Packed with tips & thorough instructions & photos, this Ultimate Lemon Curd Swiss Roll Guide (or lesson), is all you need to confidently prepare a Swiss Roll. Also known as a jelly roll or roulade, this recipe is filled with homemade lemon curd. You can instead use your favourite jam, and serve with some cream and seasonal berries.
Ultimate Lemon Curd Swiss Roll Guide
Sweet Lesson No. 15
What Is A Swiss Roll?
Swiss Roll cake, is a fat-free (with no butter or oil), sponge with high proportion of eggs. Like a Genoise cake, these cakes also do not having any baking powder and tend to be shallower cakes.
This Swiss roll is also known as a jelly roll, commonly filled with jam/preserve/jelly, and rolled before slicing. And to confuse matters further, this cake can also be referred to as a Roulade, where roulade is described as being a sweet or savoury, filled and rolled meat or pastry!
My sweet lesson today, is for a lemon curd filled Swiss roll.
Conquer Your fear Of Swiss Rolls
Swiss Roll cakes are really easy to make, but many bakers are apprehensive & for a few reasons:
Fear of rolling up stage and the cake cracking. And as a result, they don’t roll the cake tight enough. This in turn can lead to the filling oozing out, and not getting the coveted, clearly defined ‘swirl’.
Tips For Successful Swiss Rolls
• Whisk the eggs to the ribbon stage • Roll up straight from the oven, with no filling • Always use paper, tea-towel & powdered sugar to avoid sticking • Start off with a very tight bend of the cake • Leave to cool down rolled up for 'Cake Memory' & reduce cracking • Always chill the filled cake for filling to settle in & easier slicing • Always, trim off the ends of the roll to reveal the 'swirl' • Be brave, don't hesitate!
Some Other Swiss Rolls
Examples of other Swiss Roll (Jelly Roll) recipes on the site, include a Flour Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Swiss Roll (as seen in the photo collage), a review of a Patterned Pumpkin Swiss Roll recipe, and my Flour Free Chocolate Orange Yule Log, (video tutorial for the Bûche de Noël/yule log below).
Or try my new series of lessons on patterned Swiss rolls – new Blueberry Orange Curd Patterned Swiss Roll recipe below.
Chocolate Orange, Gluten Free Yule Log Video
Here are the basic ingredients for Swiss roll cakes, and this Lemon Curd Swiss Roll in particular. Note that most Swiss roll cakes are butter free.
Medium or Large UK eggs are used, and US equivalent is Large or Extra Large size. If you want to weigh your eggs, UK medium average weight is 58g/2 oz, and large at 68g/2⅓ oz1. So you can use this as a base line if you only have small eggs. **ALWAYS use room temperature eggs in baking.
The equivalent to UK Caster sugar is Extra/super fine sugar, & is best for this type of recipe. Smaller size of sugar granules, creates friction & in turn air pockets, which make the batter rise. Additionally, as there is no raising agent, (leavening such as baking powder), we want to incorporate as much air into the batter as possible.
Make Your Own Caster Sugar
You can grind or pulse Granulated Sugar a little to make caster or extra/super fine sugar at home. US granulated sugar however, is slightly smaller granule size than our UK version. Do not process too far or you will make icing/powdered sugar. See the photo above of our sugar’s in the UK for reference. You can also find out more in my article on Differences Between UK & US Baking Ingredients where I discuss common baking ingredients, as well as different names for them and how to make your own at home.
Plain (All Purpose) flour is used in Swiss roll cakes and only a small amount. If you want to make a flour-free or Gluten free Swiss roll see my Chocolate Flour Free Swiss Roll cake, or Chocolate Orange Yule Log.
Vanilla extract is great in cakes and you should avoid Vanilla Essence of Vanilla ‘Flavouring’, as they don’t really impart any flavour and so a waste of money. In the long run, it is less expensive and tastes so much better, to make your own Homemade Vanilla Extract. Read my article and recipe how to make it as inexpensively as possible & what to avoid if you are on a Gluten-free diet for health reasons.
This Swiss roll is filled with Lemon Curd. My Homemade Lemon Curd to be specific. You can of course use shop-bought lemon curd, or any other curd or jam/preserve. Try my Fig Anise Curd, or Plum Orange Jam as alternatives.
The icing/powdered sugar is used as a simple decoration by sieving a dusting on top of the rolled cake, right before slicing and serving. The sugar is also used to dust on the baking/parchment paper when rolling up the cake, to prevent the cake sticking.
