A fluffy and moist Japanese cake roll filled with fresh strawberries and a not-too-sweet whipped cream that is stabilized with gelatin. The most heavenly dessert.
Perfect Not-Too-Sweet Japanese Dessert
A light and airy Japanese cake roll filled with strawberries is one of the most requested recipes I had in the last few months. After the success many of you had with my Japanese Chocolate Cake Roll recipe, many expressed the desire to bake a similarly soft and fluffy chiffon cake but in a vanilla flavor so it can be filled with whichever fruit your heart desired. It took a little while because I've been happily writing away over at indulgewithbibi (this month's topic: baby sleep training) but I'm happy to finally share this recipe for a delicious strawberry swiss roll that is made in the not-too-sweet Japanese style.
This strawberry cake roll is by far one of the easiest and most delicious desserts you can make in under an hour and a half from start to finish. I highly recommend you give it a try. And if you've made it and enjoyed it, I challenge you to bring the look of your cake roll up a notch by making fancy patterns on the cake roll with this Fancy Pattern Cake Roll recipe.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Light & Fluffy - this strawberry cake roll uses a chiffon cake as the base so it's super light and airy.
- Flexible Cake Base - doesn't crack easily when rolled.
- Semi-sweet - made in the Asian dessert style, both the fresh cream filling and the cake base are mildly sweet.
- Pipeable Whipped Cream - unlike regular un-stabilized whipped cream, the stabilized whipped cream in this recipe is sturdy enough for use in cake rolls without drooping and for piping designs.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Japanese Chiffon Cake Base
- Cake Flour - cake flour is a low protein flour which will help make this cake lighter and softer than if using all purpose flour. You can also use "cake & pastry flour" which many stores sell, This is a blend of both flours with a lower protein than AP. It's ok to use AP flour if that is all you have.
- Baking soda + cream of tartar - it acts as a leavening agent in case there is any weaknesses in the meringue. It can be substituted as a group with 1 tsp. baking powder.
- Sea salt - use half the amount if using table salt.
- Granulated sugar - this first set of sugar is added into the wet ingredients to help add moisture and separate the grains.
- Neutral oil - canola, grapeseed, avocado are all good choices.
- Vanilla extract - rounds out all the flavors in the cake.
- Egg whites - fresh egg whites, large size. Preferably at room temperature.
- Granulated sugar - use only granulated sugar, powdered sugar does not work for whipping meringue.
- Cream of tartar - is an acid that helps to stabilize the meringue. It can be substituted with double the amount of lemon juice or vinegar.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Granulated sugar - the sweetness level is moderate in this recipe, add an extra 1 teaspoon if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- Heavy cream 36% M.F. - has a milk fat content of at least 36%. It can be substituted with whipping cream (with minimum 30% milk fat) but heavy cream will produce an even more sturdy frosting. It needs to be completely chilled before whipping or else it won't whip up.
- Vanilla extract
- Gelatin powder, unflavored - the Knox brand was used in this recipe. It can usually be found in the baking aisle by the yeast.
- Fresh organic strawberries - this can be substituted with other fruits like mangoes or canned peaches.
How to Prevent a Cake Roll From Sagging?
This fresh strawberry cream cake roll is filled with a fresh whipped cream that is stabilized with gelatin. For cake rolls, I prefer taking some extra steps to stabilize the cream filling because whipped cream has a tendency to deflate after a while. It's completely possible to skip the stabilization part by whipping the cream with sugar and omitting the gelatin - which a lot of recipes do - but you might find that the cream gets a bit sloppy and the shape of the cake roll doesn't hold up as well, especially after a few hours.
For use as a cake topping, whipped cream can be conveniently stabilized with powdered sugar as seen in this recipe. However, for use as a filling, it's preferable to stabilize it with gelatin instead. It may sound intimidating but it's actually quite easy and the results are well worth the effort. If you need extra guidance and tips, here is a complete tutorial on How to Stabilize Whipped Cream with Gelatin.
Can I Bake This Cake in a Different Sized Pan?
