Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yammy Swiss Roll

I think I have fallen in love with Swiss rolls these days, thanks to my friend for the trusty Swiss roll book that she has given me - 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷. It can be a challenge finding dependable baking books. Most books seem to scrimp on details when it comes to instructions and they would rather focus on quality styled food photography. This phenomenon seems to be more noticeable in asian bakebooks, where many a times I have spotted missing instructions, missing ingredients, blatantly wrong oven temperatures and the list goes on. Sometimes I wonder... Do the editors and authors ever bother to proof-read their work? There is no doubt that the recipes do work but I wished that more attention is paid to details.

In many aspects, this book puts many other authors to shame. The book starts off by informing the reader the conversions for the recipes when using different pan sizes. Subsequently, the author illustrates the making of 5 different kinds of sheet cakes with step-by-step photos. Next, she goes on to explain the preparation of different fillings, methods on rolling sheet cakes and introduces the required equipment and ingredients. The book comes with an instructional DVD which I have yet to use. Even without the guide of the DVD, I am able to follow her recipes and instructions with ease. If you are thinking of getting a book on Swiss rolls, you know which book to pick best.

This yam Swiss roll is the third recipe I am using from the same book. Previously, my yam Swiss roll broke while rolling as the sheet cake was too moist and it stuck to the baking paper. Hence, I have reduced the liquid contents this time. If you noticed, my swiss roll looks flat at the top. After I made my Swiss roll, I wrapped it up in baking paper and chilled it. I was unaware that my swiss roll was positioned upside-down, hence resulting in the flat top. I learnt something new again this time; remember to rest your Swiss roll upright. 

Having tried two methods of cooking the yam - steaming and boiling, I find that it is more desirable to steam the yam as it produces a nicer flavour. When the yam is boiled, some of the flavour and nutrients are lost to the water. However, it takes nearly an hour or longer to steam the yam while it takes only 15-20 minutes to boil the yam till it is soft enough to mash. 

*Yam is known as Taro in some countries and in America, sweet potatoes are known as yam.

Yam Swiss Roll (Recipe adapted from 孟老师的美味蛋糕卷)
Serving size: 8 to 10 slices
Taste and texture: Cake base is soft, moist and fluffy. Yam paste is smooth and carries a coconut fragrance.
Equipment and materials:
1) 12 x 12 inch pan or 10 x 14 inch pan
2) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater
3) Spatula
4) Wire whisk/balloon whisk
5) Mixing bowls
6) Wire rack
7) Flour sieve
8) Parchment/baking paper
9) Brush for oiling pan
10) Weighing scale

Chiffon Cake Ingredients:
80g egg yolks, room temperature
25g castor sugar
2tbs + 1 tsp corn oil
2tbs + 1 tsp water or milk
75g cake flour
160g egg whites
60g castor sugar

Yam Paste:
275g yam
45g icing sugar
35g unsalted butter
3 tbs coconut milk

Making the yam paste:
Peel yam. Do not wash the yam. Cut the yam into small strips and steam on high heat for about 1 hour or until yam is very soft. Smash yam with two fork and mix well with icing sugar. Add in unsalted butter to combine. Lastly stir in the coconut milk and mix well. Yam paste should be smooth.

Making the chiffon sponge:
Prepare Oven and line pan - Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line tin with baking/parchment paper.

Preparing the egg yolk mixture - In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 25g castor sugar, vegetable oil and water until combined. Sift in cake flour to egg yolk mixture and mix until smooth and well combined.

Beating egg whites - In a metal bowl, beat eggs whites starting with low speed. When the egg whites turn frothy, slowly increase the speed to high and beat until egg whites are soft peaks (egg whites form peak that is drooping). Add the sugar (60g) slowly at this point and continue beating until egg whites are nearly stiff but still moist and not dry. This is when the bowl is overturned, the egg whites would not budge. Egg whites will form shiny and creamy upright peaks when beater is withdrawn. Take care not to overbeat the egg whites as they will become dry or may water out.

Folding egg whites into egg yolk mixture - Fold one third of beaten egg whites with a balloon whisk into egg yolk mixture to lighten and mix well. Incorporate another one third of the whites. Lastly, add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to obtain a smooth uniformly coloured foamy batter. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula to ensure batter is well mixed.

Baking the cake - Pour batter into a 12 x 12 inch tin or 10 x 14 inch lined swiss roll tin. Level the batter and bake for 8 - 11 minutes. Start checking for doneness at 8 mins. Cake is done when inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow sheet cake to cool.

Turning the cake out - Carefully turn the baked sheet cake onto a piece of baking/parchment paper. Slowly peel off the attached baking/parchment paper from the cake. Place a new piece of baking/parchment paper over the sponge. Invert the sponge again, carefully. Now, peel of the top piece of baking/parchment paper. The skin would be stuck to the baking/parchment paper and would be removed.

Rolling the cake - Make a few slits across the breadth of the cake at the side nearest to you with a knife. Apply yam paste evenly over the surface of the sheet cake. With the shorter side/breadth facing you (if using 10 x 14 inch pan), roll the cake up tightly to form a swiss roll. Trim both ends to get a presentable looking swiss roll.

1) If sheet cake is too moist after baking and cooling, return it to the oven and bake it for a further 2-3 mins at 180 degrees C.
2) The icing sugar and butter is best combined with the yam when it is still hot.

Instagram link: http://instagram.com/bakertanbakes


  1. Your friend showed me the book once and since I can't read Chinese well, it's truly a waste.
    But the pictures are really drool worthy.

  2. hey ZY! I managed to get this book at Popular when I visit JB last saturday :) hooray!!

