This is it: my first official Christmas bake. I’ve had Christmas socks on since December 1st and we put the Christmas tree up last weekend, but it’s not really Christmas until the red and green food colouring comes out.
I’ve seen these types of swiss roll on the Bake Off and always been impressed. The bakers pipe intricate details on the parchment and hide it beneath the cake mix so that when the cake is rolled, the secret design is revealed and the rest of the bakers stand around admiring it like it’s some kind of Bake Off magic trick.
What I liked best about it was the fact that it seemed incredibly simple: you just needed some food colouring, a piping bag, and a steady hand, and when rolled correctly, a swiss roll looks seriously impressive. Easy yet impressive- my baking mantra. I was all over this.
The last swiss roll I made was terrible. I only half knew the recipe and ended up putting far too many eggs in. The resulting cake was like a boring, chewy omelette that my dad valiantly ate and politely pretended to like. But this time my swiss roll baking skills have greatly increased. Like all swiss roll recipes, this one does not use butter. However, this features only egg whites which makes for a really light, fluffy and healthier swiss roll- which is entirely cancelled out by the fresh cream filling. This is a rather resilient cake which makes rolling and re-rolling easy, so the cracks that can ruin the look of a swiss roll are not much of an issue. So if you pipe an unusual design, and as long as you can master rolling the swiss roll, you’re onto a winner. This red and green stripped candy cane pattern is perfect for Christmas and the rolling technique in this recipe is fool-proof. Move over Yule Log- there’s another rolled Christmas cake on the table.
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MAKES 1 swiss roll
PREP 25 mins, plus cooling and assembly time
COOK TIME 15 mins
▪ Will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days.
FOR THE SWISS ROLL
30g white chocolate
1tbsp vegetable oil
4 egg whites
60g caster sugar
50g self-raising flour
Red and green food colouring
FOR THE FILLING
175ml double cream
3tbsp strawberry jam
1 Line a 20cm x 30cm swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper.
2 Melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating in short bursts. Once melted, add the milk and vegetable oil and stir together.
3 In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peak stage using a stand mixer or an electric hand whisk. Add the sugar in large spoonfuls, whisking between each addition. Slowly sieve in the flour and mix in with a large metal spoon.
4 Pour the melted white chocolate mixture around the edges of the bowl and mix gently until smooth. Be careful not to overbeat as you will knock the air out.
5 Remove about a tablespoon and add to a separate bowl. Add a drop of red food colouring to dye the mix red. Do the same with another tablespoon of the mix, but dying this green. Add these to separate piping bags, snip off the end and pipe alternating coloured stripes diagonally across the prepared baking tray. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes for the piped design to go firm.
6 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/Gas Mark 4. Remove the tray from the freezer and pour the remaining cake mix into the tin. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until just browned and springy to the touch.
7 Leave the cake in the tin to cool for a few minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack and remove the paper from underneath. On another clean sheet of greaseproof paper, sprinkle over a teaspoon of caster sugar then flip the cake over onto it so that the patterned side is underneath. Use the paper to roll the cake up whilst it is still warm, rolling from the short side up. Leave rolled and allow to cool fully.
6 Using an electric hand whisk, beat the double cream until it just begins to stiffen. Carefully unroll the sponge, then cover it with a layer of jam and a layer of cream. Re-roll it tightly back up and place the cake with the join hidden underneath.