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Swiss rolls are generally best eaten on the day of baking, but the unfilled sponge can be frozen, rolled up in its paper. Defrost for 2-3 hrs at room temperature before filling.
Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Line a Swiss roll tin or shallow baking tin measuring about 25cm x 37cm on the base.
In a large roomy bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar with a pinch of salt for 6-7 minutes or until the mixture has become pale, thick and mousse-like and leaves a trail when you take the whisk out of the mix. I always use a hand-held electric whisk for this.
Sift the flour over the top, add the zest of one lemon and use a large metal spoon to gently fold it in. This takes 1 or 2 minutes to do properly – don’t rush it, you need to retain the air.
Spread the mixture out in the lined tin using a palette knife or the back of a spoon. Pop it straight into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it. It’s ready to remove from the oven when it is pale golden in colour, slightly risen and gently springy.
When it is cool enough to handle (after about 5 minutes), sprinkle the extra 2 tablespoons of caster sugar over another sheet of baking paper on the worktop. Quickly flip the cake onto the paper, then peel the lining paper from the cooked sponge. Carefully roll the warm sponge (starting from one of the short ends), using the new piece of paper as an aid to lift it. Leave to cool in the rolled-up position.
Rolling up the Swiss roll while still warm will prevent it cracking
When ready to fill, mix the lemon curd with the whipped double cream. Carefully unroll the Swiss roll and spread over the filling, then gently re-roll, finishing with a seam underneath. Make a lemon glacé icing from the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice; drizzle over. Decorate with some lemon zest. Trim the ends to neaten, then transfer to a serving plate.
Cranberry and nut Swiss roll - serves 8
This makes a lovely festive dessert. Fold the finely grated zest of 1 orange and 50g toasted chopped mixed nuts into the mixture after the flour. Unroll the sponge; spread over 4 tbsp cranberry sauce and cover with 300ml whipped double cream.
Chocolate roulade - serves 8
Mix 1 tsp instant coffee and 1 tsp vanilla extract with 2 tbsp boiling water. Sift the flour with 30g cocoa, and fold into the whisked eggs and sugar in 2 batches, followed by the coffee mixture. Mix 1 tsp cocoa with the 2 tbsp sugar for sprinkling onto the paper before rolling up the cooked sponge. Fill the roulade with 300ml double cream whisked to soft peaks with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Add 150g fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries, or you can spread the roulade with 5 tbsp slightly warmed Nutella before adding the cream.