When I started watching anime, there was one particular dessert that would show up every now and then and which always caught my attention no matter what scene it was in. I was fascinated by this rolled up cake, with a distinct spiral shape in its centre, usually with some sort of whipped cream or icing inside, and made in a variety of flavours…. I had never really seen anything like it! And, the name of this dessert? Swiss roll cake!
Despite it’s name, Swiss roll cakes do not originate from Switzerland. It’s said to be from somewhere in Central Europe, invented sometime in the 19th century. It’s made its way around the world, and can be found today in many countries, often with it’s own local or regional influences. In Japan, Swiss roll cake is also simply called “roll cake” (ロールケーキ), and it comes in many flavours.
While Swiss roll cakes can be made in many flavour combinations (such as chocolate or vanilla sponge cake paired with buttercream, custard cream, or jam) and be topped with glazes, icings, or fruits, today’s recipe will be a simple cake of a more “Japanese” flavour, with a matcha sponge cake wrapped around anko whipped cream.
I was inspired to make this cake by episode 4 of Yumeiro Patissiere, when Ichigo visits Andou’s family sweet shop. There, she meets his family and learns that Andou’s younger brother, Ichita, hates cake! When the two brothers get into a fight, it’s up to Ichigo to help solve the problem through sweets! Her solution? A perfect blend of Western cake and Eastern tastes… Matcha Swiss roll cake with an anko filling!
About the recipe:
Fluffy, light, and mildly sweet, Swiss roll cake is a fairly easy to make dessert that is not only delicious, but also attractive! In today’s matcha version, the sponge cake is naturally dyed a vibrant green colour by the matcha, and complimented by the white whipped cream. Anko pairs wonderfully with the tea flavour of the cake, while giving just a bit of texture to the soft dessert.
Unlike the Yumeiro Patissiere version, the recipe I’ll be sharing today will not include a matcha flavoured filling, and will instead feature an anko whipped cream filling. I think that the mild tasting whipped cream pairs very nicely with the matcha cake. Also, the cake already has quite a strong tea flavour, so even more matcha in the filling is hardly necessary.
This cake is fairly easy to make, and while a standing or electric mixer is not totally necessary, it does help quite a bit when whipping up the egg whites. Since there’s no leavening agent in the cake, the fluffiness of the cake depends on the amount of air that is whipped into the egg whites. Therefore, it’s important to be as gentle as you can (to a reasonable degree) when folding and mixing the egg whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture.
While the cake should be baked in a low rimmed baking pan (also called a sheet pan), if you don’t have one, you can use a regular baking pan.
About the ingredients:
Matcha is a finely powdered green tea that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. It dissolves into liquids easily, and does not need to be strained like regular teas. It can be found in some grocery stores and Asian grocery stores. It is also often sold in specialty stores. Matcha might be shelved in a variety of locations in a store, including the Asian/international food section, tea and coffee aisle, or vitamins/supplements department.
Anko, or sweet red bean paste, is made by cooking azuki beans into a paste and sweetening it with sugar. Anko is available in a can in some Asian grocery stores, but homemade anko tastes much better! Find the recipe here!
The optional ingredient of sweetened azuki beans might be hard to find in your local grocery store (it is in my case!), so my solution was to actually use some of the whole beans in my batch of anko! I just use a pair of chopsticks and pulled them out. If your anko contains many whole beans (as mine did) you may wish to leave out these additional beans as the beans in the anko will be more than enough for the cake!
Cake flour is a particular type of flour that contains less protein than all purpose flour, and is of a fine texture and very light colour. The lower amount of protein in the flour makes it so that less gluten forms when it’s used in a recipe, which in turn makes it ideal for making soft, fine crumbed cakes. Cake flour is readily available in most grocery stores. Just don’t get it mixed up with cake mix!
While it is, of course, preferable if cake flour is used, if you don’t have any on hand and it’s a total emergency, a possible substitute for cake flour is mixing all purpose flour with cornstarch. I only recommend this if you seriously need to make this cake and cake flour is nowhere to be found where you live. The recipe is that for every 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp flour and replace it with 2 tbsp cornstarch. Sift them together 3-5 times to aerate the flour and ensure the cornstarch and flour are thoroughly mixed together. Then, use as directed.
Matcha Swiss Roll Cake with Anko Whipped Cream
Makes 6 servings
- 4 egg whites
- 2 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp (40 g) sugar for the egg whites
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp (40 g) sugar for the egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (40 g) cake flour
- 1 tbsp matcha
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) whipping cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4.25 oz (120 g) anko
- 2.8 oz (80 g) sweetened azuki beans (optional)
Powdered sugar for decoration
For the sponge cake:
1. Line the bottom and sides of a 14.5 x 10.5 rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix together cake flour and matcha. Sift 2-3 times to incorporate matcha into the flour evenly and so as to prevent any clumping.
3. Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until a soft foam forms. Add half of the sugar for the egg whites, and whip until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar for the egg whites and whip until stiff peaks form.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks until smooth. Add in sugar for the egg yolks, and beat until light, creamy, and pale. Using a whisk, incorporate the sifted flour and matcha into the egg yolks.
5. Gently use the whisk to mix one third of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture. Switch to a spatula and, in two stages, gently fold in the remaining two thirds of the egg whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture, being careful not to deflate the bubbles in the whipped egg whites.
Continue folding the batter until it becomes glossy and smooth. This process may take up to 100 folds of the batter.
6. Gently pour the batter into the prepared rimmed baking sheet. Using a spatula, gently spread the batter to the edges, making sure it is evenly distributed throughout the sheet. Tap the sheet on the counter a few times to collapse any large pockets of air inside the batter.
Bake in a preheated oven at 340 F. for 25 minutes, rotating the sheet half way through the baking time to ensure the cake is evenly cooked.
7. Remove the sponge cake from the oven and drop the pan on a hard surface a few times to prevent the cake from shrinking.
Gently remove the sponge cake from the pan, leaving the parchment paper attached. Place the cake on a flat board, and then cover to prevent it from drying out. Let cool completely.
For the filling:
1. When the cake is cooled completely, whip the cold cream to stiff peaks in a bowl placed in a bowl of ice or frozen cold in the freezer.
2. Using a whisk, gently mix in the anko.
Assembling the cake:
1. Gently remove the parchment paper from the sides of the sponge cake. Place a sheet of parchment over the top of the cake and flip it over so the bottom of the cake faces up. Carefully peel off the parchment paper clinging to the bottom of the cake. Replace the paper over the cake, and flip it once more so that the top of the cake faces up. Leave the cake sitting on the parchment paper.
2. Position the cake so that the short side of the rectangular cake is closest to you. Use a serrated knife and cut the edge of the far side of the cake at a diagonal.
Using an offset spatula, spread the whipped cream filling onto the top of the cake, leaving about 1.5-2 inches of the far end of the cake without filling. Sprinkle (optional) sweetened azuki beans on top of the filling.
3. To roll the cake, fold the bottom of the cake over, and then use the parchment paper to tightly roll the cake towards the diagonal cut.
Wrap tightly in parchment paper, using a ruler to push the paper tightly around the cake. Place the cake with the cut side down, and wrap the parchment paper wrapped cake in plastic wrap. Refrigerate cake until cold, about 1 hour.
1. Remove parchment paper from the cake. Dust cake with powdered sugar, and cut slices using a serrated knife. Wipe your knife between cuts using a damp cloth to ensure clean cuts. Serve the cake cold.
The cake will keep for up to 3 days wrapped in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated.
Source: Cooking with Dog