Chocolate Mocha Swiss Roll

This recipe for a chocolate mocha Swiss roll is delicious any time of the year, but it makes a great holiday dessert too.

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a chocolate coated Chocolate Swiss Roll on a white plate with mandarin orange slices, raspberries and holly decorating it and a couple of slices cut.

What is a Chocolate Swiss Roll?

A Swiss roll is a dessert that is made of a thin sponge cake, rolled around a filling like whipped cream, jam or icing. This Chocolate Mocha Swiss Roll is made of a coffee-flavored chocolate cake with a creamy mascarpone cheese icing inside and then coated with a chocolate ganache or dusted with powdered sugar. 

Looking down on a chocolate sheet cake on a cooling rack with an offset spatula and a blue striped towel on the side.

What Cake to Make for a Swiss Roll

When the filling for a Swiss roll is jam or whipped cream, a traditional sponge cake layer is suitable for the dessert. A sponge cake by definition doesn’t include any fat like butter or oil and uses only the leavening abilities of eggs to give the cake its delicate structure. Because this recipe calls for a heavier mascarpone icing as the filling, the cake layer needed to be a little heartier and sturdier. So, instead of a sponge cake, the cake layer for this recipe is a butter cake layer baked into a thin sheet in a jelly roll pan. 

9 photos showing how to roll a Chocolate Swiss Roll.

How to Make a Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

Once you have your cake layer baked, making the Swiss roll is easy. While the cake is still warm, dust it with cocoa powder and then roll it up into a log with the parchment paper intact and let it cool rolled up. Rolling it while it is still hot is the best way to avoid cracks in the cake later on. When the cake is cool, unroll it and spread the mascarpone filling on top, leaving one edge of the cake uncovered. The icing will be quite thick, so dolloping the icing on in lumps is the best idea, and then when you’re spreading the icing, try not to lift your offset spatula straight up. Keep moving back and forth to spread the icing around. If you lift the spatula straight up, you’ll bring some of the cake (or at least the cake crumbs) with you, and you won’t have as clean a look to the finished roll. Then, roll the cake back up and get ready to top it with chocolate or powdered sugar.

2 photos showing coating a chocolate swiss roll with ganache.

Chocolate Coating for Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

You do have the option of simply dusting the finished roll cake with powdered sugar or coating it with a simple ganache. It really depends on what look you are going for. Always remember to put the roll cake on a cooling rack over a sheet pan when pouring the ganache – you can use any of the chocolate that falls through to patch any gaps you might have missed. 

a chocolate coated Chocolate Swiss Roll on a white plate with mandarin orange slices, raspberries and holly decorating it.

Make Ahead Chocolate Swiss Roll

A Swiss roll is a great cake to make ahead of time. You can make the entire roll, filling included, ahead of time and then just wrap it well with plastic wrap before chilling in the fridge or freezing. Chilling will actually make it easier to slice the cake and keep it in a round roll later on and it will last well-wrapped in your freezer for a couple of months.

A hand dusting a chocolate swiss roll with powdered sugar using a small strainer.

Easy Decorating for Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

If the chocolate ganache coating is not the look you want for the dessert, you can make your life very easy by simply dusting powdered sugar over the top of the cake using a fine strainer. It gives the Swiss roll the look of freshly fallen snow and a lighter, less decadent appeal. You make it your own.

Looking down on a chocolate Swiss roll coated with powdered sugar and a couple of slices cut.

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Chocolate Mocha Swiss Roll

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 12 m
  • Cooling Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 42 m
  • Servings:
    to 10 people


  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • cup cocoa powder plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces mascarpone cheese room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ganache Topping:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a 10- x 15-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a second large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and melted butter together until fluffy and light in color. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the eggs, mixing until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake for 12 minutes until the cake is set. Remove it from oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. While the cake is still hot, dust lightly with cocoa powder and carefully roll up the cake and parchment paper starting from one of the short ends. Let the rolled up cake cool completely. You can place in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
  5. Make the filling by whipping together the mascarpone cheese and butter. Beat in the powder sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. When cake has cooled, slowly unroll the cake and evenly spread the filling out over the cake. Roll the cake back up, this time peeling away the parchment paper and using it to roll the cake tightly.
  7. Place the cake on a platter seam side down. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to overnight.
  8. If topping with ganache, place the Swiss roll on a cooling rack positioned over a sheet pan. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan, just to a simmer and pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Stir until the chips have melted and the ganache is smooth. Immediately and very slowly pour the ganache over the Swiss roll, allowing it to pour down the sides of the roll. Use an off-set spatula to help cover the sides of the Swiss roll. Let the cake rest for 30 minutes before serving to allow the ganache to set.
  9. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with strawberries. If you are not using the ganache, top the Swiss roll with sifted powder sugar.
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