Chocolate Cream Swiss Roll

Have you ever heard of a recipe and instantly thought… I.MUST. MAKE. THAT!  Well this totally happened to me last week.  In class we learned to make roulades.  These are basically small thin sponge cakes that you layer with a tasty filling, roll up, and frost.  They are so much fun but as we made a vanilla, raspberry one in class I couldn’t even concentrate because all I was thinking was… I can make Little Debbie Swiss Rolls now!


That’s right, the lunch box treat from grade school that everyone loved.  I can make them and better yet – I can make a GIANT one.  How much fun would it be to go to a party and have dessert be a giant Swiss Roll?!  I knew I would have to give this a try.


The cake is a little fussy and takes some extra steps which is never my favorite way to lead into a recipe.  The technique, however, is critical.  These little cakes can crack easy turning your beautiful Swiss Roll into a heap of crumbs and icing is not desirable… for the record it would be a delicious heap of crumbs and icing… but still… not something Little Debbie would be proud of.  After doing some online research it seemed the best way to keep the cake from cracking was to wrap it in a tea towel quickly after it was removed from the oven to give it “memory”.  I gave it a shot and it turned out delicious!


The icing took a couple of tries.  I wanted something sweet and fluffy but not overly buttery.  I settled for a variation of Nick’s mom’s whoopie pie filling and it was perfect.  Finally a little bit of chocolate ganache glaze and the cake was ready to be sent off to work with Nick for a morning meeting treat.  You will notice the pictures with the ganache being poured and while I want to take all the credit for being the multi-talented individual that I am… I have to give the credit to Nick.  I poured the chocolate while he took the pictures.  This required him getting out of bed super early to help and he was kind enough to keep the grumbling to a minimum… though I do believe the spoon of whoopie pie filling helped 😉  Either way it was pretty nice of him to help out!

Swiss Museli Oatmeal
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Orange Pecan Waffle Cookies
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Chocolate Sponge Cake Recipe

yields 1 1/2 sheet pan sponge cake
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1/3 cup cake flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. instant coffee
4 eggs, yolks and whites in separate bowls
1/2 cup sugar

1) Line a half-sheet pan first with cooking spray or vegetable shortening then with parchment paper across the bottom of the pan.  The cake sticks very easy so it is important to make sure the sheet is lined properly or you will end up with a torn cake.

2) Pre-heat the oven to 425 degree.

3) Sift together the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder, and coffee) and place in a small bowl to the side.

4) In a mixer with the whisk attachment whip the egg whites until they are at soft peaks.  This is also sometimes referred to as wet peaks.  You will know they are ready when you remove the whisk and the egg whites form a Dairy Queen ice cream cone like curl.  If they fall quickly and don’t create the curl keep going… if they stand straight up in the air… I’m sorry… start over :(

5) In a small mixing bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar together until they become pale yellow.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture.  The batter will be stiff – don’t worry it should be.

6) Mix in half the egg white mixture until completely incorporated and the batter becomes easier to work with.  Finally fold in the last half of the egg whites.  Don’t over-stir the second half.

7) Pour onto the greased and parchment paper lined pan.  Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly so you do not end up with a big cake on one side and a cracker like cake on the other.  Because the egg whites were whipped it is important *not* to bang the pan in order to get the batter to settle.  Simply use a spatula to spread. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the cake is sponge-y to the touch.

8) Remove cakeDSC_00471 from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes.  Tip the cake over, remove the cake, pull off the parchment paper, and roll up into a tea towel to cool.  This gives the cake form memory and will keep it from cracking after you have filled it with icing and roll it up.  Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes.

9) After the cake has cooled spread the Little Debbie Creme Filling (recipe below) evenly across the entire cake.  Roll the cake up (remove the towel!!) like the pictures above.

10) Place the cake on a wire cooling rack set on top of the half sheet pan.  Pour the chocolate ganache glaze over the top of the cake and allow to cool.  If you are a big chocolate lover thten after the first layer of glaze has cooled go ahead and pour another on top for a thicker layer of icing.

