How to Make a Roll Cake

Discover the basic recipe for the roll cake. A delicious snack thanks to its airy, fluffy, and its various versions.

A Swiss roll, also known as roulade, jelly roll, roll cake, cream roll, “Buche du Noel” or “Yule log” is a delicate roll cake that has the perfect texture and flexibility for rolling.

This may look tricky to make, but following the recipe step-by-step instructions and tips, finally you will have a perfect roll sponge cake.

This cake is a traditional recipe that combine flour, eggs and sugar, all you need for a sponge cake.

Tips to make a Roll Cake:

  • To bake: Use a baking sheet only. Other pans may be too deep, making it difficult to remove the cake from the pan;

  • Grease and flour the pan, or line it with waxed paper or parchment paper, as directed in the recipe. That way, the cake will be easy to remove from the pan without tearing;

  • All ingredients has to be at room temperature;

  • The flour: A soft sponge demands a low-gluten flour. Plain flour is milled from soft wheat varieties and has low gluten content which makes it suitable for a sponge cake;

  • Why to use cream of tartar or lemon juice: The cream tartar is an acid that helps to stabilize the whipped egg whites. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use a little bit of lemon juice or vinegar instead;

  • Gently fold the flour, using a spatula to lift the mixture and keep it from deflating.

  • Whip to ribbon stage – The mixture should be pale yellow, almost white in color and reach the ribbon stage. That mean when you lift the whisk over the mixture the batter should fall slowly forming a ribbon that will hold it’s shape for a few minutes;

  • Do not overbake! –This sponge bakes fast. It only takes 8-10 minutes. Don’t bake too long or the edges get too brown and will crack during rolling. The cake is done when you lightly touch the surface and the cake springs back;

  • To roll the cake: Dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Remove the sponge from oven. Run a knife around the outside edge to loosen it from the pan. Turn out the cake onto the prepared towel; remove lining baking paper. The towel prevents the cake from sticking to itself when rolled and the powdered sugar prevents the cake from sticking to the towel, or prevent cracking when the towel is unrolled later in the process;

  • Once the cake layer is baked, you can also flip it onto parchment paper. If you’re making a Chocolate Cake Roll, dust your parchment with cocoa powder. If you’re making a Vanilla Cake Roll, use icing sugar;

  • Roll the cake from the narrow side, along its length;

  • Let it cool – Let your roll cake cool down before you unroll and fill with filling.

  • Cut off the sides before serving for a cleaner finish;

The classic recipe is a vanilla roll cake, but you can switch up the recipe to make a chocolate cake roll, cinnamon cake roll, pumpkin cake roll, or any flavor you'll like.


  • 120g caster sugar

  • 4 eggs, separated, room temperature

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 1 Tbsp hot water

  • 1 tsp extract vanilla

  • 80 g flour



1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter and line with baking paper a rectangle or square baking sheet (pan).

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yolks, sugar, salt and water, until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla.

3. Using a spatula, incorporate half of flour, and stir until combined. Add the rest of flour; continuously stirring, in the same way, until the flour is well incorporated.

4.  In a mixing bowl on medium speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.​

5. Stir one third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to loosen. Fold in another third, working gently with a spatula to lift the mixture and keep it from deflating. Repeat with the remaining third. The mixture should be pale yellow, almost white in color and reach the ribbon stage.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level the surface with a spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden, or when you lightly touch the surface of the cake springs back. Don't over-bake, or it will be hard to roll.

7. Place a large sheet of baking paper on a work surface and dust with powdered sugar. Remove the biscuit from oven, and carefully invert the sponge onto the baking paper. Gently peel off the top layer of parchment. Roll the cake from the narrow side, along its length. Let cool.

8. This classic vanilla roll cake tastes fantastic with the strawberry whipped cream but you can also fill it with strawberry jam, whipping cream, chocolate ganache or any filling you like!


Try some of my favorite cake roll recipes, or create your own!

Coffee Roll Cake

Berry Mascarpone Roll

Berry Mascarpone Roll

​Taste, which enables us to distinguish all that has a flavor from that which is insipid."- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin​


Related Posts

See All