Look Ma, No Cracks!

Nope, I’m not back in the kitchen, not properly or full-time-ish anyway, but I’m picking out the pictures and recipes that have been collecting dust in my drafts (bin) since… alphatime. So just this January (aka, yonks ago), I bought myself a Kate. No, not Kate Spade – that’s an old joke (for non-Singaporeans, just google Kate Spade and elections, then go figure…). No, it’s not Kate Middleton either – that’s much too posh (say it with you mouth in a perfect O) and I certainly can’t afford the ring that comes with her. But this, oh this cranberry sexy thing is what I’m talking about. This blushing new bride was admired for right about less than a day, and then, as Madonna coos, ‘like a virgin, touched for the very first time’, she was no longer. Ahem.

Kate lost it, *coughsiamtooembarrassedtosayitoutloudcoughs*, to the most perfectly bronzed Swiss dude that stepped out of my kitchen. Hairless, poreless, smelling like the tropics (think coconut!), and with skin that puts most people to shame, I’d say he was the perfect thing to hook up with Kate. Yes I am the dreamcatcher dream matchmaker, thank you very much.

Anyway, getting these two hotties together could have gone either way for me – ego-boosting or soul-destroying. I’m glad it was the former because I’ve always had a fear of Swiss dudes, and to me, it’s just so darn hard to get the skin right. Too much tanning, and one winds up looking like cracked dirty feet; too little and one looks like erm, alabaster me or the equivalent of a pink baby pig. But Kate seemed to bring a little bit of lady luck with her, for I have conquered the Swiss that had long refused to tame in my hands, and now he’s just…..perfect. Poreless, scrumptious, soft and so delicious with all that toasted coconut whipped cream within. Oops, did I just say whipped cream? Sorry, Kate, everyone seems to know your ‘preferences’ now…

Here’s how to get YOUR Swiss dude that smells and tastes like a beach holiday:

Pandan soufflé Swiss roll with toasted coconut whipped cream
(adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida)

For the roll:

1 egg
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
35g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
10g corn flour
60g coconut milk
3 egg whites
85g caster sugar
1 teaspoon pandan extract
1 tablespoon pandan juice (6-7 pandan leaves, finely chopped and pounded with 1 tablespoon water, squeeze juice out and pass through sieve to remove any debris)
1/2 teaspoon green liquid colouring

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 12 inch by 9 inch cake pan with baking parchment, making sure the edges high enough to peek out from the tray as you’ll be using these to handle the sponge later.
2. Combine 1 egg, 3 egg yolks, vanilla, pandan extract, pandan juice, green colouring in a small bowl and lightly beat to incorporate. Set this mixture aside.
3. Sift flours together twice, and set aside.
4. Heat butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Add sifted flour to melted butter and cook till you get a dough that comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove this dough to a bowl, and add the egg mixture from Step 2 in small amounts. Gradually mix the dough and egg mixture into a smooth batter with each addition. Add coconut milk to the batter and combine well. Strain the batter through a sieve and set the batter aside.
5. In a clean bowl, whip up egg whites till foamy. Add half of the sugar and beat for a few minutes, then add the remaining sugar and beat till stiff and glossy peaks are formed.
6. Gently fold one-third of this meringue mixture from Step 5 to the batter from Step 4 till roughly incorporated. Fold in the remaining meringue until just incorporated. Pour this batter into the cake pan and smooth the surface out with a scraper. Bake the sponge for 18 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, loosely cover the cake with a piece of aluminium foil and place it on a cooling rack to cool completely. Remember to keep the foil on, so the moisture won’t be lost from the cake. This will prevent the sponge from cracking when you try to roll it.

For the sponge filling:

200g whipping cream, cold
2 tablespoons caster sugar
25g dessicated coconut
5g unsalted butter
Pinch of salt

1. Melt unsalted butter in a shallow pan, add a pinch of salt and lightly toast the dessicated coconut in it. The coconut flakes should turn golden brown.
2. Beat whipping cream and sugar till just about stiff. Do not overbeat this as the cream will split. Gently mix in the toasted coconut, and set aside.
3. Peel the baking parchment off the sponge, and carefully turn the sponge over such that brown skin is in contact with the peeled parchment (or use a new parchment if it’s easier to lay that out). Lift the cooled sponge (using edges of the baking parchment) onto a clean tea towel. Gently roll the sponge up using the tea towel as a guide and hold it loosely for a minute or two. Unroll the sponge again, remove the baking parchment, and leave the sponge on the tea towel. Spread the cream evenly across the green surface of the sponge (I like to have the browned skin outside the roll) with a spatula. Using the tea towel as guide, roll the sponge up again, carefully re-positioning the towel as the cake comes into contact with the cream. You don’t want the cream to get on the towel! Cut the edges of the roll to make it pretty and neat, and there you have it, your very own Swiss stud!

If you like pandan and coconut flavours, don’t forget to check out my pandan chiffon cake here!

*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Check out my profiles on Foodgawker and Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.


