Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Giraffe Swiss Roll 长颈鹿也疯狂

When I told my hubby that I was going to make a giraffe swiss roll, the first thing he asked was "Do you have live giraffe extract?"

Huh? What do you mean?

"Then you need to go to the zoo to collect urine and faeces..."

Oh come on, use your imagination!

Hubby was only convinced that I wasn't joking when I proudly showed him my completed masterpiece - my very first swiss roll and very first giraffe cake!

Recently there were a lot of swiss rolls floating around in the blogosphere and I decided to join in the fun. The inspiration of most bakers seemed to originate from 2 baking books, it appeared that 孟老師的美味蛋糕卷 and Junko's 彩绘蛋糕 were the "culprits" at work, making aspiring bakers go gaga over swiss rolls. I have neither of these 2 much treasured baking books on swiss rolls but luckily there is such a thing called Google. :)

The first time I tried this recipe, I was overwhelmed by the instructions (in chinese) and didn't read them carefully enough, hence there was one step which was wrongly executed. The pattern batter was too runny for piping and I didn't grease the baking paper well enough hence the giraffe pattern stuck to the baking paper! I was sad but undeterred, so I re-read the recipe a second time and tried it again the next day and finally got it right! It was quite challenging for me especially since I have never even attempted making a plain swiss roll before. :)

I adapted the recipe from here (written in Chinese) and I have written out my own detailed instructions in English below. You can also refer to here for a pictorial illustration but be warned about the japanese style of english written on this site :p

Note on 3 April 2012 - I noticed that quite a few blogs have lifted the text literally word for word for this recipe even inheriting my grammatical mistakes (I shall not name your blog but you know who you are), without even seeking permission or at least leaving me a comment on my blog. No doubt the original recipe was not from me, but it was either in Japanese or Chinese and I have taken great pains to test out the recipe, adapt it and translate it step by step in English. If you have adapted the recipe from mine, fine, please write down your own step by step instructions. But if you have used the recipe without adaptation, then kindly link back to this page and do not just copy without thinking! Thank you.

Egg Yolk Batter
3 egg yolks
15g sugar
60ml water
40ml corn oil/vegetable oil
72g plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
8g cocoa powder (I used Van Houten)

Pattern Batter
1 egg white
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp plain flour
2 tbsp of egg yolk batter

Egg White Batter
3 egg whites
50g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Prepare a rectangular swiss roll tin. Outline the giraffe pattern on a piece of baking paper and place it in the baking tin (You can google for the giraffe skin, copy and paste it in powerpoint, print it out and outline it on baking paper). Then place another fresh piece of baking paper on top. Use a baking brush dipped with a small teaspoonful of oil to grease the second layer of baking paper which is on top of the giraffe pattern. The baking paper must be well-greased if not the giraffe pattern will stick to the baking paper upon removal.

2. Steps for Egg Yolk Batter - Using a cake mixer, beat the egg yolks, then add in the sugar followed by vanilla extract, water and oil and beat well. Finally add in sifted flour (do not add cocoa powder yet) and mix well til creamy. Set aside 2 tbsp of the batter for use in step (3).

3. Steps for Pattern Batter - Using a cake mixer, whisk 1 egg white til foamy, then add in 2 tsp sugar slowly and whisk til stiff peaks. Add in 2 tbsp egg yolk batter taken from step (2),  followed by 1 tsp plain flour and mix well.  Pour the pattern batter into a piping bag and pipe out the creamy-white lines/ silhouettes of the giraffe pattern. Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degree celsius for about 1 min and remove from oven.

4. Steps for Egg White Batter - Using a cake mixer, whisk 3 egg whites and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar til foamy then add in 50g sugar slowly and whisk til stiff peaks.  

5. Add 8g sifted cocoa powder to the remaining egg yolk batter from step (2) and mix evenly using a spatula. This becomes the cocoa mixture.

6. Add the egg white batter from step (4) to the cocoa mixture from step (5) in three portions and mix lightly each time using a spatula til it is well-combined. Do not overmix otherwise the bubbles will be deflated.

7. Pour the final batter into a swiss roll tin and use a spatula to level and even out the surface of the batter. Gently bang the cake tin on the table a few times to remove any bubbles trapped in the batter. Bake at 190C for about 14 min.

8. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and quickly invert it onto a cooling rack such that the giraffe pattern is facing up. Peel off the baking paper on top carefully, making sure that the pattern remains intact.

9. Trim the 4 sides of the cake using a sharp serrated knife. Prepare a fresh sheet of baking paper, turn the cake over such that the giraffe pattern is facing down on the baking paper. Spread a layer of filling on top and gently roll it up into a swiss roll. Secure the swiss roll with the baking paper around it and leave it in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.

Note: I used apricot jam as the filling but you can use any filling you like as long as it goes well with the swiss roll. The orginal filling for this recipe is 160g whipped cream + 15g fine sugar + some canned cherries.


  1. Cute! i bought the book, so btw it's not chinese. It's Japanese.

  2. Yes, the book is by a japanese author, but is translated to chinese, and the blog from which I got the recipe was written in chinese. :)

  3. Thank you for translating the recipe and posting this! I've wanted to make this but don't read either japanese or chinese so I can't get the books. Also, thanks for the suggestion of printing out the giraffe form. I'm not artistic at all and that is helpful for me. Beautiful pix as well!

