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strawberries and cream cake roll

A few weeks ago we had a lot of fun with cupcake and cake decorating– I hope you feel more confident with your piping skills now! With Mother’s Day approaching and spring in the air (dear allergies, thank you for the reminder spring is here) I figured we all need something fresh, light, airy, and PINK. Let me introduce you to this wonderful vanilla sponge cake filled with homemade strawberry cream cheese frosting… the strawberries ‘n’ cream cake roll!

strawberries and cream cake roll

Today I’m going to walk you through step-by-step photos and careful explanations so you feel ready to tackle this unique beauty. Intimidated by cake rolls or does sponge cake freak you out? This is your time to be fearless, empowered, and assured. I got you covered today!

What is Sponge Cake?

It’s similar to angel food cake in that it relies mostly on egg whites for volume. The texture is relative as well– light, airy, and moist. Unlike angel food cake, however, sponge cake includes egg yolks for a little richness and flavor. They’re still worlds lighter than, say, a yellow cake and pound cake because they contain no oil or butter. That’s right– there is no oil or butter in this cake recipe.

Typical sponge cakes don’t use any chemical leavener, but I prefer a little baking powder for extra lift. Additionally, a little buttermilk for moisture and cake flour to keep things extra soft. I’d steer clear of all-purpose flour which will only weigh it down. In a pinch, you can use this homemade cake flour substitute.

ingredients for strawberries and cream cake roll

whipped egg whites in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Accuracy is Imperative

The eggs are the most important part of the recipe. Make sure you’re using large eggs (not medium, not extra large) and that the eggs are room temperature. Compared to cold eggs, warmer eggs hold more air and create more volume when whipped. And, like the perm you rocked in the 90s, volume is EVERYTHING. 🙂

You’ll separate the egg whites and yolks. You’ll use both, but at different stages in the mixing process. See that picture above? That’s after whipping 4 egg whites with a little sugar. Stiff peaks are key. At that point, remove the egg whites from the bowl and set aside. No need to wipe the bowl clean or anything. Then it’s the yolks’ turn. Whip those with a little sugar too, a well as vanilla and buttermilk. I use both vanilla extract and vanilla bean, but you can use just all extract– or even vanilla bean paste. See the recipe note below.

Fold the egg whites back in, then add a sifted mix of cake flour + baking powder + salt. If you don’t have a sifter, now’s the time to pick one up. Sifting flour makes all the difference. If a recipe calls for sifted flour and you skip that step altogether, your baked good will inevitably be heavier and more dense than intended. It’s a must-have tool in any baker’s kitchen!

See the photo on the left below? That’s the batter. It’s creamy and light like whipped cream and that’s because we handled it with care. Do not overmix this batter!

See the photo on the right below? We’re spreading the batter into a lined 10×15 inch jelly roll pan— the ONLY size that works for this recipe. I can usually help with pan substitutions, but not today. You need a 10×15 inch pan. Good news: the really good ones are relatively inexpensive.

2 images of sponge cake batter in a glass bowl and spreading sponge cake batter into a jelly roll pan

The cake roll only takes about 15 minutes in the oven.

peeling parchment off of sponge cake

Immediately after baking, invert onto a thin kitchen towel sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. The sugar is used to help prevent the towel from sticking. Peel off the parchment, then roll up in the towel.

hands rolling up sponge cake in a kitchen towel

What the heck is the point of the towel? To prevent the cake from sticking to itself. And to make rolling the warm cake 100x easier!

But why are we rolling the cake when it’s warm? Rolling the cake up when it’s warm– before adding the strawberry cream filling– is so that it cools in the rolled up shape. That means no cracks, rips, or tears when you go to roll it up again with the filling inside. Does that make sense?

2 images of strawberry cream cheese frosting in a glass bowl and spreading strawberry cream cheese frosting onto sponge cake

hands rolling up sponge cake with strawberry cream cheese filling

The cream filling is a strawberry cream cheese frosting. It’s sweet and tangy with strong strawberry flavor (natural flavor!) and glides on oh-so-easily. Just like my strawberry buttercream, we’ll use freeze-dried strawberries for the cream filling. Grind them up and add with the confectioners’ sugar. Freeze-dried strawberry powder offers the MOST strawberry flavor without altering the filling’s texture. It’s nearly impossible to replicate this with fresh strawberries. I chose a cream cheese based strawberry filling because it’s a little lighter than the buttercream and pairs perfectly with the sponge cake’s texture. Or if you wish to skip the strawberries, this sponge is wonderful filled with our whipped frosting instead.

