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Easy Cake Roll (Jelly Roll Cake)

If you’re looking for a simpler way to make a traditional cake roll, keep reading! This is the post for you. I’m going to show you how to make a beautiful one using a box of white cake mix. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

A Jelly Roll Cake for the Holidays? Yes, please! 

Last year at Christmas time I baked a tradition Swiss cake roll (a bouche de noel). You might know it by the name Yule log, since it’s decorated to look like a lot of wood.

This year, I decided to try something similar using a white cake mix. This particular recipe is great for the holidays, and not just because of the colors! 

If you’re a fan of fall flavors you can use any extract you like in this roll. I would suggest maple or orange. Vanilla would be nice, too. I opted for almond extract, my personal favorite. 

The idea for this cake actually came from my friend Virginia, who sent me a picture of a red, white, and blue cake roll. I decided to change up the colors for fall. 

I used a traditional buttercream for this recipe but I also added something else–a thick layer of caramel. Perfection!

What is a Jelly Roll Pan?

Many cake rolls call for a special pan known as a Jelly Roll Pan. What is that, exactly?

According to RealSimple.com:

A recipe may specify a jelly roll pan or a baking sheet, so what’s the difference? And do you need both? A jelly roll pan (typically 10½ by 15½ inches) is simply a smaller version of a rimmed baking sheet (about 12 by 18 inches).

I actually just used my usual NordicWare pan. I love these pans for everything from cookies to biscuits to projects like this cake roll.

Cake Roll Ingredients

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

CAKE INGREDIENTS

  • white cake mix
  • room temperature eggs, separated
  • vegetable oil
  • whole milk
  • powdered sugar (optional, not pictured)
  • vanilla extract (optional, not pictured)

FROSTING INGREDIENTS

  • butter
  • powdered sugar 

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • caramel

How to Make this Delicious Cake Roll

This comes together so quickly and easily and only has to bake for 10 – 12 minutes! 

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separate eggs, (white from yolk)

Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper.

Have a tea towel handy. 

LET’S GET GOING!

Start by measuring out your ingredients. 

Place egg yolks, milk, oil, and extract in a large bowl and whisk together. (There no need for an electric mixer for this part.)

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Stir in the cake mix. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

In a separate medium bowl beat the remaining egg whites until they form soft peaks. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Fold the whites into the cake batter being careful not to break all of the air bubbles. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Divide into four bowls with equal amount of batter in each. 

You can color them as you like but I went with deep fall colors. To make the burnt orange and golden colors, I added a drop of brown to my orange and yellow. 

Place all four colors of batter into piping bags. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Clip away a small portion of the tip(s). 

Pipe the colors on the diagonal as you see here. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 – 11 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch. You don’t want to overcook this one or it won’t roll properly. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Remove from oven. Run a knife along the edges. 

Place a clean kitchen towel on the top of the cake. I also used a wire rack for added support. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Turn out the cake onto the towel. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Remove the parchment paper. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Gently roll the cake up into a tube, as you see in the picture below. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Leave the rolled cake to cool in the towel. This process can take up an an hour. (Let cake cool completely!)

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Make your frosting while the cake is cooling. 

Mix butter until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and continue beating. If you like to add a bit of cream to thin it down, that’s fine. Or you can add more powdered sugar to firm things up. 

Unroll the cake gently. Very carefully apply a thin layer of frosting to cooled cake. 

(I added a bit of caramel to my frosting but you can skip this step if you like.) 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Spread out caramel.

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Roll the cake up (without using the towel). If you like, you can re-wrap it in the towel once it’s rolled and place in the refrigerator for the frosting to set up. 

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar before serving, if you like. I don’t recommend icing this one, because those colors are really the star of the show. 

Instead, I chose to add fall flowers to mine, since I went with fall colors.

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Slice and serve!

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.

What to Expect from this Cake Roll Recipe

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

I love this spongy, springy cake! I wasn’t sure how (or if) it would roll, but it did just fine.

I loved the colors, the texture, and the flavor. And because I opted not to frost it, it turned out to be one of the simplest (and quickest) cakes I’ve ever made.

I’m already thinking of other fun ways to dress this up next time! This is one of those cake recipes you can change up in a number of ways. Just use your imagination!

