Patterned Swiss Roll – Chocolate with Coffee Buttercream

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Cake rolls are a great dessert to make for company! They look impressive. They come together quickly, with a bake time of just 7 to 10 minutes. They can be made ahead of time and there are so many flavor combinations to choose from.

But what I love most about them is their simplicity. The ingredient list is very short and you don’t need to be a pastry chef to be able to whip one up – bake a simple sponge, slather on the filling, roll it up and you’re done.

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Having said that, cake roll recipes up until this one, have always reduced me to a nervous wreck during the rolling process. They would invariably crack in all the wrong places and the filling would squirt out. But not with this recipe! This one is a keeper. No cracking, no squirting and no more tears!

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I’ve made two of these this past week – the recipe really is that good – one with a whipped cream filling and one with buttercream.  I found that the buttercream filled cake held up a lot better. The whipped cream tends to seep into the sponge and the cake collapses under it’s own weight overnight. So if you’re planning to make this cake ahead of time I would recommend a sturdy buttercream filling.

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I made the cake a bit more special by baking a pattern onto the sponge. This step is entirely optional. But if you are somewhat handy with a piping tip and want to raise a few eyebrows then you should go for it.

Trace the pattern of your choice onto a sheet of parchment paper the same size as your swiss roll tin.  and line your tin with this sheet. Pipe your pattern onto the parchment and chill while preparing  the batter for the cake roll

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Ingredients

Sponge for the decorative piping

  • Unsalted butter – 35 grams or 2 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Icing Sugar – 35 grams or 1/4 cup
  • Egg white – from 1 large egg
  • All purpose flour – 80 grams or 2/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
  • Gel food colors of your choice

*This recipe is enough to pipe a delicate pattern on the roll cake. If you’d like to make a more elaborate pattern then make double the recipe

Sponge for the roll cake

  • Fine granulated sugar – 75 grams or 1/3 cup
  • Eggs – 3 large
  • All purpose flour – 75 grams minus 1 tbsp** or 2/3 cup minus 1 tbsp
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Cocoa powder – 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Simple syrup – 3 tbsp of granulated sugar mixed with 3 tbsp of water

**This recipe is for a chocolate roll cake. If you want to make a plain vanilla cake then omit the cocoa powder and add the whole 75 grams of all purpose flour

Coffee Buttercream

  • Unsalted butter – 115 grams or 1/2 cup
  • Icing sugar – 150 grams or 1 and 1/3 cup
  • Strong brewed coffee – 2 tsp
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

Method

If you just want a plain swiss roll without any pattern piped on it then skip the recipe below and go directly onto the recipe for the roll cake sponge and buttercream

Sponge for decorative piping

  • Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Grease and line a 9×13 inch swiss roll tin with parchment paper. If you’re tracing a pattern onto the paper then flip the parchment over when you’re done so that the pencil side is facing down
  • Using a mixer whip the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy
  • While beating continuously gradually add the egg white and the vanilla extract. Whip until thoroughly combined
  • Using a spatula gently fold in the flour. Add your food coloring at this stage if using
  • Fill this mixture into a piping bag and pipe it onto the parchment paper. Chill this tray with the parchment paper in the freezer while you make the sponge for the roll cake

Sponge for the roll cake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F or 200 degree Celsius. Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and set aside
  • Using a mixer whip the eggs and the granulated sugar on medium speed till the mixture turns pale and fluffy and the beater leaves a trail when lifted up from the bowl. This takes at least 5 minutes
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat briefly until it is mixed in
  •  Fold the flour mixture into the egg-sugar mixture gently using a spatula
  • Remove the swiss roll tin that’s been chilling in  the freezer and gently pour the sponge cake mixture over the parchment paper. Tilt the tin gently so that the batter spreads out evenly
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes till the sponge turns a light golden brown and starts separating from the sides Make sure you do not over bake.
  • Take two sheets of parchment paper larger than the size of the cake tin. Dust one  with granulated sugar and lay it on your work surface. As soon as the cake is ready tip it on to this sheet. Carefully peel off the parchment paper that is on the cake to reveal your pattern. Now place the second sheet of parchment paper on the exposed surface and turn the cake back up again so that the patterned side is now underneath.
  • Set it on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes

Coffee Buttercream

  • Using a mixer whip butter until is light and creamy and has nearly doubled in volume
  • Add 1 cup of icing sugar and salt and continue to whip on medium-high speed scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary
  • Add the coffee and vanilla extract and continue to whip for 2 minutes more
  • Do a taste test and add more sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time till you achieve your desired level of sweetness. I find that an additional 1/3 cup does the trick for me

Assembly

  • Spread the buttercream on the cooled cake in a thin even layer. Leave a gap of about a centimeter around the edges
  • Using a palette or butter knife score the cake in a line about 2 cm in from one of the shorter sides. This will make the first roll easier
  • Using the help of the parchment paper underneath gently roll the cake starting at the short edge that you scored. Keep the roll as tight and firm as possible till you reach the other end. Gently trim the uneven ends of the cake roll using a serrated knife.
  • Make a simple syrup with 3 tbsp of granulated sugar and 3 tbsp of water. Warm gently on low heat till the sugar dissolves. Gently brush the roll cake with this syrup to keep the cake moist
  • Serve!

