How to Make a Roll Cake? Step by Step Guide

how to make roll cake

Do you want to learn how to make a roll cake without breaking it? It’s super easy, and you’ll feel like a pro. Do you know those fancy Yule log cakes or Swiss rolls in the bakery? You can make them at home too. It might seem hard, but trust me; it’s not. You must follow a few tips and soon make your delicious cake roll. Don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Key Points From the Article

  • Choose the right recipe with the right balance of ingredients.
  • Use the “mise en place” technique to prepare your baking tools and measure your ingredients before you start.
  • Use the right ingredients, measure them carefully, and follow the recipe sequence.
  • Keep your ingredients at room temperature before baking.
  • Use basic baking equipment, such as a mixing bowl, hand/stand mixer, rubber spatula, and metal offset spatula.
  • Use a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper to line your baking tray.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly, not too thick, and use a long bent spatula.
  • Grease and flour the parchment paper to prevent the cake from sticking to the tray.
  • Avoid overbaking the sponge cake, and stay close to the oven while it’s baking.
  • Roll the cake while it’s still warm, but not hot.
  • Use a damp towel to wrap the cake while it cools.
  • Use a serrated knife to trim the edges of the cake before rolling.
  • Use a clean tea towel or parchment paper to roll the cake, starting at the shorter end.
  • Cool the rolled cake in the fridge or freezer before filling and decorating.
  • Dust the cake with powdered sugar or cocoa powder before serving.

How to Roll a Cake Without Breaking It 

Do you get nervous about making a cake roll at home? Well, don’t worry. Rolling a sponge cake might seem complicated, but it’s manageable.

It’s the most challenging part, but there are some tips and tricks to help you avoid breaking the cake. All you need is patience, practice, helpful tips, and advice from a chef. You’ll be a pro in no time.

Choose the right recipe

If you want to make a perfect roll cake, the first step is to choose the right recipe. It might sound scary, but don’t worry. There are lots of recipes online, and finding the best one with the right balance of ingredients is challenging.

Your cake needs to be soft and bendy, not dry and crumbly, so it’s easier to roll. Just remember to take your time and find the recipe that’s just right for you.

Get prepared before you begin

To make your baking experience super easy, you should use the “mise en place” technique. This means measuring your ingredients and preparing your baking tools before you start.

If you read the recipe carefully and understand the steps, making a cake roll will be a piece of cake. Make sure your workspace is tidy and your oven is heated up.

With everything organized, you’ll only need around 15 minutes from mixing the batter to popping it in the oven.

Selecting the appropriate ingredients

To make a perfect roll cake, use the right ingredients and measure them carefully. The easiest recipe for a roll cake only requires three ingredients: eggs, sugar, and all-purpose flour.

The eggs help everything stick together, the flour gives the cake structure, and the sugar gives it a yummy texture. Some recipes also need melted butter or vegetable oil, which makes the cake taste soft and flexible.

Here’s an excellent tip: cakes made with butter can break faster when they cool down because butter gets complicated when it’s cold. So, use oil instead of butter to avoid any cracking.

If you’re new to baking, following the recipe strictly is best. But if you’re an experienced baker, you can try mixing things up with different ingredients and flavours. Just measure everything carefully using measuring cups or a kitchen scale.

Maintain the sequence of ingredients

Even though you only need a few ingredients to make a cake roll, the order you use them is super important. First, mix egg yolks (or whole eggs) with sugar. Then, add the sifted flour.

Sifting the flour and other dry stuff, like cocoa powder, is essential because it prevents lumps from forming.

It would help if you whisked the egg whites in a different bowl until they become soft peaks. Then add sugar bit by bit and keep beating until they become stiff.

Finally, gently add the egg white mixture to the first egg mixture. Try not to knock any air out of the variety you mixed earlier.

Room temperature ingredients

Another important thing when making a cake roll is to have your ingredients at room temperature. Take the eggs out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before baking. You can also put them in a bowl of warm water for a little bit.

If you’re using melted butter, let it cool down before adding it to the batter.

how to make a roll cake

Choose the right baking equipment

If you want to make a cake roll, you don’t need fancy tools. Gather a large mixing bowl, a hand or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, a rubber spatula, and a metal offset spatula to mix and spread the batter.