Note On Measurement Conversions
All my recipes and reviews, include hand-measured conversions. Google can be inaccurate & inconsistent with conversions, so during recipe development and testing, I use grams and cup measurements. But if you need some conversions for another recipe, see my Conversion Of Common UK & US Baking Ingredients Table.
Next is the recipe/lesson in detail, with process photos for every stage. If you are not a beginner, you can skip to the Recipe card, which is an abbreviated version of the recipe, by clicking the jump to button below. But if you want to refer back to the process photos, just scroll back up to here.Jump to Recipe
The Process In Detail
Abbreviated recipe and ingredient amounts all found in the Recipe Card
1. Begin by cracking the eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl, (or bowl of a stand-mixer), before adding in the sugar. **Make sure you always use room temperature eggs in baking.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar with a hand-held or stand-mixer, (‘K’ mixing paddle on a stand-mixer, or beaters on a hand-held mixer – see Photo 1). Beat on a medium to high speed for a few minutes until thick, creamy and with an increase in volume. The mixture will change from an orange-coloured mixture, into a pale cream colour, as you incorporate lots of air into the batter. But to check if you have beaten the eggs and sugar enough, do the ‘Ribbon Test’.
3. Also known as ‘Trail Test’, or ‘Ribbon Stage’, this is where you lift the beaters up from the mixture, and let it fall onto the surface of the mixture. You can do so by trying to create a circle pattern on the surface, (or in the shape as if writing the number ‘8’). You want the mixture/pattern to not immediately sink into the mixture and disappear immediately. So in other words, the pattern remains a few seconds before it goes. For more on this you can see the recipe video in the Recipe Card further down the page, or read my lesson on The Ribbon Stage In Baking. See my photo below of whisking egg yolks and sugar to the ribbon stage.
4. Set the oven to: 200°c/180°c Fan Oven/400°f/Gas Mark 6. Next add the Vanilla Extract, before sieving over the flour.
5. Very gently and carefully, ‘fold-in’ the flour. Use a plastic, rubber or silicone spatula (not a metal spoon), and work in the flour gently. With no rising agent (known as leavening), in Swiss Roll, Yule Log recipes or Genoise cakes, we want to keep the air you just incorporated into the batter & not knock it out. The best way to do this, is to mix as if you were writing a number ‘8’ – with the spatula being the pen and the batter the paper. See my video for a scrape & fold motion I use. Scrape around the inside of the bowl, and continue this ‘circular-motion’ in towards the centre, where you will ‘write’ your number 8. Repeat this motion, making sure there is no flour still at the bottom of the bowl, until no more flour is visible.
6. Prepare your Swiss Roll tin, or cookie tray/sheet (see before recipe for specific details on sizing), by greasing and lining. I use Frylight cooking spray for a lot of baking and cooking. You can also use homemade lining paste/cake goop, cake release spray or softened butter. You will need to grease the bottom and up the sides, before adding some baking/parchment paper to the bottom. See Photo 3 where I cut the paper to fit the bottom of the tray – you don’t want the paper going up the sides of the tin.
7. Now add the cake batter to the prepared tin, tilting the tin to encourage the cake batter to spread & fill the tray, without having to spread it out by hand, to avoid knocking out air. Once filled, bang the tin a few times on the worktop/counter before popping in the oven to bake, for about 9 – 12 minutes.
8. While the Swiss roll is baking, prepare for turning out the cake, immediately on removing from the oven. To do so, layout a clean tea-towel, long-ways, with the shorter end towards you (ie. vertically).
9. Cut baking/parchment paper about the same size as the tea-towel. Just make sure the narrow width of the towel is bigger than the narrow width of the cake tin.
10. Place the paper on top of the towel, and sieve over a dusting of icing/powdered sugar, all over the paper. See Photo 4. Carefully slide the towel/paper to the side, but nearby & ready for when you take the cake out of the oven.
11. The Swiss roll should be baked until a nice golden colour, coming away from the sides of the tin, and when a cocktail stick comes out clean of crumbs. See Photo 5. Cake with high egg content to flour, will have this different looking and feeling texture to most cakes, and because it is quite shallow, it will bake very quickly.
12. As soon as taking the cake out of the oven, use the cocktail stick and run it around the sides of the cake, to help release any of the cake that might be stuck to the sides. (Use that instead of a metal utensil that can scratch your pans).
