Corner Café

March 7, 2009

Cotton Sponge Roll 黃金蛋糕捲

Filed under: Cakes & Cupcakes — SeaDragon @ 12:00 am
Tags: , ,



Wow, the whole building was just shaken by a 4.6 earth tremor as I’m finalizing this post (Friday night, 6th Mar), felt like I’m on the sea…

This is the third variation on the Japanese Cottonsoft Sponge Cake recipe which I originally adapted from ‘Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake’ recipe by Alex Goh. Last time I changed it into a Vanilla Cotton Chiffon Cake. This time it is a sponge roll!
After the problem of sticky crust the first time I made it as a sheet cake, I adjusted the recipe slightly this time so the cake is not as fragile and I also baked it at a higher temperature to make sure the crust was dry. The result was fantastic and I even attempted for the first time the zig-zag pattern for the crust – have been wanting to do this for ages.
The only problem I had was my Cocoa Butter Cream. As I had my butter chilled, I had to soften it in the microwave. Being impatient, I over heated the butter and it melted. I had no choice but to continue and add the sugar to the melted butter and then stir in the cocoa powder (since the melted butter was already warm, so I did not dissolve it in hot water), then chilled the mixture in the refrigerator until it firmed up. The preparation for the butter cream included below was what I intended to do in the first place if I had not make the silly mistake.
One other thing was that since I had never done the zig-zag pattern before, I think I had spaced the lines too far apart this time. Next time need to space the lines closer to get a better zig-zag pattern after rolling up.

Makes one 30cm x 25cm sheet cake, roll up into approx. 20cm long roll

Japanese Cotton Sponge:
50g butter
55g plain flour
40ml milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
80g caster sugar

1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon hot water

Cocoa Butter Cream:
100g butter, softened
50g pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon hot water
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 30cm x 25cm Swiss roll tin and line the base with baking paper.
2. Melt butter over gentle heat and bring to just simmering. Remove from heat and add flour all at once, whisk quickly to form a thick roux. Add milk and vanilla, whisk to combine.
3. Add whole egg and whisk until smooth. Add egg yolk one at a time and whisk in well after each addition. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, set aside.
4. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and beat until just under stiff peaks stage.
5. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture. Repeat two more times with the remaining egg white mixture.
6. Dissolve the cocoa powder in hot water in a small mixing bowl. Remove two tablespoons (or three tablespoons for closer zig-zag lines) of the sponge batter and mix into the cocoa mixture. Transfer the cocoa mixture to a small plastic freezer bag and make a small cut in one corner for piping.
7. Pour the remaining sponge batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface and give the tin a gentle tap on the bench to settle the batter. Pipe parallel lines of the cocoa mixture on top of the sponge batter. Then use a skewer to draw across the cocoa lines to form pattern.



8. Bake for 15 minutes at 180°C, turn heat down to 170°C and bake a further 5 minutes, or until the cake feels springy when touched lightly.
9. Remove from oven and loosen the sides of the cake from the tin. Turn out onto a tea towel immediately. Remove lining paper and let cake cool completely this way, about 20-30 minutes or until room temperature. Do not let it cool too long or the cake will lose too much moisture and crack when rolling up.
10. Cut away the hard edges from the cake. Spread Cocoa Butter Cream onto the cake. Roll up from the short side; roll as tightly as possible. A good way to roll up the cake is by placing a rolling pin at the end where you are going to start rolling (with the sheet cake still sitting on the tea towel). Fold the end of the tea towel over the rolling pin to wrap it up. Then start rolling the rolling pin forward (as you roll more of the tea towel will wrap over the pin), at the same time start rolling up the cake in front of the rolling pin. Keep rolling the pin forward until the cake if fully rolled up. Then release the rolling pin from the tea towel and now wrap the tea towel over the cake roll and leave it until the cake roll is stable before cutting and serving.

Cocoa Butter Cream:
Dissolve the cocoa powder in hot water. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in cocoa mixture.


Taste: Spongy, moist and soft cake roll with cocoa butter cream filling
Consume: Best within 2-3 days
Storage: Store in airtight container in the refrigerator
Recipe References: ‘Japanese Cotton Sponge Cake’ by Alex Goh

Below’s a short YouTube video of rolling Swiss roll from a professional in Taiwan:

As seen on : 瑞士捲專賣預購-製作成形過程


  1. sd

    what a lovely roll, hope i can do just as well.

    Comment by lily ng — March 7, 2009 @ 5:08 am | Reply

  2. Wow SD

    Very very impressive. Your recreations never fail to impress me. Thanks for sharing..

    Ange 🙂

    Comment by Ange — March 7, 2009 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

    • Ange,
      No worries, and thanks for the kind words 🙂

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 8, 2009 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  3. Hi SD,

    Thanks for sharing this. I tried the original Japanese Cottonsoft Sponge Cake recipe that you had, and it turned out to be very moist, very flavourful. While it was soft and spongy, it almost felt ‘heavy’ compared to a normal sponge cake. Is that how it should be? I took a look at the texture of your latest chocolate sponge roll, and the texture looks lighter than the original recipe. Can you comment on the differences please? Thanks.

