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Chocolate Swiss Roll

A simple recipe for the most indulgent chocolate Swiss roll. With a moist and decadent gluten free chocolate sponge, a mascarpone whipped cream filling, and a super luscious chocolate ganache glaze. This is, without doubt, every chocolate lover’s dream come true.

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Head-on view of the chocolate Swiss roll, the swirl pattern clearly visible.

What do you do when you have leftover whipped cream in the fridge? The possibilities are of course endless – but my personal favourite is this chocolate Swiss roll.

With an intensely chocolatey sponge, whipped cream + mascarpone filling and a shiny chocolate ganache glaze… this one’s a no-brainer. And it’s gluten free as well! Of course, if gluten free isn’t a requirement, you can easily make this Swiss roll with plain wheat flour.

Side-on view of the chocolate Swiss roll, the swirl pattern clearly visible.

There’s a common misconception that Swiss rolls are difficult to make – from accomplishing the perfect swirl to the dreaded cracking of the sponge… there are numerous horror stories out there. Well, insofar as a failed Swiss roll fills you with horror.

As it turns out, those truly are misconceptions. The perfect swirl can be a piece of cake (pun 100% intended) and the dreaded cracking can be avoided if your sponge cake is just flexible enough to roll nicely, without being dense or too gummy.

This recipe ticks all these boxes.

The process of drizzling the chocolate Swiss roll with the chocolate ganache glaze.

Now, if you’re not quite gentle enough and your sponge does crack a bit… here’s the genius part: the luscious, decadent chocolate ganache glaze will cover up any such imperfections.

In addition to, of course, being just downright sinfully delicious, and giving the chocolate Swiss roll a drool-inducing shiny appearance. Now that’s one multitasking glaze.

What is the difference between a Swiss roll and a roulade?

This is one of those questions that, when you type it into Google, just leads you round and round in a wild goose chase. Some make a distinction between a roulade and a Swiss roll based on the type of sponge used.

However, the predominant opinion (which also seems the most logical one) is that a Swiss roll is a roulade, but not every roulade is a Swiss roll. Thus, Swiss rolls are essentially a subset of roulades.

The word “roulade” stems from the French language and refers to any dish that’s prepared by rolling the components together. This could be a sweet dessert made from a sponge cake, rolled together with a filling such as whipped cream, pastry cream or chocolate ganache (commonly known as a Swiss roll).

However, it could also be a savoury roulade, for instance when thin pieces of meat, poultry or fish are rolled up together with a savoury filling.

Today, we’re talking exclusively about the sweet, mouthwatering dessert version – the Swiss roll.

Close-up of a piece of chocolate Swiss roll on a white plate. Another piece and the rest of the roll is in the background.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful Swiss roll – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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How do you make a simple chocolate Swiss roll?

Making this delicious chocolate Swiss roll takes just a few simple steps.

For the (moist, fluffy and decadent) gluten free chocolate sponge:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter together until beautiful and glossy.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, fluffy and about tripled in volume.
  3. Add the melted chocolate and whisk for a few seconds until fully incorporated.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt), and fold them gently into the fluffy chocolate mixture.
  5. Transfer to the lined baking tray and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 10 – 12 minutes).
  6. Once baked, leave the sponge in the baking tray for 2 minutes, then turn it out of the baking tray onto a piece of baking paper generously dusted with powdered sugar. Peel away the top layer of baking paper, and roll up the sponge. Leave it cool completely.

For the mascarpone whipped cream filling:

  1. In a big bowl, whip together heavy/double cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. You can use a stand or hand mixer – or do it by hand, and call it the exercise of the day.
  2. Once at the soft peak stage, fold in the mascarpone cheese. You’ll end up with a smooth filling that spreads easily but will also hold its shape.

For the luscious chocolate ganache glaze:

  1. Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the heavy/double cream to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Allow this to stand for 2 – 3 minutes, then stir until smooth.

To assemble the Swiss roll:

  1. Gently unroll the cooled sponge,
  2. spread the filling into an even layer onto the sponge,
  3. carefully re-roll the sponge, and
  4. drizzle with the chocolate ganache glaze.

That’s it! Super duper easy.

The process of drizzling the chocolate Swiss roll with the chocolate ganache glaze.

Which way do you roll a Swiss roll?

The way you roll a Swiss roll will determine its shape and, more importantly, the swirl pattern this dessert is so famous for. I personally prefer a shorter and “fatter” Swiss roll with an elaborate swirl pattern.

To achieve this, roll the sponge up along the longer edge (that is: lengthwise). Start with the short edge positioned closest to yourself, then tuck in the short edge to create a small fold. Continue rolling up the sponge by lifting up the baking paper, ensuring you create a tight roll without any gaps.

