Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Swiss Chocolate Cake

I've been trying to write this post since yesterday but couldn't come up with a decent introduction.  To start with, I don't really know for sure why this particular cake is so-called Swiss chocolate cake.  I tried a google search and strangely found no clear answers. Did it come from Switzerland?  Did it originally contain only chocolate made in Switzerland?  Now it also got me thinking, why is a rolled cake called a Swiss roll anyway? Hmmm.

My friend Mimi reckons the cake is called such because of the white frosting which reminds us of the snowy mountaintops of the Swiss Alps. Probably.  If that is the case then, to be considered a Swiss chocolate cake, the frosting has to be white always?  If someone out there knows, please enlighten me.

Well anyway, I made this cake upon the request of another friend.  It is supposedly one of the bestsellers in Becky's Kitchen in Manila.  The cake is a two-layered chocolate chiffon filled with mocha buttercream and toffee crunch pieces and frosted with marshmallow icing. Yes, it is quite labour-intensive.  Having to make four different components is enough to turn one off.  The bright side is that at least two of these components can be made ahead of time so you don't actually have to stress so much all in one day.

I made this cake twice already and my family literally devoured both cakes.  It looks really sweet but is actually not.  The cake is very light and so very easy to eat.

I've divided the recipe into four parts.  Parts I and II can be made ahead of time.  The mocha butter icing (Part III) can actually be made in advance as well but I just find it better to use it fresh rather than having to soften and beat it again before using.

SWISS CHOCOLATE CAKE (makes a two-layered 8" round cake)

I.  CHOCOLATE CHIFFON CAKE - Make one using the chocolate chiffon cake recipe here.  Wrap cake well in cling film then refrigerate or freeze until ready to assemble.

II.  TOFFEE CRUNCH - This recipe will yield more than enough for this cake.  However, I recommend that you do the full recipe because it is a little tricky to accurately measure temperature with a candy thermometer when it's in a smaller amount.  I tried halving it and my toffee crunch didn't turn out as good as when I made the full recipe.  I don't think you will have a problem finishing all the extra anyway!


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted

1. Line a small baking tray with baking paper.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan. Cook over medium heat to just below the hard-crack stage (310 deg F or 155 deg C).
3. Remove from heat. Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over sugar syrup. Whisk just until combined. Pour immediately onto the prepared baking sheet. Do not spread. Let stand until cool and hard, about 30 minutes.

4. Crack with a knife and break into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces.  Keep in a ziplock bag or in an airtight container.

III.  MOCHA BUTTER ICING - You can actually make whatever coffee-flavoured buttercream you want but I just find this the simplest. Follow the procedure for the old-fashioned butter icing here but use these ingredients instead:

150 grams unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder **

**dissolve with sugar in evaporated milk

IV.  MARSHMALLOW FROSTING or SEVEN MINUTE FROSTING - You can either use this recipe or a Boiled Icing recipe (one with sugar syrup, like Italian meringue), whichever you are more comfortable with.


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggwhites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl.  Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Set the bowl over (but not touching) boiling water in a saucepan. (Keep the water boiling at medium heat.)  Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes.  Mixture should become glossy and hold stiff peaks. Remove from heat then beat in vanilla.  Use immediately.

See you those stiff peaks?

To assemble cake:

Make the mocha butter icing if you haven't done so already.

Cut your cake horizontally in half. Invert top layer onto your cake board.  Fill a piping bag with some mocha butter icing then pipe a dam around the cake edge.  Spread more mocha butter icing in the space inside the dam.

Fill the center neatly with toffee crunch pieces.

Cover the center with the rest of the mocha butter icing.

Top with the other cake layer, cut side down.  Set cake aside while you make your marshmallow frosting.

Cover the whole cake with marshmallow frosting.  If you want to make the swirl patterns, start at the side first.  Drag your offset spatula from bottom going up.  To do the top, drag the offset spatula from outer edge to center in a curve.

To slice the cake, you need to use a serrated knife and do a sawing motion as you slice in order to cut through the toffee crunch in the center.

That's it!  Enjoy!


  1. Looks heavenly! Gorgeous cake!!! Thanks for making it, Corinne. I can finally try it.

  2. Well i know that switserland is known for there wery god chokolade

  3. i always follow your blog i love your cake creations everyday i check if you have a new post .

  4. corinne, i tried this cake last weekend. i had problems with the toffee crunch because i burned the sugar even before it reached the right temperature. i think i turned the heat too high as the temperature got stuck (or so it thought) to below 270 degrees. i reckon i should have just locked the fire to medium. my question is though, how long do you think should i cook the sugar for before it reaches the hard crack stage?

    by the way, do you have a special technique for slicing cake layers?

    1. I have not tried timing the process as I have always relied on my candy thermometer. One thing I can tell you though is that at hard crack stage, the sugar syrup is still clear and not caramelized. It turns golden once the baking soda is added. Maybe you should get a new thermometer?

      I use a long serrated knife to cut my cakes horizontally. I put the cake in a turntable and I slice while turning the cake around at the same time.

    2. I tested the thermometer in boiling water and it registered the right temperature.I tried to do an Italian meringue-minute frosting as well. This time the melted sugar was clear and the thermometer gave me the reading I was looking for. My problem was that the sugar solidified on the whisk attachment once I poured it in the meringue. As you may have surmised, they didn't incorporate with each other.
      Anyway, I am thinking of getting a better thermometer.

    3. The trick is to aim for the space between the beater and the bowl when pouring the sugar syrup.

      I don't really like working with sugar syrup myself that is why I used the other method.

  5. Hi corrine,
    What size of pan do u use for the toffee crunch?

    1. I just use my 7x10 pyrex dish. It is small but about 2 1/2" tall.

  6. Hi Corrine! I cant find corn syrup here in uk..what can i use/ subtitute instead?

    1. Glucose syrup. Golden syrup might work too.

    2. I used vanilla flavored coffee syrup and it worked, too. Thank you for this recipe, Corrine

  7. Can i use marshmallow frosting for 3 tiered naked an unairconditioned venue???

    1. Marshmallow frosting is quite soft. I don't know how it will hold up, especially if it is a naked cake.