When deciding what to make for part 2 of BBC Nottingham Radios “How to Bake” series we thought we should go for another simple classic which can be a little tricky if you don’t follow the rules! I was lucky enough that the first challenge on the 2014 series of The Great British Bake-Off was a Swiss roll which means I am quite well versed in these by now! In fact, this time last year I was practicing for the challenges and was making variations on Swiss Rolls up to 7 days a week!
Once you have mastered my simple recipe below, you can start to alter this wonderfully adaptable recipe in all manner of ways. Colours, flavours, textures and decoration are all up to you. Have a crack at making your own “Signature” bake to bring out when you have friends round. They won’t know it’s only taken three ingredients & 10 mins to bake! If you don’t tell, I won’t tell!
As long as you follow the instructions and check the end of the recipe for my handy hints, you can’t fail to go wrong with this. Even Mary Berry and Paul would agree!
3 Large Free-Range Eggs
75g Caster Sugar
75g Self-Raising Flour
125ml Double Cream
Strawberry Jam (Raspberry if you are a traditionalist)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c and prepare a 12” baking tray with good quality non-stick paper
- In a stand mixer if possible or using and electric whisk if not, whisk the eggs and sugar together for at least 5 mins. The mixture will need to be very light and fluffy and should leave a trace when you pull the whisk out.
- Measure out your flour and place into a whisk. As quickly as possible, sift the flour over the egg & sugar mix. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mix together (see tips).
- If you are going to try a decorated Swiss roll, spoon a little mixture into a separate bowl and colour accordingly (see tips). If not, skip to step 6.
- Pipe the required design, using a template behind the baking paper if needed. Place the baking tray in the freezer for 10 mins, until the pattern freezes. This will allow you to pour the rest of the cake batter on top without the pattern smearing.
- Gently pour the mixture into your prepared baking tray, from as low a height as possible to preserve the air bubbles. Gently tip the baking tray to get the mixture into the edges, using a pallet knife to help.
- Place into the centre of the pre-heated oven for 8 mins, checking after 7.
- Whilst the cake is baking, place a piece of non-stick paper onto a clean worktop. Cut another piece the same size and place to the side for later.
- Remove the cake from the oven and upturn onto the clean baking paper. Gently remove the old paper from the bottom of the cake and replace with the clean piece saved from step 8.
- If you have decorated your roll you will now need to turn the cake over, so the design is on the bottom of the cake. Otherwise, skip this step.
- Using the paper to help you, roll the still-hot cake up into a tight roll. (see tips) Allow to cool completely.
- Whisk the double cream to soft peaks.
- Gently un-roll the, now cooled, cake and spread with a layer of jam. Cover with the double cream and use a spatula to get it to the edges evenly.
- Use the baking paper again to help you roll the finished cake back up.
- Place onto a serving dish, cut off a slice from both ends for neatness and dust with caster sugar for crunch. I like to drizzle mine in a little chocolate, because I’m a rebel like that!
- Enjoy showing off your mad Swiss Roll Skillz!
Getting your eggs whisked correctly and your flour mixed well is the two areas where you can most go wrong on this recipe. You really can’t over-whisk eggs and sugar together so keep the mixer going for as long as possible.
Make sure you flour is well mixed into your eggs. Tip the bowl to the side to make sure there are no flour pockets hiding from you. If you see any flour left when pouring the mixture onto your baking sheet make sure you use a fork to mix them into the cake batter. No one likes raw-flour cakes
If you are adding colour to your cake, make sure to use gel colours. These are a thick colour paste that will turn your batter vibrant shades without adding too much liquid to the mix. They are not the cheapest things but they will last you many, many years
When piping your design, try to keep the lines simple and clean. You can build up layers of colour, as I did in my Strawberry number for The Bake-Off, but you must freeze the batter between layers to stop the mixture from squidging together.
As I will say with most of my recipes, use good quality silicon baking paper. Avoid brown paper and the cheap white paper like the plague as this will stick like glue to your cake and you will never be able to peel it off once baked. Make sure you line your baking tin up the sides so your cake releases easily.
When rolling your cake, you will make your life easier by “breaking the back” of the cake. This simply means taking the first 2cm of the roll and turning it in on itself quite firmly. This will help you with the rest of the roll. Work quickly one the cake is out the oven. If your cake cools too much you will end up with cracks and breakages.
You can fill your roll with any flavour you so choose so why not go a little crazy?! My Strawberry Roll on the GBBO show was filled with a layer of homemade apricot jam, a layer of marzipan and filled with a thick Crème Patissiere (Custard), perfect for a summers day!