Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

This is the Best Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Swiss Roll, with a rich, chocolatey and light sponge rolled around gingerbread buttercream. Decorate this Yule Log with dark chocolate ganache and mini gingerbread for a Christmas showstopper.

This Swiss roll has been a long time coming as I actually wanted to make one for Christmas 2021 but after 1 or 2 attempts, I abandoned ship. This year, I approached the task with a new zeal and was determined to produce a chocolate Swiss roll, or a vegan yule log that was easy to make, didn’t crack and works every time. Say hello to the very best chocolate Christmas swirl cake and below I have included top tips using everything I have learned from my many trials and errors.

Close up of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll with a gingerbread cookie
Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

This recipe is even more excited, as I have teamed up with fellow vegan creator, food lover and social media sensation, Holly of The Little Blog of Vegan. We have both created Christmassy Swiss Roll cakes, and you can see photos of her cake below – go check her out too!

Why will I love this cake?

This chocolate swirl cake is delicious:

  • Chocolatey, light and packed with gingerbread spices
  • Moreish, tender and fluffy
  • Filled with a gingerbread buttercream
  • Decorated with a dark chocolate ganache (only 2-ingredients)
  • Naturally vegan and nut-free
  • Easy to make with step-by-step instructions
  • Smaller in size, serves 6-8 perfectly
  • Fun to decorate and make this festive season
  • Great to prepare the day before

If you already love the sound of the Best Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Swiss Roll then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, first let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

Side on angle of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll with chocolate ganache
Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

What ingredients do I need?

I’ve kept the ingredient list as accessible as possible for the sponge cake:

  • Aquafaba: this is the key egg replacer (which is important for the light and fluffy fat-free sponge). This is the water from a tin of chickpeas so make sure to keep your aquafaba when you use your chickpeas next time (you can keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days after draining the chickpeas, in a sealed container). Beat and whip this up with the sugar to form a glossy white mixture that is full of air.
  • Caster sugar: I prefer to use white, fine sugar for this roll to keep the batter as silky smooth as possible.
  • Applesauce: this adds moisture and helps to bind the batter. Make sure its 100% apple and is unsweetened and smooth. I love the one from KoRo which is perfect for baking.
  • Thick dairy-free yoghurt: this also adds moisture, fat and helps bind the mix while adding a lovely texture. The yoghurt needs to be thick and creamy, like Cocos Organic yoghurt and cannot be runny otherwise the batter will be too wet. Other Greek-style thick dairy-free yoghurts will also work.
  • Vanilla essence: for flavour.
  • Chia or flax seeds: for binding the batter a little more. Make sure these are ground up and stir together with the other wet ingredients.
  • Plain flour: to keep the sponge really light and moist, make sure you use plain flour. I can imagine this will work with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend that contains some sort of thickener or gum.
  • Cocoa powder: for the chocolate flavour.
  • Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda: for rise.
  • Cornflour or starch: this is important for the texture of the baked sponge, so that I can roll and hold its shape.
  • Xanthan gum: as above, this will allow the sponge to be more flexible and roll more easily. Be sure to only use ¼ tsp (it’s important to measure it, otherwise the cake will be gummy).
  • Gingerbread spices: for the delicious warming flavour of the sponge, use ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg.
Slices of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll
Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

As for the rest of the cake, we need:

  • Vegan butter: both for the buttercream filling and for the ganache. This is the block-style of butter and not the spreadable kind. This cannot be swapped for coconut oil.
  • Icing sugar: for the buttercream.
  • Dark chocolate: for the chocolate ganache. Chop this up small or use chocolate chips and any dairy-free chocolate will be great here although I prefer one that is at least 70% cocoa.
  • Gingerbread cookies: to decorate. I used my easy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies.

How do I make this?

To make a Swiss roll cake is easy when you know how, and for more technical tips, read my trouble shooting section below.

