Swiss roll – or jelly roll to the Americans and Canadians – is what Lenny likes to call a store cupboard cake. Like my Mum’s teacake, this is baking at its easiest. You’ve probably got most of the ingredients already, and the results are sure to win you a disproportionate amount of praise from your guests.
Mum visited us here in the UK recently and when Lenny asked for a Swiss roll recipe she was able to give one off the top of her head. Even though she used to be a home economics teacher, I’m still impressed by the food knowledge Mum can rattle off, and grateful for the simple tricks and tests she knows for getting things right in the kitchen. It was great to have Mum lending tips while I made caramel for coating popcorn or some custard to go with a macadamia plum pudding she brought out from Australia.
This recipe for Swiss roll comes from my dear departed Nana on Mum’s side. Nana died many years ago but her cooking is still much reprised throughout the family.
The base sponge is wonderfully light and seemingly whipped up from nothing – a few eggs, a little bit of flour and some sugar.
Enjoy the video, give the recipe a go and make up your mind whether to follow the final tip about trimming the edges for better presentation. It all depends who’s coming round for tea, really.
Makes enough for an average sized sponge tray
3 tablespoons caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra
3 rounded tablespoons sifted self-raising flour
plain flour sifted with baking soda according to packet directions
Half teaspoon of vanilla
Teaspoon of cinnamon
Jam/jelly that you like
Whipping cream (optional)
– Preheat oven to 180C/350F (moderate).
– Grease the sponge roll tray, then line it with baking paper.
– Beat the eggs until thick, then beat in the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep beating until you can drizzle a figure of eight on to the surface and it remains for a second.
– Gently fold in the sifted flour. As the egg/sugar mixture is already quite thick you might get some clumps of flour, so keep going until it is all combined. Once it’s smooth, stir in the vanilla.
– Pour into the sponge roll tray, tilting the tray to distribute the mixture evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes.
– While it’s baking, prepare a clean tea towel by laying it out flat and sprinkling with the remaining tablespoon of caster sugar, mixed with the cinnamon.
– Carefully turn out the cooked sponge on to the tea towel. Peel away the baking paper and gently roll up the sponge.
– Place on a cooling rack. Once cooled, roll out and spread with your jam, then the option whipped cream, and re-roll. If using cream, keep refrigerated and eat within a day or two.