polka dot swiss roll


Sometime back, whilst browsing through the bookshop, I saw a cookbook for decorative swiss rolls. The author is a Japanese chef and the decorative patterns on the swiss rolls in the book are amazing. Looking through a few recipes, I saw it did not seem very difficult and excitedly purchased both of her cookbooks.

My first attempt was a super failure. The pattern I attempted was pink hearts. That was the most basic recipe within the book. My next 2 attempts were also epic failures. What happened?

The major problem encountered was the pattern refused to leave the parchment in one piece. You see, according to the instructions, you are supposed to bake the patterns in the oven for 1 minute to ‘set’ them, before pouring on the rest of the batter. The parchment paper was lightly oiled, to encourage easy removal. It is not as easy!

In those 3 attempts, I had one where the hearts got stuck on the parchment paper, another where the hearts were too well done and changed color as well as get stuck on the paper, and the final one was the shape and color was all totally off, though majority did come off the parchment paper successfully. I stuck the books in the cupboard and gave myself a long break from making decorative swiss rolls. That break might have gone on indefinitely, but for the fact I spotted this instructive video on how to make decorative swiss rolls.

The answer is to freeze the patterns before pouring on the rest of the batter! With this in mind, I tried again. A semi-success! Ah..the reason I say semi-success is because the roll cracked and I forgot to add flour to the pattern batter. 😛 This resulted in a lighter texture for the polka dots and hence easier to tear.

But I am happy.

Polka dot swiss roll (adapted from Junko’s decorative swiss roll cookbook)


  • 4 egg whites, separated into 3 and 1
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 40 ml corn oil
  • 60 ml water
  • 65 grams castor sugar, separated
  • 80 grams + 1 tsp cake flour, separated
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • corn flour
  • red food coloring


  • 100 grams whipping cream, cold
  • 15 grams castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 pieces canned peach, or any other fruits you like


  1. Line a 10 x 10 inches square pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with corn oil. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer, whisk egg yolks with 35 grams of sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually drizzle in oil, then water and beat until combined.
  4. Sift in flour and beat until just combined. Scoop out 2 tsp of batter into a medium bowl and set the rest aside.
  5. Add 1 tsp cake flour and food coloring to the batter in the medium bowl and mix until combined.
  6. Whisk 1 egg white until soft peaks form, add in a pinch of corn flour and whisk till stiff peaks stage.
  7. Fold in egg white to the colored batter until combined. Scrape into a small piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle.
  8. Pipe small circles onto the parchment lined pan. Place in the freezer and start preparing the next portion. I left mine in the freezer for 10 minutes or so.
  9. Whisk 3 egg whites until soft peaks form, add in 30 grams sugar, whisk for another minute until glossy. Add in a pinch of corn flour and whisk till stiff peaks stage.
  10. Fold in meringue to remaining egg yolk batter from step 4 until combined.
  11. Remove the pan from the freezer, carefully pour the batter from step 10 over and smooth out with an offset spatula. It is best to try to distribute the batter over all parts of the pan whilst pouring. This makes it easier to spread the batter without dislodging the piped design.
  12. Bake for 14 minutes.
  13. Remove the cake from the pan and place onto a cooling rack immediately. Carefully peel down the sides of the parchment paper from the cake. Let it cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Flip the cake over onto a grease proof paper and carefully remove the parchment paper.
  15. Let cake cool completely before filling.


  1. In a medium bowl, add whipping cream, castor sugar and vanilla extract and whisk until stiff peaks form.


  1. Flip the cake over onto a grease proof paper so that the design is on the bottom.
  2. Spread whipping cream over and arrange fruit slices.
  3. Roll up the cake and chill for 2 hours until set before slicing.


My thoughts:

  1. I think it is best not to leave the piped design in the freezer for too long, especially if your freezer is the ultra powerful type. Once the design freezes, when pouring over the main batter, the design might slide out of shape.
  2. The 1 egg white whips up to a lot. Way more than needed for my polka dot pattern. Next time I will use less egg white for the design and save that for the main batter.

The cake is soft, moist and delicious! It is a good start and I shall attempt other designs soon.


2 thoughts on “polka dot swiss roll

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