Black Forest Swiss Roll

A chocolate cake roll filled with fresh cream, cherries and cherry liqueur. Finished with an indulgent dark chocolate ganache. this Swiss roll has all the flavours of a classic black forest gateau!

view inside sliced black forest swiss roll

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December is well and truly here, meaning Christmas is just around the corner! Are you still searching for a Christmas dessert? I’ve got you covered!

I’ve shared other festive desserts such as my Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake, No-Bake Mint Chocolate Cheesecake and No-Churn Mince Pie Ice Cream. However, this black forest Swiss roll would be another strong contender for post-Christmas dinner dessert!

The combination of sweet fresh cream and cherries, a hint of cherry liqueur with the rich chocolate ganache; this cake roll is truly indulgent.

side on view of unsliced black forest swiss roll

Why is it called Swiss roll?

Despite the name, it’s thought that Swiss roll originated from somewhere in Central Europe, possibly Austria. Swiss roll now goes by many other names, such as jelly roll and cake roll.

If you love Swiss rolls, check out my Carrot Cake Swiss Roll recipe too!

view from above of slice of black forest swiss roll

Black Forest Swiss Roll Ingredients

This decadent festive dessert is made up of mostly commonly used ingredients. Full measurements can be found in my recipe card at the end of this post, but to summarise, you’ll need:

  • Plain flour for the cake’s main structure
  • Cocoa powder adds chocolate flavour to the sponge
  • Salt to enhance the flavours
  • Caster sugar for sweetness
  • Eggs are beaten with the sugar, creating volume which results in a light, fluffy sponge!
  • Vanilla extract for added flavour
  • Kirsch/cherry liqueur which is typically found in black forest gateaux (optional)
  • Tinned black cherry filling for that sweet cherry flavour
  • Double cream which is whipped up to create the cream filling, and also used to make the ganache topping
  • Dark chocolate combined with warmed double cream creates the rich ganache topping!
 view inside sliced black forest swiss roll

How to make a homemade Black Forest Swiss Roll

Full step-by-step instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post! To summarise:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°c fan, then line a Swiss roll baking tray with baking or parchment paper and set aside
  2. Using an electric stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed until pale, frothy and thickened
  3. Sieve flour, cocoa powder and salt into the large bowl and gently fold through until well combined
  4. Pour the mixture into your Swiss roll baking tin and tilt the tin to spread evenly into all the corners
  5. Bake in your preheated oven for 9-10 minutes
  6. Place a piece of baking paper (slightly larger than the Swiss roll baking tray) and sift icing sugar on top of the paper
  7. Place the Swiss roll tray face down onto the baking paper and carefully lift the tin away. Peel away the baking paper from the cake
  8. Using a sharp knife, cut halfway through the cake about one inch from the longest edge of the cake (see photos in recipe card for a visual!)
  9. Slowly roll the warm cake up from the same edge with the baking paper still inside. Leave aside to cool
  10. Sieve the tinned black cherry filling and keep the leftover syrup aside. Add 2 tablespoons of Kirsch/cherry liqueur to the sieved cherries (optional). Stir to combine and set aside
  11. Whisk the double cream until lightly whipped and spreadable
  12. Unroll the cooled cake and brush the cake with 2-3 tablespoons of Kirsch/cherry liqueur (optional)
  13. Spread the whipped cream on top, followed by the cherries. Spoon some leftover cherry syrup on top
  14. Gently roll the cake back up and chill in the fridge while you make the ganache topping
  15. Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a small bowl. Gently warm the double cream in a small saucepan, then pour the cream onto the chocolate. Stir to combine until smooth and glossy, then leave aside to cool and slightly thicken
  16. Place your Swiss roll onto your chosen serving plate and spread the slightly thickened ganache all over using a palette knife, or just a spoon!
  17. For the log effect, I simply ran a fork along the ganache to create grooves
  18. Whip some double cream until thickened and then piped swirls on top using a star nozzle. To finish, place fresh cherries on top!
view from above of slice of black forest swiss roll

