Surprise inside cake – Swiss roll and Madeira

surprise inside cake - Ink Sugar Spice
Surprise inside cake recipe on In Sugar Spice


This cake was borne out of another Daring Bakers challenge for a ‘surprise inside’ cake. Some of the suggestions had zebra, marbled or chequered coloured sponge hidden under icing so it would only show when cut, others had hidden treats in a cut-out well inside or were baked with a design or pattern (these included bread). I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to do a Swiss roll, but while I was doodling ideas I did a swirl inside a cake…

I did also try a brioche, I knew it wouldn’t be easy to do a defined shape and was aiming to get two circles of a second colour show even throughout. It just turned into some sunken, misshapen blobs! I think brioche dough is too loose to use or I’ll have to rethink what you could do instead – maybe rough layers would work. Anyway, the brioche was fine as brioche, just not a clever surprise!

Before I attempted this I did plan out the whole idea with a sketch first (I often make my bakes based on what ideas I’ve drawn):

Surprise inside cake recipe - Ink Sugar Spice


Unfortunately I realised that didn’t have a large enough loaf tin to fit in a whole pre-baked roulade and still have space around it to bake a Madeira. Instead, I used a 21 cm square cake tin and split the roulade into two small rolls, so that it bake with two swirls inside. If I get round to purchasing a large loaf tin, I’ll try and have a go at doing this how I originally envisaged it. It was both better and worse in the end than I hoped it would be: it was effective, baked well and tasted nice, definitely the idea works but, because I had to split the roulade up, the swirl wasn’t quite so effective as it uncurled a little. I think a full Swiss roll might keep its shape better.

I used freeze-dried strawberry powder in the roulade to add colour and to give a different flavour, but just using all plain flour and food colouring would be fine.


  • I used a 21 cm square tin, but ideally use a large loaf tin
  • Small Swiss roll tin (about 18 cm x 28 cm)
  • Eggs, separated into yolks and whites – 2
  • Caster sugar – 60 g
  • Salt – pinch
  • Plain flour –  35 g
  • Freeze dried strawberry powder – 15g (I purchased mine from Healthy Supplies – UK)
  • Jam – any flavour (I used strawberry), about half a standard jar

Ingredients – for the orange Madeira

  • Unsalted butter, softened – 100g
  • Icing sugar – 100g
  • Eggs, 2
  • Self-raising flour – 120g
  • Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Orange – grated zest and juice of one orange

Method – roulade

  1. Heat the oven – 175C fan/185C conventional
  2. Grease the Swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment/greaseproof and grease this too
  3. Whisk the eggs yolks with all but a tablespoon or so of the caster sugar and the salt until it’s really increased in volume: about three times the amount
  4. Sift the flour and powdered strawberries (if using) into the mix bit by bit, folding it in until incorporated
  5. Now beat the whites with the last of the sugar until stiff peaks
  6. Mix a bit of the egg whites into the batter mix to start it off and then fold in the rest of the egg whites. If you’re using flavouring or colouring add it in at this end stage of mixing
  7. Spread the mix into the Swiss roll tin, making it as smooth as possible.
  8. Bake for about 8 mins
  9. When it’s out of the oven place a slightly damp, clean tea towel over the hot sponge – this will keep it moist so it won’t crack when you roll it
  10. When it’s cooled a little, take off the tea towel and lift it out of the tin
  11. Spread the jam all over the sponge and begin to roll from one short edge
  12. For my ‘double roll’ I rolled up from both short sides and then sliced down the middle of the roulade once the two rolls met in the middle

  13. Leave to one side until you need it

Method – Madeira

  1. Turn the oven down to 160C fan/170C conventional
  2. Grease and line your tin, greasing again if the paper needs it
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, then mix in the eggs one at a time
  4. Sift in and thoroughly mix the flour, baking powder and the orange zest and juice
  5. Pour in enough mix into the tin to cover the bottom
  6. Place in the Swiss roll(s) and then fill in the rest of the batter mix around the rolls
  7. Smooth over the top and pop in the oven for about 35 mins, if you have made the cake as I have using two rolls, mark the two sides of the tin which are the ENDs of the Swiss roll somehow (I wrote on the parchment). This is so you know how to cut the cake when it’s cool; otherwise you won’t get the nice swirl if you cut lengthways
  8. Leave until cooled after baking and remove from the tin. Remember to mark again where the ends are/how to cut the cake
The finished cake – I cut off slices and then halved them, so that each person had a piece with one roll

Published by Ink Sugar Spice

I’m Lynn and I’m a baker, pasta maker, patissiere, cook, crafter, designer, artist and illustrator. There's little that I can't make by hand. I have been making bread and pasta, baking and creating recipes for 30 years since a teenager. I was featured as the 'pasta fanatic' in episode three of Nadiya's Family Favourites on BBC2 (July 2018) I work as a web and graphic designer/copywriter/social media manager and have an honours degree in theatre design and have many artican crafts, carpentry and design skills. 💙 #pasta #food #baking #bread #patisserie #confectionery #art #crafts #recipes #blogger #design #illustration

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