The fluffiest gingerbread cheesecake Swiss roll made with a flexible Japanese-style chiffon cake base that's easy to roll up. Perfect festive dessert for the cheesecake lover.
This gingerbread cheesecake roll was inspired by the flavours and ingredients from my latest cake roll recipe: Pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling. One thing different that I wanted to achieve in this recipe is the stabilization of the cheesecake filling. It just gives this Swiss roll a more distinctive cheesecake flavour and a sturdier filling to keep the Swiss roll nice and round. Many readers have commented on how fluffy they found the chiffon base of my other cake rolls, I think you'll really enjoy the Asian-style take on this traditional Christmas dessert. If you make this recipe, please let me know by leaving a comment below or on Instagram and Facebook. I love to hear your feedback. Happy Holidays!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- Festive flavored Swiss roll that's a good foundation for holiday themed desserts
- Great base for Christmas Bûche de Noël/cake log.
- Flexible cake base prevents cracking
- Japanese-style fluffy cake base - the fluffiest gingerbread cake around!
- Stabilized cheesecake filling is strong and sturdy for presentation on dessert tables
What Makes This Cake Roll So Fluffy?
Like most of the cakes in my cake roll collection, this gingerbread cake roll uses a chiffon cake base. Similar to sponge cake, chiffon cakes are a type of foam cake that relies on egg whites as the leavening agent and uses oil as the fat, making it very soft and fluffy, even straight out of the fridge (because it doesn't harden like it would with butter).
How This Recipe Differs From My Previous Ones
As mentioned above, this cake roll uses a chiffon cake base that contains both egg yolks and egg whites giving it a richer flavor. In this way it's similar to these cake rolls: strawberry cake roll, chocolate cake roll, carrot cake roll, coffee cake roll, pumpkin cake roll and matcha cake roll. It's dissimilar to the yolk-less fancy pattern cake roll which uses only egg whites for a leaner tasting cake that is easier to color accurately and draw beautiful prints with.
Do I Need to Stabilize the Cheesecake Filling?
The cheesecake filling in this cake is similar to the one from pumpkin cream cheese cake roll. That one is easier to prepare and contains only 4 ingredients but will be less sturdy. This one, on the other hand, is stabilized and tastes more like cheesecake. For use in a cake roll, I like stabilizing the cheesecake filling with gelatin because it's more aesthetically pleasing - the roll stays rounder, and the filling won't start pushing out from the ends. It's not necessary to stabilize it if you're not too picky about the way it looks.
Recipe alternatives: You can also try filling this gingerbread roll with this Mascarpone Whipped Cream filling, it's similar in taste but it has less tang.
Gingerbread Spice Substitutes
Classic gingerbread spices are commonly made up of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. The first 3 spices are usually found in most home spice racks because they are often used in a variety of recipes. If you don't have them yet, it's worth investing in. However, if you would rather not buy a few bottles of spices that you might not use again, you can substitute all the spices in the recipe with an equal amount of a manufacturer's Gingerbread spice blend like the one I've linked below. Lastly, if you have all three spices except for cloves, you can also substitute it with allspice or cinnamon.
How to Prepare Ingredients & Substitutions
Dry Mix for Cake Batter
- Cake flour - a low protein flour which will help make this cake softer than if using AP flour. It usually has a protein content between 6-8% while pastry flour, also a lower protein flour, has a protein content between 8-9%. Grocery stores usually sell a combination of cake and pastry flour at 7-9% protein. It can be substituted with all-purpose flour but the cake will be a little tougher than if using cake flour.
- Baking powder - it acts as a leavening agent in case there is any weaknesses in the meringue. It can be skipped if you don't have any and you're careful with the meringue preparation.
- Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg - all the spices together can be substituted with gingerbread spice.
- Sea salt - used to highlight the flavors in the cake. Use half the amount if using table salt.
Wet Mix for Cake Batter
- Neutral vegetable oil - neutral tasting canola, grapeseed, avocado oils are all good choices.
