What impresses me about Nama chocolate aside from having rich and irresistible taste is that you can turn it into something more special like a Nama chocolate Swiss roll for a dessert. This cake roll recipe is something that I make extra special for my family and friends. It’s a combination of light chocolate sponge cake with sweet vanilla fresh cream and, of course, highlighted by the luscious chocolate. This dessert is for the fervent chocolate lovers out there. This unique chocolate Swiss roll recipe is all you need to boost your creativity in making desserts.
The Unique Swiss Roll
What comes to your mind when you think about a perfect chocolate cake roll? I’m pretty sure that these ingredients will pop up like eggs, plain flour, or all-purpose flour and chocolate. Well, you are very right since these are the traditional ingredients for a Swiss roll. But just like I said, this recipe is unique not because I used Nama chocolate as a ganache like what every experts does but instead it will be a gluten-free Swiss roll. In this recipe, I will not mention ingredients like plain flour or all-purpose flour rather this recipe will be entirely free of it. Instead, I will be using eggs, sugar, chocolate, and cacao powder, which will have a balanced taste that is not too sweet and yet so tasty with the familiar aroma of rich chocolatey goodness.
I spend a lot of time testing what works best to come up with a delicious Swiss roll. At first, I tried incorporating chocolate with whipped cream instead of fresh white cream, but it fell short of getting a delightful taste and the chocolate is overpowering. I also tried to cover the Swiss roll with the ganache layer but found that it is completely unnecessary to do so. With this recipe, I used fresh Nama chocolate strips, which works well, so after a couple of mismatches, I finally found the recipe that I can happily share with everyone.
The successful cake roll definition
A couple of years back, when I studied in Japan, I’m proud to say that I learned a lot from successful people who were instrumental in my journey as a baker. I’ve tasted different recipes from well-known Japanese cake stores that are profitable in making cakes.
- Not too sweet
For Asian complementing a dessert with an expression, “Oh, this cake is not too sweet” means that the sweetness is just right.
Swiss rolls are of Western origin, but I want to point out that the Asian version is guaranteed not too sweet, so if you are cutting back your sugar intake or just not being a fan of sweet desserts, the Asian version is definitely for you.
- Light & Fluffy
To achieve this, there are different methods of baking. I use a big tray outside the baking tin and pour hot water and cover the cake pan with aluminum foil, and the outcome is just lovely. In this recipe, there is no butter or added oil besides using fresh whipped cream for the filling, which makes it soft that will melt in your mouth and I’m sure that you would feel less guilty in eating more than just one slice.
You can find a variety of flavors for a Swiss roll. My method of making Swiss roll leans towards the Japanese and Asian style, although classic Japanese roll cakes are very similar to a Western Swiss roll. Some of the classic flavors are vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, tiramisu, coffee, strawberry, lemon, raspberry, and so on. Japanese (and some other Asian) varieties include matcha, black sesame, chestnut, and exciting flavors like almond and caramelized cake roll.
What ingredients make my chocolate cake roll so unique?
- All-Purpose Flour or plain flour: Some struggle in measuring and finding the right ratio of flour to make a perfect roll. Well, you don’t have to anymore since I already omit the flour from this recipe and make it completely gluten-free. Again, no flour for this recipe.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: You can use Dutch-processed cocoa powder or natural cocoa powder since cocoa will not act as an acid in this recipe.
- Eggs: Eggs are the major contributor mostly working in providing structure and moisture for this recipe. It will greatly help to have eggs as both the yolks and whites are used.
- Salt & Vanilla Extract: It adds a bit of a balance in flavor, but this is optional.
- Nama chocolate: I use Nama chocolate strips for filling as a distinctive ingredient in this recipe. It looks and tastes different from other Swiss roll cake which I like and enjoy showing to everyone. See full recipe here
- Whipped cream: This is definitely an exceptional ingredient for this recipe as it brings out the moisture and rich balance from sweet taste.
6 Tips to Remember When Making Nama Swiss Roll
Egg whites in the fridge.
You can make the sponge cake in different ways, but two methods are commonly used. The first method is combining the egg yolks and egg whites together. Bring the mixture to get warm and then whipped it. The second method will be to whip the egg yolks and egg whites separately and then fold it together. This method refers to the Japanese way of making cakes without using any cream of tartar, which is a secret in making stable meringues.
But I will let you in for a little secret, I use both methods to make my Swiss roll. I beat the warm mixture, but I also beat the cold egg whites separately, then I fold back the 2 mixtures together, it will generally create the soft and light texture, and the melt in your mouth effect.
Remember to “fold in”.
Would you like to make a roll without cracks and no bubbles? The key is to fold it as gently as possible. Folding is a very gentle technique of mixing additional ingredients into a batter to prevent entrapped air from escaping. The way to do this is to first run the spatula (or whisk) around the side, then along the base of the bowl. Now fold the mixture over onto itself. Rotate the bowl 90º and repeat until combined.
Don’t over bake
Since it is a thin cake, it will be best to avoid baking it slowly as the cake will become dry. Therefore, bake around 392 ºF (200 ºC) for 18 minutes, until the sponge bounces back when pressed. The bottom of the cake pan will become the surface of the cake when rolled, so we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t get burnt on the bottom.
