Cherries and almonds give this old favourite a fresh twist
Cherry Bakewell Swiss roll has soft, springy sponge, with a novel cherry-almond flavour filling
Cherry Bakewell Swiss roll. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography
As a child, I adored cherries; they were like plump, burgundy-coloured gems, round and sweet and regularly gorged on. Boiling them to a jam was a regular occurrence in summer, and little hands were stained fuchsia when helping to pluck out their stones. I loved using the jam in Bakewell tarts, it always lent such a gorgeous sweet-sour base for the soft marzipan-flavoured filling.
Although fresh cherries have a short season, the fruit is available year-round in different forms – frozen, canned in their own juice, or even preserved in cherry liqueur, enabling us to incorporate this beautiful fruit into desserts for every season.
There isn’t a better pairing than cherries and almond, and this week’s recipe is a hybrid of the two. Swiss roll was a favourtite childhood dessert, and I always preferred the jammy one over the chocolate version. Bathed in custard, it was the ultimate treat. A cherry Bakewell Swiss roll comprises that soft spiral sponge, with the addition of a classic cherry-almond flavour filling.
The Swiss roll sponge is a standard one, with a handful of ingredient basics, rolled and flavoured with a cherry jam and almond cream filling. Don’t be put off by the rolling of the Swiss roll. Have a large piece of parchment paper dusted with icing sugar ready before taking the sponge out of the oven. Once baked, the sponge is flipped onto the parchment paper, rolled while warm, then left to cool completely. This will ensure it holds its shape.
The filling couldn’t be simpler. Instead of plain old cream, I’ve opted for a flavoured mascarpone. Mascarpone is thick and luxurious and a brilliant carrier of flavour. I’ve whisked it up with cream, icing sugar to sweeten, and vanilla and almond extracts to give that familiar marzipan flavour. A little orange zest brings it all together.
The filled Swiss roll can be made ahead and frozen if needed, all it needs is an hour or two to defrost before finishing with a little piping of cream or mascarpone and adorning with fresh or defrosted frozen cherries and some toasted flaked almonds. The combination of cherry, sponge, almond and orange mascarpone cream filling is a beautiful one, and the perfect afternoon treat.
The cake will keep for a few days in the fridge, but try to dress it with the topping just before serving, if you can.