Today, let’s learn how to make a red velvet cake roll!!
If you’ve never made a cake roll before and are scared to death to try OR have attempted to make a cake roll before and have failed, don’t you fret. I got your back! Together, we’re going to make the most irresistible red velvet cake roll Christmas has ever seen.
And it all starts with a deep breath. Take one! Because making a red velvet cake roll is not as tricky as it looks. It just takes a little patience.
Let’s jump right in because there are a million step pictures to get through. Like most jelly roll type cakes, this is a sponge cake. But with a delicious red velvet flavor! There’s cocoa and vanilla, a little brown sugar, with a slight tang from buttermilk. It’s a light and airy cake, leavened mostly by the air whipped into the eggs in step 4. We’re talking lots of air– 5 full minutes of beating 4 eggs together. This is the bulk of the cake batter.
Here are the eggs after 5 minutes. They’re super fluffy and practically quadrupled in volume:
This cake recipe is particular. Meaning there’s 1 cup MINUS 1 Tablespoon of flour*, only 2 Tablespoons of this, and 3 Tablespoons of that. It’s best to follow the ingredients precisely as any little change could sabotage your efforts. I had trouble getting the proper sponge texture and taste. At first, I put all my effort into making the red velvet cake roll with creamed butter (for butter flavor) but the cake constantly ended up too dry and cracked. Once I switched to oil, I had zero issue. And I am confident in the final recipe below! You’ll love it.
*About the flour: all you’ll do is measure 1 cup of flour and take out 1 Tablespoon. It’s easy.
Unlike the other ingredients, you can play around with the amount of red food coloring. If you’re not comfortable using food coloring in your cake roll, simply leave it out. If you want the ruby red color of this cake roll, use about 1 Tablespoon of liquid food coloring or about 1 teaspoon of gel coloring.
Another must: the correct size baking pan. This isn’t a lot of cake batter, nor is it a thick cake. We want a thin sheet cake, as that’s the real trick to successfully rolling it up. The best size pan for this is a 10×15 inch pan. You can get the one I have off Amazon for super cheap. 🙂
The cake bakes for only about 16-17 minutes until it springs back when you poke it with your finger. Now once it comes out of the oven, don’t waste any time. Flip that thing right out of the lined pan and onto a thin kitchen towel to begin rolling. Why immediately? If you roll it up while it’s still warm, it will help prevent any cracks in the cake roll.
Peel the parchment paper off of the warm cake. What you see here is the bottom of the cake and the surface that will be frosted with cream cheese frosting once it cools.
Gently and slowly roll it up with the towel. The towel prevents any sticking.
Then let the cake completely cool, while rolled up in the towel. It’s so odd, but it really does work this way! Place the whole roll on a large plate because some confectioners’ sugar can spill out the sides. I place the roll into the refrigerator for a couple hours to speed up the cooling process.
Once cool, let’s remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit out for a few minutes as we make the frosting. If we tried to unroll the cake while it’s super cold, it could begin to crack. So let it warm up for a few minutes on the counter.
And for the frosting? Cream cheese frosting, of course! Red velvet’s tangy creamy luscious bestie. Make sure it’s a nice even layer so there aren’t any uneven sections of frosting inside the cake roll.
Once again, roll the cake up. Only this time without the towel. The cake will automatically want to curl up again because it cooled in the rolled up position. Does this make sense?
Once the cake is all rolled up, refrigerate it for about 20 minutes before slicing and serving so the cake sets its shape and is easier to cut.
It’s beautiful! Doesn’t it remind you of a swirly peppermint candy? So much love for this festive cake.
Here’s what you’ll taste: a light and spongey cake texture with lots of cocoa and vanilla flavor. There’s a little brown sugar for moisture and flavor, too. The cream cheese frosting might just be the star here though. You know how good that stuff is with red velvet! ♥ ♥
You can do this!
Make ahead tip: You can prepare the cake through step 7 and chill the rolled up cake/towel in the refrigerator for up to 1 day before continuing with step 8. Prepared cake roll, with frosting, freezes well for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Domino Sugar
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