Yes, you can but the quantity of ingredients are at an optimal amount for rolling the cake into a roll without cracking. This Sloppy Peach Cake in a cup recipe will teach you how to bake this cake in different sized pans. It has the same great taste but allows more room for error if you're not confident about rolling the cake base.
Tips For the Fluffiest Chiffon Cake Roll
Unlike a sponge cake which uses no or little butter, the pillowy soft chiffon cake base in this roll uses oil instead. The secret to this Asian bakery-style roll cake is its super fluffy cake base. Here are some tips:
- Use cake flour instead of AP flour.
- Always sift cake flour to prevent clumps.
- Gently incorporate the dry-mix and wet ingredients together until no lumps of flour can be seen. Do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake.
- For the meringue, use room temperature egg whites for better volume.
- Whip the egg whites in a clean non-plastic bowl free of oil and water.
- Gently fold the meringue into the carrot cake batter, retaining the air that you've built into the meringue. Do not stir.
- Use parchment paper to line the cake pan and for rolling. It prevents sticking and tearing of the cake.
Step-By-Step Strawberry Swiss Roll
In a large mixing bowl, sift in cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Stir to combine. I like this type of strainer for sifting dry ingredients because it's quicker and provides better control. Create a well in the center. Inside it, add yolks, oil, vanilla extract and milk.
With a spatula, stir to combine until fully incorporated, do not over mix. Set this milk-flour mixture aside.
Next, Make the meringue in a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl (ex. stainless steel mixing bowl or glass mixing bowl). This is crucial as meringues do not whip well in the presence of oil and water. Whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar. Whip until stiff peaks as shown in the photo above on the right. When the whisk is pulled out, the meringue does not droop on itself.
Gently fold the meringue into the cake flour batter until fully incorporated.
Dab a little bit of the batter onto the parchment paper and stick it to the pan to prevent the paper from tipping over into the cake batter. I used a darker colored pan here giving my cake a more golden finish. It turns out this 8 x 12 pan size in this color is a little hard to find, my pan was inherited but I was able to find this one on Amazon for you.
Pour batter into lined cake pan from one spot, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula. Rap the cake pan on the counter a few times to rid excess bubbles. Bake for 14-16 min. at 325 F. Let cool 5 min. in the pan before removing. Place cooling rack over cake pan.
Flip cake over onto the rack, remove pan. Gently remove paper. The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack for 5 min.
Place a piece of new parchment paper on top of the cake. Flip the cake over and start rolling. Let it cool in this wrapped condition while making the fresh cream.
Step By Step - Stabilized Whipped Cream
Refrigerate mixing bowl and beaters in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will help cream whip better. Clean and pat dry strawberries. Remove the husk and cut into 1 cm sized pieces. Place water in heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes. Place cup in a small sauce pan filled with simmering water. Once gelatin becomes liquid, take it out of the water. Let cool on the counter.
Immediately start beating the cream and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the chilled bowl. Whip on low speed and then increase to medium. Check on the gelatin. It should no longer be warm but still runny.
Once the beaters leave tracks in the cream, pour the gelatin into the bowl slowly and steadily. Aim for the area in between the whisk and the bowl. Stop beating once the cream turns stiff. Do not over whip. Use cream to assemble the cooled cake immediately.
Clean and pat dry strawberries, then cut into 1 cm sized pieces. Apply an even layer of cream to unrolled cake roll, spread strawberries evenly apart, then roll up. Wrap cake roll in plastic wrap and place in fridge to set before cutting. Cut off the sides before serving for a cleaner finish.
Fresh Strawberry Cream Japanese Cake Roll
A fluffy and moist Japanese cake roll filled with fresh strawberries and a not-too-sweet whipped cream that is stabilized with gelatin. The most heavenly dessert.
Dry Mix for Japanese Style Chiffon Cake
- 45 grams cake flour*
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda*
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar*
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Wet Mix for Japanese Style Chiffon Cake
- 25 grams granulated sugar
- 50 ml whole fat milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 40 ml neutral oil (e.g. canola, grapeseed, avocado)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Meringue for Japanese Style Chiffon Cake
- 4 egg whites
- 50 grams granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar*
Stabilized Fresh Cream
- 1 + ¼ teaspoons powdered gelatin
- 5 teaspoons water
- 1 ¼ cup whipping cream (33%)
- 1 tablespoon +¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 10 small fresh organic strawberries
Japanese Style Chiffon Cake
- Line a 8 X 12" rectangular cake pan with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine.
