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Vanilla Swiss Roll (Basic Recipe)

Slices of vanilla Swiss roll on a serving board.

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This vanilla Swiss roll, or vanilla roll cake, is a soft spiral of vanilla sponge batter filled with a delicious mascarpone frosting. It is the simplest version of a cream-filled cake roll you can ever make.



For the cake roll:

  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (5 g) vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup minus 2 1/2 tablespoons (85 g) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large egg whites, cold (for meringue)
  • 1 cup minus 2 1/2 teaspoons (90 g) granulated sugar (for meringue)

For the cream filling:

  • 2/3 cup (160 g) cold heavy cream, 30% fat
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) cold mascarpone cheese
  • 4 tablespoons (30 g) icing (powdered) sugar


  1. To make the cake, prepare a light-colored 15 x 10 inches (25 x 38 cm) baking sheet - a traditional jelly roll pan. Line it with parchment paper following this video tutorial - how to line a Swiss roll tin. Grease the pan or not; it is up to you. Ensure that the parchment paper extends at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) beyond all edges for easy removal when the cake is done.
  2. Preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Using a flour sifter, sift cake flour and baking powder and set aside. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) of sugar, salt, and vanilla extract a few times using a hand whisk (no need to beat until whitish and voluminous). Add oil and milk and whisk until just combined. Sift the dry ingredients over the preparation bowl and gently mix with a hand whisk. 
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat cold egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Divide the remaining sugar into three parts. Gradually add the sugar to the beaten egg whites in three additions. Whisk the meringue until soft peaks (avoid stiff peaks).
  5. Give one stir to the egg yolk mixture, and add 1/3 of the meringue. Carefully mix with a silicone spatula, and 1/3 again and mix. Pour the mixture into the rest of the meringue and gently fold.
  6. Pour the batter onto the prepared pan, level it with a long bent spatula or a dough scraper. Tap the pan on the table a couple of times to release large bubbles. 
  7. Bring the pan to the middle rack of the oven, and decrease the oven temperature to 340°F (170°C). Bake for 20-21 minutes until golden brown. Check for doneness with a toothpick or by pressing the cake with your finger. It is done if the toothpick comes out dry and the cake springs back. 
  8. Prepare a long sheet of baking paper lightly greased with neutral oil (it should be longer than the long side of the cake). Take the cake from the oven and tap it once against the table to prevent it from shrinking. Flip it on the prepared parchment paper right away.
  9. Peel off the parchment paper that was on the bottom of the cake. To prepare the cake for rolling, follow these steps:
    • Use a serrated knife to cut the edges of the cake on both long sides and one short side.
    • Take a long sharp knife and make 4 shallow slits (without cutting deep) about 1 cm apart on that short end.
    • Cut the opposite short side diagonally, away from the cake.
    • Let the cake cool to room temperature. 
  10. To make the mascarpone frosting, pour cold heavy cream, add cold mascarpone and icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk until firm.
  11. To assemble the rolled cake, use a bent spatula and spread the cream evenly onto the cake, leaving the angled cut empty. For a better visual, apply thicker cream on the short end with the slits and thinner cream closer to the angled cut. 
  12. Start rolling the cake from the short end with the slits helping with parchment paper. Tight the roll using a metal baking sheet or a long offset spatula (watch the video on how to tightly wrap a cake roll). 
  13. Keep the rolled cake wrapped in parchment paper with the edge facing down. Additionally, treat the ends of the roll cake like candy by covering them with parchment. Refrigerate for an hour. 
  14. Gently remove the parchment paper from the cake. Using a sharp knife, make a nice clean cut at the two ends of the roll (if needed). Transfer the cake roll to a serving tray. Cut the cake into slices 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, wiping the knife's blade between each cut.


  1. Read more about how to make a cake roll for useful tips and tricks.
  2. Every oven is different, so you may need to adjust the baking time. Download this free oven temperature conversion chart.
  3. Avoid flipping the cake on a cooling rack lined with parchment. There is a risk of leaving its traces on the surface of the roll cake.
  4. Make sure to slightly cool the cake before spreading the mascarpone whipped cream.
  5. To recalculate the amount of ingredients for another size of the baking sheet, use this simple cake pan calculator. All you need is the length and width of your baking tray.


Keywords: vanilla Swiss roll, vanilla roll cake




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