63 thoughts on “Look Ma, No Cracks!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Su-yin: Thank you! I rolled it as I held my breath, because I’ve made Swiss roll a few times with other recipes, and they cracked! With this recipe, everything works well, in fact, I may make some soon….

  1. sylvia

    this looks AMAZING!!!!! i’m going to ahve to try it sometime! though i still haven’t found pandan leaves in canada yet.. boo hoo..

  2. imp

    What a delightful piece of writing about Kate! Even though I don’t bake and can only pass on your recipes to friends who do, I love your words. 🙂

  3. agi


    i just bought some pandan sugar!!! how much do u think i should use, because i can`t be bothered to make the juice and also how much sugar should i omit??

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      agi: I’m not sure if pandan sugar would be the best to use when you don’t have pandan juice. I would really suggest using pandan essence or pandan paste if you don’t want to make the juice. I have never had pandan sugar before, so I don’t know what it tastes like. Besides, if you change the sugar levels, the cake structure and taste will change quite a bit.

  4. Doris

    Hi, so glad to stumble upon your site… Your pandan roll looks yummy! I followed your pandan chiffon recipe and it turned out great 🙂 not sure if you notice but you left out the step on mixing the flour to the yolk mixture.

    can I just check if 60g of coconut milk is the same as 60ml?

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hi Doris,

      I’m glad the chiffon recipe turned out great! Thanks for the heads up on the missing step, I’ve added it in. I haven’t tried to see if 60ml of coconut milk weighs 60g but I don’t think so as I reckon the density of coconut milk is different from water. It’s best to weigh it out for accuracy.

  5. doris

    Thanks for the reply. I did weigh the coconut milk after all. I tried out the recipe and was glad it turned out good. Just wanna check… is the sponge supposed to be like the usual swiss roll or is it supposed to be more ‘moist’? I didn’t get the bright cheery green colour roll like yours cos I couldn’t find pandan extract here (yet). Would have to get hold of a bottle ASAP 🙂

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      doris: Glad the recipe turned out food! This is a souffle roll, so it will be more moist than usual swiss rolls. You can add some liquid green food colouring to get the colour, but pandan extract works too!

  6. doris

    Hi, just need some advice on rolling the souffle roll. After it’s been cooled on the wire rack, do you remove the parchment from the souffle roll and turn the cake onto a new piece of parchment? Or do you turn it on the tea towel? I’m a little confused on this bit here. Thanks!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      doris: Hello! I’ve updated the steps to make it a little clearer, you can turn the sponge onto the same piece of parchment or new one (I used the old one to save on parchment, but having a new one laid out on the table, would probably be easier if you’re flipping the sponge onto it). And then with the sponge on the parchment, move everything up to the tea towel, such that sponge is on parchment, which is in turn in contact with the tea towel. I hope I’m making sense? If not, please drop me a line again. =)

  7. Doris

    Oh thank you so much for updating the instructions! Now I understood what you meant! I did turned the spongevon the new parchmentvonce but the ‘brown skin’ got a bit stuck to the parchment….not sure if it’s because it was still warm and damp. Do you need to completely cool it before you turn it over?

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Doris: No problem! I’m not sure if the brown skin was stuck because it was still warm and damp, but for me, I cool it down first before I do anything to the sponge. Do have a look at my recipe, I’ve specified this in one of the steps. =)

  8. baker in training

    i finally got a chance to make this, and still had some cracks but most surprisingly when i went to cut it, the sponge roll didn’t look like a sponge but rather a dense, almost looking uncooked roll-which i knew it couldn’t be as it tasted cooked??! not sure where i went wrong, possibly when i put the flour into the butter and stirred….it only took perhaps a minute for it to come away from the sides…should it have been cooked more or less??? i’ve made pandan chiffon cakes before and it has never come out looking uncooked like this?? i am keen to give it another go…..

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      baker in training: That’s so strange! For me, I cooked the flour and butter for more than a minute definitely, although I’m not sure if that is the key step that makes the sponge look cooked. I would have thought that in your case, it would be the opposite i.e. if we undercook the butter and flour, it would taste uncooked, rather than look uncooked. This sponge is actually different from the chiffon cakes – chiffon cakes are much lighter and fluffier, whereas the sponge would be more dense, but it still shouldn’t look uncooked. When you say uncooked, what do you mean? Does the cake look wet etc? Also when you mix the dough and egg together, did you get a homogenous batter?

