Brown Butter Croissants-4 Hi, I’m Anne. I’m 13 16 and I like to make things. Food, baskets, websites, desserts (I know that's food but really...) -in short, anything.

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Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-8

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut

July 26, 2015

Something I really like about Asian bakeries is that their desserts are usually lightly sweetened and come less off as I can make this one at home, unlike their brightly colored and excessively sugar filled counterparts that fill the shelves normal bakeries. Among the racks full of plump rolls, flaky egg tarts, and other things, there are usually boxes full of thickly sliced, fluffy, Swiss rolls. It’s the slightest bit ironic.

The Asian style Swiss rolls tend to roll up cake a bit thicker and spread their filling a little thinner. I guess it’s a matter of preference. Either way, I think Swiss rolls would have to be one of my favorite cakes, passing layer cakes, cupcakes, and most other types of cakes. The thing is that they have a refreshing, fluffy and lightly sweetened whipped cream filling (and maybe fruit!) instead of >3 cups of frosting slathered on.

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-5 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-9

Don’t get me wrong layer cakes are amazing and beautiful, but in my world, Swiss roll cakes pass layer cakes by a tenfold. Plus, I suck at frosting cakes and making it perfect and flawless Swiss rolls tend to be a lot less tedious than layer cakes. The only difficult part is that they like to crack and make the ‘roll’ not so roll-like.

Also, I have never understood why people say to roll the cake up, unroll it, and then fill it. It’ll crack when you roll it up and even if it doesn’t, it will inevitably crack when you unroll it and then roll it back up. Nooooooo I do not have it in me to deal with such stress.

My suspicion has been that the recipes I used didn’t create moist cakes. These cakes are usually made from sponge cake like batter (because eggs = elasticity), but they can’t do it all alone. The moistness from the water would quickly evaporate because these are cooked with such a high surface area. As a result, oil should be used to make this cake super moist and bendable. It’s always scared me to develop a sponge like cake recipe though because beaten egg whites just seem so so fragile. I shouldn’t have been so worried.

This recipe is roughly adapted from here. Her method of making the cake was certainly surprising, intrepidly whisking the egg yolks into the beaten egg whites and then whisking in some more flour and finally folding in the oil. But her recipe + method works so so well that I couldn’t help to be amazed. I’ve converted it into cups, tbsp, and tsp (because cake isn’t an exact science…) and changed a few things and now it’s even better 😀

I mean, this recipe requires no rolling of the cake before spreading on the fillings, and it will not crack!!! If you folded it back and forth like it was a piece of paper it would probably still not break! Even though I made my cake thinner (because I didn’t have quite the size of baking pan she had), it’s still absolutely fantastic.

Okay anyhow, so I just waxed poetic about Swiss roll cakes for most of this post, but where’s the part when I actually get on subject??? Well, I’ve actually been quite on subject for most of this since vertical cakes are made kinda like swiss roll cakes except you orient them like a layer cake, with the circular part on the bottom and you frost it.

Ugggg frosting. Yeah you have to frost it. And since my apparent dislike for frosting is obvious, and my ability for frosting cakes is limited, I spread on a very very very very very thin layer of frosting, only enough to get the coconut to stick. Oh yeah and I rolled it in coconut to cover up my frosting mistakes which is actually one of the most genius ideas ever and I really should do it more often.

Oh I also suck at cutting cakes so… There’s another reason…

Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-7Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake-2 Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake Collage

So this cake? Its minimalist decorations do not give away the ultimate surprise on the inside. A freaking beautiful cake that’s striped instead of stacked, it is soft with bright hints of lemon and a creamy, fluffy inside with lightly sweetened whipped cream and thinly sliced strawberries. The frosting adds a superb sweetness with little bits of salt to contrast the rest of the cake and the coconut brings everything together delightfully. 😀


// You can make this into a full sized cake by doubling the recipe and rolling all 4 slices together.
// Coconut whipped cream also works well in place of the whipped cream. Recipe here.