Top tips for making the best Black Forest Swiss Roll

  1. Be sure to whip the eggs and sugar until pale, fluffy and thickened. This takes around 3 minutes with my KitchenAid stand mixer on medium-high speed!
  2. Sifting the dry ingredients into the eggs and sugar removes lumps and helps to create the lightest sponge, so don’t skip this step!
  3. Hold the bowl close the baking tray when pouring in the mixture. This will help prevent any loss of volume that you’ve just created by whisking the eggs and sugar together!
  4. Dusting baking paper with icing sugar before placing the baked cake on top prevents it from sticking to the paper
  5. Adding Kirsch/cherry liqueur to the cherries and sponge is optional but helps to create that classic black forest gateau flavour!
  6. Chilling the cake before topping with ganache and before serving helps it to keep its shape. Otherwise, the filling will ooze out when icing or slicing!
side on view of sliced black forest swiss roll

Black Forest Swiss Roll FAQs

Do I roll a Swiss roll when it’s hot or cold?

You need to roll the sponge while it’s still hot from the oven; this helps to prevent it from cracking!

How do I roll a Swiss roll without it cracking?

As above, do this while it’s still warm from the oven and take your time when rolling it up to help prevent cracking.

view inside sliced black forest swiss roll

How long does homemade Swiss roll last in the fridge?

I advise eating this within 3-4 days due to the fresh cream content. However, it may need to be eaten sooner depending on the expiry date of your double cream, so be sure to check the date!

close up of slice of black forest swiss roll

Why is my Swiss Roll rubbery?

This can occur if you overmix the cake mixture. Slowly and gently fold the sieved dry ingredients through the whisked egg and sugar mixture until just combined.

This is also important to avoid knocking out all the air you’ve just whisked into the egg-sugar mixture. As there is no raising agent like baking powder, you’re relying on the thickly whipped eggs and sugar to give you your light, fluffy Swiss roll sponge cake!

close up inside sliced black forest swiss roll

To summarise, this black forest Swiss roll is:

  • made up of a light airy chocolate sponge, fresh whipped cream, sweet cherries, cherry liqueur and rich dark chocolate ganache
  • A festive dessert centrepiece that is much easier to make than it seems (and I’ve added lots of photos to help along the way!)
  • A fun twist on the classic black forest gateau!

If you try this recipe I’d love to see! You can show me by tagging me @bakerjoblog or using #bakerjoblog!

view from above of black forest swiss roll

Other Festive recipes to try:

My Christmas eBook!

An eBook of exclusive Christmas baked and no-bake recipes, with a few extra bonuses included too! Find out more by clicking the image above or clicking here! 😊

Black Forest Swiss Roll

A chocolate cake roll filled with fresh cream, cherries and cherry liqueur. Finished with an indulgent dark chocolate ganache. this swiss roll has all the flavours of a classic black forest gateau!
Prep Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 14 slices (approx.)

Equipment

  • Swiss roll baking tray
  • Electric stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Sieve
  • Pastry brush

Ingredients
  

  • 70 g plain flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt level
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 410 g tin of black cherry filling Sieve whole tin to end up with around 140g cherries. I use Prince's Black Cherry Fruit Filling
  • 4-5 tbsp Kirsch/cherry liqueur, divided 2 tbsp to soak with cherries and 2-3 tbsp to brush onto the baked cake
  • 250 ml double cream cold

