Monday, October 3, 2016

Cottony Soft Charcoal Swiss Roll

"Mum, your charcoal Swiss roll is the BEST!" said my son emphasizing the word, BEST so loudly and continued to munch on the rest of his charcoal Swiss roll with a big wide smile.

"Thanks sweetie" I laughed.

I laughed because my son was looking so cute with a cream mustache and his bo gay* smile. Bo gay? It means toothless in our Hokkien dialect. Bo gay because it was a smile that looked like there is "missing teeth" with specks of black cake crumbs that sticking onto his teeth.

I laughed because we are happy. Happy that I have baked and enjoyed eating this beautiful and cottony soft charcoal Swiss roll cake.

soft charcoal Swiss roll
Cottony Soft Charcoal Swiss Roll

This is an awesome recipe and I hope that you will be happy after baking and enjoying this cake too.

Want to see how I baked my cake... It's easy!

Sorry that I have no how-to video to show here... but many photo to illustrate this cake baking process :)

First I separated the eggs into yolks and whites and add oil and milk into the yolks.

From this step onward, everything seems to be just black and white!!! It's so fun and quirky! And I reckon it's an interesting cake to bake for Halloween too :p

Then sift the dry ingredients (including the charcoal powder) into the yolk mixture
And whisk until just combined.

Charcoal powder? For those who don't know... Accordingly to Wikipedia, bamboo charcoal is made by burning bamboo that are five years or older in an 800-1200°C oven. The Asians believe that bamboo charcoal has excellent absorption properties like removing bad odour and organic impurities and use it as an ingredient for cooking and baking too. Where can you buy edible bamboo charcoal powder? It is available in most baking supply shops in Asia. Or you can buy it via online shops like eBay and Amazon.

Next, beat egg whites until stiff peak form.
Combine both egg yolk and white mixture.
Pour batter into a large tray and bake.
After the cake has cooled completely, trim off the sides of the cake.
While the cake is cooling, I did this.
Spread a thin layer of cream evenly on the cake.
Roll the cake from the shorter end along the longer side to form a Swiss roll like this.
Isn't this easy?
Wrap in cling wrap and allow it to firm up into its shape in the fridge for 2-3 hr.
soft charcoal swiss roll
It's teatime for "bo gays"!!! Yay!!! LOL!
soft charcoal swiss roll
It is so soft and yummy!

This is why my son and I were laughing and happy!

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from here.

Make one Swiss roll (unrolled size: 35 x 25 cm / 10 x 14 inches)

For the cake:
60g egg yolks (about 4-5) - please use the exact weight
50ml milk
50ml vegetable oil, preferably something that is light and neutral tasting

70g cake flour with 8% protein
10g charcoal powder*
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt to taste

* It is available in most baking supply shops in Asia. Or you can buy it via online shops like eBay and Amazon. If charcoal powder is unavailable, you can replace with 10g cornflour to make a plain Swiss roll.

140g egg whites (about 4-5) - please use the exact weight
80g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Line one 35 x 25 cm baking tray with baking paper.

For A:
In a large mixing bowl, add the egg yolks, milk and oil and use a hand whisk to mix until all are combined.

For B:
Combine all in B. Sift mixture B into mixture A and use a hand whisk to mix until well incorporated.

For C:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites in low speed until foamy. Increase beating speed to medium - Avoid using high speed as it will form large bubbles. While beating, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Combine A+B and C:
Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the flour mixture in 3 portions. Making sure most of the white is not visible after folding.

Pour batter into baking tray. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly and gentle tap the filled tray on the kitchen top to remove any large bubble.  Bake for 15 mins or until the cake is well risen and fully cooked.

When done, remove cake (with its baking paper) from the tray immediately and transfer it onto a wire rack to cool. After 5-10 mins of cooling, flip the cake onto a clean baking paper and remove the used baking paper at its bottom. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the filling:
120ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
10g icing sugar

While the cake is cooling, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment or a cream whipper to whip cream and icing sugar until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:
Place cake with its flawless (you can choose which side to use if both sides of your cake look good) side down on a clean baking paper. Use a knife to trim off about 0.5 cm from all the sides of the cake.

Spread thin layer of cream evenly on the cake. Roll the cake from the shorter end along the longer side to form a Swiss roll. Wrap in cling wrap and allow the cake to firm up into its shape for 2-3 hr in a fridge or until firm enough to slice.

Slice and enjoy the cake. Store uneaten cake in an airtight container and in a fridge for up to 3 days. 

Happy Baking and hope that you like the cake with many "bo gay" smiles. Please support me and like me at Facebook...


  1. That is really black! Never heard of charcoal powder... making swiss roll is pending for me since long...

  2. I wanna try this! But very afraid i will crack the cake while rolling. Any tips??

    1. Hi,

      This cake base is soft and easy to roll and it won't crack easily :)

    2. Hi Zoe, thank you for the great recipe, my 1st time rolling a swiss roll & a success! It's indeed v fluffy & soft! My son loves it too! Please share with us more swiss roll recipes. Any red velvet? Love it!

    3. Hi,

      Happy to know that you like this recipe. You can google "bake for happy kids Swiss roll" and you will find more of my Swiss roll recipes and I would highly recommend the chocolate rice one. It is very good too. I have a few more Swiss roll recipes to share (sorry no red velvet :p) but have not share them yet because I need time to bake, write and post... Nevertheless, stay tune as it is always my happiness to share my prized recipes to all readers. Happy Baking :)


  3. Gorgeous! I recently have eaten a couple gorgeous light, fluffy and tasty swiss rolls from bread talk. I love their hokkaido snow roll and chocolate roll and would love to try more swiss type rolls as I rarely eat them favoring the denser types of cakes.

  4. I've never used charcoal powder. Sounds SO interesting. And this Swiss roll looks wonderful!

  5. Pretty black beauty .... so soft & yummy. Enjoy!

  6. This is so beautiful....!! Love its texture :)

  7. Can i use topping cream instead of whipping cream? If so, do I omit the sugar? Thks for sharing!

    1. Hi Celina,

      My answer is depending on the topping cream that you used. It has to contain 35% fat and any cream with lesser this amount will melt and change the cake to soggy.

      You can choose not to add sugar if you don't want to... It's up to you :)



  8. can you make a copycat recipe of Polar Puffs and Cakes strawberry swiss roll please!!!!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I would love to if I have time :) Thanks for giving me these lovely idea.


  9. Hi Zoe! I was thinking to replace the 10g bamboo charcoal with matcha/pandan powder. I'm not sure if 10g is too much cos usually to bake an 8", usually only require less than 10g matcha/pandan powder. What measurement would you recommend to replace?

    1. Hi, I'm not 100% sure if the direct replacement will work as I have not try baking matcha Swiss roll yet. And, I don't bake my Swiss with 8" pan too. So sorry that I can't give you a definite answer.

  10. Just love how you stress the importance of weight measurements. Cant go wrong.