This stunning gluten free lamington Swiss roll has all the best elements of a traditional lamington, but it’s far easier and less fussy to make. It’s also more elegant – a real showstopper, with a fluffy, soft, delicate coconut sponge, a layer of strawberry jam, luscious chocolate icing and a generous coating of desiccated coconut. And thanks to a special, fail-proof method of rolling the sponge, I can guarantee that your Swiss roll will be 100% crack-free!!
I’m genuinely in love with this cake. It combines some of my all-time favourite things: coconut, chocolate, lamingtons and Swiss rolls.
Much like my Gluten Free Lamington Loaf Cake, this lamington Swiss roll is basically one giant, super-charged lamington… only, it’s far more delicate and refined, with a fluffier, lighter sponge and a more elegant look.
It’s also much easier and less fussy to make than “traditional” lamingtons, where you have to dip each individual tiny sponge square into chocolate icing and then roll it in desiccated coconut. I don’t know about you, but whenever I make lamingtons, the kitchen is one giant mess… and so am I.
So, while I adore lamingtons, I make them only very rarely. Now, with this glorious lamington Swiss roll on the other hand – I just know that I’ll be making it over and over again. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve made it at least four times already. I simply can’t get enough of it!!
And just in case you’re scared of making Swiss rolls (and especially gluten free ones) because they might crack: don’t worry!! Below, I’ve shared my go-to method that prevents the sponge from cracking when you roll it with a 100% success rate!
Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this amazing lamington Swiss roll – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
The fluffy coconut sponge
The sponge for this lamington Swiss roll is based on the Vanilla & Raspberry Swiss roll from my gluten free cookbook, Baked to Perfection. The simple vanilla gluten free sponge is a great starting point, as it’s perfectly fluffy and delicate, yet also flexible and sturdy enough so that it doesn’t crack and crumble when you roll it (more on that below).
I’ve tweaked this base recipe by adding a generous amount of desiccated coconut into the sponge. Because while traditional lamingtons include coconut only as the “decoration” on top of the chocolate icing, I really wanted the coconut to be the star of the show here (much like with my Gluten Free Lamington Loaf Cake).
Because desiccated coconut has a relatively high fat content, I decreased the amount of melted butter slightly. This is a general rule of thumb whenever you’re adding desiccated coconut into a cake or a sponge: you do need to reduce the amount of fat slightly (be that butter or oil), otherwise you’ll end up with a heavy, dense and slightly greasy cake/sponge.
The result is a perfectly soft, fluffy and airy sponge that’s wonderfully delicate and tender, and it simply melts in your mouth. It has a stunning coconut flavour, with subtle notes of vanilla. Honestly, it’s so delicious that I could easily eat it by itself – without any filling or icing – and I’d be more than happy.
How to prevent your Swiss roll from cracking when you roll it
If you want to prevent your Swiss roll from cracking, then I really recommend using the rolling method from Stella Parks (Serious Eats).
The traditional method of rolling Swiss rolls and roulades asks you to roll up the hot sponge into a towel, allow it to cool while rolled-up, then unroll it, spread on the filling, and roll it up again. This is A LOT of rolling and unrolling – and it all puts A LOT of stress on what is a very delicate sponge, especially if it’s gluten free.
So, it’s really no surprise that Swiss rolls tend to crack all over the place if you use that method.
Stella’s method (you can read about it in detail here!) is very straightforward: cover the hot sponge, straight out of the oven, with a sheet of aluminium foil and allow it to cool to room temperature or lukewarm. Covering the sponge with aluminium foil traps the moisture within the sponge, making it much more pliable and flexible – and therefore less likely to crack.
Then, I like to dust the top of the sponge with a bit of powdered sugar (to prevent sticking) and turn it out onto a large sheet of parchment paper. You want the caramelised “skin” side to be facing down, so that it’s on the outside of the roll.
Finally, peel away the parchment paper that used to line the baking sheet, spread the filling (in this case jam, more on that below) evenly across the sponge and roll it up! It should roll beautifully and easily, without any cracking.
Because you’re using jam as the filling here, the layer of filling will be fairly thin. So, make sure to keep the roll fairly tight from the very beginning, otherwise you’ll be left with an empty hole in the centre of your Swiss roll.
In keeping with the lamington theme, I’ve kept the filling simple and used just a layer of strawberry jam (though raspberry jam would also work great).
However, you could totally take it a step further and also add a layer of vanilla whipped cream on top of the jam layer.
The luscious chocolate icing
The chocolate icing is incredibly easy to make – you just need to combine dark chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, a bit of butter and milk in a saucepan, and cook it all together with stirring until melted, smooth and glossy.
The combination of both chocolate *and* cocoa powder gives the icing an incredibly rich chocolatey flavour that pairs beautifully with the coconut sponge. The icing itself also isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, and you can always tweak it to your own personal taste by adding slightly less or slightly more powdered sugar (but don’t change the amount by more than a couple of tablespoons either way).
When it comes to icing the lamington Swiss roll, I used the same technique as in my Lamington Loaf Cake because it works BRILLIANTLY. You could, of course, just pour the icing over the cake, but I prefer to use a pastry brush to spread the chocolate icing onto the rolled-up sponge. Using a brush to ice a cake might be rather unconventional, but it works perfectly.