    Comment by LT — March 8, 2009 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

    • LT,
      Yes, the Japanese Cotton Sponge is denser in texture than the normal airy sponge cake, it’s tuned to our Asian tastebud of preferring moist sponge. It has to do with the liquid (milk and butter) added to the recipe and also the method of using a roux base to make the cake. For sponge cake to get the ultimate airy, fluffy texture, no liquid (including melted butter or oil) is usually added. As you start adding liquid to the cake batter, the cake will reduce in its fluffy texture and become denser in texture. So there is always a compromise, whether you like the airy, fluffy & dry texture or a denser, moist cake.

      As to the differences between this one and the original one I made, I’ve altered the amount of some ingredients slightly to get a slightly ‘dryer’ cake compared to the first one, so lighten the cake texture slightly as well.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 8, 2009 @ 10:09 pm | Reply

  4. seadragon,

    do you have the recipe for the sponge cake in birthday cake? i’ve made one and it doesn’t come out fluffly and airy instead more like a chiffon cake, the fluffliness actually comes from the beaten egg white, and it has a strong egg-y taste. below is the recipe i used to make the sponge cake. Could you please check if there’s any mistaken part in the recipe?

    7 small eggs (50 gm) or medium eggs about 60 gm. each or 5 triple “A” size eggs (85 gm)

    185 gm. castor sugar
    185 gm. plain flour
    40 gm. cornoil

    Comment by Lee — March 24, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Reply

    • Lee,
      The recipe proportion seems alright. The problem with failed sponge usually comes down to the techniques.

      From what you briefly mentioned, you separated the whites and yolks of the eggs, right? So I assumed you beat the whites first with sugar until stiff, then beat in the yolks before folding in the flour? Although this method works as well, it produces a cake with large air holes which I don’t like. For this type of sponge, my preferred method is beating whole eggs and sugar until pale and thick and the batter leaves a trail of ribbons. Please refer below to my recipes of sponge cake for frosting, you might want to read the comment section as well for more detailed explanation:

      This type of sponge does have a slight eggy smell, but should not be too strong eggy taste though, you might want to add a little vanilla to the recipe to counteract the eggy smell if that is the case.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 25, 2009 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  5. seadragon,

    Thank you for your reply. I’ve read through both recipes. There’s a question popping out in my mind, the cornstarch used is it the one used to thicken the gravy or the one made by wheat?

    Comment by Lee — March 25, 2009 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

    • Lee,
      You can use either one. I usually use the wheaten cornflour, but I’ve also used the real cornstarch before without any problems.

      Comment by SeaDragon — March 26, 2009 @ 9:28 pm | Reply

  6. Hi Seadragon 🙂

    I found your recipe yesterday and was going to make it today, but my problem is that my jelly roll pan is 17″ X 12″, how should I adjust your ingredients to fit into my pan and keep the same height of the sheet cake (nice and fluffy and not too thin)?


    Comment by Cherri — April 25, 2009 @ 8:35 am | Reply

    • By my calculation, your pan will accommodate 1.7 times my recipe. So I would suggest you double the recipe as doing a 1.7 times is complicated in getting the right amount of eggs for your sized pan.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 25, 2009 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  7. Hi dear, i’d like to ask for your permission to cpy your cotton sponge roll 🙂
    Thank u


    Comment by PH — May 15, 2009 @ 2:07 pm | Reply

    • Yes, you have my permission, but please credit it back to this page if you are going to paste it onto your web page or other public forums.

      Comment by SeaDragon — May 16, 2009 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  8. can i have recipe for the moist and soft sponge cake that sell at the bakery?

    Comment by christ — November 10, 2009 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  9. Hi there, I really enjoy with your baking all looks so yummy! By the way, I am just started a blog for selling some cupcake box and others baking items. Please link me and feel free to drop by thank you and regards

    Comment by Aishah — January 13, 2010 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  10. Hi! Seadragon
    Really impressed with your detailed explanation to every recipe .
    I like to try on new recipe, with your experience and detailed explanation, I can save a lot of hard work.
    Tks very much for sharing such valuable information.

    Will keep in touch.
    Fr Singapore, Myra Chew

    Comment by Myra Chew — March 12, 2010 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  11. First of all, I would like to thank you for posting such wonderful recipes with great directions. May I please be invited to your recipe box website and also be able to have the pleasure to view your protected recipes. Thank you so much, Quyen

    Comment by Quyen Phan — June 17, 2010 @ 11:18 am | Reply

    • Sorry, Boxes of Recipes site is not open to anyone. They are just recipes I have collected over the years, just an updated version of the recipes in my forum Home Cooking Club.

