The first time when I visited Tokyo, I was really thrilled by the number of bakeries and patisseries here. All look so good, so professional and soooo tempting to a person who has such a huge sweet tooth like me. One of the things that attracted and impressed me most was the beautiful combination of Western style and Eastern taste that was applied in many types of breads, cakes, and desserts here. It seemed to me that the Japanese pastry chefs had already reached the (more than) advanced level in their professions. And as a result, they were able to deliver such delightful and soft breads with the flavour of green tea, or create the incredible matcha or honey baumkuchens.
Inside a patisserie in Tokyo
This fruit roll cake is another example. I “met” this roll cake in almost every patisserie in Tokyo. It was amazing that all of them look very much alike: perfectly roll-shaped, bright golden cake with white cream and colorful fresh fruits inside – simple yet elegant, so attractive that passer-by just can’t resist the temptation to take a glance, and then… a slice (or a roll ). Although the three parts, i.e. the cake, the whipped cream and the fruits, contain nothing special inside, the combination of them creates such a beautiful taste of softness, tenderness, creaminess, sweetness and super-fresh tang and crunchiness (of the fruits). This cake batter is also my most favorite recipe for roll cakes. Compared to the Swiss sponge roll cake, this recipe provides a much softer and more tender cake, which is also very flexible that can be rolled even when it’s cool completely.
JAPANESE FRUIT ROLL CAKE RECIPE
EQUIPMENT: One Square pan of 9 x 13 inches (22 x 33 cm) – however, a bit smaller (for example: 8 x 12 inches/ 20 x 30 cm) or bigger pan can be used instead.
A. For the Cake
- 4 egg yolks (18 – 20 gr/yolk) – room temperature
- 20 gram (1-1/2 tablespoons) caster/ ultrafine sugar
- 40 ml (2-2/3 tablespoons) milk – room temperature
- 40 gram (3 tablespoons) vegetable oil
- 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) vanilla extract
- 30 gram (1/4 cup) all purpose flour
- 30 gram (3 tablespoons) corn starch
- 4 egg whites (30 – 35 gr/egg white) – at room temperature
- a pinch of salt
- 3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar – or substituted by lemon juice or white vinegar of equivalent amount
- 60 gram (4-1/2 tablespoons) caster/ ultrafined sugar – sifted
B. For the Filling
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream (35 – 40% fat)
- 20 gram (1-1/2 tablespoons) caster/ ultrafined sugar – sifted
- Fruits of your choice (I used 1 kiwi, 70 gr canned clementine and 8 – 10 strawberries)
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* Printable recipe:
- Preheat the oven at 170 °C (340 °F) – Top and bottom heat.
- Put the yolks and 20 gram sugar (1-1/2 tablespoons) in a bowl, gently beat them until the sugar is totally dissolved and incorporated with the yolks.
- Add milk, oil, vanilla and mix them well with the yolk and sugar.
- Sift flour and corn starch into the mixture, mix them well until we have a smooth and fully incorporated mixture.
- Whip egg whites with salt, cream of tartar and sugar until they form stiff peak, i.e. whipped egg whites become smooth and glossy, if you lift the beater, they form a peak that holds and stands.
- Fold the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture until we have a fluffy, foamy and smooth batter without big air bubbles. The batter shouldn’t be too thin or runny.
- Pour the batter into the pan (lined with parchment paper). Bake in the middle of the oven, at 170 °C (340 °F) in 25 – 30 minutes, until the cake turns dark golden. If you lightly press a finger on the cake, it should spring back in shape.
- Take the cake out of the pan and remove the parchment paper. Let it cool down on a rack.
- Whip whipping cream with sugar until it forms stiff peak. When the cream looks thicker and forms trails, it’s best to set the speed to low and continue whipping at this speed. This helps to avoid over-whipping the cream, which will make it curdled.
- Chop fruits into pieces. Put the whipped cream and fruits in refrigerator for 30 minutes. The cream will get thicker, thus easier to be spread on cake.
- When the cake is totally cool, cut off the edges, which are usually dry and easily crack when rolling. Put the cake on an aluminum foil (or parchment paper if you’d prefer) with the brown side turning up.
- Spread the whipped cream on the cake, leaving 0.5 cm (0.2 inch) on the two side edges and 2 cm (0.8 inch) on the bottom edge (as the cream will be pushed to the end when rolling). Lay fruits onto the cream.
- Gently but decisively roll the cake over. Aluminum foil may help if you’re not familiar with rolling cake. As aluminum foil is quite hard, it’s easier to hold the shape of the roll. Remember to roll the cake over in decisive motion. My experience shows that the more hesitant we are, the more easily we can break the cake.
- Wrap the roll with cling film. Chill it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. The cake is best to be served cool.