- Create a well in the center. Inside it, add the wet mix.
- Stir to combine until fully incorporated, do not over mix. Set this milk-flour mixture aside.
- Now make the meringue. In a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl, whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium, once the whites become opaque and bubble size have decreased, add sugar a little bit at a time.
- Increase speed to med-high, whip until stiff peaks.* This is the meringue.
- Gently fold ⅓ of the meringue into the milk-flour mixture to get it moving. Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the meringue. Do not stir. Use batter immediately.
- Dab a bit of the batter onto the sides of the parchment paper to keep corners together. Dab a little more onto the paper and stick it to the pan to prevent the parchment paper from tipping over into the cake batter.
- Pour batter into lined cake pan from one spot, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula.
- Tap the pan on the counter to release large air pockets.
- Bake for 14-16 min. at 325 F until a skewer pulls out clean and cake springs back in the center.
- Let cool 5 min. in the pan before removing.
- Place cooling rack over cake pan.
- Flip cake over onto the rack, gently remove paper.
- The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack for 5 min.
- Place a new of parchment paper on top of the cake.
- Flip the cake over and start rolling, allowing the parchment paper to be in between the folds. This will prevent the cake from sticking to itself. It's important to roll the cake before it cools completely, otherwise, it will crack while rolling. Refer to video in post on how to roll.
- Let it cool in this wrapped condition while making the fresh cream.
Stabilized Fresh Cream Instructions
- Refrigerate mixing bowl and beaters in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes. This will help cream whip better.
- Clean and pat dry strawberries. Remove the husk and cut into 1 cm sized pieces.
- Place water in heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes.
- Place cup in a small sauce pan filled with simmering water. Once gelatin becomes liquid, take it out of the water. Let cool on the counter.
- Immediately start beating the cream and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the chilled bowl. Whip on low speed and then increase to medium.
- Check on the gelatin. It should no longer be warm but still runny.
- Once the beaters leave tracks in the cream, pour the gelatin into the bowl slowly and steadily. Aim for the area in between the whisk and the bowl.
- Stop beating once the cream turns stiff. Do not over whip.
- Use cream to assemble the cooled cake immediately.
- Gently unwrap rolled cake and spread an even layer of cream on it.
- Lay strawberries evenly apart on cream.
- Carefully roll up the cake from the short edge using the parchment paper to help push the cake onto itself.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to set before cutting.
- Before serving, cut off sides for a cleaner presentation.
- Some ingredients are repeated, use them in the same order as outlined in instructions.
- Cake flour is a low protein flour which yields soft fluffy cakes. It is preferred but can be substituted with AP Flour.
- Baking soda and cream of tartar in the dry mix can be substituted as a group with 1 tsp. baking powder.
- Cream of tartar in the meringue helps stabilize it. It can be substituted with double the amount in lemon juice or vinegar.
- Stiff peaks in characterized by the egg whites having pointed peaks that point upwards without drooping when the whisk is pulled out.
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Knox Original Unflavored Gelatine Dessert Mix (32 Packets)
Wilton Industries Perfect Results Mega Cooling Rack, Black
Rectangle Baking Pan
Vollrath 47934 4-Quart Economy Mixing Bowl, Stainless Steel
McCormick Gourmet All Natural Cream Of Tartar, 2.62 oz
PaperChef Culinary Parchment Multipurpose Non-Stick Paper, 205 sq ft
RYBACK Stainless Steel Egg White Yolk Filter Separator Cooking Tool Dishwasher Safe Chef Kitchen Gadget
Kitchenaid Handheld Mixer
Amount Per Serving Calories 269Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 112mgSodium 151mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 5g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
Note to reader: The format of this recipe was updated on May 17, 2023 to make it more concise. The method, and all ingredients and its quantities, remain the same as before.
