Victoria Allcoat shares her take on The Hairy Bikers’ Lemon Swiss Roll: Lemon Roly-Poly [I have tried this and it was incredible -Ed].

This past Sunday afternoon I found myself contemplating a culinary mission: my other half had invited all his lads round for a roast, and I needed to provide a pudding. For some reason I have ended up making a lot of chocolate cakes during these first few weeks of term, and to be honest, I’ve had enough. Time for a polar opposite: citrus, curd, and fluffy, light genoise sponge. And no, I hadn’t ever made one of these fancy sponges before. Until now I had only admired Great British Bake Off (#GBBO for all you Twitterati out there) contestants.

So, with some BBC Food recipe browsing, I stumbled upon a Hairy Bikers recipe. I doubled it though (the recipe below is the doubled quantity), to accommodate the hoard of people that descended upon my house within the next few hours.


For the Cake

–        6 eggs

–        230 grams caster sugar

–        2 lemons (zest only)

–        230 grams plain flour


For the filling

–        400 grams icing sugar

–        250 grams butter

–        4 tsps lemon juice (from those lemons you just zested for your cake)

–        250 grams lemon curd



1. Grease a baking tray with butter and line it with greaseproof baking paper. The tray should be about 33cm by 23cm.

2. Preheat the oven to 200c.

3. Put the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a heatproof bowl, and rest the bowl over a pot of simmering water, basically creating a double boiler.

4. Get out your electric whisk and beat the heck out of the mixture until its thick and your whisk leave a little trail of mix behind it when lifted.

5. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating till your arm falls off, or, alternatively, about 5 minutes.

6. Sift in half the flour, and GENTLY FOLD it in.

7. Sift the rest of the flour in, and continue to treat your mixture tenderly. If you do otherwise it will produce a particularly disappointing rise—or lack thereof—as you will have pulverised all the air out of it. The air beaten into this cake is the ONLY thing that makes it rise because it has no yeast or leavening agent (bicarbonate of soda, baking powder) in it. So, if you knock the air out of it or don’t beat it enough, your cake will just sink.

8. Once all the flour has been folded in, slowly and gently pour the mixture into your prepared tin.



9. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the cake is just golden and springs back if you give it a little poke with your finger.

10. Meanwhile, place a piece of baking paper on the worktop and cover it in a heavy sprinkling of caster sugar.

11. When you take the cake out the oven you will need to flip—yes, I did say flip—the enormous hot tray of cake 180 degrees. Onto the sugar covered paper.

12. Once you’ve given yourself a mini heart attack from accomplishing this, quickly peel the baking paper off the cake. Careful! It will be very hot.

13. Quickly cut off the edges of the cake, to make 4 tasty cake slugs that you can enjoy while you wait for the finished roll.

Mmm...little cake slugs

Mmm…little cake slugs


14. Make a shallow cut along the edge of one of the shorter ends of the cake. Cut about an inch into the cake from the edge.

15. Tightly and slowly roll your cake up into a roly-poly with the sugary paper inside it.




16. Leave the cake, with the paper inside, on a wire cooling rack until the cake is completely cold.

17. In the meanwhile, make your icing: mix the butter and icing sugar together and add the lemon juice, until the mixture as a thick smooth consistency.

18. Once the cake is cold gently unroll it, but DO NOT flatten it; if you try to flatten it, it may crack.

19. Spread the icing all over the cake, and then spread on a thick layer of lemon curd goodness.

20. Tightly but delicately roll your roly-poly up again.

21. Dust with icing sugar and—if you’re feeling extra indulgent—and serve with vanilla ice cream.




Victoria Allcoat

Photo credits: Victoria Allcoat