How to Make a Cake Roll: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Ella

Cake rolls, also known as jelly rolls or Swiss rolls, are a delightful and visually stunning dessert that never fails to impress. These cylindrical treats consist of a light and airy sponge cake rolled around a delicious filling, such as whipped cream, fruit preserves, or chocolate ganache. While making a cake roll may seem intimidating at first, with the right techniques and a little practice, you can create a show-stopping dessert that will leave your guests in awe. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of making a cake roll, including tips and tricks for achieving the perfect texture, shape, and presentation.

How to make a cake roll


  • 2 Mixing bowls
  • 1 Electric Mixer
  • 1 Rubber spatula
  • 1 10x15-inch Jelly Roll Pan
  • some Parchment Paper
  • 1 Wire Rack
  • 1 Offset spatula
  • 1 Knife


  • 6 Eggs
  • some Granulated Sugar
  • 2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • some Baking Powder or Baking Soda
  • some Salt
  • some Flavorings Depending on your desired flavor, you can add vanilla extract, almond extract, or other flavorings to enhance the taste of the cake.
  • some Powdered Sugar Select your favorite filling for the cake roll. Popular options include whipped cream, fruit preserves, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, or cream cheese frosting.
  • some Filling


  • Preparing the Baking Sheet: To ensure a successful cake roll, it's crucial to properly prepare your baking sheet. Line a standard 10x15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. The parchment paper will prevent the cake from sticking to the pan and make it easier to roll later.
  • Preparing the Cake Batter: Follow the instructions in your chosen recipe to prepare the cake batter. Most cake roll recipes use a basic sponge cake batter made with eggs, sugar, flour, and a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. It's essential to beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy to create the desired light and airy texture of the cake.
  • Spreading the Batter: Pour the cake batter onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it evenly using an offset spatula. Ensure that the batter reaches all corners of the pan and forms an even layer. Avoid overmixing the batter to prevent it from losing its lightness.
  • Baking the Cake: Bake the cake in a preheated oven according to the recipe instructions. Sponge cakes typically bake quickly, so keep a close eye on it to avoid overcooking. The cake is done when it springs back lightly to the touch and starts to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  • Rolling the Cake: As soon as the cake is out of the oven, act quickly to prevent cracking when rolling. Use the parchment paper overhang to lift the cake gently from the pan and place it on a clean kitchen towel or a separate piece of parchment paper sprinkled with powdered sugar. This will help prevent sticking and absorb excess moisture.
  • Cooling and Setting:Place the rolled cake, seam-side down, on a wire rack to cool completely. This will allow the cake to set in its rolled shape and prevent it from unraveling later.
  • Decorating the Cake Roll: Once the cake roll is fully cooled, you can decorate it to add a touch of elegance and flair. Dust the top with powdered sugar, drizzle with chocolate ganache, or pipe a decorative pattern of whipped cream. Get creative and add fresh fruit, nuts, or chocolate shavings for an extra wow factor.

How to store cake rolls:

Properly storing cake rolls is essential to maintain their freshness and prevent them from drying out or losing their shape. Here are the steps to store cake rolls effectively:


1. Allow the Cake Roll to Cool Completely:

Before storing the cake roll, ensure that it has cooled completely. Allowing it to cool ensures that the filling sets, and the cake retains its shape during storage.


2. Wrap the Cake Roll:

Wrap the cooled cake roll tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Make sure the wrapping is secure, covering the entire cake roll to prevent air from reaching it. This will help retain moisture and prevent the cake from drying out.


3. Refrigeration:

For cake rolls with perishable fillings like whipped cream or cream cheese frosting, refrigeration is necessary. Place the wrapped cake roll in an airtight container or a large resealable plastic bag to prevent any odors from affecting its taste.


4. Freezing:

If you have leftover cake roll or want to store it for an extended period, freezing is a suitable option. To freeze a cake roll, wrap it in multiple layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can use a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag for freezing.

5. Thawing:

When ready to serve a frozen cake roll, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Thawing in the refrigerator ensures even and gentle thawing, preserving the texture and taste of the cake.

7. Avoiding Condensation:

If you’ve refrigerated the cake roll, avoid exposing it to temperature changes or direct sunlight, as this can cause condensation and affect the cake’s texture.

8. Freshness Timeline:

For optimal taste and texture, consume refrigerated cake rolls within 2-3 days and frozen cake rolls within 1-2 months.

