Cherry and almond Swiss roll

Cherry and almond Swiss roll

B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself

A lot of people baulk at Swiss rolls but, I promise you, they are easier to make than they look. They are such a simple treat and can be made in so many ways… you could dedicate a whole book just to rolling up cake. Because they are made in a sheet they take the shortest time to cook, which means – if you’re not putting cream in them – they are a really quick treat. This one takes a little longer, but only so I can show you how to jazz it up by freezing decorations into it.


Quantity Ingredient

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
150g ripe cherries
150g jam sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
300ml double cream

For the sponge

Quantity Ingredient
unsalted butter, for the tin
3 large eggs, separated
75g caster sugar, plus more to sprinkle
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
50g plain flour
red gel food colour
50g ground almonds

Tool kit

Quantity Ingredient
swiss roll tin, (about 33 x 23 cm)
electric whisk
small piping bag
2 wire cooling racks


  1. Start by making the filling. Stone the cherries, cut each into eighths and put in a pan with the jam sugar and lemon juice. Cook over a medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes. Take off the heat, pour into a bowl and, once it’s at room temperature, put in the fridge to chill.
  2. To make a pattern on the Swiss roll, first of all check that you can fit a Swiss roll tin, about 33 x 23 cm, into your freezer. Cut a piece of baking parchment to the size of the tin and draw on your pattern in pencil. I recommend starting with stripes or spots. For stripes, draw diagonal lines on to the paper about 5cm apart.
  3. Butter the Swiss roll tin, then line the base with the baking parchment, pencil side down.
  4. To make the sponge, beat the egg yolks with 30 g of the sugar and the almond extract, using an electric whisk. Clean your beaters thoroughly and, in a separate bowl, use the whisk to beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until firm peaks form. Sift the flour into the yolk mixture, then gently fold it in with the egg whites until fully combined. Try to be gentle, you don’t want to lose too much of the air that you’ve beaten into the egg.
  5. Take 3 tablespoons of the mixture and put into a separate bowl. Gently mix with some red gel food colour until a rich red colour has formed. (Gel colours are much better than liquid, as they add less moisture but also more colour.) Load the coloured mixture into a piping bag, cut a very small hole in the tip, then pipe stripes on to your template in the tin. Put into the freezer for 15–20 minutes to harden.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C and fold the ground almonds into the remaining cake mixture with a spatula. Take the Swiss roll tin out of the freezer and pour the almond sponge mixture on, gently spreading out with a spatula or a palette knife, and quickly put in the oven before the frozen mix melts and spreads. Cook for 8–9 minutes until the top of the sponge is just coloured. Take out and rest on a wire rack in its tin for 5 minutes, but no longer or the sponge will dry out.
  7. Sprinkle a fine layer of caster sugar on to a sheet of baking parchment on a second cooling rack and turn the sponge out of the tin and on to this. The sugar will stop the sponge from sticking to the parchment. Gently peel the backing off the sponge; the pattern will be facing upwards. Put another sugared piece of baking parchment on to the first cooling rack and flip the sponge back over so the pattern is facing down. Using a serrated knife, score a line 2 cm in along one of the short edges, about half the depth of the sponge. Starting from the scored edge, roll the sponge up, along with the baking parchment it is resting on, into a fairly tight roll. Leave on a wire rack to finish cooling (about 20 minutes).
  8. Whisk the cream with the electric whisk until it forms soft peaks. Unroll the sponge and spread the cold cherry jam on the top. Evenly spread the cream on top of the jam and roll back up. The red pattern on the outside of the sponge should look quite vivid and the roll should be quite tight, with no open spaces and not sagging. Serve on a plate and eat quickly (before anyone else does).


  • This recipe has a level 2 (intermediate) difficulty.


  • This basic recipe will make a very delicious Bakewell-flavoured Swiss roll, with cherry-coloured stripes on the outside. Now that you can roll up a sponge and layer colours on to it, you can make some really beautiful designs. If you feel like making multiple colours, you can; just remember to freeze between each colour. If you want to try writing words on to the Swiss roll, such as ‘Will You Marry Me?’ (invite me to the wedding if you actually do this), then write in pencil on the baking parchment, but make sure you turn the paper and put it in the tin pencil side down so that you pipe the words ‘backwards’.

    For this recipe, I’ve made almond sponge, but you can make any flavour you want, just replace the ground almonds with other ground nuts, or more plain flour, and you’re good to go. If you want to make a plain sponge, stick in ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste; it makes all the difference.

    I’ve filled this with jam and cream, but use lemon curd or crème pâtissière to add another dimension. Just don’t over-fill the roll or you won’t be able to roll it back up again; 200–250 g will be enough.

    There, that’s loads of things to muck about with, so have fun and make some really pretty and delicious cakes.
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