Arctic Roll

Arctic Roll

Remember these?  Memories of childhood tea times, if Arctic Roll was served up in our house it was a great day – I was obviously easily pleased!  A chance twitter conversation with Jenni Baden Howard from set me off thinking about making my own.  Now I have to admit that this Arctic Roll probably cost me about four quid to make, I’m sure they’re only £1 from the freezer cabinet but we all know that’s not the point is it?!

So if you fancy making your own (most definitely not cost effective but definitely most satisfying) Arctic Roll then here’s how!


2 eggs, large

50g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g plain flour

1/3rd jar of jam

1 x 500ml tub of icecream

You’ll also need a small baking tray with sides, they don’t need to be deep 1cm will do the trick. (19 x 29.5cm)

Preheat the oven to 160c (fan)/180c/Gas Mark 4.

Line the tray with baking paper, cut a rectangle just slightly bigger, grease the tray and then push the paper into the tray – the greasing will hold the paper to the tray making things a whole lot easier.

Place the eggs, large please, and the sugar in a big bowl, add the vanilla.  Using an electric mixer whisk the two together until they go pale and fluffy and double in volume.

I’ll warn you now, it takes an age – at least it feels like it does.  Keep going you’ll get there.  They need to be whisked together until when you lift out the whisk the mixture forms a trail on the top of the mix in the bowl and stays there.  It’s the staying there bit that’s important.  Keep going….

Now sift in the flour, dump it all in and you’ll knock out the air you’ve just spent ten minutes whisking in.  Find that sieve.

Now using a spatula, metal spoon or palette knife start to fold the flour into the mixture.  Using something with a flat side cuts through the mixture without popping out too much air – no wooden spoons please.

Keep folding until all the flour is worked in.  Scrape the spatula at the bottom of the bowl – the flour tends to hide down here.

Now gently into the lined tin.

Very gently with the spatula ease the mixture into the corners of the tin and roughly level the mix.

Bake it in the oven for 12 minutes.  It should be golden on the top but still ‘pfft’ a little bit when you touch it to test.  You want to keep some moisture in there otherwise it will be dry and crack terribly when you try to roll.

Keep it in the tin and throw a clean dry tea towel over the top of it and leave it to cool.

So now it’s time to prep the icecream.  You need one of these posh type tubs (which is what makes this Arctic Roll so expensive.  Think of the possibilities though with Haagen Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s…

Tip it out of the container, it quickly loosens around the sides and a push from the bottom and we’re ready to roll!

Now it needs to be cut into a straight cylinder. It can just be done with a sharp knife but I tend to get a bit cut happy and before I reduce my icecream to shreds I’m using a round metal cutter.  7.5cm round was just right.  Slide it down the icecream from the thinner end until it gets stuck.

Flick away the icecream around the cutter with a knife.

Now push it down again to the bottom and clear away the excess (that’s code for eat those bits!)

Wrap it up well in clingfilm and get it back in the freezer.

Once the swiss roll is fully cooled place a piece of baking paper slightly larger than the roll on the worksurface and scatter liberally with caster sugar.

Take the swiss roll out of the tin and carefully peel away the paper to release the sides.

Flip it face down onto the caster sugar.

And peel away the paper.

Spread it with a good layer of jam.

Now, icecream cylinder out of the freezer and unwrapped.  Set it along the left hand edge in the middle.

Now roll it up, using the paper to help you.

Roll it over until the seam is underneath (or thereabouts as the photo shows – doh!)

Wrap the paper around it, to help keep the round shape.  Don’t worry about the excess at either end yet.

Wrap it in clingfilm and then back in the freezer to firm up.

When time comes to serve, unwrap your Arctic Roll and cut away the excess cake on either end, use a serrated knife in a sawing action.  I have to say I didn’t mind eating these bits either…

This Arctic Roll was quickly demolished into five good sized portions but could easily serve 6.  If you fancy making a longer one you could fit in two tubs of icecream set end to end (but equally your Arctic Roll will cost you epic proportions!)