      Comment by SeaDragon — July 3, 2010 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  12. […] course, what’s a long weekend without some baking? ;)This is one cake recipe I’ve been eyeing on for a long time now. A japanese cake recipe that cooks the flour first […]

    Pingback by The long weekend! | — August 10, 2010 @ 9:13 pm | Reply

  13. […] là công thức rất tốt. Công thức gốc dành cho khuôn 30cm*25cm mình xem được ở đây, nhưng mình làm cho khuôn 15.25 * 10.25 inches, nên có chỉnh sửa 1 […]

    Pingback by Bánh bông lan cuộn « KAYLA DO LOWE — October 21, 2010 @ 2:37 am | Reply

  14. Wow your site is so amazing! Really reminds me of all the kinds of food and distinct tastes I miss eating in Asia, particularly the pastries. Hopefully I can try more of your recipes out when I have more time.

    For now, I was thinking of trying this roll cake out. It hit me today as a great idea to use as a my 18th birthday cake in July. I’m familiar with baking but my strong point is decoration. Your instructions are very detailed but I’m still a bit nervous. I think I’ll practice a bit first. Any other technical tips for a beginner? Also I don’t have a swiss tin, is a normal cake tin ok? its 23x33x5 cm, light colored. Thanks!

    Comment by Miko — April 17, 2011 @ 11:36 am | Reply

    • The tin you have should be OK to use, other than that just go ahead and practise first, any other problems I’ll be glad to help.

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 19, 2011 @ 7:27 am | Reply

  15. hi, thanks for sharing this 🙂 Now i am thinking of trying this out. Hope it will come out as gorgeous as yours ^^

    Comment by tksweets — April 19, 2011 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  16. Hi SD,
    Thanks for the lovely recipe. I am a Singaporean working and living in Guangzhou. Always experimenting new recipes in my little kitchen. Your recipe was superb. The crust was so beautiful that I wished I could send the picture to you so other readers will be convinced its a great recipe. You are wonderful to share all the tips so failure rate is reduced. You are right with the higher oven temperature so no sticky crust. Thanks again. Elaine

    Comment by Elaine — April 28, 2011 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for the kind words, it is also so rewarding to hear feedbacks like yours, cheers!

      Comment by SeaDragon — April 30, 2011 @ 9:33 am | Reply

      • Hi SD, I have tried your lovely recipe a few times doing variations with cocoa and tastewise it was always good but my challenge is rolling. I am still confused over whether to roll when its warm or cold. The last time I rolled it using the towel when its warm and unrolled when cooled, it was great (no breakages) but when I left it in the fridge overnite, the zig zag pattern got stuck to the parchment paper? Please advise how could I improve. Thanks Elaine

        Comment by Elaine — May 13, 2011 @ 11:00 am | Reply

        • As this is a sponge with high moisture content, I wouldn’t recommend rolling when it is still warm as moisture will condense on the outside making the skin wet. Wait until it just cools to room temperature, then roll. Also don’t put in the fridge still rolled up with parchment paper, moisture condenses in the fridge even when it is cold.

          Comment by SeaDragon — May 13, 2011 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  17. Thanks, SD, I shall give it another try with your advice. Elaine

    Comment by Elaine — May 16, 2011 @ 2:10 am | Reply

  18. Your roll is beautiful! I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for a long time. I was wondering, if the butter is already salted, should I still add the salt at all to the recipe? Thank you!

    Comment by Sammy — February 13, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Reply

    • Actually I usually used salted butter for most of my recipes, I will state “unsalted” in the recipe if I’ve used that. However you may omit the salt in this recipe if you prefer.

      Comment by SeaDragon — February 15, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  19. […] first is a vanilla swiss roll from Corner Cafe, adapted from Alex Goh’s Japanese cotton soft spongecake. It uses a […]

    Pingback by Have a rolling good time with swiss rolls! | From Cass with Love — March 11, 2012 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  20. love your recipe, bake cake last night and it was so yummy.

    Comment by cecilia hong — August 31, 2012 @ 9:58 am | Reply

  21. Hi SD,

    I tried your recipe and the taste is really good. However, the sponge collapsed in the middle, please help, any tips? Thanks!

    Comment by Pauline — July 5, 2013 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

    • If the cake collapsed after coming out of the oven, the most probable cause is under-baking. If it collapsed while still in the oven, then there may be other reasons, you may have done something wrong when making the batter, such as overbeating the egg whites.

      Comment by SeaDragon — July 7, 2013 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

  22. […] first is a vanilla swiss roll from Corner Cafe, adapted from Alex Goh’s Japanese cotton soft spongecake. It uses a […]

    Pingback by Swiss rolls and swiss meringue buttercream - Dessert Tales — September 16, 2013 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  23. wawooo thats good . thanx am try this is coming good its nice !!!

    Comment by baguma — October 28, 2014 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

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