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Looking for a delicious dessert that’s guaranteed to impress everyone with your baking skills? A roulade definitely takes the cake.
A roulade is a complex-looking cake that’s surprisingly suitable for beginner bakers, and it’s endlessly adaptable depending on what sorts of flavors you’re in the mood for. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be able to tackle all sorts of roulade cake recipes, including crowd-pleasing seasonal favorites (strawberries and cream is great for summer, while there’s no beating a rich chocolate roulade cake recipe in the winter).
So tie up those apron strings and power up that sweet tooth because we’re sharing our best roulade cake recipe—plus quick tips for rolling the perfect roulade every time.
What is the Difference Between a Roulade and Swiss Roll?
We’ll get to our roulade cake recipe in a second, but first: What is a roulade in the first place—and how is it different from a Swiss roll?
A roulade is any type of rolled delicacy with a filling in the middle and can be either sweet and cake- or pastry-based or savory and meat-based. A roulade cake in particular is a light and airy rolled sponge cake with a filling in the middle, usually composed of jam or whipped cream.
So while a Swiss roll can be a type of roulade, a roulade is not necessarily always going to be a Swiss roll, even if it’s cake-based. Some roulade cakes are lighter and moister than your standard Swiss roll, which tends to be made with a dense, flour-heavy sponge. If you don’t want to get too technical though, you can call your roulade cake a Swiss roll and vice versa—we’re pretty sure your guests will enjoy it just the same either way.
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How to Make a Roulade Cake (Without Cracking it!)
If you’re feeling intimidated by making a roulade, then you’re probably just not looking at the right roulade cake recipes.
This cake is way simpler than you think to make, with just a handful of basic ingredients and a short baking time. Where things get a bit more complicated is in the rolling process, but go slow and you should have no trouble producing some seriously stunning results.
Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Gather Your Cake Ingredients
Roulade cakes come together really fast, so you’ll want to have all of your baking ingredients out and prepped before you get to mixing. (You’ll make your filling while the cake bakes, so don’t worry about those ingredients just yet.)
We’re going to be making a basic vanilla roulade cake recipe, but it’s easy to adapt if you’re craving chocolate instead.
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
- Half of a vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extra)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
In addition to your ingredients, you’ll also need a few baking essentials, including measuring spoons, a silicone spatula, an offset spatula, and a small paring knife. Grab a baking sheet, too—about 11.5 inches x 14 inches is a good size to aim for. Line your sheet with parchment paper for an easy transfer process later on.
Step 2: Make Your Vanilla Cake
Preheat your oven to 370℉.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine your eggs, sugar, and scraped vanilla pod beans or vanilla extract. Mix on low for about a minute to a minute and a half, then increase the speed to medium and mix for another two minutes. Gradually increasing the speed will help prevent air bubbles from getting into your batter so that you end up with a moist sponge cake. (Note: a hand mixer will work here too if you don’t have a stand mixer.)
Add your flour and salt to your batter after about four minutes and while the mixer is still on. Let it mix for just a few seconds to lightly incorporate the dry ingredients, then take your silicone spatula and fold your batter continuously until the flour is fully combined.
Pour your batter onto your parchment-lined baking sheet and use your offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Bake your cake for 7 to 11 minutes, until the cake spring backs to the touch.
Step 3: Remove Your Cake from the Baking Sheet
Use a small paring knife to gently lift the sides of the cake away from the baking sheet, then take a wire rack that’s the same size as the cake and place it over the top. With oven mitts on (your cake will still be hot!), put your dominant hand on top of the wire rack and your other hand under the baking sheet, then gently flip.
Remove the parchment paper, lifting it first off the edges and then off the middle. Then take a clean dish towel that’s slightly larger than the cake and place it on top with a little bit of overhang. Cover that with a large cutting board and flip once again, one hand on the top of the cutting board and the other hand underneath the wire rack.
Remove the wire rack and then use the towel to slowly roll up the cake while it’s still warm. Set it aside.
Step 4: Assemble Your Cake
This vanilla roulade cake recipe comes together with a simple strawberry jam and homemade whipped cream filling. You can purchase your fillings from the store or make your own, and you could also sub in fresh strawberries if you’d prefer. The same fillings would be great with a chocolate roulade cake recipe, but the sky’s the limit if you want to get creative with your flavors.
To assemble, unroll your cake and spread your filling using your offset spatula. To prevent cracking later on, take your paring knife and lightly score the cake in vertical sections. Start rolling, making your folds firm but not using too much pressure. Minimal cracking is okay, but your cake should ultimately stay together.
Let the cake set by covering it with a towel and placing it in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve your roulade cake cold, or let it come to room temperature before enjoying.
Why Do Roulades Crack?
If your roulade cracks when you roll it, there are a few possible culprits: it’s overbaked, it’s underbaked, or it’s not warm enough.
So, how do you roll a cake without cracking it? Some tips:
- Get your baking time and temperature just right so that your cake is light, airy, and not dried out.
- Roll your cake while it’s still warm and prior to adding your filling.
- When re-rolling your cake with filling in it, lightly score it with a paring knife at the sections you intend to roll.
- Roll gently, slowly, and firmly, but don’t apply too much pressure as you go.
And if you do get a few cracks here and there—that’s totally fine! You can always use extra whipped cream and berries to decorate the outside and cover up any flaws.
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