Roll Cake is one of the most popular cakes in Japan. It is similar to Swiss Roll in Europe, but the texture and tastes are actually quite different.
Japanese roll cake resembles the Swiss roll, but the chiffon sponge cake of the Japanese version is thicker and fluffier. The filling of the cake is also almost always some kind of whipped cream.
At the same time, Japanese roll cake is not as sweet as Swiss Roll as it contains less sugar. In addition, when adding matcha to the recipe, it adds a unique flavor and sweetness to the roll cake.
Japanese roll cake is well-known and everyone loves it, but its origin is still unclear. Roll cake in Japan became popular around the 1950s. Yamazaki Company, one of the biggest bread companies in Japan, started selling “Swiss Roll” – a thick sheet cake filled with a thin layer of butter. During the 2000s, roll cake specialty stores began opening up across Japan. Now, you can find roll cakes just about anywhere in Japan, ranging from supermarkets to convenience stores, to high-end bakeries and specialty shops.
As roll cakes are so popular in Japan, there are so many different flavors of roll cakes, such as standard vanilla, chocolate, and even strawberry. In our recipe, we will make a matcha roll cake, recommended for all matcha green tea lovers. We will also use a soft, lightly sweetened whipped cream for the filling, as it matches perfectly with matcha.
Using matcha powder not only gives the roll cake a traditional Japanese flavor but also gives it a beautiful color. This matcha roll cake is wonderful for any occasion. If you decorate the cake with whipped cream or fruits like strawberries, it can be served as a birthday cake or cake for a party. You can also enjoy it at any time of the year. We hope you’ll enjoy our matcha roll cake recipe, and try it out for yourself at home.
If you’d like to see us make another flavor of roll cake, let us know in the comments below!
Notes: There are some points to be aware of when making roll cake. Make sure to roll the cake right after it comes out of the oven to avoid it from cracking. It is more flexible and elastic while it is still warm. It is also important not to roll it too tightly. Always roll it carefully and gently, by only making it a little tight.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Total servings: 6
- 3 Eggs
- 70g Granulated Sugar
- 50g All-Purpose Flour
- 8g Matcha Powder
- 20g Butter
- 30g Whole Milk
- 200g Fresh Cream (around 40% fat, for the cake filling)
- 15g Granulated Sugar
This Matcha Powder is made from 100% pure green tea leaves from Uji, Kyoto. This product is a fan favorite among matcha lovers. It gives a very nice color and taste to our Matcha Roll cake!
1) Gathering the Ingredients
Gather the ingredients together. Bring the butter and eggs to room temperature. Grease your sheet pan with cooking oil or butter, then place parchment paper onto the pan. (Note: we are using a sheet pan that measures at 27x27cm).
Preheat the oven to 180C (356F).
Tip: Make sure the parchment paper goes over the sides of the pan. This will make transferring the cake much easier.
2) Making the Matcha Cake Batter
Add hot water to a large, heat-safe bowl and then place another smaller bowl overtop. In the smaller bowl, add in the butter, whole milk, and matcha powder and mix them until they are well combined.
Note: be sure that the hot water does not get into the ingredients.
3) Mixing the Eggs
Add eggs and sugar into another bowl using the same hot-water bath method and whisk using an electric beater the eggs until it becomes fluffy. Once the eggs fall back into the bowl in lines, that is your sign that the eggs have been whipped enough (It takes about 7-8 minutes on high speed).
Sift the flour into the bowl and gently fold until incorporated with a spatula. Be careful not to overmix or deflate the batter.
4) Combining the Matcha and Egg Batters
Add the egg batter into the matcha batter in thirds and mix well. Add the first third of the egg batter into the matcha batter, and then add the remaining matcha batter into the egg batter. Add each third only after the previous third has been thoroughly incorporated.
5) Baking the Cake
Pour the cake batter into the mold. Using a bench scraper, make sure the cake batter has been spread around the pan evenly. Drop the sheet pan onto the counter once to remove any air bubbles in the batter. Bake it at 180C(356F) for 12 minutes.
You know the cake is ready when you insert a wooden skewer into the center and it comes out clean.
6) Rolling Up the Cake
Remove the cake from the oven and invert it onto a sheet of parchment paper. Slowly roll up the cake together with another piece of parchment paper or a clean kitchen towel and cover with plastic wrap. Let it cool at room temperature for about an hour.
7) Prepare The Whipped Cream Filling
Add heavy cream and sugar into a bowl. Beat it using a hand mixer until it reaches medium peaks. (The peaks should be able to keep their shape if lifted with the whisk.) Unwrap the cooled cake and spread the cream filling evenly onto the cake’s surface with a bench scraper or spatula.
Tip: You can also fold diced-up strawberries, azuki (sweetened red beans), sweetened chestnuts, or even kuromame (sweetened black beans) if you'd like!
8) Rolling The Cake
Carefully roll the cake into place by wrapping it with the parchment paper once more. When it has been rolled up, place the side with the seam to the bottom. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours. Then it’s done!
Carefully unwrap the cake and cut it into 6 slices using a serrated knife.
You can store the in a Tupperware with a lid and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the cake after wrapping it in plastic wrap for up to 1 month. Allow it to defrost for a couple of hours before serving.