Slice the cake to serve and pretend you are back in the 5th grade with the best lunch box treat there ever was! :)

Little Debbie Creme Filling Recipe

yields 1 batch
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 small (8oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1 cup powdered sugar

1) Whip together the butter, shortening, creme, vanilla, and salt.  Slowly add the sugar.  If you are in a humid climate you may need to add up to an extra 1/4 cup powdered sugar to get the right texture.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze Recipe

yields 1 batch
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz (about 2/3 cup) dark or milk chocolate roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)

1) Heat the cream over medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Quickly remove from heat and pour in the chocolate.  Stir with a whisk until all chocolate has melted.

  I’ve had a couple of questions about the pan.  I think the best pan to use is a Jelly Roll pan or a half sheet pan.  It is basically a cookie sheet with shallow sides.  I personally use the one below as my go-to pan for baking.  Nick’s mom bought it for me as a gift when I was in pastry school and I love it :)


    • says

      So I actually didn’t use anything at all before tipping the cake onto the towel and had no problems. If you are worried about sticking though or it is super humid or something I would go with cocoa powder just for color purposes over anything else. :)

    • Anonymous says

      This is done like my pumpkin roll.. I use regular half sheet pan and it works fine. The cake is so thin is why it doesn’t take long to cook and they roll out really good after cooling. Just take it slow and easy

    • says

      sprinkle powdered sugar on top. make sure you remember though! when i first did one i forgot to and it did NOT end up too great. but the cake was still beautiful and delish:)

  1. says

    I’m looking at your cake right and thinking I Must Make That! I lack in certain areas of life, namely patience and steady hands…so you can imagine why I haven’t attempted to make this till now. But I’m slobbering her because your cakes looks awesome!

    • says

      There isn’t anything that would require it – everything should be okay on the counter for 2-3 days. That said I think it stays fresh better in the refrigerator and a hot day could make the filling weep or separate so I would keep it in the refrigerator just to be safe. :)

  2. says

    Could you give me the dimensions of the pan? Is it a normal jelly roll pan or a half size? And the cake really only cooks for 6-8 minutes, am I reading that right?

    • says

      I used a pan that was labeled as “jelly roll” when I bought it with the dimensions of 17 1/4″ x 12 1/4″. I believe a traditional half size sheet pan is 18″ x 13″. I think for this recipe you can could use either as it only adds a bit of extra space.

      And yes, it really does only bake for 6-8 minutes… best. cake. ever. :) It is so thin that it cooks up quite quickly. Great cake if you’re in a pinch for time.

  3. says

    My 15 year old son has asked for a giant swiss roll cake for his birthday. I’m so glad I found this. I have a month so I’m gonna try it out soon.

    • says

      Oh that’s great – I hope it is a hit! I would suggest practicing once. The rolling can be hard (be sure to use the towel trick!). Plus what better homework to assign yourself than something that results in such a tasty snack!

  4. Laila says

    If I wanted to make this a vanilla cake instead of chocolate, would I need to add 1/4 cup of flour to make up for the omitted cocoa powder, do you think? Thanks! :)

    • French Accent says

      Hi, I am trying to bake this cake as a duplicate of little Debbie’s Swiss rolls for a groom’s cake. I would like to make it 18″ long by 6″ circumference which seems to be the ratio. I am wondering if this recipe would taste like it. Also do you think that the recipe would work by doubling it for a double thickness and instead of rolling it on the short side rolled it on the long side to obtain my 18″ long roll. The real ones do not look rolled as tightly and so I thought I might get by with 12″ instead of 18″ in the roll. I also would make my icing doubly thick. Do you think that will work?

    • says

      So if I understand the question correctly it seems you want to make the cake longer. I think what I would probably double the recipe and make two cakes. (I think making one thick cake is going to make it crack more and dry out on the egdes).

      With the two cakes what I would do is put them side by side and roll it long ways like you suggested. Thus you would basically have one large cake that was 18″ on one side and 26″ on the other. You would then roll on the 18″ side using both cakes. If, as you are rolling it, it is being too thick (wider than your 6″ circumference) just stop there instead of using the entire second cake (save the leftovers for snacks!).

      I think if you do that it will definitely work. And I would highly recommend making it once before the actual wedding just to test it out. Plus that gives you the added benefit of a snack 😉

    • French Accent says

      Thanks. I should have said 6 inch diameter. The swiss roll I based it on was approx one inch in diameter and three inches long. I’d like to make the big one identical-ish but 18 inches long and 6 inches wide. I note that real rolls swirl only one and a third times around, approximately. So I’m thinking a cake 18 wide by 25 long would be just about right. And I’d roll it with the axis along the 18 inch side. Is that what you are suggesting?

