Matcha Swiss Roll

July  1, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Betty | le jus d'orange
  • Makes 1 cake
Author Notes

This cake is inspired by my Japanese language class in high school. That’s right - I’ve been using this recipe as my go-to not-too-sweet cake for over five years. It started when I was first interested in baking. My teacher had a cute Japanese baking magazine filled with pretty images of pretty cakes. I immediately honed in on a fluffy-looking cake roll and decided to make it a project: to translate it and make it! As a non-experienced baker, I was flummoxed by the different measurements, the requirement for a scale, and the unfamiliar ingredients. Eventually, with the help of my teacher, I came up with a workable recipe and tried my hand with it. It was good, but not what I’d expected. So, I tabled it. Several years past, and I’d learned more about baking cakes, whipping up meringues, and other tidbits of information that helped me understand what I did wrong and how the recipe needed to be changed. To make a long story short, a couple of years after my initial translated recipe, I was able to struggle my way through many iterations and finally came up with a light, fluffy cake recipe.

My preferred version of this cake is with culinary-grade matcha. Matcha is a Japanese green tea that is ground into a powder form. Because we ingest the whole leaf instead of just water brewed from the leaves, it is said to be extremely healthy. More recently, matcha has become a very hip drink, with matcha bars and cafes popping up everywhere. I love drinking matcha - I drink a cup everyday in lieu of coffee, but my first introduction to it was actually in the form of ice cream! I loved the vibrant, deep green color it contributed, and the taste was unique but mild. Even better? It wasn’t too sweet. I hunted down a package of matcha and have been baking with it ever since. The taste works well in this recipe, especially when paired with a light whipped cream.

This matcha roll is easy to make (way easier than a layer cake), quick to whip up, and beautiful in presentation. It's also very customizable - I've done black sesame rolls, orange rolls, strawberry, rose, etc... and you can prop it on its side for a vertical cake roll (see blog)! For this cake, I always measure my dry ingredients in grams, but I’ve provided the cup measure as well. —Betty

What You'll Need
  • For the matcha cake:
  • 120 grams (1 cup) cake flour
  • 5 grams ( 1/2 teaspoon) baking powder
  • 10 grams (2 heaping tablespoons) culinary-grade Matcha
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 110 grams (about 3/4 cups minus 2 tablespoon) sugar
  • 45 milliliters whole milk
  • For the whipped cream filling:
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  1. Line a jelly roll pan or deep baking dish with parchment paper and set aside a clean tea towel. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, matcha, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and milk until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes.
  4. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture and fold until combined. Add in the egg whites in thirds, folding them in each time until just combined. The texture should be light but not fluid like water; it should also be thick but slightly fluffy.
  6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
  7. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen it. Invert it onto your prepared tea towel. Gently remove the parchment paper from it. Starting from the shorter edge, roll the cake into to create a loose log. This shapes the cake without causing any cracks. While rolled up, allow it to cool completely to room temperature.
  9. Meanwhile, make the whipped cream filling. In a cold bowl, whip cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
  10. When the cake roll is at room temperature, gently unroll it and evenly spread the whipped cream across its surface. Re-roll it and sprinkle confectioners sugar over the top. (I sometimes spread a layer of cream on the top with some sprinkled coconut flakes across the surface, but that is entirely optional! )

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • bigred
  • Robin Mitnick
    Robin Mitnick
  • Sara Vlahovic
    Sara Vlahovic
  • Giustina
  • pdxamy
betty is a food blogger and wedding photographer based in Boston, MA.

9 Reviews

bigred March 17, 2017
I was not pleased with this recipe, a lot of work and ingredients for a tough cake with an odd flavor. I would not make it again.
Robin M. October 25, 2015
How big is the pan you use for baking? Thanks! Looks yummy.
Amandine October 19, 2015
Hi Betty,
how big is this cake? how many portions can you get out of the recipe?
Thanks in advance!
Sara V. September 18, 2015
Hi Betty. What size jelly roll pan?
Douglas B. August 29, 2015
A fine cake this makes, I used Bob's Glutton free flour. I also made a mango pure (see mango/tamarind margarita recipe here) a Greta Light Summer after supper or afternoon treat
Giustina August 19, 2015
I adapted this recipe to what I had on hand. I subbed black sesame powder for matcha and baked it in an 8 inch cake pan for 20 minutes. I also don't have cake flour so I used just under 1 cup of all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. (My first time doing that after reading an article.) The results were good. Not "wow", but good. I'm not much of a baker so I could use some pointers! I thought the sweetness of the cake was perfectly fine but the texture was the part that threw me off. It's flat but "springy". It kind of doesn't yield easily to the side of your fork when you're eating it. Something to do with the eggs? Cornstarch? Or because the cake itself doesn't have fat? I dunno!

Anyway, still a good cake and super fast to make. There are a lot of dessert recipes out there with so much sugar and butter. (Two sticks for one dessert? Must be delicious but eeep!) I also thought it tasted just as good if not better the next day after being refrigerated so it holds up really well as a make ahead cake. So I still have some love for this one even though I don't have the hang of it yet. I'd love to try it again once I get some matcha. Thanks for sharing This recipe!
pdxamy July 17, 2015
I'd love to take this to work for a coworker's birthday. How is it if you make it the night before?
Betty July 17, 2015
I've done the exact thing and it holds well overnight :). In fact, I'd almost say the flavor tastes better after a night in the fridge.
RENEE July 16, 2015
oh betty i absolutely LOVE this! matcha & cream... mmm sounds so wonderful. beautiful photos as well!