Green Tea Cake Roll

Green tea cake roll or swiss roll is nothing new, but I tried my first piece when I was in Hong Kong. It was from a Japanese bakery – I guess green tea is always a thing related to Japan. It’s light, airy, but not too sweet. It carried the right amount of green tea flavour, intense but not overwhelming. I was really impressed that I decided to come back and try to make it on my own.

I went through a couple authentic Japanese recipes, and came up with this version with no oil or butter in it. Instead I put in whole milk to give it a little moisture. But overall it’s the whipped egg whites that create the sponginess of the cake.

The cake itself is already quite green-tea-ish. You could totally go for plain whipped cream and skip the matcha powder. The cake could be pretty dangerous, you know it’s light and NO OIL, so you’d better show some restraint when you are about to have your second slice.

Ingredients (12-inch long cake roll):
Cake Roll
3/4 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons matcha powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Green Tea Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons matcha powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 x 17 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Sift flour, matcha and baking powder three times.
Use an electric hand mixer to beat egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks until color is lightened. Add the remaining sugar and continue beating until the mixture becomes thick and pale.
Add milk and beat to combine.
Fold in flour mixture until combine.
Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites until incorporated into the green tea batter. Then fold in the remaining egg whites until no whites remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the batter evenly. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until springy to touch.
When the pan is cool to handle (but the cake is still warm), invert the cake on a clean dish towel on your working surface. Remove the top parchment paper carefully. Then roll the cake while it’s still warm. Let it cool (wrapped) completely.
To prepare the whipped cream, beat the cream until soft peaks form, then add the powdered sugar and matcha and continue beating until firm.
When the cake is completely cool, unroll the cake, and top it with cream.
Re-roll the cake without the towel. Wrap the towel around the rolled cake and tighten lightly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Before serving, trim the ends and slice the cake.

40 comments

  1. Hello! I tried making matcha Swiss rolls a few times. Taste good but the color is never like yours. May you share which matcha powder you used?

  2. Hi Fanny,
    I made this cake a couple of times before and all came out perfect and beautiful. Today, for some reason, my cake is not green at all, but brown. Do you know what might have gone wrong?

  3. Just made this. Although it tastes nice, the cake when wrapped in the towel did not peel away from it easily. There is a problem with the moistness of the outside of the cake. Made the cake crack when rolling too because it just got stuck to all surfaces.

    1. You should dust the towel in icing (confectioners) sugar so that the sponge will not stick. This will also help prevent cracking. However, the sponge is delicate and should be treated gently otherwise it will be more prone to crack.

  4. Used to buy this roll from an Asian market in Ft. Lauderdale. Made one yesterday and came out FANTASTIC. The trick is to whisk the egg white at room temperature and to add 2 drops of lemon juice. I also sprinkled some ZEN GREEN TEA LIQUEUR to the cooled, unrolled cake. I also added some GHIRARDELLI SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE CHIPS to the whipped cream for some crunch. This is my first time making a cake roll and it’s almost all gone . You’re right, it’s so light and airy that it’s impossible to have just one slice….
    My next roll will be a TIRAMISU version (omit the Matcha, sprinkle MYERS’S DARK RUM and espresso on the cake and add some mascarpone and cocoa powder to the whipped cream…) Yummm….

  5. Just made this, Thank you so much for this recipe. I followed another online recipe before from a YouTube video and it was a disaster it was all cracky and not so soft. But this turned out really good. I put doubled to recipe and put into two pans. one was very thick dough and the other I put a very thin layer. After baking the thin layer cracked a bit. But the thick one was so perfect and I was able to bend and roll easily. I also added corn flour to plain flour as in Australia it is hard to find Cake flour.

  6. Hi,
    Do you have a youtube video soing this recipe by any chance? Its just that I like seeing it more rather than just reading it.
    Thanks!

  7. Wow! I just made this cake for mother’s day, and it was delicious! One tip I have is to add extra matcha powder if the batter is too light; the color was off on my cake. However, the directions were great and easy to follow! I’ll definitely make it again! :)

  8. i followed your recipe and my cake went super thick :( what did i do wrong? Thick 12 x 17″ baking was too big? I didnt have enough batter :( help pls!

    1. Hi Sassy, I wish I could tell you why. I make this all the time with the same pan. And it rises to what shows on the pictures. Was yours still spongy? If so, I think it’s okay?! :)

    1. Hi Peggy, have you beaten the egg whites and yolks long enough to make sure the meringue was stiff, and the yolks were really pale? Or maybe try to not over-fold the flour mixture into the batter?

    1. Hi Xiufe! Yes, I think you can treat it like a chiffon cake. I would bake in 2 or 3 cake pans, and frost with whipped cream. :)

  9. Will this freeze well? I would like to make this a few days before it is needed but wondered if it will hold up.

    1. Hi Rachel, I don’t think the whipped cream will freeze well without other stabilizing ingredients. The cake roll wrapped in plastic wrap should keep well in the fridge for a day. Or I’d suggest to replace the whipped cream filling with green tea buttercream (check out the following link for recipe). This way you can freeze it, leave it in room temperature before serving.

      http://ohsweetday.com/2014/05/matcha-green-tea-macaron.html

      Hope it helps. :)

  10. Hi there! I tried this recipe and I was wondering why the cake is so sticky…do you know how to fix that? I’m planning to serve this cake to my school in honor of National World Language week. If like to to make this cake perfect before Thursday. Thank you! I love the recipe and how good it tastes but the stickiness is annoying when it comes to cleaning and cutting.

    1. Hi Michelle, there could be two reasons:
      – underbaked. add another 1 or 2 minutes before removing the cake from oven.
      – the cake was too cool to roll. roll the cake when it’s still warm. try to dush the tea towl with powdered sugar before inverting the cake on it. It helps the stickness.
      Hope it helps.

  11. This looks really interesting! I’ve done a similar recipe with pumpkin pie filling instead of matcha, but I like the idea of using matcha in both the cake roll and the filling. This is a must try!

  12. I’ve tried to make cake roll for more than 10 times, with bad results. Your recipe sounds pretty promising, :) I think I will give it a try again. Good luck to me! haha

  13. I looooooooooooooooove green tea. Anything with green tea is my favorite. Not to mention this light and surely delicious swiss cake! Yum Yum!

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