- Granulated sugar - this first set of sugar is added into the wet ingredients to help add moisture and to break up the grains in the dry mix.
- Egg yolks - from large sized eggs.
- Vanilla extract - rounds out the flavors. Since vanilla is not the main flavor, feel free to use an artificial kind to save costs as pure vanilla can be quite pricey.
Meringue for Cake Batter
- Egg whites - from large eggs. Room temperature ones will whip to volume better. Soak cold eggs in warm water to bring to room temperature quickly.
- 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. You can skip it if you're careful with the whipping.
- Granulated sugar
Stabilized Cheesecake Filling
- Gelatin powder - use only the unflavored kind. I prefer Knox gelatin.
- Cream cheese - use the full-fat brick type as cream cheese in a tub is too soft for use in this cake. It must be COLD.
- Sour cream - gives this cheesecake filling its traditional tartness
- Heavy cream - is a cream with a minimum milk fat content of 36% and above. Whipping cream has milk fat content of 30-35%. Even with just a small percentage change, heavy cream yields a more stable whipped cream and is preferable in this recipe. Whipping cream can be used but the frosting will have slightly less structure. Cream must be chilled*
- Granulated sugar - adds sweetness. Use only 20 grams if you prefer a more tart cheesecake taste.
- Vanilla extract - use either pure or artificial.
- Lemon juice - is a concentrated way to add tang to traditional cheesecake without compromising its structure.
Tips For Baking a Great Cake Roll
- A strong and healthy meringue (whipped egg whites with sugar) is needed to act as one of the leavening agents in this cake. Egg whites should be whipped in a clean and dry non-plastic bowl since plastic tends to trap oil. Egg whites don't whip well in the presence of oil and water. To further remove oils, use a paper towel and wipe down the mixing bowl with lemon or vinegar before you start.
- Carefully separate the egg whites and yolks when the eggs are cold. Make sure no yolks are present in the egg whites. An egg separator can come in handy.
- Bring the egg whites to a stiff peak. This is characterized by egg whites that have a beak that points upwards (instead of slumped over) when the whisk is pulled out.
- Once the liquid is introduced to the flour, do not over mix. This will produce more gluten, making the cake less tender.
- Use a gentle folding movement with a spatula to incorporate the meringue into the wet flour mixture. Do not stir, this will prevent the air in the meringue from deflating.
- After pouring the batter into the cake tray, rap it a few times on the counter to get rid of large air pockets, this will make the design show on a smoother surface.
- Chill the bowl, beaters and whipped cream for optimal whipping volume. They should all be be very cold. Whipping in a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a bed of ice will help keep things nice and cool on a hot day.
- Gelatin is added to the whipped cream to help stabilize it. Many recipes do not include this step but I prefer it when using whipped cream in a cake roll. It prevents the cream from deflating so the roll stays rounder and looks nicer. You can leave this step out if you plan on serving the cake immediately. If you need further guidance on stabilizing the cream, please read my post on How to Stabilize Whipped Cream with Gelatin.
- Add more cream along the short edge of the cake which is to be rolled first. This will prevent the cake from cracking due to large gaps in between the folds. These angled spatulas will come in handy for even frosting any time of cake. Instead of putting your hands directly onto the cake, use the parchment paper to push the cake onto itself as you roll.
- Fold gently and do not worry too much about rolling the cake very tightly. As long as the cream is spread out evenly (with a bit more along the short edge as per above), the amount of cream in this recipe will allow the sheet cake to hold up without cracking due to large gaps.
- If you find rolling the cake and stabilizing the whipped cream is too time-consuming, try this easy Japanese Peach Cake in a Cup, it has the same great chiffon base but doesn't require rolling or whipped cream stabilization and can be baked in a pan of any size.
Tips for Making the Cheesecake Filling
- Cold ingredients & tools - all the ingredients and tools need to be chilled completely before whipping.
- For best results, place mixing bowl (preferably stainless steel) over a bed of ice while whipping.
