Redcurrant and Vanilla Swiss Roll

Redcurrants are very sour berries and you either love or hate them. I fall firmly in the love department! Baking the currants in with the cake makes them less sour. I like to add fresh berries to the filling as well, creating little very sour bursts in the vanilla custard. Alternatively, you can simmer the redcurrants with a little sugar and let it cool, then spread it on the cake before spreading the vanilla custard on top.


For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 75gr sugar
  • 70gr milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100gr flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 125gr redcurrants

For the Crème Pâtissière filling:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 55gr sugar
  • 20gr flour
  • 250gr milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste

The sourness (or make a redcurrant coulis with berries and sugar as explained above)

  • 100gr redcurrants

Makes one Swiss roll


Line a shallow baking tin (mine is 24 x 34cm) with baking paper, leave the paper to stick out a little bit for easier rolling later on.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites.

Whip up the egg yolks with the sugar until light, for 3 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix for 7 more minutes. This looks like a lot but the volume will increase significantly and leave you with a very light and airy cake.
Combine the flour and baking powder. Beat the egg whites in a fat-free bowl until it forms soft peaks.

Gently – yes I mean very gently – fold the flour mixture into the foamy eggs. The gentler you are, the lighter the result will be. Then fold in the egg whites, again being gentle.
Pour the batter into the baking tin. Try to spread it out as much as possible by pouring, that way you don’t need to touch it so much afterwards. First, tip the tin to distribute the batter, and if that doesn’t work well enough, use a spatula to gently spread the batter around. The less you push it, the more air stays in. The batter doesn’t liquify and then start rising like with most cake batters, so spreading somewhat evenly is required.
Top with the berries.

Bake the cake for 10-12 minutes on 180°C. Start making the Crème Pâtissière, see instructions below.
When finished, the center is light and bouncy.

Pre-roll the cake. This will make it less likely to crack and tear during the final roll. I prefer to roll with the bottom of the cake outwards, I prefer the even look of the cake that way and find rolling a bit easier as the cake is dryer on the top and may crack sooner.
Flip the cake over onto a large cooling rack (or anything else that is easy to flip over together with the cake). Peel the baking paper away from the cake – this may be more difficult to do without tearing due to the berries – then place it back on it and flip the cake back to its original side. So what you achieved is to get the baking paper away from the cake and the cake loosely laying on it. You could omit this stage and roll directly, the baking paper attached to the cake, but sometimes it can be more difficult to get the baking paper off later.

Either place the cake at the edge of the baking paper or cut away the baking paper sticking out between you and the cake. This avoids that you have a bunch of baking paper to roll into the center of the cake. If you want a fat cake, roll from the short side, if you want a longer cake with smaller pieces to cut, roll from the long side. Make a cut in the cake 2.5cm (an inch) from the side closest to you, along the entire side, but make sure to not cut all the way down. This will ensure that the cake can be rolled easier.
Now roll up the cake. Tuck the cut end upwards and then roll it up together with the baking paper. Don’t roll it tightly, there will be filling to come inside the roll later.
Position the cake roll on the end, so it doesn’t open up during cooling. Leave to cool.

Make the Crème Pâtissière filling:
Combine the yolks and sugar in a bowl. Which until very fluffy, then add the flour and whisk some more.
Meanwhile, heat the milk and vanilla in a thick based sauce pan. When it boils, add it to the whipped yolks while whipping continuously. Don’t pour all of it in at once and keep whipping, or the eggs will coagulate and you’ll have scrambled eggs.

Pour the egg mixture back into the pan and simmer for 2 minutes while stirring very well. I like to use a silicone spatula, which gets into the corners well and allows you to push on clumps to break them up.
Turn off the heat. Place some clingfilm on the Crème Pâtissière, pushing it onto the custard. This prevents a skin from forming. Leave to cool.

Combine it all:
Unroll your cake roll. If the baking paper sticks to the cake top (which will be the inside), peel it away gently. If flakes come off the top, that’s ok, nobody will notice. But be gentle, you don’t want to tear it after all of your hard work.

Spread the Crème Pâtissière over the cake roll, using a very small amount for the last few centimeters of the roll. The filling will be pushed up a bit during rolling and using less at the end will avoid any spilling, and makes sure the cake can stand up without tipping. Spread the redcurrants or coulis over the area of the cake with a thicker filling.

Re-roll the cake roll, starting from your side with the cut-in section of cake and the thicker layer of filling. Roll it tightly but not so tight as to push out all the filling. In the end, you want a firm cake roll without gaps, with an even distribution of filling that shows a lovely swirl – rolling from the short end creates a nicer swirl. You can start more gently, and roll the end more firmly. Once you have done this once, you know exactly how to do it every following time.

Cut the rough ends off the cake and decorate with powdered sugar.

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