Mini Lemon Strawberry Vertical Cake With Coconut
For the cake
5 eggs separated
1/3 cup sugar
Zest from one lemon
1/3 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup oil
For the filling
3/4 cups cream
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup sliced strawberries
For the frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
shredded coconut, as needed

Preheat the oven to 390 F and line + grease a large baking pan (mine was around 13-16").

Whip the egg whites in a bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Add in the lemon zest along with one egg yolk. Whisk until combined. Add in the rest of the egg yolks, one by one, whisking to combine after each addition.

Sift and whisk the flour and salt in three batches. Fold in the oil.

Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fluffy and golden.

Let it cool. Meanwhile, breat the butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. Adjust the consistency by adding in a tablespoon or two of milk.

Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form.

Take the cooled cake and trim off the edges. Cut it in half long ways (or as my elementary teacher would say, "hot dog style" :D). Place the sliced strawberries on both of the strips of cake and spread on the whipped cream.

Starting from the short side, roll one of the strips into a log and then place it on the short side of the other strip. Roll it up to form a cake.

Place it on a surface so that one of the circular sides is on the bottom. Frost the cake thinly and press on the coconut.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.



read or add your own

  1. Hannah | The Swirling Spoon on

    July 27, 2015 at 1:50 am says

    Omg, thick buttercream frostings are not my favourite either because my brain is immediately like, no, this amount of butter and sugar is unacceptable. But then I love cream cheese frosting which no doubt is just as bad for you… anyway, my point is I love lighter, less decadent cakes too! This swiss roll is gorgeous and the vertical roll you have done makes it super pretty!

    • Anne on

      July 27, 2015 at 8:22 am says

      Hahhaaaaa cream cheese frosting is actually pretty good but we never have cream cheese in the house so… Thank you so much Hannah!

  2. Courtney | Fork to Belly on

    July 27, 2015 at 2:10 am says

    This is so gorgeous, Anne! You’re the second person that’s said roll cakes are easier than layered ones. I feel so intimidated by this method and completely fear the cracking too ;( but hey, maybe I’ll give it a shot! This looks wayyy to divine :)

    • Anne on

      July 27, 2015 at 8:23 am says

      You really should! They’re actually really easy 😀

  3. Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine on

    July 27, 2015 at 2:06 pm says

    I think you should be quite proud of yourself for creating this little masterpiece! It looks amazing! And those flowers are spectacular!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm says

      Thank you!!! We have a bunch of those flowers growing outside right now and they just keep producing more if you cut them off -so why not? 😀

  4. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks on

    July 27, 2015 at 7:37 pm says

    Whoa girl! This cake is GORGEOUS! I’ve never made a rolled cake like this, but I sure want to now! You totally don’t suck at anything to do with cake making!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm says

      Hahhaaa thank you!

  5. Julie @ Running in a Skirt on

    July 27, 2015 at 8:26 pm says

    This is drool worthy!!! Wow! Love your site too. It’s really pretty!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm says

      Thanks Julie! I’m glad you’re enjoying it 😀

  6. Dasha @ Amazingly Tasty on

    July 28, 2015 at 2:36 am says

    It looks almost too pretty to eat. It’s not food, it’s art!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm says

      Hahhaaaa thanks Dasha!

  7. Sweet and Savoury Pursuits on

    July 28, 2015 at 9:34 am says

    This cakes looks beautiful. Strawberries, lemon and coconut make this a perfect summer cake.

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm says

      It’s the best! 😀

  8. Abby on

    July 28, 2015 at 10:35 am says

    This cake is STUNNING. Love, love, LOVE. <3 xx

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm says

      Thank you Abby!