Ganache Topping

  • 300 g dark chocolate finely chopped
  • 220 ml double cream

Decoration

  • 130 ml double cream cold
  • 9-10 fresh cherries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°c fan.
  • Line your Swiss roll baking tray with baking or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Using an electric stand or hand mixer with a large bowl and whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until thick, pale and frothy as shown.
    This took around 3 minutes with my KitchenAid stand mixer, so might take a little longer if using a hand mixer.
  • Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and then gently and slowly fold the dry ingredients through with a spatula, until well combined with no pockets of flour remaining.
    It's important to be gentle when folding through to avoid knocking any of the air out that you've just whisked into the egg and sugar mixture!
  • Slowly pour the mixture into your lined Swiss roll baking tray, holding the bowl as close to the tray as possible to avoid losing any volume from the mixture.
  • Gently tilt the tray slightly to help spread the mixture to all four corners and to level out the mixture.
  • Bake in your preheated oven for 9-10 minutes.
  • While the cake is in the oven, place a piece of baking or parchment paper (slightly bigger than the size of the Swiss roll baking tray) onto a work surface and dust it with icing sugar.
  • Once the cake is baked (you can tell it's baked when you touch it with your finger and it slowly springs back), remove it from the oven and carefully place it face down onto the baking paper dusted with icing sugar.
  • Carefully remove the tray (as it will be hot!), and then slowly peel the baking paper away from the baked cake.
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut halfway through the cake, about an inch away from the longest side of the cake, as shown. This is to help with rolling it up!
  • Now gently and slowly roll the cake up (with the paper inside), starting from that same side, rolling it up as tightly as possible. It's important to do this now while the cake is hot to prevent it from cracking.
  • Leave to cool completely on your countertop. Mine took around an hour to cool.
  • While your cake is cooling, sieve the whole tin of cherries over a small bowl. Retain the leftover cherry syrup for later.
  • I used a spoon to help push as much syrup through the sieve as possible.
  • Place the sieved cherries into a small bowl and add two tablespoons of Kirsch/cherry liqueur (optional). Stir to combine and leave aside.
  • Using a large bowl and the whisk attachment of your stand or hand mixer, whisk 250ml double cream on medium speed until lightly whipped and spreadable.
  • Once the cake is completely cool, slowly and gently unroll it.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush 2-3 tablespoons of Kirsch/cherry liqueur onto the cake.
  • Pour the lightly whipped cream on top and then spread evenly with a spatula or palette knife.
  • Add the cherries (leaving any liquid in the bowl) and add a few tablespoons of leftover cherry syrup.
  • Slowly and gently roll the cake back up. Due to the amount of filling some may ooze out of the sides! Place the cake into the fridge to firm up slightly while you make the ganache topping,
  • See notes at the bottom of the recipe card if you'd prefer a tighter roll inside your Swiss roll!

Ganache Topping

  • Finely chop the dark chocolate and place in a medium bowl. Chop it as finely as possible to avoid having any small lumps in your finished ganache.
  • Gently warm 220ml double cream in a small saucepan on a low heat. Once you see tiny bubbles forming around the edges, remove from the heat.
  • Pour the warmed cream onto the dark chocolate and leave for around 20 seconds to slightly melt the chocolate. Then stir until completely combined and smooth. Leave aside to cool and thicken slightly. I left mine for 10-15 minutes, though this will depend on your room temperature.
  • Remove your chilled Swiss roll from the fridge and place onto your chosen serving plate or cake stand. Using a palette knife or even just a spoon, dollop the ganache on the top and sides of your Swiss roll and spread to cover it evenly.
  • Once my ganache was spread evenly, I simply ran a fork along it to create these log-like grooves!
  • To finish, whip 130ml double cream until thick, then pipe swirls on top. Finally, top the swirls with fresh cherries!
  • Store in the fridge to firm up and between servings due to the fresh cream content. Best eaten within 3-4 days, or less depending on the expiry of your double cream.

Notes

If you’ve tried this recipe, tag @bakerjoblog on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter and/or use #bakerjoblog!
 
  • If you’d prefer a tighter roll inside the Swiss roll, simply roll the cake up from one of the shorter sides, instead of the long sides as shown. You’d still need to cut halfway through the cake an inch from one of the shorter sides to help when rolling it up. You will end up with a shorter, thicker cake, and the filling may ooze a little more with a tighter roll!
Keyword black forest, black forest swiss roll, cake roll, Swiss roll

My Christmas eBook!

An eBook of exclusive Christmas baked and no-bake recipes, with a few extra bonuses included too! Find out more by clicking the image above or clicking here! 😊

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