Just note that while this method is great for this recipe where you’ll be covering the icing with desiccated coconut, I don’t recommend it for recipes where you want to achieve a smooth, glossy, polished finish – like, for example, with my Chocolate Swiss Roll. There, I do recommend pouring the ganache over the cake (rather than spreading it onto the roll with a pastry brush), with a large plate or baking sheet underneath to catch the excess ganache.
And that’s it! This is everything you need to know in order to make the most SPECTACULAR gluten free lamington Swiss roll.
It’s really just an incredible dessert that’s easy to make, looks impressive and tastes heavenly. And by the way, if you want to have a slightly higher ratio of chocolate icing-to-sponge, you can always drizzle the individual cake slices with extra icing before serving. 😉
I really hope you’ll love it as much as I do.
More amazing gluten free cakes
If you’re looking for more amazing gluten free cake recipes, here are some of the most popular ones:
- Gluten Free Lamington Loaf Cake
- The Ultimate Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- The Best Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Swiss Roll
- Small Batch Gluten Free Boston Cream Pie
- Easy Gluten Free Almond Cake
- Easy Coffee Cake with Cappuccino Frosting
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Lamington Swiss Roll (Gluten Free)
- 1-2 tbsp sunflower oil or other neutral-tasting oil of choice, for greasing the baking sheet
- 4 US large/UK medium eggs, room temperature
- 150 g (¾ cup) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 38 g (⅓ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 90 g (¾ cup) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
- ¾ tsp xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, reduce the amount to ½ tsp.)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 50 g (½ cup + 2 tbsp) unsweetened desiccated coconut
For assembling the Swiss roll:
- 1-2 tbsp powdered/icing sugar
- 315-420 g (1-1⅓ cups) strawberry or raspberry jam
- 100 g (3½ oz) dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped
- 60 g (½ cup) powdered/icing sugar
- 50 g (3½ tbsp) whole milk
- 5 g (2 tsp) Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 5 g (1 tsp) unsalted butter
- 80 g (1 cup) unsweetened desiccated coconut
- Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 10x15 inch (25x38cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment/baking paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the sides of the baking sheet with oil (you can also spray it with non-stick baking spray).Tip: Greasing the parchment paper ensures that the baked sponge will smoothly release from it without sticking.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, thick, fluffy and about tripled in volume (the ribbon stage). This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the vanilla and melted butter, and whisk briefly until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the desiccated coconut and whisk well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk well for about 15-30 seconds until no flour clumps remain. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to prevent any unmixed patches.
- Transfer the batter into the lined baking sheet and smooth it out into an even layer. You can tap it a few times on the counter to make it perfectly level and also to get rid of any large trapped air pockets.
- Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 12 minutes or until well risen, golden brown on top, soft and spongy to the touch, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Immediately out of the oven, cover the baking sheet with a large sheet of aluminium foil. Allow to cool to room temperature or lukewarm – ideally, the temperature of the sponge shouldn't drop below 72ºF (22ºC).Tip: Covering the sponge with aluminium foil traps the moisture within the sponge, making it much more pliable and flexible – and therefore less likely to crack when you roll it.
Assembling the Swiss roll:
- Once sufficiently cooled, gently loosen the sponge from the edges of the baking sheet with an offset spatula or a thin knife. Lightly dust the top of the sponge with powdered/icing sugar, to prevent sticking.
- Turn it out onto a large sheet of parchment/baking paper, so that the golden brown, caramelised “skin” side is facing down (so that it’s on the outside of the Swiss roll when you roll it up).
- Peel away the parchment paper that used to line the baking sheet.
- Spread your jam of choice evenly across the sponge, all the way to the edges.
- Turn the sponge so that a short edge is closest to you. Using the parchment/baking paper underneath to help you, roll up the sponge until you get a 10 inch (25cm) long log.Tip: Because you’re using jam as the filling here, the layer of filling will be fairly thin. So, make sure to keep the roll fairly tight from the very beginning, otherwise you’ll be left with an empty hole in the centre of your Swiss roll.
- Optional: You can wrap the rolled-up cake tightly in parchment/baking paper (to make a tighter roll, essentially, and to "force" it into a more round shape) and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This will help to preserve its perfectly round shape.
- In a saucepan, combine all the chocolate icing ingredients and cook over medium heat with frequent stirring until the chocolate and butter have melted, and the ingredients are well combined. The final icing should be smooth and glossy.
- Set aside to cool until warm.Tip: You don't want the chocolate icing to cool too much, as it will become too thick to easily spread on top of the cake. If your icing does cool and thicken too much, re-heat it briefly in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Use a pastry brush to spread the chocolate icing evenly onto the Swiss roll. Make sure that the whole cake is covered in the chocolate icing, including the sides. (If you’ve managed to get a lot of chocolate icing onto the plate/platter that the cake sits on, you can wipe it away at this point.)Tip: Using a pastry brush to ice a cake might be rather unconventional, but it works perfectly, ensuring an even coating.
- Sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top of the chocolate icing while the icing is still wet/sticky to the touch. Then, cover the sides of the Swiss roll with desiccated coconut. Make sure that the whole roll is evenly coated in coconut. Use another clean pastry brush to remove any excess desiccated coconut from around the cake on the plate/platter.Tip: Covering the sides of the Swiss roll with coconut is easiest done by holding a handful of desiccated coconut in your hand, and pressing it against the side of the roll.
- Chill the lamington Swiss roll in the fridge for 15-20 minutes so that the chocolate icing sets, then slice and serve.
- The lamington Swiss roll keeps well in a closed container in a cool dry place for 3-4 days.