Remove Baking Paper
There’s a whole lot of discussion about whether to remove the parchment paper right after baking or after cooling down, but this is really doesn’t matter. You can peel it off while it’s warm, and it will come off beautifully.
Don’t let the cake outside or in the fridge too long before rolling.
Then To Roll
It’s easier to roll up the sponge when it’s just cool down and flexible. Some experts will tell you to pre-roll the cake first, and that’s fine you can follow it. But the technique I used that works really well is to place the sheet sponge to the fridge for approximately 10 minutes. Every time I do this technique, the roll still turns out nicely without any cracks.
You must make the filling in advance so that you can make the perfect Swiss roll with ease. Also, Nama chocolate requires a longer time to prepare so it is a good idea to make Nama chocolate and even the whipped cream at least a day ahead. It will save you time to cut the Nama chocolate and apply the whipped cream.
How to Assemble Swiss Roll Cake
The cake will come out in a rectangular shape. It can be cooled at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I usually cool cake rolls in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes only. Once it cools down, unroll the chocolate cake and fill with homemade whipped cream. You only need 3 ingredients: whipped cream, syrup, and Nama chocolate strips.
First, brush the cake with sugar syrup (works fine also if you can spray), then apply fresh cream and place Nama chocolate strips on the sponge sheet then gently fold it from the short side.
Leave the cake inside the fridge for at least 1 hour to set. If it doesn’t rest enough, you will lose the shape (the roll will not be tall enough and will be hard to cut). It is then decorated with cream on top with pieces of Nama chocolate, you can see all of these in my video instruction
Mini Swiss Roll
If you like to make small sizes, you can cut the cake into 4 equal pieces. Roll each up, then you will have 4 small cake rolls, then follow exactly the rest of the steps. Your kids will love it, trust me.
That is it, I hope you can enjoy my special and unique Nama cake roll recipe, which I spend a lot of time working on. As always shoot me whatever questions you may have with this recipe.
More Roll Recipe I Love:
Nama Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
- 1 slab Nama chocolate 25cm x 18cm (10" x 7") see the recipe, un-decorated Nama slab
- 300 ml (1 and 1/3 cups) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) water
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
Chocolate Sponge Slab
- 200 g (7oz) egg yolks
- 70 g (2.5oz) egg whites
- 240 g (8.5oz) egg whites make sure this is very cold
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 28 g (1oz) coco powder
- 70 g (2.5oz) dark chocolate 60-70% cacao, chopped
Please make Nama chocolate, whipped-cream and sugar syrup at least 1 day in advance
- In a large bowl with another iced bowl underneath, start whipping the mixture of sugar of heavy cream and sugar at low speed, then turn to high speed then whip until it get thicken. Cover the bowl and store in fridge.
- In a small sauce pan at low heat, keep stirring the mixture of sugar and water until all dissolved.
Chocolate Sponge Sheet Cake
- Melt the dark chocolate from group C, keep that aside.
- On a bain marie, whisking the mixture from group A till all dissolved and get warm (about 40C/104F), then use a hand mixer start mixing from low speed, then mix on high speed till the volume raise triple.
- In the other mixing bowl with COLD egg whites, start a mixer machine at low speed, then speed up and keep adding the sugar, mix until the mixture reach ribbon stage (see the video instruction).
- Sift the cacao powder into the mixture A, then gently and slowly stir it, but do not mix it thoroughly.Place all the melted chocolate into above mixture, then keep slowly stirring until the mixture just comes together.
- Then add the mixture B into mixture A, then make sure use the FOLD-IN method to slowly combine them, very important step to make sure the sponge baked perfectly and no-crackings at all.
- Place the batter into a Swiss pan 30cm x 25cm (12" x 10") with a baking paper underneath, spread a surface evenly by using a plastic scrapper (or a spatula). Then cover a Swiss pan with aluminium foil
- Bake at 200C (392F) for approx 18 minutes with a bigger water tray outside (see the video for more explanation)
- After baking, leave it at room temperature about 20 minutes to cool down.
Rolling Swiss Roll
- After the chocolate sponge cooled down, use another 2 paper sheets with another tray to help flipping it over, make sure the smooth surface will be outside of the roll.
- Apply a syrup by brushing it over the sponge. Then spread the whipped-cream over the sponge evenly with a medium layer (not too thick, not too thin)
- Add 3 strips of Nama chocolate on, 1st on the top, 2nd in the middle and the last one at the bottom of the sponge sheet.
- Carefully and slowly rolling the sponge to make sure no bubbles, no crackings and evenly.
- Wrap it up, place in the fridge at least 1 hour to set.
- Take the Nama chocolate roll out, unwrap it, then cut into 6-7 slices, decorated by piping fresh cream on top with a piece of Nama chocolate, enjoy.
- Prepare 1 slab of Nama chocolate, whipped cream and sugar syrup 1 day in advance, if you do not have time, make it at least 3 hours in advance.
- Fold-In method in very important step to make a perfect swiss-roll.
- Keep the Swiss roll in the fridge for serving up to 3 days, do not freeze it.