Many types of baking sheets, such as silicone non-spill sheets or Silikomart mats, can make baking a breeze. You can also use a jelly roll pan or a baking tray lined with parchment paper. If you need to adjust the pan size, use a cake pan calculator.

Once the cake is baked, you can cool it on a wire rack or kitchen counter.

Spread cake batter evenly

To make it easy to roll your cake, spread the batter evenly and not too thick. You can use a long bent spatula to do this. If the batter is too thick or uneven, it can be hard to roll the cake later.

Butter and flour parchment paper

When using a silicone baking sheet, you don’t need to add anything to it. However, if you use a regular baking tray, prepare it first.

Start by placing a piece of parchment paper on the tray. Did you know that parchment paper has two sides, one more sticky than the other?

Please pay attention to which side is more slippery and place it up so it touches the cake batter.

After that, you must grease the parchment paper with butter and sprinkle flour. If you skip this step, your cake will stick to the report, and you won’t be able to roll it.

Don’t let the sponge cake brown

To make a roll cake, you must be careful while baking the sponge cake. Unlike a classic sponge cake, your roll cake should not brown too much while baking.

If the sponge cake becomes too brown, it can dry out and become brittle, making it more likely to break when you roll it. Therefore, bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven and be careful not to overbake it.

To ensure the cake is baked correctly, stay close to the oven and follow the recipe’s recommended baking time. You can check if the cake is ready by pressing it lightly with your finger. If it crushes, it’s not done yet, but if it springs back, it’s ready.

Don’t open the oven door

Here’s a helpful tip: avoid opening the oven door while baking the cake. If you open the door, the sudden temperature change can cause the sponge cake to deflate and lose its fluffy texture.

Let the biscuit cool down

Once the sponge cake is out of the oven, you have some necessary steps. If you want, you can trim the edges of the cake while it’s still hot. But cutting it after you’ve rolled it up is also okay.

Some recipes require the cake to be a specific size, so you can use a knife to cut it into a pretty rectangle before rolling.

When the cake is hot, sprinkle a bit of sugar on top, and cover it with a slightly damp towel or crumpled wet parchment paper. This helps keep the cake moist and flexible, preventing it from drying and cracking when you roll it.

Unmold the cake

After sprinkling the surface of the hot sponge cake with sugar and covering it with damp parchment paper and a towel, you need to flip it over onto a second baking sheet. The sponge cake will be on paper, covered with a wet cloth and topped with the baking tray.

Leave the sponge cake to rest for 3-5 minutes, allowing the steam to work its magic and make removing it easier.

Remove the baking sheet and lightly spray the parchment paper with water using a spray bottle. Wait about a minute, then carefully peel off the parchment paper.

If you use a silicone baking sheet, carefully remove it from the sponge cake. Let the sponge cake cool for 3-5 minutes before rolling it.

Roll up the cake with a towel inside

Do you want to know how to make a cake roll without cracking? Here’s a nifty trick to ensure your cake roll turns out great.

First, roll your sponge cake while warm but not too hot or cold. You’ll know it’s ready when you can touch it without burning yourself.

Place a damp towel and parchment paper on the sponge cake and roll it gently from one edge to the opposite. Keep it tight enough, or it might break. If it hurts a little, don’t worry. It will be easier to handle as you roll it up.

You can roll the cake from the short or long sides, depending on your preference. Moving it from the short side will be faster and thicker; if you roll it from the long side, it will be longer and thinner.

Once your cake is rolled up, keep it in the damp towel with parchment paper at room temperature for at least 5-10 minutes. This will help it keep its shape.

Now you’re ready to fill and decorate your cake roll.

Soak the biscuit carefully

In some recipes, you pour a liquid called syrup on the sponge cake before adding the filling and rolling it. This liquid can be flavoured with alcohol, vanilla, or coffee.

However, it would help if you were careful not to use too much syrup, or it will make the cake too soft and easy to break. And make sure to cool the syrup before using it.

Choose the right frosting

Roll cakes are delicious and versatile desserts you can fill with many ingredients. Classic fillings include whipped cream, jam or preserves, buttercream, and chocolate ganache. Nowadays, you can use almost anything you like as a filling.

Here are some ideas for roll cake fillings:

  • Whipped cream
  • Mascarpone or sour cream-based cream
  • Strawberry cream
  • Cream cheese filling
  • Buttercream
  • Chocolate ganache
  • Chocolate mousse
  • Chestnut cream
  • Jam
  • Redcurrant jelly
  • Chocolate spread
  • Lemon curd, and more.

