Whenever I visit an Asian bakery, one of the things I find difficult to resist is swiss roll. Asian-style swiss rolls tend to be lighter and less sweet than their western counterparts, which suits my taste well. With so many different flavors to choose from - it is always hard deciding which one to buy. For myself, I will usually pick a slice of vanilla, green-tea or mango swiss roll. And if I am with my husband, we always end-up getting a whole coffee swiss roll, as he loves the taste and smell of aromatic coffee in a cake. Coffee cake also goes perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea.
Recently I started baking swiss rolls at home, after I found a great (green-tea) recipe from "Cooking with Dog". I like the recipe for its simplicity and taste - it relies solely on the beaten-till-stiff egg whites for the sponge texture and fluffiness, without any baking powder or soda. Other than fresh whipped cream for the filling, no oil or butter is added, resulting in a very light-textured, yet fresh-tasting and delicious cake. It is so light and easy to eat that I can devour quite a few slices at one go. I was pleasantly surprised that it tastes like what I would get at a nice Japanese café.
For this recipe, the ingredients you need are: 1) eggs, 2) sugar, 3) instant coffee powder, 4) cake flour and 5) heavy cream. It will be very helpful if you have a stand or hand mixer; or very strong muscles if you are brave enough to hand-whisk. Care to join me for this one?
COFFEE SWISS ROLL RECIPE
Makes a 9x3 inch (23x8cm) swiss roll
Baking sheet size : 13x9 inch (33x23cm)
4 egg whites
Egg yolk mixture
4 egg yolks
40g cake flour, sifted
2 tsp instant coffee powder
100g heavy cream for whipping
1 Tbsp sugar
Optional - powdered sugar (for dusting)
1) Line the baking sheet (13x9 inch) with parchment or baking paper. I cut a slit at each of the 4 corners which makes it easier to fold the sides.
2) Preheat the oven at 340 deg F (170 deg C).
3) Separate the egg whites and yolks, making sure the egg yolks do not get into the whites.
4) Ensure the container and whisk for egg whites are clean and dry. Whip the egg whites till foamy and add half of the sugar (20g). Continue whipping and when soft peaks form, add rest of sugar (20g). Whip till stiff peaks form - when you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks should point upwards without folding or collapsing.
5) Whisk the egg yolks and 40g sugar till pale, thick and creamy. Add sifted cake flour and instant coffee powder and mix well with hand whisk.
6) Incorporate whipped egg white (do it over 3 batches) into the egg yolk mixture. Using your hand whisk, stir gently to mix evenly. Use your spatula to scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Once everything is well-mixed and smooth, pour the mixture into the lined baking sheet. Smoothen the surface with a scraper or spatula and lightly "drop" the baking sheet against the work counter a few times to break any large bubbles.
8) Cream filling - whip the heavy cream and 1 Tbsp sugar till stiff peaks form.
9) Once cake has cooled down, peel off the parchment paper. Flip the cake over so the original parchment paper side is at the bottom. Make a diagonal (45 deg) cut on the further (and shorter) end of the cake. This will create a smoother joint when cake is rolled-up.
10) Place parchment paper below the cake. Spread the whipped cream evenly onto the cake (leave a small empty margin on further end to avoid overflow when cake is rolled-up). Use parchment paper to roll-up the cake tightly. Roll forward by pulling the paper.
11) Wrap the cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour before consuming. (Optional - if you like, dust the cake with some powdered sugar before slicing and eating.)