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How to Roll a Roulade Cake

Fine Cooking's senior food editor Shelley Wiseman demonstrates Karen Barker’s technique for rolling a roulade without letting the cake crack.

Sarah Breckenridge; videography and editing by Gary Junken and Mike Dobsevage
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In this video, you’ll learn Karen Baker’s technique for making a cake that rolls beautifully and keeps the filling cool so you end up with a gorgeous dessert.

Roulade cakes, with their contrasting spiral of filling and cake make a beautiful and dramatic dessert. But in some ways, you’re fighting the laws of physics: The cake rolls best when it’s warm, but a warm cake will melt the filling. In this video, you’ll learn Karen Baker’s two-step technique for making a cake that rolls beautifully and keeps the filling cool.

Shelley Wiseman demonstrates Karen’s Almond Raspberry Jelly Roll Cake recipe, but you can use the technique to make her Triple-Chocolate Roulade Cake and Carrot Cake Roulade with Pineapple Cream Cheese as well.

Roll, fill, then roll again

While the cake is still hot, lay a clean, unscented, lint-free kitchen towel over it (see the Test Kitchen Tip for which kitchen towels are best for this). If the towel is long, extend one end about 1-1/2 inches beyond a short side of the cake and don’t worry about the other end. Invert a large rack or cutting board over the towel.

Holding both the baking sheet and the rack with protected hands, invert the cake. Remove the baking sheet and parchment. Using both hands and starting from the short end with the shortest towel overhang, roll the cake and the towel up together

Let cool for 30 minutes. Carefully unroll the cake; it should look wavy and both ends should curl. (It’s OK if there are some small cracks.) Let cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using an offset spatula, spread the filling over the cake to within 1-1/2 inches of the far short edge and to within 1/2 inch of the other edges. Be sure to coax the filling into the interior of the closer curled end so that when the cake is sliced there will be filling in the center of the spiral.

Reroll the cake without the towel this time. The filling may squish out of the ends a bit, which is fine.

Finish the cake as the recipe directs. (If not finishing right away, cover the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. )


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