  • Prepare all the ingredients before you begin: stir together some of the wet ingredients and sift together the dry ingredients.
  • Whip together the aquafaba and sugar: in a freestanding mixer or using a handheld electric mixer. This will take at least 5 minutes to make the mixture glossy, thick and white.
  • Carefully beat in the wet ingredients: in three portions.
  • Now fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula: working in three amounts.
  • Spread the cake batter into a lined tin: and smooth over the top.
  • Bake for 7 ½ minutes until springy to touch: and immediately remove from the oven.
  • Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder: and place a teatowel or linen on top.
  • Use a cooling rack to invert the cake: and remove the tin and then peel away the parchment paper.
  • Dust the top liberally with cocoa powder: and use the linen to roll up the cake, rolling in linen with it.
  • Allow to cool on the wire rack for 30 minutes: it will still be warm.
  • Meanwhile make the buttercream: till light and fluffy.
  • Very carefully unroll the cake: working quacking.
  • Spread the buttercream all over the cake: leaving a small gap around the edges but filling in the inner roll.
  • Carefully roll the cake back up: and cover with clingfilm.
  • Place in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours or until needed: this can be prepared the day in advance.
  • Melt together the chocolate and vegan butter: for the ganache.
  • Place the Swiss roll on a serving plate and trim off the ends: to make this neater.
  • Pour over the chocolate ganache: to cover the roll.
  • Decorate with gingerbread cookies and other things: like redcurrants and sprinkles.
  • Slice and enjoy: once the ganache is set, you can cover and keep this yule log for a few days.
A slice of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll on a small plate
Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

Trouble shooting tips for the best Swiss roll!

After many trials and errors (each one delicious but not quite so pretty) I have learned a few tricks for the perfect Swiss roll cake that have helped me to make this recipe as amazing as it is today:

  • Make sure the ingredients are room temperature: where specified. This is important to prevent any curdling or splitting of the batter.
  • Beat the aquafaba and sugar for the full 5 minutes: to ensure as much air as possible is in the mixture. The mix wil be glossy, white and thickened although not as thick as meringue.
  • Work quickly! Once the cake is out the oven, immediately dust with cocoa and invert onto a cooling rack. Don’t wait around for the cake to start cooling as it firms up. Similarly, bake the cake as soon as it’s spread into the tin.
  • Roll the cake loosely: you want to aim for 3 full rotations but do not be tempted to roll the cake too tightly as it will crack more.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 30 minutes: but not much longer. I have tried cooling the cake fully and find it is more likely to crack. It is more pliable while it’s still a bit warm.
  • Work carefully and quickly when unrolling the cake: do not push the cake down but simply unroll and if any cracks appear, fill these up quickly with buttercream.
  • If the cake does crack: don’t’ worry, no one can tell. With the buttercream, push the pieces back together as you roll it up and press between your hands.
  • Wrap it tightly in clingfilm once filled and rolled: this sets the cake and you’ll notice the cracks won’t appear nearly as big anymore.
  • Practise makes perfect: after making a few Swiss rolls, you can “feel” how tightly or loosely you’re rolling the cake the first-time round, so don’t be put off if you have some cracks the first, second or even third time.
A half eaten slice of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll
Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

How long will this last?

Once you have rolled and filled the cake, you can cover and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days (keeping in mind the longer it stays in the fridge now, the less time it will keep once you have decorated it). Once you have decorated the cake, you can also cover and keep it for 3-5 days (if made and decorated on the same day) or 2-3 days (if decorated a day or so after). You can also freeze the cake for up to 1 month, wrapped well, and allow to defrost at room temperature.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes this cake is nut-free, just check that your yoghurt, butter and chocolate are all free of nuts. To make this gluten-free, make sure your flour is a 1:1 baking blend of flour that contains xanthan gum or another gum to help stabilise the cake. Note that the cake will be more likely to crack so I advise plain flour, if possible.

What else can I make?

If you love this festive bake and are looking for more ideas, how about my:

Slices of Best Vegan Chocolate Swiss Roll

Best Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Swiss Roll

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes

This is the Best Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Swiss Roll, with a rich, chocolatey and light sponge rolled around gingerbread buttercream. Decorate this Yule Log with dark chocolate ganache and mini gingerbread for a Christmas showstopper.


