Let the jelly roll: Swiss roll recipe from Waz’s Nana

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mp4 video (small)

Go to the recipe for Swiss roll, aka jelly roll

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.

– Waz

Swiss roll recipe from Waz’s Nana

Makes enough for an average sized sponge tray

3 eggs
3 tablespoons caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra
3 rounded tablespoons sifted self-raising flour
OR
plain flour sifted with baking soda according to packet directions
Half teaspoon of vanilla
Teaspoon of cinnamon
Butter
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.

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23 Responses to “Let the jelly roll: Swiss roll recipe from Waz’s Nana”


  • So happy to see a new episode today. And with a wonderful recipe that I will be adding to my Easter Dinner menu. Thank you!

  • YES! finally, I missed you guys. Looks good too!

  • All very nice, very tasty looking, but what abiout the origins of this said “Swiss roll”? Why is it Swiss? We demand answers…

  • If you frost the finished jelly roll with a mocha frosting you have a simple Buche Noelle. I like to use nutella and whipped cream for the filling. Love your vids!

  • it’s amazing that I happened to check this blog today and there’s finally a new episode! gonna go and watch it now- you made my night!

  • WOOHOO! A new recipe/video :) Thanks so much for a great looking dessert!

  • @timguvnor: Swiss roll is just a name. Origins are European. I guess it’s like French Fries not being French in origin… :S

    Try these links for more info:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_roll

    http://www.null-hypothesis.co.uk/science//item/top_ten_british_swiss_roll

  • Why didn’t Waz tell me I had a piece of hair sticking out from behind my ear!! I really must look in the mirror before we start Crash Test in future. Lenny

  • Oh Lenny please! I didnt even notice! You look absolutely stunning in every video! You seem to be getting prettier every episode!

  • No comment on my good looks then Nic?

    I only notice Lenny’s hair in the video now that she points it out. It looks like a cord running away from an earphone or something.

  • Hahahaha alright Waz! You looked stylin too! :)

  • Hello from Canada

    Enjoy your videos tremendously. Thank you for taking the time to produce a very enjoyable cooking video.

  • I feel the need to point out that many of us Canadians would also call that a swiss roll, especially if it was chocolate. Small chocolate and chocolate coated ones are a well known snack cake.

  • this was an excellent episode! I really like the idea of a jelly roll. Whoever invented it must have been a genius. Also, I tried the crepe recipe today. Unfortunately they weren’t crispy like they were described in the video…. any tips or suggestions for a crispier crepe? Please respond
    signed- soggy crepes

  • HI Nick, glad you enjoyed the show. Re: crepes. Try cooking them for a bit longer/higher heat, also not too much grease or oil in the pan. We usually find that after initial greasing for the first crepe, the butter in the mixture is just about enough to lubricate the pan for each subsequent crepe. But this might depend on what kind of pan you’re using – we use cast iron.

  • Thanks for the tips Waz. It turns out that the pan was my downfall. I was using a nonstick pan and it was cooking them a bit slower because I couldn’t have the heat on to high under them. The cast iron skillet worked wonderfully! Again thanks for the tips and keep up the AMAZING work.

    -Nick

  • I dont want to sound like a crazed fan, but I got extremely excited when I got a response from you. Would I be out of line to make a suggestion? I am from southern Mississippi and I would love to see your interpretations of some southern classic dishes such as: chicken and dumplings, pecan pie, or grits. I know these dishes may not have originated here in southern MS, but they are very popular here nonetheless. Ny the way, I am an aspiring chef so your recipes have helped me immensely. I would love a response whenever it’s convenient for you thanks, Nick.

  • Floating in Foreign Waters

    Hey Guys,
    Love the vids, and have been following since edmonton.
    Just wanted to say that you guys have helped me to understand the importance of following the recipe and when it’s ok to go a little less structured. Your recipes have become a staple [especially the teacake] and have kept me well occupied whenever I get bored.
    I’m currently studying abroad though and am finding the french weather a little grayer and wetter than I’m used to, it’s pushing me to indoor activities whenever it gets really bad and I’m hoping for some new recipes to help me out. I also just love the show and, since we haven’t heard from you guys in a while, hope that everything is going well.
    Hope you have a great Halloween and I know we’re all waiting eagerly for the next episode.
    Cheers [or I guess Au-revoir as I should be saying!]
    -Colleen

  • Anyone know what happened to Lenny & Waz? Almost 8 months any no new crash test kitchen videos – I subscribe on itunes, have rarely visited this site. They couldn’t have run out of recipes to podcast yet!?

  • Hi Dan, we’ve just been really busy with work, life, the universe and everything. So hang in there!

  • Missing you guys and your great recipes. Please come back :)

  • Hi Kimberley, thanks for getting in touch. We’ve just shot a new episode, now it’s just a matter of editing, writing the blogpost etc. Hope to have it up soon.

  • Can’t wait for a new ep! Have missed you guys on my iPod. Hope all is well with both of you and the family!

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