- Heavy cream - using cream with a higher milk fat content of 35%+ will yield more stable results.
- Counter mixer - whipping on a high speed with the balloon whisk will allow the cream to whip up to volume quickly before it starts warming up. If using a handheld mixer, use the highest speed possible and place bowl over a bowl of ice.
Step By Step - Gingerbread Cake Base
Line a 8 X 12" rectangular cake pan with parchment paper/silicone mat. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, combine all the "wet" ingredients together with a whisk and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine. Create a well in the center. Inside it, add all the "wet" ingredients.
Combine until just incorporated, do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake. Set this gingerbread-flour mixture aside. 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 tightened up, add the second portion of sugar a little bit at a time. Increase speed to med-high, whip until stiff peaks (when the whisk is pulled out the tips of the egg whites will point upwards without drooping on itself.) This is now called the meringue.
Gently fold ⅓ of the meringue into the gingerbread-flour mixture to get it moving. Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the meringue. Do not stir. Use batter immediately.
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 10-12 min. at 325 F until a skewer pulls out clean and cake springs back in the center. Let cool in pan for 5 min.
Place cooling rack over cake pan. Flip cake over onto the rack, gently remove paper/mat. The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it cool while making the cheesecake filling.
Step By Step - Stabilized Cheesecake Filling
Chill mixing bowl and beaters into refrigerator. Add cool water to heat-proof cup, sprinkle gelatin powder on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes until granules have swelled. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place cup in boiling water, remove when the gelatin becomes liquid.
In a large mixing bowl, whip the cold cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-low speed until it all comes together.
Add the chilled cream into the mixing bowl and whip on high until the beater starts leaving trails in the cream. Check on the gelatin, it should no longer be hot but still liquid. Pour the liquid gelatin into the bowl while whipping, aim for the area in between the bowl and whisk. Whip until stiff peaks.
Use cream immediately to assemble cake roll.
How to Make Swiss Cake Roll Look Neat and Round
To prevent the cake roll from sagging, stabilization of the cream filling is key. After assembling the cake with the cream, wrap the assembled cake roll in plastic wrap. Once it's secured inside the first piece of plastic, place it on a new piece of plastic and start wrapping it again while gently rolling it away from you, making sure you are creating a log shape at the same time. Just use gentle pressure, we don't want to squish the fluffy cake base! Allow the assembled cake to firm up in the fridge for several hours before serving. Doing the above steps will give you a beautiful round cake log at home.
Can I Bake This Cake in a Different Sized Pan?
The cake pan used in this recipe has been tested to provide the optimal amount of cake to cream ratio. The height of the cake is just high enough that it's light and fluffy but not so much that it needs to be folded into itself many times. If you don't have the proper pan size, you can use aluminum foil to make one or roll it up to create a dam inside your larger-sized cake pan. This post will show you how to bake this chiffon cake in any sized cake pan.
Gingerbread Cake Roll Decorating Ideas
There are many ways to decorate gingerbread cake roll to make it extra festive for the holiday season. You can add Christmas macarons, mini gingerbread cookies, Christmas chocolates, peppermint meringues or mushroom meringues etc. The trick is to not add too many heavy decorations or buttercream or it will weigh the fluffy cake down. For a really Christmas-y vibe, you can also turn this cake roll into a classic Yule Log or Bûche de Noël with this recipe.
To get the same look as my cake, pipe the frosting with a large open star piping tip (I used Wilton 1M). For the decorations, I used gingerbread man macarons held up by skewers. Please note that the cream used in this cake does contain more moisture than buttercream so it will eventually eat away at the macarons. To combat this, only add the macarons right before serving or use a buttercream if you have it handy. Here's a recipe for Swiss buttercream that I use to fill my macarons with great success.