    • says

      That definitely could help. Actually cake flour can do the trick too. One cup of cake flour is 3/4 cup + 2 T. regular flour and 2 T. corn starch all sifted together. Cake flour has lower gluten so it makes a better texture than all purpose flour and could help to keep it from tearing (though it will crumb easier).

  5. Smita says

    Can I use a deeper bowl for baking but fill it just an inch or so? I do not have a pan like yours.
    Can you suggest any other filling as I do not have marshmallow creme also I do not wish to use cream. Do you have some alternative?
    I tried a different swiss roll recipe but when I took it out of my convection microwave, the paper was sticking to the cake. It was very sticky. Do you have any tips on how to avoid it?

    • says

      You can use a deeper pan if you want. It may be difficult to remove from the pan though so be sure to line the pan very well with parchment paper. If your parchment paper is sticking you can grease it with just a bit of butter and flour and it should help in the removal.

      As for filling there are just about any number of things you can do. I have had one that was filled with ice cream that was delicious. I am currently working on a recipe for german chocolate cake and that coconut carmely filling could be great. You can even try whipped cream or cool-whip (though you’ll have to refrigerate the final product…).

    • Smita says

      Thanks for replying. I have convection mode microwave and I tried your recipe for sponge or cake in square shape glass bowl, with greased paper as you suggested. I had to bake for longer. Then when I took it out thinking it was done, the base was baked only on the sides, the whole centre was wet (it was liquidy). Do you have any suggestions for this? How may I get a properly baked cake?

    • says

      I actually have never worked with a microwave for baking cakes. Many of the newer microcwaves do comes with instructions from the manufactorer that offer tips for modifying traditional recipes to work with their technology. If you can’t find those or they don’t help try this article: It was recommended to me by a reliable friend with some tips for microwave baking. Good luck :)

    • says

      Well it would depend on what you mean by tough. If it was crunchy or hard my guess would be it was baked too long. If it was chewy and more like sandwich bread then it was probably over mixed.

      Over Done: It’s easy to over bake these cakes because they are done in such a short amount of time. Everyone’s oven is different and baking times can vary based on the model and age of your oven was well as the humidity and altitude where you live.

      In pastry school we always learned to leave the oven light on and spend the last 5 or so minutes of the recipe checking to see if it is done. Here it is okay to open the oven to check even. The cake is done when it is slightly springy to the touch. Poke it carefully with your finger (it’s hot!) and if the indent depresses then slightly springs back remove it from the oven. Sometimes it helps to buy a check oven thermometer (I always use one) to check and see if your oven is really running at the temperature it says.

      Over Mixed: Try not to over stir the flour. Flour contains gluten which when stirred too much activates and takes your soft fluffy cake to a chewy bread quickly. Stir only until the flour is just incorporated; it’s okay if there are a few lumps.

  6. says

    This recipe is a keeper with a capital K. It is delicious. I had been having some problems with some of the Pinterest recipes, but not this one. It is FABULOUS! Thank you very much for posting it!

  7. Wendy says

    I made your cake last night! OMGoodness! I read thru the recipe and some of the comments to make sure I understood exactly how to do this prior to beginning. Wow! it turned out just like the pictures. I have tasted each component and can’t wait to dive into it today. Crazy me, I made it for my coworkers 50th birthday today. I always seem to try new things when it’s important. talk about pressure. I did use the tip about the cocoa on the tea towel. Didnt want to take a chance on sticking so I lightly dusted it with the powder. Cake never cracked either. I think the cake gods were on my side. Thank you and this is now in my personal keepers! You Rock!

  8. Anonymous says

    Wow, this was easy and delicious! I rolled the cake up and let cool about 10-15 mins then gently unrolled while slightly warm and not one single crack. I did end up putting 2 layers of ganache glaze. It was a big hit!

    • says

      I like a tea towel because it has some volume to it. Basically it sets the cake up to be ready to have filling in it so the shape that is cools in is perfect. Just a regular old kitchen towel works fine.

      If you don’t have a kitchen towel you can definitely try parchment paper but it may shape the cake a little too tight to have the icing spread in later.

  9. Theresa says

    What about making this ahead and freezing it? Should I freeze it before frosting it with the glaze? How long to thaw it? and thaw in the fridge?

