Roll cake is a well known classic Japanese cake. I used to eat it as a reward when I was a kid and it is such a great memory of my childhood. Today I will introduce the basic recipe in this article!
If you have visited Japan, you might have seen one slice of circle cake in a clear bag sold at convenience stores. That is called Roll Cake. It is actually originally a long shape but when you eat it you cut it into half inch slices so that it is easy to eat!
What is Roll Cake? Difference from Swiss Roll
Japanese Roll Cake is one of the classic Japanese desserts. It is shaped into a circle and it has whipped cream inside.
We are not sure where Japanese roll cake came from, but one of the most popular theories is that it evolved from the Swiss Roll that was introduced in the 1950s. Even though it has been around for a long time the roll cake was not very popular until recently. It exploded in popularity in the early 2000s.
Why is my roll cake always cracked?
There are 5 reasons why your roll cake might not come out perfect. I failed 5 times and I learned the tips.
5 reasons why you fail
- Adding too much cake flour
- Mixing too much
- The cake is too thick
- Baking for too long
- Not covering the cake when it is cooling down
1. Adding too much cake flour
If you add too much flour, either the cake gets hard because of it’s powdery or cracks because of the thickness. In this recipe, I use a 15” x 10” (38 cm x 25 cm) jelly roll pan and I only use 50g cake flour.
2. Mixing too much
This is where I failed a few times. You get the perfect cake from mixing just the right amount.
The most crucial step where most cakes fail is when adding the eggs whites and sugar mixture. This mixture needs to be added to the rest of the batter gently and folded in using a spatula instead of mixed in using a whisk. Fold just enough so the egg whites are mixed into the batter and not any more.
Additionally, after you spread the batter on the pan, tap the pan 4 or 5 times on your working surface in order to remove air bubbles.
My cake came out perfectly after following this process.
3. Baking too long
Because it’s a thin cake, it’s best to avoid baking slowly. Otherwise, the cake will be dry. Therefore, bake at 375 ºF (190 ºC) for 10-12 minutes until the sponge springs back. The bottom of the cake when baking will become the surface of the cake after it’s rolled, so make sure it doesn’t get burnt on the bottom.
4. Remove the parchment paper immediately
After you take the pan out of the oven, you have to remove the cake from the parchment paper as soon as possible. (But please remove the parchment paper slowly and carefully)
In my experience, if you don’t remove parchment paper soon after you take the cake out of the oven, it sticks and becomes difficult to remove.
5. Not covering the cake when it’s cooling down
After you bake the cake, you have to cover it with parchment paper and a towel to keep the cake from drying out while it is cooling down. Using cling wrap is not recommended because it will stick to the cake and is difficult to remove.
Basic Roll Cake
- 15” x 10” (38 cm x 25 cm) jelly roll pan HERE to buy
- 30 g sugar for egg whites
- 20 g sugar for egg yolks
- 50 g cake flour
- 3 eggs large and fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 Tablespoon whole milk
- 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- Gather all the ingredients
- Separate the egg yolks and whites into two bowls. Keep the egg yolks at room temperature and the egg whites in the refrigerator.
- In a medium bowl, add cake flour and baking powder. Use a fine mesh sieve and sift 3 times.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
- Mix egg yolks with a whisk and add sugar (20g) in two parts and beat until the egg mixture doubles in volume.
- Add cake flour and milk into the egg yolk bowl. Mix them but don't mix too well.
- Here is the egg yolk mixture after adding flour and milk.
- Mix the egg whites at a very high speed (I recommend using an electric hand mixer).When the whites are forming stiff peaks, add the sugar a bit at a time and whisk well (I added the sugar in three parts and you can whisk slower than you did at the beginning). When the whites are glossy and solid enough that they don't change shape when dropped from the whisk then they are ready.
- Add whites into the egg yolk bowl three separate times and mix them in by gently folding.
- Prepare your cooking sheet or jelly roll pan. Add your batter and spread out using a pastry scraper or spatula.Tap the pan 4 or 5 times on your working surface in order to remove any air bubbles.
- After spreading evenly, put the pan on the top rack in your oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Check if the cake is baked well using a toothpick. When it's baked, the toothpick comes out clean.
- Take the pan out of the oven. Place a cutting board with parchment paper on top of the cake and flip over to remove the cake from the pan with the cutting board on the bottom. Please use oven mitts.
- Remove the pan and gently remove the parchment paper from the cake.
- After removing the parchment paper from the cake, put a fresh sheet of parchment paper on the cake and put a kitchen towel on top.Let the cake cool and rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Making whipped cream
- After 30 minutes has passed, let's make the whipped cream for inside of the cake! Use a large bowl and add heavy whipping cream and sugar.
- Whisk until you get the form.
After the cake cools down
- Remove the towel and parchment paper (this side might be brown from baking) and diagonally slice off ¼ inch (1 cm) on one side of the cake.
- Add the whipped cream and spread using a spatula. You want to put more whipped cream on the side you didn't cut and less whipped cream as you spread to the other side you just cut.
- After you spread the whipped cream, make three cuts 1 inch apart on the side you didn't cut earlier. This makes it easier to roll up later.
- Start rolling! Start rolling on the side you just made the three cuts.
- Then you want to pull the parchment paper gently. This will cause the cake to naturally start rolling.Please make sure you don't push so hard because that can cause the cake to break and crack.
- When you finish rolling to the other side, wrap the cake tightly in the parchment paper and twist both ends to secure it. You can also use tape or rubber bands to keep the parchment paper secure. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove the parchment paper. Slice 1/2 inch off of the ends of the cake.Slice and serve!