How to Bake a Jelly Roll Cake (With Help From Betty Crocker)
A Unique and Refreshing Dessert
So far, this year has been surprisingly hot. I was looking for a relatively simple way to make a refreshing dessert using only what I already had in my kitchen. Since I normally have several boxed cake mixes, I figured I'd start there. Unfortunately, I've been to so many weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties, and family gatherings this year that I'm already completely caked out.
And it's only June!
I wanted to do something different with this cake so that it wouldn't feel like just another cake with frosting. I was paging through my 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook (by far the most-used cookbook in my library), and I came across a page on jelly roll cakes. Finally, something that seemed different and (hopefully) not too difficult!
- 1 box cake mix, any brand (Sorry, Betty!)
- Any ingredients the boxed mix requires
- 1 pound frozen fruit (I used Dole, but any brand works. You can even use fresh!)
- 1/2 cup sugar
Step 1: Bake the Cake as Directed on the Box
So, I pulled out all of the ingredients to bake the cake while dinner for my husband and I was cooking in the oven (dinosaur chicken nuggets and French fries! Because we don't really want to be grown-ups). I used a white cake mix, since that one was expiring first, and instead of using only egg whites, I threw in the whole egg. I did say simple, after all. I just didn't feel like searching for a recipe to use up those three egg yolks (although I did find a wonderful article about how to use leftover egg yolks).
My cookbook says to use a jelly roll pan for this. I don't have one, but I figured a large baking sheet would probably be ok. My largest one is 11" x17" and the entire cake fit in it perfectly, with no spillage. I baked the cake for a little less than was recommended for two 9" round pans, since this would be pretty thin. You'll want to set your timer for a little less than what you think it will actually be, just so you can check it out before it bakes too long.
Step 2: Prepare the Filling
While the cake is baking, get your filling ready. Cover thawed fruit with sugar, and mix well. Mash the fruit with a wire whisk until only small pieces remain. Thicken the fruit sauce by boiling it on high heat for 3-5 minutes at a time. Allow sauce to cool well between boilings.
This was my first time trying to make any kind of thick fruity sauce, so this process took about an hour before I got the filling thickness figured out. Luckily, I earned a bunch of bing rewards for all my searches! Once I figured out what I needed to do, though, it went pretty quickly. I only had to boil my mixture twice before it reached the right consistency.
Step 3: Roll Up the Cake and Cool
Sprinkle a tea towel with confectioner's sugar. While the cake is still warm, flip the pan onto the tea towel and gently roll the cake and towel all the way, starting at the thinner end. Place cake in the refrigerator or freezer to cool while rolled.
When I made my cake, I hadn't read ahead to this part. I took it out of the oven and put it in the freezer so that it was cool enough for me to handle. While this theory still makes sense in my head, if you're trying to do a rolled cake, this theory is WRONG! Always listen to Betty!
Step 4: Unroll, Fill, Reroll, and Slice!
Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it and the towel. Line the inside of the cake with the filling, and roll back up (without the towel). Cut into slices and enjoy!
Since I hadn't followed step three carefully, I really set myself up for failure on this one. The cake didn't want to roll, because the entire thing had set as a flat object. As I tried to roll it, it started to crack and crumble. After about three tries, I will admit to just giving up in frustration and flopping the whole thing over onto itself.
A little ridiculous, I know, but it turned out to be pretty good! Instead of a jelly roll cake that I had to find a long enough plate for, I suddenly had something flat I could cut up into smaller, manageable pieces! I call them cake sandwiches! They're pretty large, to be honest, but the lack of heavy frosting makes me feel better about eating them. There's fruit in it, so it must be good, right?