    • says

      You can definitely freeze the cake and it’s fine. The cake filled with the icing should freeze well but does take a while to thaw because it is so dense. I would recommend taking it out of the freezer the night before you want to serve it. (Though I have eaten it frozen before and it was delicious too!) :)

      I wouldn’t put the ganache on until you are ready to serve it. Chocolate doesn’t freeze very well and won’t have that pretty shine and melty texture if it was frozen first.

    • says

      The ganache does harden a bit. When you touch it it won’t cover you in chocolate but if you hold it in your hand it will melt faster than ice cream on a hot day.

      For transporting mine I actually set it in a 9×13 cake pan with a lid and used two spatulas to get it out carefully. The bottom of the cake ends up flat from sitting on a platter so it doesn’t really roll around or anything like a real little debbie would!

  10. says

    Thanks so much for the recipe! My husband LOVES the Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, and when I saw this I just knew I had to make it for him for his birthday. I did last night and it was a hit! Although he said it didn’t really taste like the Little Debbie to him…I think the ratio of cream to cake was too much for him (too much cream) when comparing to the classic snack. But he said he LOVED it, and that I needed to make it for him more often!!!

  11. Anonymous says

    Barbara 12/12/12

    My granddaughters french teacher is having her make a jelly roll cake and her receipe called for pancake batter this one sounds so much better. Dry run this weekend its for extra credit so I’ll let you know. Thanks

    • says

      Hmmm pancake batter is interesting – I’ve never used it for anything but pancakes though I love re-purposing stuff. Maybe I’ll have to try a vanilla one made that way sometime.

      Hope you guys like this recipe. It’s one of my favorites on the site (though don’t tell the other recipes I said that!) :)

  12. Anonymous says

    Im no pro… but I made this for our Christmas celebration. HUGE hit! I messed up a couple time. I did a trial run first with a mess up in the combination of ingredients. Then the 2nd and real attempt I waited too long for the cake to cool to roll it. I wont let that happen again. I rolled it up right out of the oven & it worked perfectly! Thanks so much! I will make this one more time for another Christmas celebration this week!

    -Learning in NY

  13. says

    Made it looks beautiful.
    Should of read the entire recipe before making it. I tapped the crap out of the
    pan and got every last air bubble out of the cake . LOL 😀

  14. Anonymous says

    How much like the real thing does it taste? My husband is very, very picky and can spot a fake a mile away but wants me to find the recipe.

    • says

      So it definitely tastes a lot like the real thing. The cake is a little bit more dense and chocolately and the filling tastes like a homemade version (basically that chemically taste is missing). Other than that it’s pretty spot on. The chocolate on top even peels off like the real thing! :) Let me know what he says about it though!

    • freckledme says

      I was thinking I’d like to attempt the recipe, but the peeling chocolate is the clincher!!! Seriously the reason I prefer Little Debbie over HoHo’s!

  15. Anonymous says

    Very impressed by this recipe! I made my own “lighter” filling and it came out great. Thank you. I am desperately looking for a (relatively) light Tiramisu recipe with Marsala wine and Genoise cake (no lady fingers). All the ones I have tried so far have been terribly unsuccessful. Can you help??

    • says

      That sounds delicious. I have never made a tiramisu but I can definitely add it to my list of things to make coming up. I’m currently taking a dessert break but will definitely be back in mid-March. We’re moving and so it’s all packing and errands in my life right now… I wish it was cakes and cookies :)

  16. says

    I’m wondering how your German chocolate caramel coconut version turned out. How did you make the caramel? Did you toast the coconut flakes? My husband’s birthday is coming up and I want to try this.

  17. Anonymous says

    I live in Canada so I am not sure how much a “stick of butter” is. Can anyone tell me please. Thank you

  18. says

    Am saving this recipe. My room mate boarder loves Little Debbie cake rolls and I prefer to make all things myself. Glad i ran across this recipe. Will be trying it out tomorrow. Just bought me a jellyroll pan two weeks ago and haven’t used it yet. Now I get my chance. Thank you

  19. Anonymous says


  20. Anonymous says

    I’ve done banana roll cakes, so I’m fine with the cake part. I’m wondering about the ganache… is that going to harden lightly, like the swiss roll? I’m looking for authenticity, and I’ve just never done/had a ganache. Thank you! KT

  21. Anonymous says

    i am not particularly adept at cooking, however, your steps were insanely easy to follow, and although my stupid jelly roll pan had a slight wrinkle in it, and the cake didnt come out totally even, it still was awesome! I made this for my boyfriends birthday, and he is literally a “snacky cake” fiend. I know he’s going to love it! Thank you so much for this recipe!