Here are the newest flavours in this Japanese style cake roll series: Matcha Cake Roll with Adzuki Bean Cream, Carrot Cake Roll with Mascarpone Cream & Coffee Cake Roll. It is just like the ones at the cake shops, so light and fluffy!
I love, love, love this recipe! Do you think I could freeze the cake? I'm planning to make it for a birthday, make it the weekend before and serve the following Saturday.
I'm happy you enjoyed the cake and recipe. This is a delicate cake and doesn't freeze especially well with the whipped cream inside. If you need to freeze it, I recommend freezing the completely cooled cake as a flat sheet. Don't roll it yet. Once you're ready to assemble it, defrost in fridge overnight and then make the whipped cream for it. At that point, you can still keep the cake a few days after assembling. Good luck!
Thank you so much, Mimi!
I read the recipe and at the beginning it says, “Baking powder - it acts as a leavening agent in case there is any weaknesses in the meringue.” but later in the recipe it says baking soda. Which should I use?
Thank you for being so careful in reading the post body. I like to provide more information for those who need it but sometimes I wonder if it gets read. You really made my day for reading and catching such a silly mistake. The recipe card is correct, all my readers make it according to the card with great success. So to summarize: use baking soda in the recipe as per the recipe card.
So sorry if the post body created any confusion. I've fixed it now.
Can you please convert the measurements to teaspoons, tablespoons and cups? I have no idea what 45 g of cake flour is. That sounds like a weight. What would it be in cups?
The measurements are in weight. If you can, please get a kitchen scale as measuring the ingredients will provide the most consistent results in baking. You can use online calculators to convert the recipe but do keep in mind, the numbers will be approximate only or rounded.
Carrie P says
This cake looks beautiful - I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for the detailed in instructions and video on how to successfully roll it. Have you ever made this recipe gluten free? I found a great homemade flour substitute recipe made w rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, adding xanthum gum when needed. I have had success w other recipes substituting it 1:1 - I have fooled plenty of people into thinking my cupcakes are gluten-FULL when they were not! Ha! I am wondering if it will work w this recipe.
I am not sure as I haven't tried making it gluten free myself. If you have any luck with that, please come back and let us know! 🙂
Morgan Yiu says
Thank you so much for the thoughtful and in-depth process photos. After reading through everything a few times and watching your video, my attempt was a success! It was a big hit with my in-laws and NOT TOO SWEET!!! I loved that most of the ingredients were things I already had around the house too. I’m excited to make this one again, it really is a showstopper.
Thanks so much for coming back to let me know. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this with your family. That is such an amazing feeling to serve loved ones something you made yourself and how proud you must have been in that moment. There's quite a few different flavors in my cake roll series, I hope you'll have a chance to try those as well.
Baker babe says
Hi what to do if I don't have those particular pan sizes on hand?
Could I use quarter half sheet cake pan?
And is canola oil ok to use?
Hi, this post will teach you how to bake in another sized pan. Yes, canola is ok!
this cake was the softest thing i have ever made!!! i did not have vegetable oil at hand so i ended up using peanut oil, but it tasted too much of peanuts which wasn't a pleasant flavour pairing with the strawberry. however that was a mistake on my part and the cake was still very nice so i can't wait to try the recipe with the correct oil. i was also wondering if there is any way to substitute the oil with butter?
I'm so glad it worked out so well for you. Part of the reason why this cake is so soft is the oil instead of butter so I would not recommend it. The cake will harden on the fridge too when chilled. If you do want to use it, use same amount but melted. Happy baking!
what side should I role the cake on????
The side that was sticking to the parchment paper is the "outside".
Arian Z says
Hi! I'm planning to make this for dessert tomorrow night. Would it be possible to bake and assemble it all today and then wrap and fridge overnight? Or does it need to be assembled day of? What all can I do ahead of time so that tomorrow is easier?
It can definitely be made in advance, all assembled together. I usually make this cake and leave it in my fridge for a few days to enjoy. For special occasions, I prefer to make the cake and wrap it all on the same day. In case it cracks, I can make another one. To save time, I would only weigh out the ingredients. However, You can definitely make the cake portion in advance, keep it rolled up in the fridge and then add the whipped cream later.