What’s better than a classic Swiss roll of chocolate cake and sweetened cream filling? Our holiday riff on the Swiss roll that features a chocolate cake spiraled with a tongue-tantalizing peppermint cream cheese filling. Make this chocolate peppermint cake roll, inspired by Tastes Better From Scratch, and deliciously delight your holiday guests with a special holiday dessert they won’t forget.
The traditional Swiss roll, also called a jelly roll, is at heart a thin layer of sponge cake spread with a cream, jelly or icing and then rolled into a log. When served, each slice is an impressive spiral of cake and filling. Once you master the cake roll technique, the scrumptious cake variations are nearly endless!
Our minty holiday take on the dessert comes to the table with a spiral of chocolate sponge cake filled with whipped sweetened cream cheese embedded with crushed peppermint candies and decadently blanketed with chocolate ganache. The palate-captivating combination of chocolate, peppermint and cream cheese makes this cake roll the most irresistible treat at the party.
Though rolling a thin layer of cake around a creamy filling may seem intimidating, don’t let this fanciful dessert technique daunt you. All you need is a jelly roll pan, parchment paper, and our fail-safe recipe. A jelly roll pan is a rimmed baking sheet that is smaller than the standard size baking sheet. It is called a jelly roll pan because its smaller size is ideal for the traditional cake or jelly roll recipes. (We like jelly roll pans because they fit perfectly in the dishwasher!) Greased and floured parchment paper helps you expertly roll up the cake. Our recipe walks you through the cake-roll-making process step by step. If you’ve never made a cake roll, today is the day for you to learn it and love it.
Variations: For a double chocolate peppermint cake roll, beat 1/2 cup cocoa powder into the cream cheese filling. Not a fan of peppermint? Simply leave out the peppermint extract and peppermint candies. Love coffee? Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of espresso powder to the chocolate cake mix — your dessert will taste like a chocolate mint mocha. If you’re craving nuts, swap in chopped hazelnuts and hazelnut flavoring for the peppermint candies and extract. Like we said before, the scrumptious variations are near endless!
Spray a 15×10-inch rimmed baking sheet or a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment. Generously sprinkle flour all over the baking pan, tapping it to evenly distribute the flour. Tap out the excess flour.
Combine the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat egg whites
Beaten egg whites lighten up the chocolate cake batter. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer egg white mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Beat egg yolks, vanilla and sugar
Using the stand mixer fitted with a clean paddle attachment, combine the egg yolks and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Combine the dry ingredients and egg yolk mixture
Add the cocoa mixture to the beaten egg yolks. Beat on low speed, slowly adding water and mixing until the batter is smooth.
Fold the chocolate batter into beaten egg whites
Use a spatula to fold the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites just until well-blended. Use a gentle hand to ensure the egg whites stay fluffy.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan
Bake the cake
Bake at 375F for 14 to 16 minutes. The cake is done when the top springs back when touched lightly in the center and a toothpick comes out clean after being inserted in the cake. Let the cake cool for 1 minute.
Roll up the cake and let it cool
Immediately lift the parchment paper and the cake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Working while the cake is still hot, start at a short end of the cake and, using your hands, gently and slowly roll the cake and parchment paper all the way up. Transfer the rolled cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the filling
Meanwhile, make the minty and sweet cream cheese filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Beat with an electric hand mixer until fluffy and smooth. Gently stir in crushed peppermint candies, to taste. Reserve a handful to garnish the finished cake.
Fill the cake and roll it up
Once the cake is completely cooled, carefully unroll the cake on a flat surface. Spoon the cream cheese filling over the cake and gently spread it evenly over the cake, leaving a small border around the edges. Using your hands, starting at a short end, gently roll the cake up without the parchment paper. If the paper sticks, use a knife to scrape along the edge of the cake as you roll it up to release the paper from the cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour to allow the filling to set up.
Make the ganache
Ganache is a fancy word for chocolate icing, sauce or filling for cakes and pastries. To make the ganache, heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it is hot but not boiling. While it is heating, place chocolate chips in a bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let the ganache cool for several minutes so it can thicken up but is still pourable.
Pour ganache over the cake roll
Ganache can be messy. To keep your counter clean, set a wire rack over a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the cake on the wire rack. Pour the ganache over the cake, allowing the excess to drip onto the baking sheet.
Garnish the cake with crushed peppermint candies
Sprinkle the reserved candies on the cake, then refrigerate the cake for at least 20 minutes to set the ganache. Slice and serve.
AuthorRecipe inspired by Tastes Better From Scratch
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
20 peppermint candies crushed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Peppermint candies, crushed for topping
Cake: Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease a 15x10-inch sheet cake pan or jelly roll pan. Line pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour parchment.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a stand mixer, add egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Pour into bowl. Set mixture aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, using a stand mixer with clean paddle attachment, combine egg yolks and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and continue beating for 2 additional minutes.
Add cocoa mixture to egg yolk mixture and beat on low speed, slowly adding water and mixing until batter is smooth.
Gradually fold chocolate mixture into beaten egg whites until ingredients are well-blended.
Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool in pan for about 1 minute.
Carefully, lift parchment paper and hot cake out of the pan and onto a cutting board.
Immediately, starting at one of the short ends of the cake, use hands to gently and slowly roll cake -- and parchment paper -- all the way up.
Place cake on wire rack and allow the rolled up cake to cool completely.
Transfer to refrigerator to cool for an additional 30 minutes.
Filling: In a clean mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Beat until fluffy and smooth.
Gently stir in crushed peppermint candies, to taste. Save a handful of crushed candies for garnishing the finished cake.
Once the cake roll is cooled completely, unroll it very carefully.
Gently smooth filling in an even layer over the cake.
Roll up the cake, without parchment paper. If you see it start to stick at all to the paper, use a metal knife to scrape along the bottom edge of the cake as you roll it up to help release it.
Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Ganache: In a saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat heavy cream until hot.
Place chocolate chips in a bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate chips and stir continuously until chocolate is melted and smooth.
Allow ganache to cool for several minutes to give it time to thicken up a little.
Pour chocolate ganache over top of peppermint roll. Sprinkle additional chopped peppermint candy on top.
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Slice and serve.
Note: The cake can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.