For the Sponge Cake:

  • 60ml aquafaba, room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g applesauce, room temperature
  • 30g thick coconut yoghurt, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp ground chia seeds
  • 80g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • ½ tbsp cornflour (or cornstarch)
  • ¾ tsp baking powder AND ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum
  • Gingerbread spices: ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cinnamon, a pinch of mixed spice, a pinch of nutmeg

For the Filling:

  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 120g vegan butter, softened
  • 300-350g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp aquafaba
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • Pinch of cinnamon

For the Ganache:

  • 150g dark chocolate chips, or chopped up
  • 60g vegan butter, cubed

To Decorate:

  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Redcurrants


  1. Please read all the steps before starting. Preheat the oven to 106Fan/180ºC and line a shallow baking tray with parchment paper (about 9 x 13 inches).
  2. Prepare the Swiss roll: stir together the applesauce, yoghurt, vanilla and chia seeds in a small bowl. In a second larger bowl, sift together and stir the flour, cocoa powder, cornflour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, the gingerbread spices and salt.
  3. To start the sponge: add the aquafaba to the bowl of a freestanding mixer and start to beat using the whisk attachment. Pour the sugar in spoon by spoon until you’ve added it all and now turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, until the mixture is thicker, glossy and white (not as thick as meringue but holding some shape when you make a figure of eight with the mix.
  4. To continue the sponge: reduce the mixer to a medium speed and add in the applesauce mixture by the spoon. Stop once fully incorporated.
  5. To add the dry mix: using a spatula, fold in the flour mix into the wet mixture in three parts, being careful to keep as much air in as possible. Stop mixing once the batter is full incorporated.
  6. To bake the sponge: Spoon or pour onto the lined tray and spread out the batter to approximately 8 x 12 -inches (it won’t fill the tray) and smooth over the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 7-8 minutes, mine takes 71/2 minutes. It will be springy to the touch.
  7. To shape the sponge: immediately dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder and lay a clean tea towel or linen over the top so it overhangs one of the shorter ends by 1-2 inches. Use a cooling rack to help you flip over the cake. Remove the tin and carefully peel back the parchment paper. Dust the cake again with cocoa powder and using the small edge, tuck the edge of the linen oven and begin to carefully and fairly loosely roll the sponge cake into linen. Once the cake is fully rolled, leave on the wire rack for 30 minutes, to cool slightly.
  8. To make the buttercream: add the butter to a freestanding mixer bowl or use an electric handheld mixer and beat till smooth. Gradually add in the icing sugar, aquafaba, vanilla, ginger and cinnamon and beat till fluffy and smooth. Continue to beat for 1-2 minutes more, to make it really light.
  9. To fill the sponge roll: working quickly and very carefully, unroll the cake (it will still be a bit warm), if any cracks appear on the surface, do not worry just work to make sure they don’t fully break the cake. Smooth the buttercream the unrolled cake, leaving a small border around the edge and making sure you fill the inside swirl. Now carefully and quickly, re-roll the sponge, pressing together any cracks. Wrap the Swiss roll in clingfilm and transfer to the fridge to cool fully (about 1-2 hours). This can be done the day before.
  10. For the ganache: remove the cake from the fridge. Add the chocolate and butter to a heatproof bowl and working in 15-second increments, microwave the mix until smooth and glossy. Allow the ganache to sit for 10 minutes, until slightly thicker.
  11. When ready to assemble: to make the cake neater, carefully slice off the ends of the cake using a sharp knife or piece of cotton (as you’d do with cinnamon rolls). Place on a serving plate or board and pour over the ganache so it drips down the sides.
  12. To decorate: add on the gingerbread cookies, redcurrants and anything else you like.
  13. To serve and store: enjoy straight away or keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in a sealed container or you can freeze the roll for up to 1 month, wrapped well. Allow to defrost at room temperature.

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I look forward to hearing what you think of this Best Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Swiss Roll so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review above. If you do make this, I’d love to see so please tag me, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With Swiss roll love x

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello! Would a 1to1 gluten free flour mix work with this? What would be the measurements for standard /metric? Thank you!

    • Hi, I have not tried this with gluten-free flour so I cannot recommend you trying it, as it may be more likely to crack. As for metric measurements, you can easily search for any conversions you need online – enjoy! And if you’re looking for a different gluten-free chocolate cake, try the Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge Cake, it’s amazing!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I made this log last Christmas and it worked out really well for me. The year before I tried three different yule log recipes and they all turned out dry and cracked. I will be using your recipe again come December. Thank you so much!

    • Hi, this makes me SO happy to hear, and I know how annoying it is when they crack, so I am really glad you found this recipe. Enjoy any other cakes you try!

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