How do you decorate a Swiss roll?

The options are endless – from a dusting of cocoa powder or powdered sugar, to fancy chocolate shards and swirls of whipped cream. Because I firmly believe that when it comes to chocolate: more is always more, I chose a luxurious chocolate ganache glaze.

This has an added benefit of covering up any cracks and other imperfections. And, of course, it’s ridiculously delicious.

Head-on view of the chocolate Swiss roll, the swirl pattern clearly visible and the chocolate ganache glaze dripping down the sides.

How long can a Swiss roll last?

There are two answers to this question.

The theoretical answer: 3 – 4 days in a cool dry space (the fridge works too), wrapped in cling film or in a closer container.

The realistic answer – which will depend on how quickly you can eat (and how many people are joining you): an hour or two? Maybe a day, if you’re being extra optimistic and are good at hiding food.

There you go, friends! A simple yet impressive (gluten free) chocolate Swiss roll, which has been proclaimed on Instagram to be Bake Off-worthy, deserving of a Paul Hollywood handshake and so beautiful even Marry Berry would be proud of it. Awww shucks. *blushes, bows and cuts herself another piece of the Swiss roll*

Head-on view of the chocolate Swiss roll, the swirl pattern clearly visible.

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Chocolate Swiss Roll (Gluten Free)

A simple recipe for the most indulgent chocolate Swiss roll. With a moist and decadent gluten free chocolate sponge, a mascarpone whipped cream filling, and a super luscious chocolate ganache glaze. This is, without doubt, every chocolate lover’s dream come true.
Print Rate
4.17 from 6 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook/Bake Time 10 mins
Chilling Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 10

Ingredients

For gluten free chocolate sponge:

  • 2 oz (60 g) dark chocolate, chopped (I love Guittard's 64% and 72% chocolate – you can use either, depending on how bitter-sweet you want the sponge to be)
  • 1/2 stick (57 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used a simple shop-bought gluten free flour blend containing only rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

For mascarpone whipped cream filling:

  • 1 cup (240 mL) heavy/double cream
  • 4 - 5 tbsp (30 - 40 g) powdered/icing sugar (I prefer a less sweet filling, but feel free to increase the amount of powdered sugar according to taste)
  • 1/4 cup (56 g) mascarpone cheese

For chocolate ganache glaze:

  • 6 oz (175 g) ~60% dark chocolate, chopped (I recommend Guittard's 64% chocolate – if you use a higher cocoa percentage chocolate, you will need to increase the amount of cream to reach the right pouring consistency)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp (265 mL) heavy/double cream

Instructions

For gluten free chocolate sponge:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 355 ºF (180 ºC) and line a 10 x 15 inch (25 x 38 cm) baking tray or sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
  • In a heat-proof bowl above a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter together smooth and glossy. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer with the double beater attachments, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale, fluffy and about tripled in volume.
  • Add the melted chocolate and whisk for a few seconds until fully incorporated.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt), and fold them gently into the fluffy chocolate mixture, until no flour clumps remain.
  • Transfer to the lined baking sheet and bake at 355 ºF (180 ºC) until an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about 10 - 12 minutes).
  • Once baked, leave the sponge in the baking tray for 2 minutes, then turn it out of the baking tray onto a piece of baking paper generously dusted with powdered sugar. Peel away the top layer of baking paper, and roll up the sponge. Leave it cool completely.

For mascarpone whipped cream filling:

  • In a big bowl, whip together heavy/double cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. You can use a stand or hand mixer – or even do it by hand.
  • Once at the soft peak stage, fold in the mascarpone cheese. You will get a  smooth filling that spreads easily but will also hold its shape.

For chocolate ganache glaze:

  • Place the chopped dark chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.
  • In a saucepan, bring the heavy/double cream to a boil, then pour it over the chocolate. Allow this to stand for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. You should get a smooth runny ganache that's easily pourable.

Assembling the chocolate Swiss roll:

  • Gently unroll the cooled sponge, and spread the filling into an even layer onto top.
  • Carefully re-roll the sponge, and chill it in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.
  • Once chilled, drizzle the Swiss roll with the chocolate ganache glaze. (If the glaze is to firm, reheat it briefly in the microwave or over some simmering water.)
  • Allow the chocolate ganache glaze to set, and enjoy!

