This chocolate roll cake is filled with marshmallowy frosting and coated in a shiny chocolate glaze, like a store-bought Swiss roll that grew up. Each slice is a perfect balance of tender cake and creamy frosting; it's so festive for a birthday or holiday, but easy enough for everyday baking.
Roll cakes in general are a thing of beauty; they look impressive while requiring little more effort than making a sheet cake. This recipe will walk you through baking a thin and flexible chocolate cake that you can roll while still warm, making a fluffy vanilla frosting, and then making the lightest, thinnest chocolate coating that will delight kids and adults alike.
How to make a chocolate Swiss roll cake
Believe it or not, Swiss rolls are actually a specific type of cake -- a thin sponge cake that gets rolled around filling, frosting, or fruit to make a gorgeous swirled slice. Swiss roll cakes come in lots of flavors -- strawberry and chocolate are the most popular -- and are simply finished with powdered sugar. This chocolate Swiss roll cake takes things one step further with its shiny chocolate glaze that makes it taste just like a Little Debbie's chocolate Swiss roll.
3 tips for better Swiss roll cake
1. Bake the cake in a thin, even layer on parchment paper. Baking the cake on parchment keeps your pan clean and helps you roll the cake up.
2. Roll the cake while it is still warm. Cool the cake for just a few minutes after it bakes and then carefully slide it, parchment and all, onto a clean kitchen towel. Then you'll use the towel to roll up the cake. Yes, the cake will be hot, but it will also be pliable. Cooling the cake in a spiral shape will also prevent the cake from cracking when you fill it.
3. Make sure the cake and the filling are the same temperature. The cake needs to cool for at least an hour before you can fill it. You can whip up the filling while it cools, but make sure the cake and the filling are close to the same temperature before you unroll the cake and fill it. This keeps the filling from tearing up the cake while you spread it and makes rolling the cake easier.
Coating your chocolate Swiss roll cake
After rolling, you could give your cake a dusting of powdered sugar before serving. But if you really want that giant Swiss roll cake experience, a chocolate glaze is in order. This one is just dark chocolate and shortening melted together and goes over in a thin layer. After glazing, chill the Swiss roll cake for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
For the cake:
4 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 ounces dark chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, such as Hershey's Special Dark
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow fluff
3 cups powdered sugar
For the chocolate glaze:
8 ounces dark chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
Make the cake
1. Let the 8 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening for the filling sit out at room temperature while you bake the cake.
2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a rimmed 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet (or jelly roll pan) with cooking spray. Line with a sheet of parchment paper, then coat the parchment with cooking spray.
3. Separate 4 large eggs: Place the yolks in a large bowl and the whites into a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar to the yolks and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar to the whites.
4. Place 2 ounces dark chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup) and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 2 (30-second bursts) until the chocolate and butter are mostly melted (a few small bits are fine). Add 1 teaspoon espresso powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
5. Place 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a small bowl; whisk to combine.
6. Using the same whisk, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until lightened in color. Add the melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
7. Whip the egg whites and sugar with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed to medium peaks, about 6 minutes. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 3 additions, folding until just a few streaks of white remain before adding the next. Add the flour and cocoa mixture and fold to combine. A few lumps are OK.
8. Transfer the batter to the baking sheet and spread into a thin, even layer that reaches to the edges of the pan. Bake until the cake is puffed, the edges are set, and the center springs back when lightly pressed, 10 to 12 minutes.
9. Let the cake cool for 3 minutes. Carefully use the parchment paper to slide the cake out onto a clean lint-free kitchen towel. Sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Working quickly and carefully and starting at a short end, roll the cake and parchment paper up into a tight roll. Use the towel to guide the cake into the roll and to make the cake easier to handle. Wrap the rolled cake completely in the towel.
10. Let the cake cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Meanwhile, make the filling and the glaze.
Make the filling
1. Place the 8 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup shortening, and 7 ounces marshmallow fluff in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed until smooth.
2. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and carefully beat on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Make the glaze
1. Place 8 ounces dark chocolate chips (1 1/2 cups) and 1/2 cup vegetable shortening in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir to combine. If the chocolate chips are not fully melted, microwave for 30 seconds more. Let cool to room temperature.
Assemble the cake
1. Carefully unroll the cake. Dollop the filling onto the center of the cake and spread it into a thin, even layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border.
2. Gently re-roll the cake, tucking the short end into the frosting and using the parchment to gently ease the cake up over itself and creating a tight roll. Keep the parchment under the cake to help you move it.
3. Trim 1/2-inch of the cake roll from both ends with a serrated knife before glazing if desired. Carefully transfer the cake with the parchment paper to a wire rack, then gently slide the cake off the parchment onto the rack seam-side down. Position the used parchment under the rack to catch the excess glaze. Pour the room temperature glaze evenly over the cake, including the ends.
4. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes before serving. Use a warm serrated knife to cut through the glaze and cake and get those beautiful spirals.
Recipe notes: The cake keeps well in the fridge for up to three days, tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
This article is written by Meghan Splawn from The Kitchn and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.