  3. you're posting more frequently now (: anyways, the swiss roll look so lovely, moist and yummy! (: light coloured swiss roll look so soothing and appealing tooo (:

  4. ZY, I definitely agree with you on this proof read on books.

    This author seems to be very reliable and had a few books published. Unfortunately, I am not very good with the chinese terminology. haiz... but it is nice for you to translate it for us.

  5. Another amazing swiss roll from you! Hope I get the chance to sample one of your swiss rolls soon :)

  6. Hi is it a must to add butter? I would like to bake one for my mum, but she dislike butter, what must I do? thank you for you advice.
    Fei Wah

  7. i love this book too! i love the yam fillings!

  8. Pretty swiss roll bakertan! I got this book as well & I agreed with you this is definitely a good to have book for people who wanna do swiss roll ;)

  9. hey wendy,

    i do agree that the pictures are drool worthy. Makes me wanna do swiss rolls one after another.


    hey jean,

    congrats. its a great book to have. look forward to your swiss rolls.


    hey jasmine,

    i'm in a baking spree right now. hence the more frequent posting... thanks =]


    hey edith,

    ya alot of books are filled with errors. this is really a good keep. if you can read chinese well this would be great book to have.


  10. hey eelin,

    next time i will make a swiss roll for you to try to thank you for your support =]


    hi soh,

    you can replace butter with oil, neutral flavoured ones like corn, canola, sunflower or vegetable oil. Yam pastes usually contains oil but this recipe uses butter instead.


    hey Jess,

    thanks =] my mum bought 2 big yam. I had to think of ways to use them up..


    hey cathy,

    ya! the book is superb.. more swiss rolls coming soon.. haha gonna try the sweet potato roll, choc banana, coffee walnut etc..

  11. Hey ZY, even though this roll is not as round, it still looks very soft and delicious! Yum! That's why I was saying, we should have this Swiss roll potluck party lah! Each of us bake 1 to 2 kinds of Swiss roll from this book and come together & try / feast on the many varieties of delicious Swiss roll! Hahaha!

  12. Oh, I love this yam swiss roll! Looks so yammy! However, it's a bit more work than usual swiss rolls because of the preparation of yam. Do you have any spare swiss rolls to give? Or sell? :p

  13. Cake Boy, I love your first paragraph! Shoot 'em up in style, those highly commercialized, money-minded publishers!

    Kind of like a Teochew orh-nee-inspired roulade. I'm sure any orh-nee fans would love it. I think a pandan cake base will pair up nicely, too.

    Good book, right ... I wish I can own all her books, but I can't afford to have all now. Having only like four out of her seven publications.

  14. Hello,

    I noticed that in the method for making Yam Paste, you stated "Peel yam. Do not wash the yam. Cut the yam into small strips ..."

    May I ask why Peel and do not wash? Because I have the habit of washing the yam after cutting the skin layer as some of the dirt on the surface might get on the yam.

    Is there a reason for it?

    Please advise.

    Thanks & Best Regards,

  15. Hi there, J must say that reading your blog is always very inspiring! Makes me want to bake as often as you do. But just not free:( Can't read Chinese so there goes the swiss rolls for me lol.

  16. hey Bee Bee,

    thanks! thats a great idea. But it will be alot of swiss rolls to finish, haha. I get to try out more swiss rolls recipes as well =]


    hey Jane,

    ya its slightly more troublesome. But I'm sure orh-nee lovers wont mind the extra effort to prepare it =]. well, I dont feel comfortable selling my bakes, cos I am not very confident yet, haha. if distance wasn't an issue, i would be glad to pass some to you =]


    hey pei-lin,

    haha i know its an issue you can identify with. I'm cutting down on buying asian books.

    pandan base is a great idea. it never crossed my mind. usually i will think of pandan cheese rolls.

    I have 3 of her books altogether. Dont think i will get any more books from her. Haven't even tried any recipes from her other 2 books. I think having her swiss roll book is more than enough.


    hi lynn,

    This is what I learnt from a local chef on a tv show. He mentioned that there is no need to wash the yam because water will cause the yam to become sticky. Think it might affect the texture of the yam. I simply sliced off the parts stained with dirt.


    hi Ken,

    thanks! I wished I can bake more often than I am doing now as there's tons of stuff I wanna try out.. I will try to keep at least one day free in the week for baking.

  17. Hi bakertan, do you think I can get this book fr our local Popular? I sucks at swiss roll, though it's one of my fav cake. Does 孟老师's cake uses the whole egg or egg separation method for most of her cakes? 99% of the time, I would fail at whole egg method, but am still refusing to give up. LOL...

  18. hi KWF,

    you can get it at certain popular outlets. I have seen it at Jurong point Popular and Bras Brasah Popular.

    She uses 4 to 5 different methods, not just the whole egg method. you can change the sheet cake to a recipe using separated eggs if u like.

    For the whole eggs method, after getting to the ribbon stage, you might want to stabilize the eggs by continuing to beat on low speed for about 2 minutes. Fold in the flour with a wire whisk to minimize deflation. The cake needs to be taken out of the oven as soon as it is cooked and to prevent moisture loss, covering the sponge while it is cooling will help.

  19. Hi I baked one of the roll. The surface is sticky, I overturn it stick to the Sheet of paper, when I start to roll the cake crack, what must I do? but the cake is soft and nice to eat. Thank you for your time.

  20. Hi Soh,

    The surface is sticky because the sheet cake is very moist. What I did was to invert the sheet cake twice as written in my instuctions above, so as to peel off the sticky skin layer.

    If you do not peel off the sticky layer and leave it attached to a sheet of paper, the roll will definitely crack since the skin is stuck to the paper, impeding the rolling motion.

    you could bake the sheet cake longer the next time or decrease the liquids a little (I have already decreased the amount of liquids in the recipe)

  21. Hi bakerTan, Yes, I miss out your instruction, I will take note, is all my mistake, I will try again. Thank you


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