Coffee Swiss Roll is a popular pick at Asian bakeries. A fluffy & spongy coffee chiffon cake filled with a lightly sweetened whipped cream. Perfect with a cup of coffee or tea!
Before getting into the recipe, I have an announcement. The blog turned 10 years old on Saturday! It has been an extraordinary experience. I’m incredibly grateful for all the love and support. I want to thank everyone who has ever made my recipes, followed me on the blog (or social media), left a comment, shared my post & liked my photo. You’re the reason that I haven’t given up on blogging and able to keep going. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤️
To celebrate, I’m doing a giveaway to 1 winner!
Hong Kong Inspired Food Box + $75 Amazon Gift Card
The food box includes: rice crackers, salted egg potato chips, corn chips (lobster soup flavor), corn chips (BBQ flavor), sweet crispies, chrysanthemum tea drinks, mandarin lemon honey drink, satay sauce, & chili garlic sauce.
HOW TO ENTER: (US residents only)
(1 tag limit, 1 total entry) Giveaway ends Monday October 5th at 6PM(PDT). One winner will be chosen at random. GOOD LUCK! 🍀
Now, a special occasion requires a special cake to celebrate. And that’s a Swiss roll for me. It’s cute and tasty. Swiss roll is very common in Hong Kong. Every bakery sells them. Even in the US, if you go into a Hong Kong bakery. Swiss roll is there. Cute little round roll cakes come in all different flavors. The most common ones are vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. My favorites are chocolate and coffee. My mom used to buy them for breakfast. Cake for breakfast! Woo hoo! And I just had a slice this morning.
My mom eats her Swiss roll quite uniquely. She would cut a slice and put in the microwave for a few seconds. The cream just started to melt and the cake absorbed some of that cream. Warm, sweet and a little savory. Unbelievable good! It’s weird, but I actually like it too. You have to try it to believe it!
Hong Kong style Swiss roll is usually made with chiffon cake. Light spongy cake that incorporates whipped egg white into the cake batter. The fluffy egg white is what makes the cake light and airy. The secret is just to whip the egg white with a bit of cream of tartar. Cream of tartar helps to stabilize the egg white by holding in water and air. Whip until stiff peaks formed.
Then, the other batter is pretty basic. Cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Instant coffee is added to warm milk and then add to this batter. Make sure the coffee milk is at room temperature before adding into the batter. Stir everything together until smooth. Lastly, gently fold in the whipped egg white. That is the batter ready to be baked.
When the cake comes out of the oven, the parchment paper needs to be removed fairly quickly. Then roll the cake while it’s still warm to prevent cracks. The cake will need to cool completely in a rolled form.
The filling inside is a simple whipped cream, but with gelatin. Gelatin will keep the whipped cream from weeping. Melt the gelatin in microwave and add into the cream. It’s one extra step but important.
The recipe is not that complicated. It just requires a little attention and patience. The recipe is a bit lengthy, because I want to includes more details and tips to help guide you through the process.
Little sweet with an aromatic coffee flavor and creamy filling. It’s simple dessert, yet delicious that you’ll definitely want a second slice. Happy baking & enjoy! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Coffee Swiss Roll
Coffee Chiffon Cake:
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 2½ teaspoons instant coffee
- 45 grams cake flour
- 80 grams sugar (divided into 30 grams & 50 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 egg whites (at room temperature)
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3 egg yolks (at room temperature)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cold drinking water
- ¼ teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 325˚F (165˚C). Line a quarter sheet pan (or 12 x 8 inches cake pan) with a parchment paper. Make sure the sides are covered as well.
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the milk and microwave for 20 seconds until warm. Add instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, 30 grams sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar. Turn on the speed to medium and whip until the bubbles are small & uniform in size. Slowly add 50 grams of sugar a little bit at a time. Turn the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. (Image 1)
- In the bowl of flour, create a well in the center. Add egg yolks, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and the cooled coffee milk. Stir to mix with a spatula until no lumps, but do not overmix.
- Add all the egg whites into the flour batter and gently fold until just incorporated (do not stir). Pour batter into the prepared sheet pan. Spread out the batter into an even layer using an offset spatula. Bang the pan on the counter a few times to remove any large air bubbles.
- Bake for 13 – 16 minutes or until the cake springs back when touch gently in the center and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven.
- Carefully lift the cake to a cooling rack and peel the parchment paper off the sides of the cake (leave the bottom part for now). Let cool for 5 minutes. (Image 3)
- Place a new parchment paper over the cake. Invert the warm cake onto the new parchment paper backed by a hard surface like a cutting board. Gently peel off the entire parchment paper from the cake. Now, this side is the outside of the swiss roll. Let cool for 3 minutes.
- Get another parchment paper. Place on top of the cake and invert the cake to this new parchment paper one more time. Carefully peel the older parchment paper off the cake. It’s normal if it peels off a thin firm of cake. This side is the inside of the swiss roll.
- Take a sharp knife and diagonally slice off ½-inch cake from one side of the cake (shorter end). (Image 4) This is the seam side and it will seal the Swiss roll better when rolled up.
- On the other side of the cake (shorter end), lightly score two lines using the sharp knife (do not cut through). Each line should be about ½-inch apart. (Image 5) This will help the cake to roll better. Start rolling from this end along with the parchment paper. The cake should be slightly warm and that will prevent the cake from cracking. Set the rolled cake on a cooling rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes. (Image 6)
- When the cake is cooled, prepare the cream filling. In a small microwave bowl, add the cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over. Set aside to bloom for 5 minutes. Microwave the mixture for 5 – 7 seconds, then stir with a spoon until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly. The mixture should remain in liquid form when being used. If it firms up, microwave it again.
- In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream until frothy. Add sugar & a pinch of salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the whisk leaves trails in the cream. Turn off the mixer. Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of partially-whipped cream into the bowl of gelatin. Mix well. With mixer running on low speed, pour the gelatin mixture into the rest of the cream. Turn the speed up to medium-high and whisk until stiff peaks just formed. Do not overwhip.
- To assemble, carefully unroll the cake. Spread an even layer of whipped cream over the cake by leaving 1-inch space empty near the seam side (the side where cake was trimmed off). (Image 7) Roll up the cake gently by using the parchment paper to help push the cake along. Make sure not to apply too much pressure. Use the same parchment to wrap the swiss roll tightly. The seam side of the Swiss roll should be at the bottom. Place the swiss roll on a baking pan or baking sheet. To hold the roll shape better, apply slight pressure on both sides with the help of bottles. (Image 8) That way, the roll will stay round and not oval. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Right before serving, unwrap the Swiss roll. Using a sharp serrated knife, trim off ½-inch on both ends for better presentation. Slice and serve.
- The dimension of a quarter sheet pan is 13 x 9 inches on the outside, but 12 x 8¼ on the inside.
- The instant coffee I used is Nescafe dark roast instant coffee. I have tried Starbucks instant coffee, but it was too strong. I would say stick to the classic.
- Always use a clean & dry mixing bowl for the egg white. Just a drop of water could give you runny meringue.
- Gelatin keeps the whipped cream from weeping.
- I used very little sugar for the cream filling. It doesn’t need to be too sweet. You can use 2 tablespoons if you prefer something sweeter.
- There is more than enough cream filling for the Swiss roll. I used about 2/3 only.
- This Swiss roll is on the smaller side. It’s about 2½ – 3 inches in diameter.
- For storage, keep the swiss roll in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.