Swiss Roll cakes pop up all over the place during the holiday season. And it’s easy to see why! They make for beautiful centerpieces with their light and fluffy cake swirls and thick layers of sweet filling. And a slice of a Swiss Roll makes for a delicious bite after a big holiday meal.
I elevated the traditional Swiss Roll by bringing in the flavors of one of my favorite treats, Vietnamese Coffee. The chocolate cake gets a hefty boost of espresso flavor and the filling is bursting with sweetened condensed milk flavor, making this dessert basically into Vietnamese Coffee in cake form. And I’m not angry about the end result one itty bitty tiny bit!
Please note: Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk has sponsored this content. All opinions are my own.
Bringing all the flavors of Vietnamese Coffee
A little background on my love for all things Vietnamese Coffee. My husband is Vietnamese. We know each other from high school, we started dating 20 years ago and we just recently celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. So, all this to say that I am deeply entrenched in the foods and flavors of Vietnamese cooking. And I love everything about Vietnamese cuisine! But, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, I’m sure my husband is chuckling to himself as he’s reading this.
You see, I had never had Vietnamese food before meeting my husband. And I was in my early twenties and less than adventurous in my cuisine choices you might say. The first time he took me for Vietnamese food I ordered… fried rice. Yep, that’s right. Basic, simple, fried rice. It’s delicious, don’t get me wrong. But, it’s not super adventurous. Nor did it provide me with the true experience that is the flavors of this wonderful cuisine.
Needless to say, I have come a long way since that first meal! And now my horizons have expanded greatly, including my love for Vietnamese coffee.
Flavors of Vietnamese Coffee in a Swiss Roll Cake
Vietnamese coffee is a contrast of flavors. Really strong flavors. These flavors marry in a deliciously amazing blend of bitter and sweet in Vietnamese Coffee. It begins with really strongly brewed espresso. The espresso is slowly dripped over a mug that has a generous spoonful of sweetened condensed milk sitting at the bottom. So when the steaming hot coffee hits the sweetened condensed milk, they melt into each other creating a perfectly sweetened, yet still strong and slightly bitter, mug of coffee.
My husband and I are big fans of Vietnamese Coffee and often fight over who gets the first and last sip when we order one. Yes, we could order two… But I never want a whole one to myself for fear of lying in bed later that night wide awake from all the caffeine!
So, I just knew I had to incorporate these flavors into a holiday dessert somehow. This Vietnamese Swiss Roll Cake is the perfect canvas to deliver such flavors. And what better to introduce my friends to this culturally rich flavor experience than with a Friendsgiving dessert recipe?!
How to Make a Swiss Roll Cake
Making this Vietnamese Coffee cake requires a tad bit of patience. If you’ve never made a Swiss Roll cake (Classic Pumpkin Roll also falls into this category), it’s basically a thin sponge made with loads of whipped egg whites to keep it light and airy. The cake also needs to be sturdy enough to not tear when rolled. But, also not dry. This Vietnamese Coffee Swiss Roll Cake recipe checks all those boxes. It has an espresso chocolate sponge cake that will wake up your taste buds in only the best way possible!
Once the pumped up espresso cake is baked, it’s time to whip up the filling. And it’s as easy as can be! Sweetened condensed milk whipped with butter. That’s all! Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk provides the right level of sweetness and perfect texture to make the flavors of this Vietnamese Coffee cake come to life. One can of condensed milk plus one cup of room temperature butter. Set your mixer on high and watch this delectably sweet filling come to life. Spread it onto the cooled espresso cake, roll it up and you’ve got yourself a Friendgiving holiday dessert to beat all other desserts this holiday season.