13. Slide over the prepared tea-towel and paper, hold your tin parallel to the tea-towel, and let the side of the tin meet the long-side of the tea-towel. Then very carefully lift the opposite side of the cake tin (see Photo 5), and slowly lower the tin across and down, until it is sitting on top of the sugar dusted paper and towel. Do so slowly, rather than one bold movement and risk a snow cloud! (I used to use paper & a second tray and place on top of the cake, turn over and out, before then transferring to the towel. So the first way is a bit quicker). See video.
14.Give the tin a few taps and the cake tin should release easily (especially is you greased under the paper). Then very carefully, start to peel back the paper from the cake.
15. Now don’t pause and just go for it – rolling is easy if you don’t stop and worry about it. Be bold and take the ends, (the cake, paper and towel all together), and bend over to start a nice tight roll. As you go along rolling, every so often, hold both ends to make it tight. This will not only help with a nicer swirl but give you more swirl too.
16. Roll all the way to the end of the cake, then tighten the ends of the tea-towel closed (I often use clothes pegs or clips to hold in place). Then place on a large flat plate, platter or tray and pop in the fridge to cool and take on the shape. The filling should not be added until after the cake has been rolled empty. This stage is making the cake take on this swirl shape, and hence keep in the filling.
17. Leave to chill for 30 minutes (and take this time to have a break yourself, or do the dishes now).
18. Once the Swiss roll has had time to cool and take on the swirl shape, unroll the cake and spread on the lemon curd, (leaving a little gap at the edges, see Photo 7).
When you open up the cake, you will see that the beginning of where you started to roll, the cake wants to keep going back to the bent over position. This is why we roll the cake first, and also when straight out of the oven. The cake has a ‘memory‘ and wants to go back to that shape/position. Just bend it back gently and fill with the curd, before folding back over, and rolling the cake back up, tight again. But this time make sure that the paper and tea-towel, are not inside the cake. (Believe me this is easy to do and I actually did that with my Chocolate Orange Yule Log, and it had been left overnight. But I managed to salvage it).
19. Now wrap the filled Swiss roll with the paper, close the ends, and place back in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or place in the freezer for 30 minutes. It is strongly advised to let the cake sit, and the filling settle in with the cake before slicing.
20. Very gently un-wrap the lemon curd Swiss roll and transfer to a long platter, before sieving over a generous dusting of icing/powdered sugar. **Top Tip for a clear ‘swirl’ – trim a little cake off both ends of the Swiss Roll before slicing. This will immediately make the cake look better & reveal the ‘swirl’! Don’t forget to do this part.
21. Cut slices about 1cm (⅓“) thick and eat as it is, with a nice cup of tea or coffee. Or add some whipped cream and your favourite berries.
22. Store in an airtight container, or under a cake dome for about 2 days. Not so great frozen, as the lemon curd can split.
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DIFFICULTY LEVEL: easy
- Scales or measuring cups
- Medium sized mixing bowl (or stand mixer bowl)
- Hand-held or stand mixer
- Rubber/silicone/plastic spatula for folding
- Baking/parchment paper
- Baking tray/sheet or jelly/swiss roll tray/sheet (see notes for sizing)
- Wooden Cocktail stick/tooth pick
- Icing/Powdered sugar
- Clean Tea-towel (wider and longer than the baking sheet/tray dimmensions)
- Baking palette knife, off-set best (optional) (optional, or butter knife)
- 3 Eggs (medium to large) (US large to Extra large size, room temperature)
- 100 grams Caster Sugar (3½ oz, ⅓ cup plus 2 tbsp, Extra/Super Fine sugar*)
- ½ tsp Vanilla Extract (learn how to make Homemade Vanilla Extract)
- 100 grams Plain Flour (3½ oz, ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp All Purpose Flour)
- 10 tbsp Lemon Curd (7 oz, 200 grams, approximately, Homemade Lemon Curd or shop bought)
- Icing/Powdered Sugar (to dust)
Prepare Cake Batter
- Crack the eggs into a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the sugar & beat on medium to high speed, until thick, creamy, a pale colour and with an increase in volume. Test by doing the 'Ribbon Test', or 'Trail Test/stage' (ready before this Recipe card for more details). **Make sure you always use room temperature eggs in baking.
- Heat the oven to: 200°c/180°c Fan Oven/400°f/Gas Mark 6, and now add the Vanilla Extract, before sieving over the flour.