    • says

      No I would not add any butter to the cake. It would change the consistency of the cake and it would not be able to roll without breaking. If you wanted to add butter to have a richer, buttery flavor you could add butter extract (it’s a flavoring by the vanilla in many grocery stores). No more than a 1/4 t. though.

  22. Anonymous says

    Is there any other kind of chocolate ganache that doesn’t have any heavy cream or chocolate, but has coca in it that will work and peal off like the normal swiss cake roll?

  23. says

    I’ve been wanting to make one of these for years, and I think I’ve finally found the perfect recipe. My only question is about the ganache: dark, milk, or semisweet chocolate? I want to make it as close to the real thing as possible, but I really have no idea what they use. (My sense of taste is severely limited.).

    • KT says

      The real swiss rolls are just milk chocolate. The predominate taste I get when I eat one is the sweet cream filling. I’m not a real chocolate fan, I just tolerate it if it’s thin or light, that’s why I like these 😉

    • KT says

      If you wrap it before putting ganache on, I think it would be fine. Putting the ganache on after you unwrap is, I think, a better idea than trying to wrap it with the ganache on.

  24. Anonymous says

    Made this cake for Christmas dinner and it turned out fabulous! My husband asked for a swiss roll cake and I was a little stressed since I had never made one before. It looked and tasted great, just like a swiss roll! Put powdered sugar on a non lint towel which prevented sticking. I am so glad I found this recipe! Will definitely make it again!

  25. Anonymous says

    Made this for a diabetic / gluten free friend the other day. I swapped the cake flour out for oat flour, and swapped sugar free components (melted sugar free Hershey bars for the ganache!) Still awesome — even people who didn’t have either dietary requirements wanted to know how it was made and the pan came home empty. Thanks a lot for the recipe, and for the few extra pounds I’m sure to gain :)

  26. Anonymous says

    Can I use regular cocoa powder or does it have to be “dutch processed cocoa powder” ? What is the difference?

  27. Anonymous says

    I line my jelly roll pan with wax paper – keeps the cake from sticking – I flip, cake side down onto a 10x sugar powdered towel which helps to keep the cake from sticking to the towel once unrolled you really do not notice the powdered sugar for it melts in and if you do you will be covering it with chocolate.

  28. says

    OMG – I just made this – was intimidated, but followed instructions to the T (actually inflated quantities by 1/3 across the board) and it turned out perfectly!!!!!!

  29. Anonymous says

    While I’m thanking for this great recipe, I need your help because I have a problem with the texture of my cake. I tried some other chocolate rolls before but I find your recipe is easy and perfect. Once I tried your recipe, I made 2 rolls: one turned out to be perfect (just like yours/texture: like a yoga mat/rubbery/flexible) and the other one is bad (texture: too sticky and too foamy (like a kitchen sponge), easily crackable). Even later, I tried but never turned out to be that good (same texture issue). What could be the reason? I’m thinking of beating (I use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer) egg (yellow or white) could be the issue but I do not know how to correct it. I know we have to be careful when beating egg whites: do we have to be careful with egg yellow as well? OR is there any other reasons for getting too sticky-foamy cakes?

    • says

      It’s always tough to say what caused a recipe to turn out differently than it did before. It could be the eggs – if the cake was cracking and dry it sounds like you whipped the egg white too much. You want them to have nice soft peaks – not stiff peaks.

      When you take the whisk out the egg whites should make a nice little Dairy Queen swirl – not stand straight up. If they are straight up they were whipped too much and will create a crackly cake.

  30. says

    I made this a couple days ago as a test run for my husband’s birthday. It is absolutely delicious! It’s also really easy to make.
    Thanks for the great recipe! I’m looking forward to making it again next week.

  31. Sherrill says

    hi, I read all the comments but couldn’t find the answer to my question. For the filling, do you think it will work with only the butter or would you replace the shortening with butter? I would prefer not to use shortening at all.

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