  9. Kennedy Cole| KCole's Creative Corner on

    July 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm says

    This is certainly an extremely gorgeous cake with all of those coconut flakes! I don’t even think I could eat it, considering that it’s so pretty! Well….. almost! :) Thanks for sharing! 😀

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:49 pm says

      Hahahaaa who cares if it’s pretty? I say dig in! 😉

  10. Yuen Shan on

    July 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm says

    Hi Anne! I have the same problem with re-making Chinese Swiss rolls at home too – they crack all the time. I don’t know how the bakery ones have such a smooth outer layer! I’ll give your recipe a try and hopefully it’ll work this time :S

    By the way, thanks for commenting on my blog! It was a while back (in April). It was my first post and I was so nervous, but I want to say thanks and I’m glad I found yours. It’s so fun to read and the photos are great! I especially love your gif’s!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm says

      Ohh do tell me how it comes out!
      Those pork chops sounded a++++ how could I resist? Thank you so much Yuen Shan!!! 😀

  11. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four on

    July 28, 2015 at 8:38 pm says

    Your cake is gorgeous! I am with you 100% on swiss roll cakes for the win. I, too, love that they’re lighter and made with whipped cream rather than sickly sweet buttercream or whatnot. Your lemon strawberry version is heavenly, and such a refreshing treat for summer. I also love the way you decorated your cake – it’s so, so beautiful!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm says

      Awww thanks Beeta!!! 😀

  12. ZazaCook on

    July 29, 2015 at 7:48 am says

    Wow, your cake sounds completely delicious! I would love to eat one right now :)

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm says

      Hahhaaaaa do it! 😀

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm says

      Thank you!

  13. Sabrina on

    July 29, 2015 at 9:40 pm says

    This is so beautiful!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm says

      Thanks! 😀

  14. Theodora Nan on

    July 30, 2015 at 5:16 am says

    Wow. What an amazing cake with loved flavors. Top notch styling and photos. Amazing! :-)

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm says

      Thank you Theodora!!!

  15. Louise | Cygnet Kitchen on

    July 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm says

    Anne, these are adorable and so is your blog! I love mini cakes and these are perfect for a special occasion, decorated with fresh flowers! Love from the English countryside! Louise x

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm says

      Awww thank you Louise!!! 😀

  16. Kelley @ Chef Savvy on

    July 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm says

    This cake looks amazing! I could go for a huge slice of this right now! Beautiful!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:55 pm says

      Yassssssssss thanks Kelley!

  17. CakeWhiz on

    July 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm says

    What a stunning cake! Making a vertical cake has been on my “to do” list for a while now. Yours is just breathtaking!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:56 pm says

      You totally need to do it 😀 Thank you!

  18. Dini @ The Flavor Bender on

    July 31, 2015 at 11:08 am says

    I LOVE making vertical Swiss rolls cakes! 😀 I made one for my dad for this birthday and the best thing is that you can use fruits for the filling and not overfill with frosting!! I love the lemon, strawberry and coconut combo!
    I have never tried this kind of cake recipe though… Adding the yolks to the whites is definitely intriguing! I love how pretty and cute your cake looks too!

    • Anne on

      August 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm says

      I know right?!!! Fruits are awesome. It’s an amazing recipe! I was so surprised that it didn’t crack at all! 😀
      Thank you Dini!!!!!

  19. Claudia | The Brick Kitchen on

    August 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm says

    OMG I have literally never seen or heard of a swiss roll cake before! Does that mean I have been living under a rock??! Such a cool idea, and I love the coconut icing! Whacking stuff onto the sides of your icing is the ideal way to hide any mistakes – I have used crumbled cake and chopped nuts in the past but will definitely give coconut a go!

    • Anne on

      August 7, 2015 at 4:50 pm says

      Hahahaaa thanks Claudia!!! At this rate, every cake I make + decorate will be covered in something to hide the frosting 😀 crumbled cake and chopped nuts sound amazing!!! Too bad I usually don’t have any crumbs of cake left (somehow they disappear after the first few seconds outside of the cake).

  20. SaraLily on

    August 11, 2015 at 11:06 am says

    Oh wow! What a beautiful cake!!

    • Anne on

      August 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm says

      Thank you! 😀

  21. Sweetima on

    August 16, 2015 at 10:27 am says

    Wow! What a beautiful cake! It looks wonderful, i really want a slice of cake now :)

    • Anne on

      August 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm says

      Hahaaa thank you! It was really delicious 😀

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