Coffee, Cardamom & Pistachio Swiss Roll

Swiss rolls were one of my favorite challenges to watch on Great British Bake Off – so many creative ways to flavor and decorate a cute little cream cake! Week 24: Coffee, Cardamom & Pistachio Swiss Roll




I borrowed this recipe from one of the contestants on season 5 of Great British Bake Off named Chetna. Her flavor combos were always out of this world, and hopefully my roll proves her recipe proud. My cream wasn’t quite stiff enough to hold it’s shape in beautifully draped piping, so I went for the whole thing instead. One can never have too much coffee cream, right?


I’ve found that sponges are not my strong suit. Either they don’t rise at all, or they grow double the size I expected them to! They seem so different from other types of cake that I’m used to, even though they have the same basic ingredients of sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder and flavoring. Ideally, they should be super light, fluffy and delicate. In this case, a little too delicate (sometimes a roll just doesn’t wanna roll smoothly.)


Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate pistachios? How are they so good? So rich and salty without being overwhelming. And I learned from when I made the pistachio cream eclairs – buy them already shelled! Ain’t nobody got time to sit there and shell a cup of pistachios.




The recipe called for finely chopped pistachios but I decided to crush em in the mortar and pestle. It’s just too cool not to use.




I found that I don’t have a “swiss roll” pan like the recipe calls for, but a normal 9×13 pan with inch tall sides works just fine! It’s amazing how many specialized pans a person can buy. It’s so tempting to buy the mini beehive-shaped molded pans at Sur La Table, but then a small voice in the back of my head poses the inevitable question: will I use that more than once? Sigh. Until next time, mini beehives.



This is a British recipe so the food scale saved the day again! I know I’ve mentioned it before, but using grams and ml instead of cups and tablespoons is SO much easier and much more accurate. It’s almost hard to go back to the uncertainty of measuring spoons and cups when I’m making an American recipe. But then again, who cares about precision when you’re throwing together a chocolate chip banana bread with all your leftover brown bananas? It always tastes good no matter what! I digress.




I had to make my own self-rising flour with all-purpose and baking powder: 95% flour, 5% baking powder. Thank goodness it called for a nice even 100 grams!




Look at that mise en place! Late-night baking brings out my inner need for cute little bowls and pre-measured ingredients. Where can I sign up for the kitchen elves that prep everything on the GBBO? Let me know!



Before and after 10 minutes of high-speed whisking. It poofed up to double it’s size and turned a lovely pastel yellow color. Very spring-like!



I sifted the dry ingredients on to the whisked egg mixture and folded as carefully as I could. Don’t want to flatten the happy bubbles!




Almost ready for the oven!




Post-sauna, and all rolled up for a cooling nap. Apparently, letting it cool in a rolled configuration makes the later step of re-rolling with the cream easier. The phrase that comes to mind is “muscle memory” but I’m not sure that can be applied to baked goods. If so, then I’m teaching my sponge to roll up instead of lay flat!



Ready for a rolling adventure: cooled sponge all rolled up, whipped coffee cream in soft peaks, crushed pistachios and my trusty offset spatula. Here we go!



Ah well. No tears over a sponge tear.



Not bad for a first timer! Obvious goals for next time: thinner sponge, even cream layer and slight tighter roll.



The cracks are easily fixed with a nice coating of coffee cream. Ta-daa!



And a healthy dose of pistachios, mm.




Since chocolate decoration was a last minute whim, I free-handed the swirls. Going for abstract!



Just a happy little log. Here’s hoping it tastes good! I’m holding off until tonight for a family dinner, but I’ll add a little postscript if it’s yummy. If it’s not, well then it’ll be a prime suspect for a do-over bake challenge next year!


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