Also: it’s a wonderfully thick layer of filling. If you’re a cream filling person (aren’t we all?), this recipe is for you!

slices of strawberries and cream cake roll on silver plates with a fork

slice of strawberries and cream cake roll on a silver plate with a fork

Remember, have fun and don’t stress. Use my text and step-by-step photos for guidance.

See Your Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Cake Rolls!

collage of strawberry cake roll photos

Many readers tried this recipe as part of a baking challenge! Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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strawberries and cream cake roll

Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Cake Roll

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1012 slices 1x
  • Category: Cake Roll
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


You will love this light and fluffy strawberries ‘n’ cream cake roll! It’s a sponge jelly roll cake with a delicious homemade strawberry cream filling.


  • 1 cup (118g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature and divided
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) buttermilk*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean*
  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup (about 25g) freeze-dried strawberries*
  • one 8-ounce block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (300g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Read the instructions through before beginning. Make sure you are prepared for step 7 immediately when that cake comes out!
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 10×15 inch baking pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter, so the parchment paper sticks. Then line it with parchment paper so the cake seamlessly releases in step 5. Spray or grease the parchment paper too. We want an extremely nonstick surface for this cake roll.
  3. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and 1/4 cup sugar together on high speed for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Using the same mixing bowl you just had the egg whites in (no need to clean it), add the egg yolks, remaining sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Beat together on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until light in color.
  5. Add half of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Beat on low speed for 10 seconds. Repeat with remaining egg whites and beat on low for 10 seconds. Finally, add the flour mixture and beat on low until the batter is completely combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Give the pan a shake to make sure the batter is level and reaches the corners. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when you poke it with a finger.
  7. As the cake bakes, lay a thin kitchen towel flat on the counter. Sprinkle with 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Once the cake comes out of the oven, immediately invert it onto the towel. Peel off the parchment paper then, starting with the narrow end, begin rolling the cake up with the towel. Do this slowly and gently. The cake will be warm as it just came out of the oven.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely rolled up in the towel. I stick mine in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to speed it up.
  9. Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up as you prepare the frosting.
  10. Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy. Taste, then add a pinch of salt if needed.
  11. Gently and slowly unroll the cake. Flatten it out and spread frosting evenly on top, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the cake. Gently and slowly roll the cake back up, without the towel this time. Make sure you’re rolling it tightly. Some frosting may spill out the sides, that’s ok! Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. Dust with more confectioners’ sugar and garnish with some sliced strawberries, if desired.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: Cake Flour | Vanilla Bean Paste | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Flour Sifter | Linen Towels | Jelly Roll Pan
  3. Cake Flour: I strongly suggest using cake flour in this recipe. It’s sold right next to the all-purpose flour in the baking aisle. And you use it a lot in my recipes! In a pinch, you can use this homemade cake flour substitute.
  4. Buttermilk: I strongly recommend buttermilk for flavor, but you can use whole milk in a pinch. For best taste and texture, I don’t recommend lower fat or nondairy milk.
  5. Vanilla Beans: If you can’t get your hands on vanilla beans and have a jar of vanilla bean paste, use 1/4 teaspoon in its place. If you have neither, just skip it. 2 teaspoons of *pure* vanilla extract is just fine.
  6. Freeze-Dried Strawberries: I can usually find freeze-dried strawberries at Target, Trader Joes, Walmart, and my regular grocery stores (Giant and Wegmans). If you’re still having trouble finding them, try this delicious strawberry whipped cream as the filling. I suggest making a little more, so using 2 cups heavy cream + 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 2 tsp vanilla + 3/4 cup of the strawberry filling.

Keywords: strawberries n cream cake roll, strawberries and cream cake roll

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. The cake was beautiful and turned out perfectly. However, I felt the freeze dried berries made the filling a little gummy – have you ever used fresh berries instead?