- Gently fold-in the flour with a plastic, rubber or silicone spatula to stop knocking out the air incorporated.
Prepare Cake Tin
- Prepare the cookie tray/sheet or Swiss roll tin, (see before recipe for specific details on sizing), by greasing and lining. (I used Frylight cooking spray). Grease the bottom and up the sides, & add baking/parchment paper to the bottom.
Bake The Cake
- Add the batter to the prepared tin, tilting to encourage the batter to spread & fill the tray. Tap the tin a few times & place in the oven to bake, for about 9 – 12 minutes. The cake should be a nice golden shade, coming away from the sides of the tin, and a cocktail stick will come out clean of crumbs.
Prepare For Rolling
- While the cake is baking, prepare for turning out the cake as soon as out of the oven, by placing a clean tea-towel, long-ways, with shorter end near to you. Cut baking/parchment paper the same size as the tea-towel & place on top of the tea-towel, before dusting icing/powdered sugar, all over the paper. Carefully slide to the side, nearby & ready for when the cake is out.
First Roll Of The Cake
- Immediately on taking the cake out of the oven, use the cocktail stick to run it around the sides of the cake tin, to help release the cake. Slide the prepared tea-towel and paper over, & parallel to the cake tin. Lift the tin on the opposite side to where it meets the tea-towel, and slowly, lower it down on top of the paper. Tap the cake tin a few tins to release from the cake. Carefully begin to peel back the paper from the cake.
- With the cake vertical, start to roll up the cake, beginning with a tight roll, making sure you roll up the cake, paper and towel all together. Tighten and neaten the ends as you go and then twist and hold closed the ends of the te-towel, holding the cake roll together. Place on a large flat plate or platter and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Filling The Cake
- After the chill time, unroll the cake & spread on the lemon curd, (leaving a little gap at the edges. Roll back up again, (just the cake this time), and then cover with the paper and close the ends like before, before chilling for at least 1 hour or freezer for 30 minutes.
Serving & Storing
- When ready to serve, gently un-wrap the lemon curd Swiss roll & transfer to a long platter. Sieve over a generous dusting of icing/powdered sugar. **Top Tip for a clear 'swirl' – trim a little cake off both ends of the Swiss Roll before slicing.
- Cut slices 1cm (⅓“) thick. Serve as it is, with a nice cup of tea or coffee, or add some whipped cream and your favourite berries.
- Store in an airtight container, or under a cake dome for about 2 days. Not so great frozen, as the lemon curd can split.
Eggs – UK medium or large eggs are used, which is equivalent of Large to Extra Large US. If you want to weigh the eggs, the weight is averaging 58g/2 oz for medium and 68g/2⅓ oz for large – sizes 1 – 5*. Make sure to always use room temperature eggs in baking. Vanilla Extract – vanilla extract, not essence or ‘flavour’ is best in baking & these cheaper versions don’t impart any flavour so not worth it. Learn how to make Homemade Vanilla Extract and save money in the long run.
Lemon Curd – got lots of lemons, eggs, or egg yolks, then make your own Homemade Lemon Curd.
Tin Size – Swiss roll tins are 33 x 23cm (13 x 9″), but I use a cookie tray/sheet that is 35 x 23 x 1.5 cm (13¾ x 9 x ⅔ inch) or the one in the photos which is a 38 x 25 x 1.5cm (15 x 9¾ x 1″). I would not recommend going any bigger or smaller than these 3 sizes listed. Greasing – I used Frylight cooking spray (Butter version), but often also use Homemade Lining Paste/Cake Goop, but cake release spray or softened butter can also be used. Read more about the Ribbon Test/Stage, Trail Test in my Ribbon Test In Baking lesson. For more tips on rolling Swiss rolls, please see this Recipe Card. Try my Flour Free, Gluten Free Chocolate Swiss Roll recipe, or Chocolate Orange Yule Log. Try my Fig Anise Curd recipe, or Plum Orange Jam as an alternative filling, or new recipe Blueberry Orange Curd Patterned Swiss Roll *Egg size data from EggInfo.co.uk @ Egg Facts & Figures
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My Swiss Roll recipe made by reader Diana, but filled with raspberry jam, and decorated with crea, raspberries & mint! It looks great Diana!
1 Egg size data from EggInfo.co.uk @ Egg Facts & Figures
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