Dry Mix for Cake Batter
- 45 grams cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Wet Ingredients for Cake Batter
- 50 ml milk
- 40 ml neutral vegetable oil*
- 25 grams granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Meringue for Cake Batter
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar*
- 50 grams granulated sugar
Stabilized Cheesecake Filling
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 4 teaspoon water
- 130 grams cream cheese, cold*
- 45 grams sour cream
- 35 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250 ml heavy cream, chilled*
- Optional: lemon juice, to taste
Fluffiest Gingerbread Cheesecake Swiss Roll
- Line a 8 X 12" rectangular cake pan with parchment paper/silicone mat.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a small bowl, combine all the "wet" ingredients together with a whisk and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine.
- Create a well in the center. Inside it, add all the "wet" ingredients.
- Combine until just incorporated, do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake. Set this gingerbread-flour mixture aside.
- 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 tightened up, add the second portion of sugar a little bit at a time.
- Increase speed to med-high, whip until stiff peaks (when the whisk is pulled out the tips of the egg whites will point upwards without drooping on itself.) This is now called the meringue.
- Gently fold ⅓ of the meringue into the gingerbread-flour mixture to get it moving. Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the meringue. Do not stir. Use batter immediately.
- 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 10-12 min. at 325 F until a skewer pulls out clean and cake springs back in the center.
- Let cool in pan for 5 min.
- Place cooling rack over cake pan. Flip cake over onto the rack, gently remove paper/mat.
- The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it cool while making the cheesecake filling.
Stabilized Cheesecake Filling
- Chill mixing bowl and beaters into refrigerator.
- Add cool water to heat-proof cup, sprinkle gelatin powder on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes until granules have swelled.
- Bring a pot of water to boil.
- Place cup in boiling water, remove when the gelatin becomes liquid.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the cold cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-low speed until it all comes together.
- Add the chilled cream into the mixing bowl and whip on high until the beater starts leaving trails in the cream.
- Check on the gelatin, it should no longer be hot but still liquid.
- Pour the liquid gelatin into the bowl while whipping, aim for the area in between the bowl and whisk. Whip until stiff peaks.
- Optional: add a few drops of lemon juice to taste for a tangier cheesecake flavor.
- Use cream immediately to assemble cake roll.
- Lay plastic wrap on the counter, flip cake onto it.
- Spread the cream onto the cake with a bit of extra on the side that is to be rolled first.
- Carefully roll up the cake from the short edge using the plastic wrap to help push the cake onto itself.
- For a rounder cake, wrap one more time with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to set before cutting (see post for details).
- Before serving, cut off sides for a cleaner presentation. Gingerbread cake roll can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
- Some ingredients are repeated, use them in the same order as outlined in instructions.
- Cake flour is preferable for a soft fluffy texture. It can be substituted with All-Purpose Flour.
- Neutral oil choices: canola, grapeseed, avocado
- Cream of tartar is an acid that helps to stabilize the egg whites, it can be replaced with double the amount of lemon juice or vinegar.
- Heavy cream is cream with milk fat content of 35%+ (also labelled as 35% M.F.) It can be substituted with whipping cream which has milk fat of 30%+. Heavy cream is preferred for it's stability.
- Cream and cream cheese must be COLD otherwise the mixture will be soupy.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Cream of Tartar, 5 Ounces
Toaster Oven Size Silpat Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat
1M Open Star Piping Tip(2pk)
McCormick Ground Ginger, 1.5 oz
McCormick Gingerbread Spice (Pack of 2)
McCormick Ground Cinnamon, 7.12 oz
McCormick Ground Ginger, 1.5 oz
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese, For A Keto And Low Carb Lifestyle, 8 Oz Bricks, 8 Oz (Pack of 2)
Knox Original Unflavored Gelatin (32 ct Packets)
PME Anodized Aluminum Oblong Cake Pan, 8 x 12 x 3-Inch Deep
Cuisinart CTG-00-3MS Set of 3 Fine Mesh Stainless Steel Strainers
Amount Per Serving Calories 297Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 117mgSodium 173mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 0gSugar 18gProtein 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.