However, be careful when choosing your filling. Select a spreadable that won’t run or melt when applied to the sponge cake. Also, try not to mix too many flavours, and ensure the flavour combinations work well together.

Spread filling on the cake in time

First, unroll the cake gently from the towel and parchment paper to add the filling to your cake. Then, move it to a more significant piece of parchment paper than the unrolled cake and let it cool for a few minutes.

Applying the filling quickly is essential because the cake base can dry out. Make sure to spread the filling evenly on the cake surface, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) border on each side and a 2.5-inch (6-7 cm) strip at the top.

If you plan to serve the cake later or the next day, filling it in the morning is best. The sponge needs time to set with the filling.

Reroll the cake 

Let’s make the cake roll. After adding your filling, it’s time to roll it up again. Follow these three easy steps:

  1. Start rolling from the table’s edge towards the top of the cake, using the paper to guide and lift it.
  2. If the cake breaks a bit during the first roll, don’t worry. Just keep going.
  3. Roll the cake tightly into a log shape. Check out this short video for tips on ensuring it’s nice and tight.

Chick cake roll

After rolling the cake, let it rest in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to set the filling and harden the cake. This will prevent the filling from soaking the sponge and make decorating easier.

Decorate the roll cake after chilling.

Remove the parchment paper from the fridge to make your roll cake look pretty. You can immediately decorate it on a serving plate or a piece of parchment paper and then transfer it to a serving plate.

If you decide not to decorate it, be careful not to put fresh fruit on top of the cake, as the water from the fruit can make the sponge cake soggy.

However, remember that the time your cake needs to chill and be served depends on the recipe. Some roll cakes can be decorated right after cooling, while others, like those filled with whipped cream or mascarpone, should be garnished and served soon after. Cakes with buttercream can be stored for extended periods.

Carefully transfer the roll of cake.

Here’s how to move your roll cake from the work surface to a serving platter without breaking it. It’s an important step, but don’t worry; it’s easy once you get the hang of it.

You will need two spatulas: a longer one and a shorter one with a bent end. Choose a serving platter and release one lot of the cake from the work surface using the small spatula.

Then, slide the longer spatula under the cake’s long side while slightly lifting the cake with the small spatula. Using both spatulas, carefully lift the cake and move it to the serving platter.

Gently lower the cake, keeping one edge lifted with the small spatula while removing the longer spatula simultaneously. Finally, remove the small spatula and fix the cake decoration if needed.

You can also use a cake lifter with a small offset spatula to transfer your cake.

Store roll cake right 

It’s best to make your roll cake one day before you want to eat it. But remember to put it in the fridge and cover it with a lid. This will help keep it fresh.

Some fillings can take on the smell of other foods in the fridge, which can be yucky. So cover your cake roll to keep it safe from any weird smells.

Thaw roll cake in time.

If you have any leftover roll cake or want to make one, you can freeze it for up to three months. Just cover it with plastic wrap and aluminium foil before freezing. But before serving it, take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge about 15 hours beforehand. This will give it enough time to thaw properly.


If you want to make a delicious roll cake like a pro, here are some helpful tips and tricks. You can choose from recipes such as Sponge Cake Roll, Chocolate Cake Roll, Joconde Biscuit, Japanese Cake Roll, and Choux Pastry Biscuit Roll. Pick your favourite recipe and fill it with your preferred filling. Enjoy your homemade roll cake for a perfect dessert or festive treat.


What leads to the cracking of a cake roll?

A few reasons can cause a cake roll to crack, but the three major ones are not preparing the parchment paper properly, overbaking the cake, rolling the cake in a towel at the wrong time or skipping this step altogether.

Is it possible to use parchment paper for rolling a cake?

You can substitute a towel with damp parchment paper that has been wrung out to roll a cake.

How can you prepare a moist towel?

To moisten a tea towel for rolling a cake, you can use a spray bottle filled with water.

How can you add filling to a cake roll?

After the cake cools in the towel, unroll it and spread the filling evenly using an angled spatula, leaving a 1-inch (2.5 cm) gap on either side and a 2.5-inch (6-7 cm) strip at the top of the cake.


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