This cake roll will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of  days or in the fridge for about 3 days

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Recipe adapted from Paul Hollywood’s Blackcurrant and Liquorice Swiss Roll

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Red Velvet Cream Cheese Buttercream with Chocolate Cupcakes

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This red velvet cream cheese buttercream is undoubtedly the star of the show. The chocolate cupcakes are great of course but when topped with generous swirls of this magical, wickedly good frosting, they outdo themselves.

The buttercream recipe was what intrigued me at first. I had all the ingredients on hand and so I set about whipping up a batch. Not only did it not disappoint, it had me weak in the knees with excitement. It was just like biting into a fantastic red velvet cake – sweet, tangy, a tiny bit chocolaty and oh so delicious!

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It was only when I had had three tablespoons of frosting, straight from the bowl, in the name of taste testing that I realized I needed to find an accompanying cupcake recipe for it and a bunch of people I could share those cupcakes with. Being home alone with a big bowl of addictive frosting was not going to end well.

Happy to report, I gave them away to the teachers at my toddler’s school and they loved it!

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You should definitely give this one a go. It will change your life. Baking life at least.

Read the notes at the end of  this post for an egg free version of these cupcakes made using Aquafaba

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • All  purpose flour – 3/4 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Light brown sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Oil – 1/3 cup (Anything neutral will work. No olive oil) 
  • Buttermilk – 1/2 cup*

*I always make buttermilk by whisking yogurt with water. Here I added 1/3 cup yogurt in a measuring jar, topped it up with water till the 1/2 cup mark and whisked them to combine

Red Velvet Cream cheese Buttercream

  • Salted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
  • Package of cream cheese (8 oz or 226 grams) – 1
  • Red food coloring – 6 to 8 drops*
  • Icing sugar – 3 to 4 cups
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp

*I used McCormick’s red food color. You can use any brand you want. Just follow instructions as given below

Note: This buttercream needs to sit for a few hours to reach its rich, deep red color. Aim for a dark terracotta color when you make it, store it for a few hours in the fridge (preferably overnight) and thaw it out before frosting. The color will have enough time to mature and you’ll have a true red velvet colored frosting to go on your cupcakes

Yield – 22 small cupcakes with frosting

Method

Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners
  • In a large bowl whisk all your dry ingredients together – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In another bowl add eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, and oil. using a handheld mixer or a whisk, mix these ingredients thoroughly until combined well
  • Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk very briefly to mix. Add half of the buttermilk and whisk again. Repeat this process once more time with the rest of the wet ingredients. Be very careful not to over mix
  • The batter will be thinner than a regular cupcake batter. Pour the batter into the liners till they are half to two thirds full. No more! These cupcake rise quite a bit
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the tray around once in between. When done a tester inserted into the cupcakes should come out clean
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting

Red Velvet Cream cheese Buttercream

  • Make sure your butters are softened and the cream cheese is chilled. In a bowl sift 3 cups of icing sugar and cocoa powder together and set aside
  • In a large bowl, using a mixer, whip salted and unsalted butter until it turns fluffy and light. This takes 5 to 7 minutes
  • Add the cream cheese and continue to whip until fully incorporated. About 5  minutes
  •  Add the vanilla and food coloring and whip on high speed until it turns light and fluffy
  • Gradually add the icing sugar-cocoa powder mixture to the butter and cream cheese mixture while whipping on low speed
  • Once you’ve added all the sugar and cocoa powder whip the buttercream on high speed until it is well combined. This takes 2 to 3 minutes
  • At this point you can add one or two more drops of food coloring to the buttercream. You can also add more icing sugar, one quarter cup at a time till you arrive at your desired level of sweetness
  • Keep in mind that the color of the buttercream deepens gradually over time. So aim for a deep terracotta color and keep it covered in an airtight container in the fridge for a few hours (preferably overnight)  and the color will turn a true bright red as you see in the pictures

Frosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. For anything longer than that they will need to be refrigerated.

Notes – To make these cupcakes egg free use 6 tbsp (3 tbsp = 1 egg) of aquafaba. Whip it in a bowl till it turns frothy. Proceed with the rest of the recipe instructions as given. The egg free cupcakes will be a little more tender than those made with eggs but will taste just as fabulous! 

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The cupcake recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction and the buttercream recipe is adapted from Wicked Good Kitchen