This giant gluten free Swiss roll cake recipe proves once and for all that it’s not too hard to make a beautiful rolled dessert. Dress up any holiday table with this rich gluten free chocolate cake.
I first published a recipe for gluten free “ho-hos” in 2011. I had been blogging for just over 2 years (a blogging baby!) and I was ridiculously proud of myself for coming up with a copycat recipe for a serious personal favorite treat.
Growing up, my brother and I were obsessed with Yodels. Well, he was way more obsessed than I was. I’ll leave out the details of how I know that but it has something to do with saving the foil wrapper from his very first Yodel but I’m not telling that story to protect the innocent. But when he asked me to bring over a dessert to help celebrate all of the fall birthdays in our family (there are a ton of them!), a giant Yodel was basically a no-brainer.
I made two versions of this lovely gluten free chocolate cake (more chocolate cakes!) to bring to my brother’s house. I think the crowd was kind of split down the middle for favorites. One version was filled with marshmallow creme (the homemade kind has my heart), and the other was filled with no bake cheesecake filling.
In Gluten Free Classic Snacks, the Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are filled with a 7-Minute Creme Filling. That filling is extremely similar to marshmallow creme, as it’s made with egg whites, sugar and water.
To make 7 Minute Creme Filling, rather than cooking the sugar to 240°F on its own and then whipping it with the egg whites while it’s still hot, everything is mixed together and then cooked over a double boiler until it reaches 160°F. Then the mixture is beaten for 7 minutes until light and fluffy. Six of one, half a dozen of the other—except the marshmallow creme recipe seems somehow easier to me.
This general rolled cake technique isn’t new to us here. We’ve made a Pumpkin Cake Roll and a Yule Log, but this is the first time you’re watching me make it in a video, step by step. Sometimes, a bunch of still photos are enough. But sometimes, and I think this is one of those times, you need to see it frame by painstaking frame—especially when the whole video is still super short.
Watch this short video (1 min 30 seconds)
Click play ▶ to watch this video that, in only 1 minute 30 seconds, will show you just how easy it is to make a gorgeous rolled cake.
This is the very same technique you’ll use for any rolled cake. Bake the cake until it’s just done (don’t overbake or your cake will crack!), roll it right out of the oven with a flat weave (tea) kitchen towel, and allow it to cool as coiled. The cake develops a “memory” for rolling. Like a young dog and new tricks, to torture a metaphor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically state otherwise, I haven’t tried this recipe with any of the following substitutions. They’re just my educated guesses!
Dairy-Free: I think that Earth Balance buttery sticks would work quite well as a butter substitute in this recipe. Since it’s so salty, though, I’d leave out the salt in the dry ingredients. Just make sure the chocolate you use for the glaze is dairy-free and you should be all set.
Egg-Free: If you can’t have eggs, I’m afraid I don’t think you can have this cake. My standard “chia egg” substitution recommendation just won’t work when we’re talking about 4 eggs. The egg whites could maybe be replaced with aquafaba, but the egg yolks can’t.
Chocolate-Free: Hahaha you weren’t really going to ask if you could make a chocolate cake without chocolate, were you? ?
Gluten Free Swiss Roll Cake
1/2 cup (70 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
5 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, separated into yolks and whites
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon warm water
Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling
Marshmallow creme (homemade or store-bought), for filling
14 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons (42 g) virgin coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet (a half-sheet pan) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt, and whisk to combine. Set the dry ingredients aside. In a large bowl, place the egg yolks, 1/2 cup (100 g) of the granulated sugar, the butter, and the water, and whisk vigorously until smooth and pale yellow. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolk mixture, and whisk to combine. The mixture should be thick but smooth. Set it aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, place the egg whites and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) of granulated sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until glossy peaks form. Add the egg white mixture to the large bowl of egg yolks in two parts. After adding the first part, whisk to combine well. After adding the second part, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. The batter will be fluffy. Pour it into the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer with a spatula.
Lay a flat-weave kitchen towel (a tea towel) flat on a large, clean flat surface and sprinkle it generously with confectioners’ sugar. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed gently. Remove the cake from the oven and, working quickly, immediately turn the warm cake onto the center of the prepared tea towel. Carefully remove the parchment paper from what was the underside of the cake. You now have a bare cake on a sugared tea towel. Fold the exposed ends of the tea towel over the cake and roll it tightly away from you, with the towel. Place the cake, as coiled in the towel, on a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cake has cooled, unroll it on a flat surface and spread the marshmallow creme filling on top of the cake, leaving a 1/2-inch clean border all around the cake. Reroll the cake tightly and place seam-side down, on a wire rack.
Prepare the glaze by placing the chopped chocolate and virgin coconut oil in a small, heat-safe bowl and melting either in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring well in between, until melted and smooth or in a double boiler. Allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature briefly until it begins to thicken a bit. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake on the wire rack. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature before slicing and serving.
Originally published on the blog in 2011 (!). Recipe as written adapted from Little Debbie-Style Swiss Rolls on page 119 of Gluten Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love.