    1. The fresh berries curdle the butter– but if you dice them real small, dab them with a paper towel ahead of time– that will help.

  2. I had always wanted to try a cake roll, and got inspired by your post! I was shocked at how straight-forward it was. I was worried it would crack, but I had no problems. The guys at work loved it 🙂 Trying new stuff is the most fun part of baking!!!!

  3. This is such a pretty mother’s day cake! And it has fruit, so it’s okay for brunch.

  4. I used 12g of freeze-dried strawberries (per recipe), but I only ended up with about 1/4 cup of powder. So I ended up using the whole 36-gram bag of strawberries.

    Anyway, the cake turned out amazing! Everybody loved it! Thanks! 🙂

  5. My cake roll cracked a bit when I unrolled it, so it doesn’t look as pretty but it certainly tastes great! I absolutely love the frosting, I think I will use that as my go-to strawberry frosting from now on! I used a thinner towel, so that might have been my problem, but the frosting holds it together and it doesn’t look too bad all together, just not as pretty. I will definitely make this again! I used gluten free flour (and did the DIY cake flour part) and it worked out well (minus the cracking). My egg whites weren’t at room temperature either, which may have contributed to cracking, as I realized after they would not whip up, I added 1/2 cup sugar instead of 1/4, so now I have 4 extra yolks, which conveniently is what my custard ice cream recipe calls for 🙂

    1. Thank you for reporting back with your changes to the recipe, Virginia!

  6. Thank you for such clear instructions! I made it tonight and was so impressed by how good it looked, and by how amazing the strawberry filling is…whoa. I was curious though – what is the texture ofthe sponge supposed to be like? I thought it was really chewy, and cant tell if I messed something  up (maybe over mixed? Or was i supposed to spoon measure the flour?) or if i just am not actualy used  eating ‘sponge’

    1. It definitely has a chewier texture– I’m so glad you made and enjoyed it!

  7. Sally this was delicious. I love the chewy texture of the cake and the delicious cream cheese frosting. The closest pan size I could find was 9.85″ x 15″ because here in Australia we don’t use inches(for those in Australia the pan was 25 x 35cm. I had no issues with the pan, it worked perfectly. Making the cake was so easy and simple, your instructions made it a breeze. The frosting was the best part of this whole thing, i’m having a moment with cream cheese frosting right now and this one hit the spot. Rolling the cake roll was super intimidating but it was so much easier than I thought. My first bite of this was sooo good. I loved it! The flavours are so perfectly matched between the cake and frosting. This cake is definitely a chewier type but I loved that about it. Thanks Sally, such a great recipe! I can’t wait to make it again so I can perfect it! 

    1. I am so glad you said you *thought* rolling the cake would be intimidating. Because truthfully, after you get started– it’s not at all! So happy you tried this out and thank you so much for reporting back!

  8. Hi Sally, thank you for the fabulous recipe, I had always been ‘shy’ of making a swiss roll but thanks to you it was so easy and rolled up a treat. The first one I made I used marscapone/cream/cream cheese and the strawberries and it was great. However I thought for the second one I should try your frosting filling. I “thought” I had read the recipe correctly but the filling was really runny, where did I go wrong? Regards, Dessie

    1. Hi Dessie! The filling with freeze-dried strawberries? Was that the filling that was runny? Were you using brick-style (the block) of cream cheese? Make sure you aren’t using cream cheese spread. You want a heavy 8 ounce block of full-fat CC.

      1. Yes the frozen strawberry filling – I cannot believe the intensity of flavour using your method – and yes I did use a block of full fat Philadelphia cream cheese. I know I must have gone wrong somewhere, maybe over-beating??

      2. that could have been it– you are using freeze-dried strawberries, right? Not actual frozen strawberries?

  9. I think you may have solved it – I am using snap frozen berries as I am unable to locate freeze dried here in Australia. I knew it had to be my mistake as all of your recipes that I have tried have been a success! Thank you for the great web site and the on-going support, it is much appreciated.

  10. I made this for Mother’s Day at work, it was a huge hit! I’ve always had problems with cake rolls though when I unroll them? I sugar my towel, invert and roll  as soon as  get it out of the oven, but the last 2 inches always wants to crack off! Any thoughts on what I could be doing wrong? 

