Of the over 30 Swiss rolls we tried, these 11 were the most outstanding.
1 BLACK SESAME SWISS ROLL
$1.40 a slice, $6.50 for a 6-inch roll. Naomi Kitchen, Block 264, Serangoon Central, #01-203, tel: 9321-3688.
This neighbourhood shop’s take on the black sesame Swiss roll, pitch-dark with bamboo charcoal powder, will give Japanese bakeries a good run for their money. The ﬂecks of black sesame seeds added an intriguing sweet-and-salty depth to the pastry cream and lent texture to an otherwise rich dessert.
2 MATCHA SWISS ROLL
$6.80 a slice, $38 for a 22cm roll. Two Bakers, 88 Horne Road, tel: 6293- 0329.
The delicate ﬂufﬁness of the matcha sponge cake speaks volumes of co-founder and head baker Erica Yap’s French training. We liked how the bittersweet matcha cream counters the sweet red bean paste. The use of berries as garnish was distracting though – what we wanted was more of that delicious green tea cream.
3 MATCHA SWISS ROLL
$17 for a 16cm roll. Available only at Flor Patisserie at Takashimaya Food Hall, Basement 2 Ngee Ann City, tel: 6737-1789.
The generous swirl of matcha cream – smooth and luscious with a good balance of bitter and sweet – put the green tea lovers on the team on cloud nine. The sponge, all velvety and soft, is almost perfect, save for a slight cragginess. Both are made using matcha sourced from a farm in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture.
4 MANDARIN ORANGE SWISS ROLL
$10.50 for a 19cm roll. Available at all L E Cafe Confectionery & Pastry outlets, including the one at 264 Middle Road, tel: 6337-2417.
This old-school bakery is famous for its bean curd tarts, but you have to try its Mandarin Orange Swiss roll too. With fresh cream, a dash of Cointreau and slightly frozen orange bits that give it a surprising granita-like element of fun, it sure lives up to its appetising looks.
5 EARL GREY SWISS ROLL
$3.20 a slice, $14.80 for a 15cm roll. Available at all Asanoya Boulangerie outlets, including #01-03 Wilby Central, 15 Queen Street, tel: 6703- 8703.
This is no ordinary Earl Grey Swiss roll. Asanoya Boulangerie cleverly sneaks in a touch of Japanese whimsy with tiny cubes of naruto kintoki, a kind of sweet potato. The caramel nuances and creaminess of the sweet potato pair well with the distinctive taste of Earl Grey, making for a unique combo that really works.
6 COFFEE SWISS ROLL
$5.90 a slice, $28 for a 20cm roll. The Plain Jane, Block 211, Serangoon Avenue 4, #01-10, tel: 6281-2477.
This is pretty much kopi gao in Swiss roll form, and we love it! The rich creaminess of the coffee mousse is sensuous in the mouth, and the heady caffeine, a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up. The cream is a little too buttery, but you can remedy that with a shot of espresso on the side.
7 VANILLA SWISS ROLL
$16 for a 16cm roll. Available only at Flor Patisserie at Ngee Ann City.
There’s nothing plain about this simple, elegant vanilla Swiss roll. The sponge is ﬁrm yet supple, and the Chantilly cream brims with the natural mild sweetness of the fresh French cream it’s made with.
8 MATCHA SWISS ROLL
$4.40 a slice, $35 for a 21cm roll. Dulcet & Studio, #01-41 Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, tel: 6338-9248.
It’s a little more cake-like than the other Swiss rolls on the market, but the lovely matcha cream more than made up for it. Made with matcha from Uji, a Japanese city almost synonymous with green tea, it gave the boldest, most gratifying matcha hit among the green tea rolls we tried, with just the right hint of sweetness.
9 BLACK FOREST SWISS ROLL
$38 for a 850g roll; pre-order three days in advance. The Dining Room, Lobby Level, Sheraton Towers Singapore, 39 Scotts Road, tel: 6839-5621.
The ﬂavours are on point: dark and luxurious, thanks to a 59 per cent cocoa concentration and cherries cooked down with cinnamon. It’s alcohol-free, but we didn’t miss the booze. The sponge is somewhat coarse, so eat it purely for the chocolate kick.
10 EARL GREY SWISS ROLL
$5.90 a slice, $28 for a 20cm roll. The Plain Jane.
The Earl Grey fans among us were won over at ﬁrst whiff – the familiar sweet, citrusy scent was prominent. We liked the dreamy softness of the teaspecked sponge, which has a discernible tea taste, and the generous helping of Earl Grey mousse.
11 PANTLER ROLL CAKE
$4.80 a slice, $20 for a 18cm roll. Pantler, 198 Telok Ayer Street, tel: 6221- 6223.
The simple cakes are often the hardest to get right because everything needs to be perfect. French-inspired Japanese bakery cafe Pantler, though, pulls off the basic Swiss roll with great ﬁnesse, with a measured smear of Chantilly cream – made from a churned gourmet Isigny SainteMere cream from France – and a pillowy sponge.
Photography Jasper Yu / Styling Clare Chan.