Note: Some fillings, like fruit preserves or chocolate ganache, may have a longer shelf life and don’t necessarily require refrigeration. Follow the specific storage instructions for the filling you’ve used.

Troubleshooting Tips:

Making a cake roll can be a rewarding experience, but it may not always turn out perfectly on the first try. Here are some troubleshooting tips to address common issues:

1. Cracks in the Cake:

If your cake develops cracks when rolling, don’t worry! They can easily be hidden with your filling and decorations. To minimize cracking, be sure to roll the cake while it’s still warm and flexible, and avoid overfilling.

2. Dry or Dense Cake:

To ensure a light and tender cake, be careful not to overmix the batter. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Additionally, avoid overbaking the cake, as it can lead to a dry texture.

3. Uneven Rolling:

If your cake roll doesn’t roll evenly, it may have cooled too much before rolling. Work quickly to roll the cake while it’s still warm and pliable. The use of a kitchen towel or parchment paper can also help achieve a smooth roll.

4. Filling Spilling Out:

If your filling spills out while rolling, you may have applied too much pressure or overfilled the cake. Use a gentle touch when rolling and avoid spreading the filling too close to the edges.

Variations of Cake Roll

Cake rolls offer a versatile canvas for a wide range of flavors and fillings, making them an exciting dessert with endless possibilities. Here are some popular variations of cake rolls to tantalize your taste buds:

1. Chocolate Cake Roll:

For all the chocolate lovers out there, a chocolate cake roll is a decadent treat. Use cocoa powder or melted chocolate in the cake batter to create a rich, moist, and chocolatey sponge. Fill the roll with chocolate ganache, whipped chocolate cream, or even Nutella for an indulgent delight.

2. Red Velvet Cake Roll:

Red velvet cake rolls combine the signature vibrant red color and subtle cocoa flavor with a velvety texture. Pair it with a cream cheese frosting filling for that classic red velvet cake experience.

3. Lemon Cake Roll:

Zesty and refreshing, a lemon cake roll is a perfect treat for citrus lovers. Add lemon zest or lemon extract to the cake batter for a burst of lemon flavor. Fill the roll with tangy lemon curd or lemon-flavored whipped cream for a delightful contrast.

4. Pumpkin Spice Cake Roll:

Embrace the flavors of fall with a pumpkin spice cake roll. Add pumpkin puree and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to the cake batter. Fill the roll with cream cheese frosting or a maple-flavored whipped cream for a taste of autumn.

5. Raspberry or Strawberry Cake Roll:

Add a burst of fruity sweetness to your cake roll with raspberry or strawberry variations. Swirl raspberry or strawberry puree into the cake batter before baking. Fill the roll with fresh berries or fruit preserves for a delightful burst of flavor.

6. Matcha Green Tea Cake Roll:

For a unique and elegant twist, infuse your cake roll with matcha green tea powder. The vibrant green color and earthy flavor pair beautifully with whipped cream or white chocolate ganache filling.

7. Tiramisu Cake Roll:

Capture the flavors of the classic Italian dessert with a tiramisu-inspired cake roll. Use coffee-flavored sponge cake and fill the roll with a creamy mascarpone cheese mixture, dusting the top with cocoa powder for an authentic tiramisu taste.

8. Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake Roll:

Combine two classic favorites into one delicious treat. Spread peanut butter over the cake before rolling and add a layer of your favorite jelly or jam for a nostalgic and irresistible combination.

9. Caramel Apple Cake Roll:

Celebrate the flavors of fall with a caramel apple cake roll. Add diced apples and warm spices to the cake batter and drizzle caramel sauce over the filling for a sweet and comforting treat.

10. Mocha Espresso Cake Roll:

For coffee enthusiasts, a mocha espresso cake roll is the perfect pick-me-up. Infuse the cake batter with espresso or instant coffee powder and fill the roll with a coffee-flavored whipped cream or ganache.


Mastering the art of making a cake roll may take a bit of practice, but the effort is undoubtedly worth it when you see the delight on your family and friends’ faces as they savor your delicious creation. With the right recipe, careful preparation, and attention to detail, you can create a cake roll that is both visually stunning and irresistibly scrumptious. So, gather your ingredients, unleash your creativity, and let the magic of cake rolls take center stage at your next celebration or afternoon tea. Happy baking!



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