I thought I’d kick off the New Year by making something completely new to my Cabinet of Cooking repertoire. Actually that’s one of my resolutions for 2016 – to try a brand new recipe every week. It could come from a published cookbook, website or audio source, but it must be something I have never previously prepared. Some people may choose to sky-dive, or Spring clean prior to Spring, or landscape the garden, or start on a fitness regime. But I have chosen food for all its glorious rewards. 

Since I have a sweet tooth, naturally I gravitated towards a bit of baking bliss. This time it came in the form of a soft and summery vanilla scented Swiss Roll. The type of dessert that begs to be served on vintage crockery and shared with a pot of tea as an afternoon treat. In fact the pastel pink platter pictured belonged to my late grandmother Baba Joka, and after a bit of “Googling” I managed to date it circa 1950. I have it displayed on an ivory sideboard with other collectables because they are far too pretty to be pushed to back of a kitchen cupboard. 

I have fond memories of my mother making superb Swiss Rolls for special events and extended family gatherings. Moist and soft, filled with a variety of fillings, mum managed to roll each one up without the hint of any cracks on the surface. A hard act to follow, hence my hesitation. 

However I shouldn’t have been concerned because this Swiss Roll was an absolute cinch to make. It also disappeared within minutes – always a sure sign of a successful sweet. I used David Herbert’s “Best Ever Baking Recipes” cookbook but also added vanilla extract to my batter and filled the cake with mascarpone cream. 

Vanilla Scented Swiss Roll to serve 10 people

4 eggs preferably organic or free range
1 tsp vanilla extract
125 grams caster sugar
125 grams self raising flour

100 ml thickened cream
100 grams mascarpone
(Whisk these two together until combined and just thickened)
1 cup finely chopped berries (strawberries and raspberries)

Extra 2 tablespoons caster sugar
Icing sugar to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees on a conventional setting (180 degrees fan forced). 

Grease and line a rectangular baking pan measuring 30cm x 20cm. 

Place a clean tea towel on the bench and then a piece of baking paper over the top. Sprinkle evenly with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. This will be used to roll up the Swiss Roll Sponge Cake. 

Using an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar until the mixture becomes thick, creamy and slightly pale in colour.

Sift in the self raising flour and whisk again until completely combined and smooth. 

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. 

Immediately turn the tin upside down so that the cake lands gently on the baking paper/tea towel. Roll up the entire lot and leave on the bench to cool completely. 

When cooled, unroll and smooth over the creamy filling. Sprinkle over the diced berries. Re-roll, dust with icing sugar and serve. 

* For a citrus flavoured Swiss Roll, add the finely grated rind of a lemon when whisking together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.