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Swiss Roll


Thin sponge cake rolled up around jam.

Despite the name, it seems unlikely that this dish originates in Switzerland. It is known in England at least since the end of the 19th cent. and seems to have become popular during the First World War.

A Swiss Roll with unusually pale jam
Image: Musical Linguist

Original Receipt from 'The modern baker, confectioner and caterer; a practical and scientific work for the baking and allied trades'. Edited by John Kirkland.(1907)

Sponge Swiss Rolls

Sponge Swiss rolls are made with sugar, eggs, and flour prepared as for sponge cakes. Where possible, bright-coloured jam should be used, and this must be of such a consistency as is easily spread on the cake; if used very soft, it quickly soaks in and spoils the appearance. On the other hand, cheap jam, which is sometimes tough, will, if great care is not exercised, make the cake heavy. These details must be attended to to ensure success. Prepare 11/2lb. of eggs, 1/2lb. of flour, and 1/2lb. of castor sugar into a light batter as for sponge cakes. Cover a large baking sheet with greased paper, and with a palette knife spread this mixture over evenly. Bake in a hot oven (about 440 F.). When it springs back on being pressed with the finger, and the indent disappears, it is sufficiently baked. It should be turned over upon a clean cloth dusted with castor sugar, the paper then removed, and a layer of jam spread evenly on the sheet of sponge. Roll the cake over, close enough to make it perfectly round, without using enough pressure to spoil the texture.

More care is required at the commencement of turning over the cake, for if this is not carefully done, a large hole will be found in the roll when cut. It may be rolled in a sheet of sugar-dusted paper and allowed to stand until wanted. The cake may be dusted with fine or granulated sugar, with a band of red sugar dropped along the centre to add brightness, before being sent to the shop. For variety it may be covered with a thin coating of apricot jelly, and then rolled on fine desiccated cocoanut. A very nice roll may be made by rolling the cake, when covered cheap with hot jelly, on a layer of roasted stale sponge cake crumbs. Swiss Roll.

A slightly cheaper roll is made with a batter prepared from 2 lb. of eggs, 1 lb. 2 oz. of sugar, and 1 lb. of flour.

Earliest known advertisment for Swiss Roll
Grantham Journal - Saturday 16 January 1875

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