    1. Perhaps overbaking– you want to make sure the cake is super moist and warm.

  11. Sally, would you recommend adding strawberry puree to make the cake part itself strawberry-flavored? Or would that deflate it too much and lose the “spongy” texture? I want to make this cake an actual strawberry cake with whipped cream cheese frosting for a friend, who has been super-annoyed that all “strawberry cakes” in the stores are not actual strawberry cakes, but vanilla with strawberry filling. Thanks!

    1. I don’t recommend adding puree to the delicate sponge cake– perhaps some freeze-dried strawberry “dust” instead?

  12. Hi, Sally!
    I’ve never made a cake roll before, it was a great challenge!
    Thank you so much for your recipe, it worked really well. I loved the idea of adding the strawberry powder to the filling. It gives a really nice strawberry flavor.
    I’ve made this delicious cake and posted it on my blog, with (of course!) a reference to your post. Hope you like the photos.
    Thanks again and keep doing great work! =)

  13. Hi Sally!

    While I’ve been a huge fan of your blog for years now and have made dozens of your recipes, this is the first time I’ve commented on one. I made this cake roll as one of the desserts (also made your cake batter chocolate chip cookies and used red, white and blue sprinkles – so yummy!) for my family’s 4th of July BBQ, and it was out of this world!! I got so many compliments, especially on the intense but wonderful flavor of the strawberry filling. Even my sister, who normally doesn’t care for cream cheese-based icings and fillings, loved this! The whole thing disappeared. I’ll definitely be making this again, and it really was a synch to make! Your step-by-step guidance was spot on and perfect. Thank you so much!

    1. I’m so happy to read this today! Thank you so much for reporting back about the cake roll and I LOVE hearing how much everyone enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to write!

  14. Hi Sally! I am obsessed with your recipes and I am desperate to find one for a chocolate roll cake for my husband’s birthday. Can I adjust this recipe to make a chocolate roll? Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Kendra! A chocolate cake roll would be a bit different from this one, obviously– and I’d have to test it out. I can’t say for sure without trying myself. Let me know if you find a chocolate roll cake recipe you like.

  15. I made this yesterday and it’s another hit Sally!! Even though I’ve made three pumpkin rolls (your recipe of course) a few weeks ago I was so nervous making this one. It wasn’t the fear of rolling. Conquered that on the pumpkin rolls. My fear had to do with mixing or over mixing this batter but as usual, it was unwarranted. After leaving this review I’m off to make three more with different flavor combos…

    One with half lemon curd/half strawberry… One with half blueberry/half raspberry… One with ALL lemon curd. All three will also be filled with a layer of whipping cream on top of the homemade jams/curd. Whew! I’m already tired, lol.

    Thanks again Sally for yet another great recipe. Have a great day/week. Happy baking to all…. 😉

  16. Worked perfectly. I used raspberries and lemon for the filling. Delish!!

  17. My cake cracked when after I unrolled it to spread the frosting. I chilled it in the fridge for about 4 hours, then removed it from the fridge for 10 minutes before trying to unroll and frost. The cracks are pretty big but didn’t ruin the whole cake. Is there a trick for the roll that I missed? I removed the cake from the oven at about 15 minutes right when it was spongy and immediately rolled it into the towel.

    1. Hi Russel, I’m so glad you tried this recipe and love hearing your feedback. So sorry it cracked on you. There aren’t really any tricks, but I wonder if the roll was simply too cold and not ready to “unroll” quite yet. If you ever decide to try it again, let the cake sit at room temperature for a little longer before unrolling next time. And, as always, follow the recipe exactly. Cake rolls are pretty finicky!

  18. Hi Sally! I love your blog. As a new baker, it is so easy to follow and guarantees yummy results! I was wondering if I could use kitchen paper towels instead of a regular kitchen towel to roll the cake? Please let me know!