  4. how can I buy the book? thanks

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    I do not own the book 彩繪蛋糕卷 by Junko. But if you are from Singapore, I know you can buy it from Kinokuniya Singapore, costs SGD15.75.

    If you are from Malaysia, you can refer to the website of Kinokuniya Malaysia, costs 39.52 ringgit.

    Hope this helps.

  6. kudos to your giraffe swiss roll!! I bet your hb was so shocked and pleasantly surprised :) I bet it tastes just as great.

  7. Love this recipe ^_^
    Thanks for sharing

  8. I saw a photo series for this cake, but no recipe :(
    I Googled and found yours!
    My daughter loves both giraffes and cake, so I linked your blog to the photos I saw - I hope you don't mind the extra traffic, as many of my friends are likely to be popping in to get the recipe!

    THANK YOU for taking the time to transcribe the recipe from the original Japanese :)

    1. Hi,
      You are welcome to link my recipe to your blog. Do let me know when you have tried the recipe and posted it on your blog, and I will share it on this post.

  9. This looks like an amazing swiss roll. Inspires me to try it out but it looks rather difficult.

    1. Hi Bergamot,
      It looks difficult but it's actually not that difficult, if you follow the steps closely. Which part do you find difficult, maybe I can help you?

  10. I linked your recipe for people who were asking for a way to make it, there was a gorgeous photo demonstration but no recipe. I assume that's fine from what you've written above.

    1. Hi Emma,
      Thanks for the linkup. It's fine as long as you don't copy the recipe word for word, without giving any credit. Afterall, I realise it is hard to stop plagiarism on internet.

  11. Hi humble greetings
    This looks very professional :)
    Can I know what's the pan size pls ??
    Is the sponge very soft ??


  12. Hi humble greetings
    Looks very professional
    Can I know your pan size pls
    And is the sponge verry soft ??

    Thanks and sorry for the trouble

  13. Hi,
    I think my pan size is 20cm by 30cm, it was long ago and i didnt note down the size, but i only have one pan suitable for making swiss rolls. Yes, this is just like a normal swiss roll, it's very soft and spongy if you beat the egg whites correctly.

  14. Hi,
    Do you pre-cool the giraffe pattern after removing from the oven before pouring the chocolate batter?

    1. Pls leave your name, I don't reply anonymous persons as a matter of principle.

    2. Hi, Do you cool the giraffe pattern after removing from the oven before pouring the chocolate batter? Thanks

    3. Hi Noradin,
      I did the steps sequentially, by the time you finish beating the egg white batter and do the chocolate batter, the giraffe pattern would have dried out already.

    4. when the cake is baked, you turn it out while hot onto a clean kitchen cloth and roll up while hot... then allow to cool completely... then you unroll the cake, remove the cloth and paper, spread filing and re-roll... at least this is how i do jellyrolls...

  15. Hi,
    Do you cool the giraffe pattern after removing from the oven before pouring the chocolate batter? Thanks

  16. Just a quick one, do you not roll the sponge whilst it cools? Other swiss roll recipes I have used all roll the sponge as soon as it comes out of the oven. Then unroll it to fill etc. I ha e tried to roll it once cooled but it cracks. So wanted to ask . Many thanks :)

    1. Hi,
      I didnt wait for it to cool. By the time I peeled the baking paper, trimmed the edges, and flipped it over, it wasn't that warm already, and I quickly spread the fillings and rolled it up. I did not roll and unroll just to spread the fillings.

  17. I'm sorry but I don't understand the metric method of measuring. Can you convert it to tsp tbs and cups for me please???

  18. Could you please traslate en español ? Thank you

    1. I do not know Spanish, kindly use Google Translate to help yourself.

  19. This is supercool! I will try to make a gluten free version of this for my son! I found a link to your blog via the facebook page "creative ideas" love, bente pernilla from Norway

  20. so, i linked to your page, and made my own gluten free version (in Norwegian) on my page www.gutenutengluten.blogspot.no , if you would like to see.

    1. Hi Bente Pernilla,
      Thanks for the linkup! This will be the first gluten free giraffe swiss roll I have ever come across. Great job! :)

  21. Thanks so much for taking the time to figure out how to make the awesome giraffe swiss roll!....and also for taking the time to post it on your blog! I decided to make it for my kids' birthday party....we are a very tall family so "giraffes" is a family theme. But when I tried to use google translate to figure out the Japanese, it still didn't make any sense at all. Many things just don't translate straight across. In searching for an English version, I found your blog. I am excited to try this swiss roll, and especially excited that you have already figured it out for me! Thank you, thank you!

    1. You are welcome. Wish you success in making this giraffe roll. :)

  22. I think I'm going to try this recipe but make a leopard pattern instead of the giraffe pattern. I can see this same concept being used with other patterns and cake batter flavors/colors for different events. Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for dropping by my blog and taking the time to comment. All feedback and comments are greatly appreciated. Please leave your name (real or nick) if you would like me to answer a recipe question, otherwise all. anonymous questions and comments will be strictly ignored. Anonymity is one of my pet peeves. And any spam or links to adverts will be deleted. Thank you and have a nice day!

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