Something I really like about Asian bakeries is that their desserts are usually lightly sweetened and come less off as I can make this one at home, unlike their brightly colored and excessively sugar filled counterparts that fill the shelves normal bakeries. Among the racks full of plump rolls, flaky egg tarts, and other things, there are usually boxes full of thickly sliced, fluffy, Swiss rolls. It’s the slightest bit ironic.
The Asian style Swiss rolls tend to roll up cake a bit thicker and spread their filling a little thinner. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Either way, I think Swiss rolls would have to be one of my favorite cakes, passing layer cakes, cupcakes, and most other types of cakes. The thing is that they have a refreshing, fluffy and lightly sweetened whipped cream filling (and maybe fruit!) instead of >3 cups of frosting slathered on.
Don’t get me wrong layer cakes are amazing and beautiful, but in my world, Swiss roll cakes pass layer cakes by a tenfold. Plus,
I suck at frosting cakes and making it perfect and flawless Swiss rolls tend to be a lot less tedious than layer cakes. The only difficult part is that they like to crack and make the ‘roll’ not so roll-like.
Also, I have never understood why people say to roll the cake up, unroll it, and then fill it. It’ll crack when you roll it up and even if it doesn’t, it will inevitably crack when you unroll it and then roll it back up. Nooooooo I do not have it in me to deal with such stress.
My suspicion has been that the recipes I used didn’t create moist cakes. These cakes are usually made from sponge cake like batter (because eggs = elasticity), but they can’t do it all alone. The moistness from the water would quickly evaporate because these are cooked with such a high surface area. As a result, oil should be used to make this cake super moist and bendable. It’s always scared me to develop a sponge like cake recipe though because beaten egg whites just seem so so fragile. I shouldn’t have been so worried.
This recipe is roughly adapted from here. Her method of making the cake was certainly surprising, intrepidly whisking the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites and then whisking in some more flour and finally folding in the oil. But her recipe + method works so so well that I couldn’t help to be amazed. I’ve converted it into cups, tbsp, and tsp (because cake isn’t an exact science…) and changed a few things and now it’s even better 😀
I mean, this recipe requires no rolling of the cake before spreading on the fillings, and it will not crack!!! If you folded it back and forth like it was a piece of paper it would probably still not break! Even though I made my cake thinner (because I didn’t have quite the size of baking pan she had), it’s still absolutely fantastic.
Okay anyhow, so I just waxed poetic about Swiss roll cakes for most of this post, but where’s the part when I actually get on subject??? Well, I’ve actually been quite on subject for most of this since vertical cakes are made kinda like swiss roll cakes except you orient them like a layer cake, with the circular part on the bottom and you frost it.
Ugggg frosting. Yeah you have to frost it. And since my apparent dislike for frosting is obvious, and my ability for frosting cakes is limited, I spread on a very very very very very thin layer of frosting, only enough to get the coconut to stick. Oh yeah and I rolled it in coconut to cover up my frosting mistakes
which is actually one of the most genius ideas ever and I really should do it more often.
Oh I also suck at cutting cakes so… There’s another reason…
So this cake? Its minimalist decorations do not give away the ultimate surprise on the inside. A freaking beautiful cake that’s striped instead of stacked, it is soft with bright hints of lemon and a creamy, fluffy inside with lightly sweetened whipped cream and thinly sliced strawberries. The frosting adds a superb sweetness with little bits of salt to contrast the rest of the cake and the coconut brings everything together delightfully. 😀
// You can make this into a full sized cake by doubling the recipe and rolling all 4 slices together.
// Coconut whipped cream also works well in place of the whipped cream. Recipe here.
Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut
For the cake
- 5 eggs separated
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Zest from one lemon
- 1/3 cup flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup oil
For the filling
- 3/4 cups cream
- 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
For the frosting
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- shredded coconut as needed
Preheat the oven to 390 F and line + grease a large baking pan (mine was around 13-16").
Whip the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Add in the lemon zest along with one egg yolk. Whisk until combined. Add in the rest of the egg yolks, one by one, whisking to combine after each addition.
Sift and whisk the flour and salt in three batches. Fold in the oil.
Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fluffy and golden.
Let it cool. Meanwhile, breat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Adjust the consistency by adding in a tablespoon or two of milk.
Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.
Take the cooled cake and trim off the edges. Cut it in half long ways (or as my elementary teacher would say, "hot dog style" :D). Place the sliced strawberries on both of the strips of cake and spread on the whipped cream.
Starting from the short side, roll one of the strips into a log and then place it on the short side of the other strip. Roll it up to form a cake.
Place it on a surface so that one of the circular sides is on the bottom. Frost the cake thinly and press on the coconut.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.