  9. baker in training

    it did look a little wet but I actually cooked it for 20mins as my pan was around 12inch by 8inch so I took that into account. It looked really dense-and yes almost a wet look, but it did hold ( I wish I could send you a pic-although my sister still loved the taste and she took it with her). I used this premium coconut milk which is on the thicker side, I am going to try doing this again with a thinner coconut milk just to rule this out. When i mixed the dough and egg together it came together beautifully…so I don’t know where I went wrong! I used a whisk to mix everything to combine and folded the egg white with a spatula-I did put it in a pan which was too big and had to move it to another pan (lesson learnt there!) maybe I knocked all the air out at that stage? hmmm..also is there a reason why you don’t use cream of tartar when whisking the egg white?
    this is doing my head in-I have to make it again to satisfy myself!!!!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      baker in training: The coconut milk that I used was thinner, so perhaps that affected the texture. Also perhaps you could bake it for 2 more minutes to see if it makes a difference. I didn’t use cream of tartar as the recipe didn’t call for it…also the thing is we don’t really need the sponge to be super fluffy like a chiffon, as you still want enough stretch-iness in the sponge to be able to roll it. Do let me know how the tweaking goes! I know how you feel about this, I used to make swiss rolls over and over again as I couldn’t get them crack-free and perfect, until this recipe came through for me! Good luck!

  10. baker in training

    well I tried it again and again it came out very dense in the middle….so on my 3rd attempt (after a sleepless night) I decided not to cook the butter and flour but instead added it after I whisked the egg yolk and it came out much better……still not as light as a chiffon cake mostly I think it is due to the butter but I agree with you it does need the stretchiness….
    I assume it was a big hit as there was a little argument who would get the last piece! just out of curiosity though, has anyone else had this problem?

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      baker in training: yes cooking the butter and flour together gives a stretchiness. It won’t be as light as a chiffon cake because of this, but it should be pretty close and yummy nonetheless.

  11. Pingback: Coconut Swiss Roll with Chocolate coconut mousse filling and white chocolate cream cheese icing. (As used in Surf’s Up cake) | scramtucker

  12. Carmen Lee

    Your recipe looks delicious; pandan flavored cake has been on my to-do list for a while. I have a few questions though. Can I substitute corn flour with something else? Can I use all extract? If so, how much would I use? Thanks for the help! (PS – just saw your lychee chiffon cake recipe.. mmmm)

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Carmen: You can substitute the combination of plain flour + corn flour with cake flour, which is a low-gluten flour. The only reason why I used corn flour in addition to plain flour was because I didn’t have access to cake flour. Yes you may use extract to the same amount, just make sure you have good quality extract.

  13. Mike

    Hi – I just read online that there are 2 types of dessicated coconut – sweetened and unsweetened. What type are you using here? Thanks.

  14. Nhung

    I’ve been searching for ‘the’ recipe for swiss roll and this is the winner. Just made it earlier. My hubby and I finished the cake as soon as it cooled off. I just can’t wait to bake another one tomorrow. That was for the taste and texture; for appearances, mine did not have the flawless skin like yours, all was actually still green ^_^
    You made me want to buy the book Okashi… too but it’s so overpriced on amazon ($400). Please introduce more recipes from this book.
    Thank you so much.

  15. Evenstar

    Look so nice, i will defintely try this recipe. But may I ask u one question, how can u manage in order to make the skin didn’t peel off when you put upside down, put the filling and rolling it ?

  16. Phyllis

    Hi, thank you for the wonderful recipe! It is definitely the best recipe sonfar after having tried so many swill roll recipes.. Tried it today and had 1 problem and a question though, #1 the brown side looks smooth before I open the oven door and seconds after the oven door was opened, the brown side became wrinkled! #2 most other recipes requires the assembled product to be chilled for at least 1 hour before serving. How about this? Thanks!

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hi there. Perhaps try leaving it to cool in the oven for a short period of time before taking it out of the oven? For me, I didn’t have this problem. I simply took the sponge out from the oven, covered it loosely with foil and let it cool completely at room temperature.

  17. Joaquim

    Hi Rachel,

    After 3 tries, I finally managed to get a nice brown intact skin! Yayness. I can’t see to get similar consistency like yours in the pic for the cream though. Is there any specific details I should take note of? After the cream thickens, I will add the dessicated coconut, which makes the whole cream really lumpy. I tried decreasing the amount of coconut but it still becomes lumpy.


  18. Desiree

    Hello: Can you please tellme how to convert grams into cups? I’m from the US. I will try this out 🙂 I’m a new baker ….

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hi Desiree, I would ask that you google for the conversion of specific items. For example, one cup caster sugar would differ from one cup plain flour in terms of weight. It’s best the do this in grams though as some of the quantities are too small to be quantified by cups. Good luck!

  19. Evelyn

    Hi there! I usually never comment on blogs, but I really want to make this cake for my dad’s birthday today. However, when I cook the butter and flour, everything went disastrous. I had the butter melted evenly on low heat, but when I added the sifted flour, it made HUGE lumps. It was all crumbly and there was still flour in the saucepan. It’s like I only added a teaspoon of water. What did I do wrong? What do I do now?

    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Hi, this has never happened to me before. What I do is to stir the flour as soon as I sprinkle some into the melted butter, instead of dumping all the flour in it as the flour will just soak up the butter and leave no liquid for the dough to come together. Also, it has to be on really low heat as the butter sizzles to nothingness when left on higher heat than necessary or when left on the heat for too long before the flour is added.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s