this week i needed a favour from a friend and i decided to pay back in cake. following my current desire to challenge myself in the kitchen i decided to try a swiss roll. i had never tried my hand at swiss roll before and today felt like a good day to try.
i had spent the week contemplating the swiss roll pan purchase that would have to pre-empt this baking exercise. during my bundt hunt i stumbled upon a tala swiss roll pan and i have been waiting for a good excuse to acquire one. in the process i also managed to get myself some display plates for cakes that i have been baking. a good friend of mine (check out @cupcakerichard on instagram) always does the most beautiful photos and i was inspired to try.
the recipe (annie bell’s baking bible) was quite strange to me. eggs, sugar, flour and salt. no butter, no baking powder. larousse has a similar recipe that it refers to as a standard sponge. learn something new everyday.
i beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture had more than doubled in volume.
the recipe then says to fold in the sifted flour (and salt) in two goes. since there isn’t any baking powder you are relying on the air that has been beaten into the eggs to provide the aeration that creates the sponge effect so folding in the flour has to be done delicately. adding the flour proves to be problematic. the flour added to the egg mixture sinks immediately. how on earth do i fold like this???
usually the flour sits on top of the egg mixture so this might mean that either i didn’t beat the eggs enough or i should have sifted the flour into the egg mixture instead of sifting it before hand. i had a hard time folding and i had to work through many lumps. i’m certain this decreased the air volume to a degree. just not certain if i did too much damage.
i poured the batter into the prepared swiss roll pan and baked for 12 minutes.
the one thing i can say is the the batter prep and baking times for this recipe are really quick. i pulled the sponge out. i wasn’t sure if it was cooked through but it was a nice golden brown.
just to be certain i stuck a knife into the sponge. it came out clean so i continued with the next step. baking swiss roll is quick and relatively simple. its the rolling thats hard.
i noticed that on taking the sponge out of the oven that it had shrunk away from the sides of the pan much more than i would have expected. i’m not sure if this means that i over-baked it.
the recipe said to cover a tea cloth in a light layer of icing sugar. i recall swiss rolls always (or mostly) being coated in caster sugar so i went with that instead. i loosened the sides of the cake from the baking paper and flipped it (carefully) onto the prepared tea cloth.
i started rolling. you have to be gentle. the sponge folds instead of rolls so i had to work it back and forth until i had smoothed out the folds. try not to squish the sponge.
once i’d achieved as cylindrical a shape as was possible given the laws of physics i left the sponge (rolled up in a towel) for an hour to cool.
i started making butter cream. i don’t like jam in swiss roll. i ate around the jam of every swiss roll i ever had as a child. i remember being thrilled the first time i had a swiss roll with icing in it instead.
one (of many) good things that came out of this baking exercise is that i finally found the right ratio of butter and icing sugar to use for making icing. 1:1. who knew it could be that simple. i added some vanilla seeds (getting a nice speckle) and was vastly pleased with the resulting icing.
after the alloted hour i gently unrolled the sponge and placed a thin layer of icing evenly over the surface. i rolled up the sponge again and was pleased with my efforts.
to finish the look i cut off the ends. i then had no choice but to eat the offending end pieces. the icing was really tasty but i found the sponge to be slightly chewy. i would like to try this again but with a lot more beating of the eggs.
all in all a good day in the kitchen. i hope this forms a reasonable form of payment.