    1. Hi Lucy! Thank you so much. You can try it, but the next best option is parchment paper.

  19. Hi Sally. It’s been a while since I’ve left a comment but I just had to tell you what my plans are for this roll. I’ve made the original a few times and have been successful. Today I came to the site to see if you created this recipe in a 17×11 like the chocolate roll but only found this size. Hopefully one day you’ll be able to get around to making that recipe but until then I’ll be using this one. This time around I’m going to fill it with a little bit of cream and Banana Fosters. I can not wait to put these flavors together but most importantly. I can’t wait till I get to share it with my family. So far they’re going to be enjoying your German chocolate cake, gingerbread cookies with chocolate ganache and this beauty this weekend. Thanks for all of the recipes you’ve created and shared. Hope all is well with you and your family….

  20. I’d like to somehow incorporate lemon or lemon curd into the recipe. How could I do that?
    BTW, The blueberry lemon cake of yours was the biggest hit of all!

    1. Hi Marcha, We haven’t tested the cake recipe with lemon, but let us know if you try! You can definitely make a lemon filling by skipping the strawberry dust and adding an extra 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and zest of 1 lemon.

  21. Hi Sally!

    Thank you for always sharing these wonderful recipes and I love your blog! Would it be possible to convert this recipe to the vertical cake recipe? The vertical cake concept is great but I was curious if we can use strawberries instead of blueberries.

    1. Hi Ellie! I honestly haven’t tested it, but I fear this cake’s texture will be too light and the filling will be too heavy. Instead, I recommend following the vertical cake recipe but swapping blueberries for 1 cup of chopped strawberries. Chop up the strawberries into small pieces before using in the filling.

  22. Can you substitute strawberries with raspberry filling? Would you just replace the freeze dried strawberries? Would everything else be the same?

    I love your recipes! I use them all the time!! Thank you!

    1. Hi Charlotte! Yes, you can definitely use freeze dried raspberries instead of strawberries with no other changes. Enjoy!

  23. This recipe is unbelievably good, and so simple it’s almost too easy! I used the alternate strawberry whipped cream filling but with the freeze dried berries. So, so good! The powdered berries help stabilize the whipped cream so it holds up as a filling. My family is already asking when the next version will be made- they are hoping for lemon sponge and blueberry whipped cream filling. Best sponge cake ever (and no cracks when rolled)!!

  24. Sally,
    You are simply amazing. I’m from Brooklyn where there are Chinese bakeries all over the place with this amazing, light, roll “sponge” cake that is unlike any recipe I have found. It isn’t overly sweet neither is the frosting they put inside. Can you please please please do a recipe like that?

  25. I’ve tried so many recipes for cake rolls from well known and respected chefs, tv cooking shows, online fool-proof methods that seem to fall short of what one wants in a cake roll – a sturdy, fat cake roll that won’t collapse and will hold a good filling – yours is perfection! I believe all your detailed instructions are what sets you apart and even a novice can have great success by simply following to the letter your instructions and suggestions.

    Thank you!

  26. Wow. Such a lovely cake xo. I have yet to make a roll cake ever in my life. Guess what, I’m using your guidance because it is so straight forward for my brain. Thank you, lovely person for sharing this!! PS. I found you through different searches for roll cakes and went down a rabbit hole of images on pinterest… and voila.

    1. We would love to hear how it turns out for you, Karen, happy baking!

  27. Can this strawberry cream cheese filling be used to pipe on cupcakes? Looking for a berry cream cheese recipe that would look pretty atop your yellow cupcakes for Mom’s birthday (I’m imagining a star tip). I’d really rather use one of your tried and true recipes than look elsewhere for one that likely won’t be as good. Thank you!

  28. hi sally! can mascarpone be used instead of cream cheese? if so, any changes? ty;)

    1. Hi Sonny, We haven’t tested it but it should work without any other changes. Let us know if you give it a try!

  29. Hi Sally,
    I love everything that i have tried from your site – the vertical cake is now a request from family! Any tips on making this recipe into a pina colada roll? Maybe coconut extract instead of vanilla and some sort of pineapple filling? I have been looking all over and can’t find a recipe.

    1. Hi Helen! What a fun idea. We would use both vanilla and coconut extract (instead of replacing the vanilla). Perhaps you could use the cream cheese buttercream and pineapple curd from our pineapple coconut cake as a filling? We would love to hear what you ty!

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