Rullekake; a perfect cake for any season

rullekake2

Rullekake is  one of the few Norwegian “classics” t that is not Norwegian at all.  More commonly known to English speaking readers as “Swiss Roll Cake” or “jelly roll”, its origins are unclear but is not from Switzerland as the name might imply.   In fact, it may only be the British who gave credit to the Swiss for this cake, as everywhere else in the world it goes by different names.  The cake most likely originated sometime in the 19th century in Central Europe.

I don’t see rullekake very often in Norway anymore.  Norwegians may recall it being served at their grandparents homes, or something they enjoyed as a teenager when all things sweet were devoured at high speed.   Perhaps the rullekake slowly disappeared along with people’s new habits of not eating desserts as much? I remember growing up in the 70s and 80s, my mother always used to end our dinners with a little sweet something, but then a period followed where people in general abandoned this tradition.   Today there is talk of a new “dessert generation” emerging in Norway with all the popular coffee shops popping up everywhere, and people’s sweet tooth have appeared yet again.  There is still hope for the rullekake!!

Endless varieties exist of this moist sponge cake.  Quick to make, light and delicious in any flavor, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular cake all over the world,  eagerly made all over Asia, Latin America, northern and southern Europe as well as right here in the U.S.
Here is a cool looking version made in Vietnam called where it is called Bánh bông lan cuốn:

vietnameserollcakeImage from dongtienbakery.com.vn

And here is a pretty one from Russia, where its name is Рулет:

russianrollcake

I like to make all my dishes with seasonal ingredients, because I feel there is a reason why certain fruits and vegetables grow at certain times of the year.  Obviously they are more flavorful in season and of superior quality in this window frame, but it also somehow doesn’t feel right to eat strawberries in December or have pumpkin pie in June.  Rullekake is a pastry that is easy to adjust according to the time of year by just switching out the filling, making this a perfect cake for any month of the year.

Strawberries are in full bloom now and at the height of their season, so any chance I get to make a recipe that includes these luscious berries, I jump on.  While strawberries and cream are a very common and classic combination and one I happen to love, I decided to fold in some of that tangy Norwegian Snøfrisk cheese to make the filling a little more interesting.   Adding some Scandinavian vanilla sugar,  the filling tastes almost like a cheesecake, but the consistency is looser and lighter and pairs perfectly with the sweet and crisp tasting strawberries.

rullekakeslice2

The key to a successful rullekake is to not make the sheet cake too thick, and not bake it too long – or else it will crack and break, leaving you unable to roll it together. This happened to me earlier this week. By no means am I claiming to be an expert at making this cake – as always, practice makes perfect! But if you end up with a less than stellar looking cake the first time around, I promise that if you follow this recipe, you will at the very least have a light, delicious tasting cake that will please you and your guests!

rullekakeslice1

You can use strawberry jam if you don’t have fresh berries, and also add in some chopped nuts for a nice texture.  Shaved chocolate on top also goes really well with strawberries .. use your imagination!  Lykke til! (Good luck!)

RULLEKAKE MED JORDBÆR  (Swiss Roll Cake with Strawberries)

4 eggs

120 g (4.25 oz) sugar

120g (4.25 oz) all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling:

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

40g  (1.5 oz) Snøfrisk cream cheese

1 basket fresh market strawberries, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 tbsp vanilla sugar

2 tbsp powdered sugar (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Spray and line a rimmed baking sheet or sheet pan with parchment paper.

Line a second sheet pan with parchment paper and drizzle an even layer of sugar onto it. Reserve.

In a stand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until light yellow, thick and frothy.  Combine the flour and baking powder, and sift. Fold in to egg-sugar mixture carefully using a spatula until no more streaks of flour are visible.   Pour the batter into the rimmed baking sheet and smear out evenly to a rectangle (the batter may not completely fill the baking sheet).

Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 7-8 minutes.  NOTE: It’s easy to over bake this, take it out after this time regardless of whether or not you think it’s done – it will be!! If the cake is too dry you won’t be able to roll it.

Remove the cake from the oven and lifting the parchment paper with the cake on it, carefully turn the top of the cake onto the baking sheet with the layer of sugar. Carefully remove the parchment paper (which was the bottom, but now is on top). If you have problems removing it, it helps to brush with a little bit of water.   Cover the cake with a moist, large kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.  Let the cake cool completely (it will take no more than 30 min).  While you wait, prepare the filling.

To make filling:

Slice the strawberries and reserve.

Pour heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla sugar into stand mixer /mix by hand or using a stand mixer, mix until whipped cream and make sure to taste so cream is appropriately flavored.   Spread the cream onto the cooled cake with a spatula, stopping an inch from the edge, to prevent it from spilling out when rolling it. Top with the sliced strawberries.

rullekakefyll

Carefully roll the cake together (start at the long end), using the parchment paper to tightly (but gently!) roll the cake together and make sure the seam is at the bottom.  Sift some confectioners sugar on top and decorate with additional sliced strawberries.

rullekake1

The cake can keep for about 3 days in fridge and also freezes well!

rullekake2

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About Sunny Gandara

Scandinavian in NY writing about food and wine and spirits... tasting, eating, researching and experiencing!

7 responses to “Rullekake; a perfect cake for any season”

  1. Janet Rörschåch says :

    That looks fantastic Sunny. Is Snofrisk cream cheese different from say Philadelphia? In what ways? Thank you for posting.

    • Sunny says :

      Thanks, Janet! I find Snøfrisk to be lighter in texture and has a purer and cleaner flavor than Philadelphia and is also additive free. Snøfrisk is made from 80% goat milk and 20% cow milk and has a really nice mild flavor but still has a bit of tanginess. You can substitute Philadelphia, I would add a squirt of fresh lemon juice if you do. Hope that helps let me know if you decide to make it!! :)

  2. j says :

    Hi, in 1989, whilst I was in Tromso, I was served a dish of finely sliced venison in a brown sauce very much like your ‘Finbiff’ dish in colour (according to my memory) and topped with a sliced potatoes and baked. Do you happen to know what this dish is called please.
    Many Thanks
    Joe

    • Sunny says :

      Hi Joe! Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment! I am unfortunately not a specialist in the cuisine from Tromsø, as I am from Sykkylven, a bit further south. In that part of the country they use venison a lot it may be just a variation of a “reinsdyrsgryte”, as families and places have different methods of preparing these type of stews. Were you told that the dish was a classic and had a specific name? If so I’d be willing to do some more research for you on Norwegian websites and ask friends from the area as I love that type of stuff! Thanks again and hope you keep in touch!

  3. Sophie33 says :

    I love eating Rullekake but don’t have the chance or opportunity to savour it often! Thanks for this tasty & delectable recipe! it looks truly Yummy too 😃

  4. camparigirl says :

    I am always so inspired by your Nordic cakes. And I am always looking for something new coming from afar. So thank you

    • Sunny says :

      Wow thank you so much camparigirl – that’s such a great compliement coming from you, as I am a big fan of your blog!! Glad I can contribute with some suggestions! :)

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