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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.