Storage:

  • The chocolate Swiss roll keeps well for 3 - 4 days in a cool dry space (the fridge works too), wrapped in cling film or in a closer container.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

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22 thoughts on “Chocolate Swiss Roll”

  1. Thank you for this fantastic recipe! My daughter was diagnosed with celiac at age 14 it was a rough transition! I am a huge baker and always looking for a really good recipe the rest of my family will also enjoy! Not a single complaint! I did use bettys chocolate frosting for the top since I was really making a Yule log for Christmas!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this lovely recipe. I am GLUTEN FREE and live at HIGH ALTITUDE. I made this recipe with minor modifications. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and baked the sponge for 14 minutes. It did crack in places, but it rolled nicely when warm and also after adding the filling. (I will try adding less baking soda and powder next time.) The ganache was a bit thin and required two (or more) coats, so next time I will add another ounce of chocolate chips. The ganache is also great at hiding the cracks. Overall, this was a huge success!

    Reply
  3. I’ve tried this 3 times so far and every time the cake falls completely apart when i unroll it from the tea towel… any help would be great.

    I’m in Colorado so maybe the higher altitude is an issue? not sure

    Reply
    • Hi Josh, I don’t have much experience with high altitude baking, but from what I’ve read it could definitely be the source of your cake issues. This is a very soft and fluffy sponge that can get too delicate very easily. I would try reducing the amount of baking powder and baking soda (which seems to be the norm when adjusting recipes to high altitude), which should make the sponge less fragile. You could also increase the amount of xanthan gum slightly, to give the sponge more flexibility.

      Reply
  4. I have been graving Ice Cream Roll Cake since I was required to go gluten free, 6 years ago. I made this chocolate swiss roll recipe and it was perfect! Each detail of the recipe and method were followed with one exception. In the US, 1/4 cup of the Hershey’s Baking Cocoa I had on hand weighed about 63 grams, so I used about 15 gr, which was 1/4 cup plus a teaspoon. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

    Reply
    • It shouldn’t crack that much – you might get an occasional small crack, but nothing drastic… You could add a bit more (1/4 tsp more) xanthan gum to make your sponge more flexible, or slightly decrease the amount of cocoa powder (as it makes the sponge more tender and fragile).

      Reply
  5. Great recipie and easy to follow – my cake cracked but it added character to it and everyone loved it! I also used a bit of butter and plain yogurt in the filling instead as I didn’t have have mascarpone cheese.. and it tastes great!

    Reply
  6. HI, I am wanting to bake this for a friend with celiac. But the gluten free flour I have has xantham gum in it. Can I just use the flour I have? Do I still need to add the xantham gum? Or should I get a flour without it and then add it in?

    Reply
  7. your explanation of how to roll is confusing. Can you please clarify? You say “roll the sponge up along the longer edge (that is: lengthwise)” Then you stay “Start with the short edge”

    Reply
    • Argh, this is one instance where it shows I’m not a native English speaker. Basically have the short edge close to you and roll away from yourself? Hope this makes sense! 😀

      Reply
  8. Heyhey!
    Do you think the addition of fruit in the mascarpone filling would also work? If so, which fruit would tou suggest?

    Best regards
    Kelly

    P.s. Made tour lemon drizzle cake it just turned out absolutely lerfect!

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly! So happy you enjoyed the lemon drizzle cake! I make it almost weekly, and it’s a huge favourite. 🙂
      Adding fruit to the Swiss roll filling is AMAZING (I’m planning a few recipes along those lines for the near future) – I would recommend cherries, sour cherries, raspberries or strawberries, which all pair wonderfully with chocolate.
      Enjoy!

      Reply
      • First of all, the flavor is amazing. I added 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract to the cake batter. Couple of ideas that might help: no need to roll the cake too tightly as that can cause cracks when you unroll it; since mascarpone is a heavier consistency than whipped cream, beat the mascarpone a bit before folding it into the cream. You might even try adding a bit of cream to the mascarpone when you beat it. This recipe made waaaaay more chocolate ganache than you need, unless you’re pouring the ganache in layers and chilling in between. Half as much, 3 ounces of chocolate would be sufficient for one layer. Yummy!

        Reply
    • Great flavor but it’s so easy to screw up and over bake this which makes it crack and impossible to roll! Bake until it’s springs back in the middle and take it out immediately. This recipe needs more handling instructions. Chocolate Swiss rolls are difficult to handle. So please don’t be discouraged if you try this and fail. It’s not you it’s the missing info in the recipe.

      Reply
      • Hi Janie, if you bake the sponge according to instructions (using a similar baking sheet size and bake it at 355ºF/180ºC for 10 – 12 minutes), it should be pretty much impossible to overbake the sponge, causing it to crack. Have you by any chance used a larger baking sheet? In that case the sponge will be thinner, requiring a shorter baking time.

        Reply