 ounce brick cream cheese , room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Ganache
- 2/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
For Dusting Tea Towel
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- To Make The Chocolate Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Then line it with parchment paper leaving an extra 1-inch overhang.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until combined and thickened.
- Add in the melted butter and vanilla extract, and whisk until just combined.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir together until just combined.
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 11 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched.
- Lay a clean, unscented, lint-free tea towel on a flat surface. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
- Gently turn the cake out onto the towel and very carefully remove the parchment paper. While still hot, roll the cake up in the towel (yes, you want the towel to be rolled up inside), from short end to short end. Cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack, while rolled up, about 2 hours.
- While the cake is cooling, make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth. (If the filling is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a half teaspoon or two of milk. You want a medium consistency so that the filling is easy to spread, but not too warm or thin that it will ooze out of the cake when you’re rolling it up.)
- Once the cake roll has reached room temperature, transfer it to a flat surface, and carefully unroll it until it is flat again (or mostly flat, it’s ok if the ends curl up a bit).
- Spread the filling mixture evenly over cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides. Then carefully re-roll the cake.
- Tightly wrap the chocolate roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour to help the filling firm up a bit.
- Make the chocolate ganache: Place the chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted; whisk until combined. Then whisk in the powdered sugar until combined. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until pouring consistency is reached.
- Trim the ends of the cake for a clean look. Transfer to a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath (for a cleaner finish), and pour ganache evenly over the top. Let set.
- Transfer to a serving plate, slice, and enjoy!
- To Store: this assembled roll cake will last 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Or you can make this roll cake recipe ahead and freeze it for up to 2 months. (Prepare without the ganache, wrap in plastic wrap and again in tinfoil. When you’re ready, defrost in the refrigerator, then coat with the ganache before serving.)
- For tips on getting the perfect roll cake or recipe variations, please refer to the full article. And make sure to watch the video!
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