This traditional Chocolate Roll recipe (a.k.a. “Chocolate Swiss Roll”) is easy to customize with your favorite filling — traditional cream cheese, chocolate, peppermint, or whatever other creative idea you might have. It’s also easy to make ahead of time and freeze, and it is perfect for entertaining!
And…the third roll’s a charm.
Guys! Since posting my favorite pumpkin roll recipe last fall, followed by this irresistible carrot cake roll recipe this past spring, I have had sooo many of you write and ask for a third roll recipe…a chocolate roll! Or as it’s also called, a chocolate Swiss roll. I must have been living in my own little pumpkin roll bubble for too long because I had no idea these were such a thing. But I suppose that with chocolate involved, I shouldn’t have been surprised. 😉
By contrast to traditional pumpkin rolls, though, it seems like there are about a bajillion different ways you can go about making a chocolate roll. Some fill theirs with cream cheese filling, some with buttercream, some with mousse, some with straight whipped cream. Some flavor their filling with chocolate, some with raspberry, some with peppermint, some with a shot of their favorite liqueur. Some top theirs with powdered sugar, some with cocoa powder, some with chocolate ganache, some with any number of random toppings. Basically…the chocolate cake sky is the limit here.
I did some tinkering around with a few various recipes and landed upon a chocolate cake base that will get you off to a good start. And then because I’m a creature of baking-roll-habit, I stuck with my trusty cream cheese filling and dusting of powdered sugar on top. (<– So good.) But feel free to make this recipe your own, and go ahead and do yourself a favor and make a double batch. Because:
So grab your cocoa powder, and let’s make some!
If you’re brand new to the dessert roll, I highly recommend taking a peek at my pumpkin roll video to get a visual for exactly how to roll, unroll and re-roll a pumpkin/carrot/chocolate cake roll. It’s not hard at all, but I think it’s much easier to understand through a visual than with words. 👍🏻
To make the chocolate roll, begin by making your chocolate cake. The batter is really simple, and gets kicked up a notch with a touch of espresso powder. (<– Don’t worry, it won’t taste like coffee! The espresso powder just helps bring out the flavor of the chocolate. But you can also leave it out, if you’d prefer.) Once it’s ready to go, pour it into a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan that has been lined with parchment paper. (Oh, and be sure to leave yourself an extra inch or so of parchment sticking up on all sides. This will make the cake easier to roll, so that you can grab onto the parchment and not have to touch the hot cake.)
Bake the cake until it is just done. Then immediately (and very carefully!) grab onto the parchment and lift the cake out of the pan and onto a heat-safe flat surface. Then slowly roll the cake from short-end to short-end, until it forms a roll. (See above.)
Let the cake cool for a few hours until it is completely room-temp. (If you try to unroll and fill it while it’s still warm, the filling will likely melt and ooze out.) Then carefully unroll the cake, spread your filling evenly all over the surface, re-roll the cake. And voila! You can either serve it right away, or I recommend wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerating it for at least an hour so that the filling can firm up a bit.
As I said, there are about a thousand different ways that you can top and fill this chocolate roll. So feel free to Google around if you’d like something different than the suggestions I offer below. But otherwise, enjoy!! (And be sure to tag me in your photos if you make one — I’d love to see your creations!)
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