Variations to this Recipe

Easy Cake Roll Recipe from Out of the Box Baking

You can use any flavor of cake mix you like, as long as you pipe it thin and use whipped egg whites to turn it into a chiffon cake. Here are some fun options:

Chocolate ganache: Fill the center with chocolate ganache instead of buttercream and caramel, if you prefer.

Swiss rolls: You know those adorable little Swiss rolls you can buy in the grocery store? Why not make a larger version! Start with a chocolate cake and roll with a fluffy whipped cream filling (made with heavy cream and powdered sugar whipped at high speed to stiff peaks). Sounds delicious, right? Your whipped cream filling can be stabilized with cream cheese or instant pudding, if you like.

Pumpkin roll: Since this cake already gives off fall vibes, why not spread some pumpkin puree on top of your buttercream? You would be proud to serve this at your next fall brunch.

Sweetened cream cheese filling: You can add powdered sugar to cream cheese for a delicious cream cheese filling. You can add some heavy whipping cream if you like.

Lemon: You can use a lemon cake mix and stuff with buttercream and blueberries or strawberries.

Spice cake: This one is perfect for fall! Stuff with buttercream and caramel.

Orange cake: I love this idea! You can fill with rich fudge filling. (Orange and chocolate are perfect together.)

Fresh fruit: Garnish with fresh fruit: For the holidays I recommend peaches, apricots, or apples. For Christmas you might choose cranberries. For Valentine’s Day, go with strawberries or raspberries. It’s your choice!

Other Holiday Favorites from Out of the Box Baking

Holiday Sugar Cookies: Holiday sugar cookies are fun to make and a great way to start the most joyful season of the year. Start a tradition and make it a family activity that the kids will always remember!

Orange Cranberry Cookies: I don’t know about you but I’m crazy about the combination of orange and cranberry. If you love the mergence of those two flavors–the tartness of cranberries and the sweetness of an orange cookie, you’ve come to the right place.

12 Easy Holiday Treats to Make with Kids: Sweet treats during the holidays? Yes, please! And, making them with the kids? Why, that’s just the icing on the cake! And talk about great holiday memories!


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious cake roll recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Easy Cake Roll (Doctored Cake Mix)

Easy Cake Roll (Doctored Cake Mix)

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

If you’re looking for a simpler way to make a traditional cake roll, keep reading! This is the post for you. I’m going to show you how to make one using a box of white cake mix.

Ingredients

  • Cake Roll Ingredients
  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 4 - 5 cups powdered sugar
  • Mix butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar and continue beating.
  • If you like to add a bit of cream to thin it down, that’s fine. Or you can add more powdered sugar to firm things up.

Instructions

    How to Make this Easy Cake Roll

    Preheat oven
    Separate eggs
    Prepare baking sheet.
    Have a tea towel handy.

    Let's Make this Cake!
    Start by measuring out your ingredients.
    Place egg yolks, milk, oil, and extract in a large bowl and whisk together.
    Stir in the cake mix.
    In a separate medium bowl beat the remaining egg whites until they form peaks.
    Fold the whites into the cake batter, being careful not to break all of the air bubbles.
    Divide into four bowls with equal amount of batter in each.
    You can color them as you like but I went with deep fall colors. To make the burnt orange and golden colors, I added a drop of brown to my orange and yellow.
    Place all four colors of batter into piping bags.
    Clip away a small portion of the tip(s).
    Pipe the colors on the diagonal as you see here.
    Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch. You don’t want to overcook this one or it won’t roll properly.
    Remove from oven. Run a knife along the edges.
    Place a towel on the top of the cake.
    I also used a wire cooling rack.
    Turn out the cake onto the towel.
    Remove the parchment paper.
    Gently roll the cake up into a tube, as you see in the picture below.
    Leave the rolled cake to cool in the towel. This process can take up an an hour.
    Make your frosting while the cake is cooling.
    Unroll the cake gently.
    Very carefully apply a thin layer of frosting.
    (I added a bit of caramel to my frosting but you can skip this step if you like.)
    Roll the cake up (without using the towel). If you like, you can re-wrap it in the towel once its rolled and place in the refrigerator for the frosting to set up.
    Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar before serving, if you like. I don’t recommend icing this one, because those colors are really the star of the show.

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