Go on, you know you want to….and if you’re anything like me you’ll be super proud of your homemade Arctic Roll!

Arctic Roll

Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

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26 Responses to Arctic Roll

  1. Stella Clapham says:

    I would love to Pin this Rachel, are you going to be sharing it on Pinterest too perhaps?

    Lovely childhood memories :o) Thanks a bunch, Stella

  2. Lynne Lee-Diep says:

    I bet that tasted delicious – more than the £1 version for having an indulgent ice-cream as the centre piece. I think my hubbs would enjoy, in fact he’d probably say (whilst looking at entire Arctic Roll,) “Where’s yours?” ;)

  3. Oh yes I remember this. It was such a treat when we were kids. Yours looks great.

  4. Syma says:

    Oh my gosh. This has totally brought back childhood memories!! Would you use strawberry or raspberry jam?

  5. Kim says:

    I LOVE arctic roll! Just a few weeks ago I was in a pub and it was on the dessert menu, I was over the moon as I hadn’t had it in years! I will probably still be lazy and buy one but definitely keeping this recipe in mind if I am ever feeling brave!

  6. Lyn says:

    Definitely going to give this a go, except I’ll make my own Vanilla & Baileys Biscotti icecream. (Much cheaper).The icecream is placed into a circular loaf tin, so it will be easy to wrap in the sponge. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Oh. My. WORD!!!!!!! Arctic Roll FABULOUSNESS!!!!! Can’t believe I’ve only just found this!!! Looks amazing, I am off now to retweet, Facebook in the name of the Arctic Roll Revival via The Pink Whisk!! It looks scrummy – a million zillion billion times better than the supermarket freezer version!! YOU DID IT!!! :) XXXXX

  8. alia khan says:

    Instead of the round cutter could you use an empty food tin but with the top and bottom taken off?

  9. Janice says:

    Oh this is definitely better than the bought one, which was not the nicest thing to eat, but a great idea.

    Was browsing your book today and am putting it on my wish list.

  10. Well done! This looks so good, and so much more wholesome than the ones in the freezer cabinet!

  11. Carmen says:

    Hi Ruth here in Australia just finished seeing you win The Great British Bake Off yes a few years later :) I found your site and I love you. You are so down to earth and love the way you write your receipes. I love cooking and made a couple of volumes of receipes with pics for my boys. I like this receipe will try it. I guess it might be cheaper making your own ice cream and some strawberries or Raspberries to match the jam in the middle of the roll will look nice when you cut it. Dont mind me I get carried away. Will be looking forward to more of your lovely yummy treats.
    Carmen :)

  12. Glo says:

    Hi Ruth shall definitely be trying this but can you tell me where you got your baking tin from – my swiss roll tin is much too big.
    I like the idea that this is a freezer cake and so can be made in advance.

  13. Alison says:

    Thanks for your blog Ruth your recipes and comments really cheer me up! Alison :-)

  14. Paula says:

    Yummy, now this brings back memories. I’ve got to try this sometime soon.

  15. Nicola says:

    I used to love Artic roll! I bet your version tastes miles better than the pre-made stuff! My husband loves it too so I must give this a go :-)

  16. HELEN says:

    I made one of these & used a flexible chopping board rolled up & put homemade ice cream in it – worked out really well but I like the idea of just tipping it straight out of the tub!

  17. Sarah Jafar says:

    I am so making this for my Olympic party tonight! Just as I was deliberating what pud to make, this came into my inbox. Thank you so much Ruth xx

  18. Hi Ruth, I saw these in Olive magazine the other month, but the page didn’t load properly on my iPad! So perfect timing for you to give us a demo. It looks so perfect, I’m just trying to think of ways of pimping it up a bit.

    Can I just ask your finished roll is 10/10, but I noticed just before you wrap in cling film the sponge is a little thicker. Does this squash down while it’s wrapped up.


  19. Liz says:

    Wow, this is something I’ve never seen nor eaten before! My family would love this summery treat…thanks for sharing :)

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