Swiss roll (rolkoek)

Ouma Corrie, Marietjie’s grandmother, taught her to make Swiss roll when she was a little girl – a skill that is appreciated by Jaco and Mia, who loves eating Swiss roll.

The main difference between South African and Kiwi recipes seem to be the filling: raspberry jam in New Zealand, and apricot jam in South Africa. We use Craig’s Apricot Lite Fruit spread, available in New Zealand supermarkets.

You can fill it with anything of you like, of course: caramel condensed milk became a popular filling in South-Africa, and lemon curd is worth trying too.


  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
  • 2/3 cups (160 ml) apricot jam


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C (220°C fan bake) , and line a jelly roll tin (rolkoekpan) with baking paper or foil. (Our tin measures 38cm x 25cm)
  2. Boil the milk, and allow to cool down.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar well until creamy: the mixture should be pale and thick. This will take about 10 minutes if you use a food mixer.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt together.
  5. Add dry ingredients and cooled milk to the egg mixture and combine gently.
  6. Pour mixture into pan.
  7. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes until golden brown. To test: gently press down on the surface of the cake, if it jumps back, it is done.
  8. While the cake is baking, dampen a large towel with warm water and wring it out. Flatten the towel, and sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Gently heat the jam until it is soft enough to spread easily.
  10. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and turn it out onto the towel.
  11. Peel off the baking paper. You need to work fast but gently, to avoid the cake from either cooling down or breaking.
  12. Spread an even coating of jam over the cake.
  13. Turn the short side of the cake towards you and roll the cake into a tight spiral.
  14. Place cake on a wire rack and allow to cool.
  15. Let it cool a little bit (like Marietjie) or allow it to cool down to room temperature (like Jaco) before serving.


You can also roll up the cake before filling it and leave it to cool down, and then unroll it to fill. You’ll need to be very gentle, but this works well if you want to use whipped cream as a filling.