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Most Swiss roll Cake recipes call for baking a thin cake in a sheet tray, flipping it over then rolling it up in a towel sprinkled generously with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder. The reason you roll the cake is to allow the cake to take the shape of the finished rolled cake as the cake cools. A little tip is to wet the towel instead of dousing it in powdered sugar or cocoa powder then roll the cake. This allows the cake to hold it’s shape, but also helps retain moisture in the cake and prevent the cake top from sticking to the towel or cracking when the towel is unrolled later in the process
- Allow the cake to cool rolled up in the damp towel. Don’t be tempted to unroll it or skip this step. In order for the cake to hold its shape and prevent cracking or breaking when re-rolling the cake with the filling in it, this step is critical for success
- Another note about the towel: use a cotton tea towel or flour sack towel for your cake rolling. Do not use a thick or fluffy kitchen towel for this, as you do not want lint to stick to your Swiss roll cake. No one wants to pick lint off their cake before eating it, believe you me
- To boost the espresso flavor of this Vietnamese Coffee-inspired dessert, espresso simple syrup is key. It’s a simple boiled mixture of espresso, sugar and water. When cooled, it creates a slightly-thicker-than-water syrup that is brushed on the cooled espresso cake once it’s unrolled and prior to spreading the filling
Useful Kitchen Tools for this Recipe
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For more Fall and Holiday-inspired treats try these recipes:Print
For the Cake:
- 1 cup cake flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup hot brewed strong coffee
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Espresso Simple Syrup:
- ½ cup freshly brewed espresso or very strong coffee
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
For the Filling:
- 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- Prepare: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 18 x 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, and lightly grease parchment. Set aside
- Make the Cake: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in egg yolks, oil, coffee, and espresso powder until a smooth batter forms. Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 ½ – 2 minutes. Transfer ⅓ of whipped egg whites to batter and whisk gently until mixture is lightened. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold remaining egg whites into batter. Pour batter into prepared sheet tray and spread evenly with offset spatula. Firmly rap sheet tray on counter 3 times to remove large air bubbles from batter. Bake in preheated oven until cake springs back when pressed lightly in center, 12-14 minutes. While cake bakes, soak clean dish towel in water and wring out thoroughly. (You’ll use this to roll up the cake)
- Roll Cake: Transfer sheet tray from oven to wire rack. Immediately run knife around edge of sheet, then carefully invert cake into 2nd wire rack. Carefully remove parchment. Lay damp towel over cake and invert first wire rack over towel. Invert cake and remove rack from top. Starting from short side, gently roll cake and towel together into jelly roll shape. Let wrapped cake cool on rack, seam side down, for 1 hour
- Prepare Espresso Simple Syrup: Bring espresso, sugar, and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool
- Prepare the Filling: In a bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip room temperature butter, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl several times, until it has tripled in volume, and is light and fluffy, about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk in thirds, whipping for about 5-10 seconds after each addition. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl after each addition
- Assemble Vietnamese Coffee Roll: When cake is completely cooled, gently unroll cake with short side parallel to counter edge (innermost edge of cake will remain slightly curled; do not flatten). Brush espresso syrup over side of cake that is facing up. Don’t wet the cake too much. You’ll have leftover syrup. Spread filling evenly over cake, leaving ½-inch margin on each short side. Reroll cake, leaving towel behind as you roll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 days. Just before serving, brush top and sides of coffee roll lightly with espresso simple syrup. Trim both ends off cake and cut into thick slices by dipping a sharp knife into very hot water and wiping dry between cuts. Serve with an extra dollop of sweetened condensed milk filling
- Finished cake can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving
- Cake can be made ahead of time and frozen up to one month. Remove about an hour before serving to allow cake to reach room temperature
- Espresso syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
- Category: Swiss roll Cake
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American, Vietnamese
Keywords: vietnamese coffee, Vietnamese iced coffee, Vietnamese dessert, coffee roll, Swiss chocolate roll, Swiss roll cake, espresso cake, sweetened condensed milk, sweetened condensed milk filling, Russian buttercream, espresso powder, espresso chocolate cake, friendsgiving dessert recipe, eagle brand sweetened condensed milk, thanksgiving dessert recipe, thanksgiving dessert idea, nut free recipe
Thank you to Eagle Brand® for sponsoring this post!