The Best Jelly Roll Cake

Jelly Roll Cake is a classic treat that is truly easy to make. Light and airy vanilla cake is the perfect wrapping for sweet, tangy raspberry preserves. This is a great make-ahead recipe.

beauty shot

The light and airy cake at the heart of this recipe is a chiffon cake. Chiffon is one of my favorite sponge cakes because it’s so versatile in the kitchen.

Eggs, along with the flour, create the structure for the cake. The whipped eggs make the cake light and flexible. In other words, spongy.

But a sponge cake without a proper balance of structure builders and tenderizers can quickly become a rubbery cake.

Chiffon cakes always have oil as the fat component and a relatively high proportion of sugar. The oil coats the flour which prevents gluten formation and the sugar holds moisture.

Even without a smidge of butter, this cake is tender, soft and not at all rubbery. That perfect texture allows us to make a nice tight cake roll that doesn’t crack or fall apart and just melts in your mouth.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make the best Jelly Roll Cake:

three photos showing how to whip whites and yolks for chiffon cake. How to fold the batter and a bowl showing how the batter should look
1. Whip the yolks and combine with the flour. Whip the whites. 2. Fold the whites into the batter just until combined. 3. Do not over fold the batter. It should still be light and fluffy.
two photos showing a chiffon sheet cake before and after baking
Spread the batter into the pan and bake just until the center springs back when pressed. Be careful. Overbaking can cause cracking.
 a sheet cake covered with a kitchen towel and a close up shot showing the thickness of the sheet cake
Cover the cake with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to cool. The cake will be quite thin, which allows for a nice spiral when it’s rolled.
a sheet cake with parchment paper being peeled off the back. A sheet cake covered with jelly
1. Peel the parchment off the cake and use the parchment and towel to help flip the cake. 2. Spread the jelly over the cake and use the parchment to lift and roll the cake.
a jelly roll cake wrapped in parchment and plastic wrap
After rolling the cake, wrap it in the parchment and then in plastic. Leave it at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

FAQS about making and storing a Jelly Roll Cake:

Why did my Jelly Roll Cake Crack?

First, make sure you’re using a balanced recipe. A recipe with oil and water will make a moist and flexible cake.

Be careful not to overbake the thin cake as it will dry out and loose its flexibility.

Cool the cake under a clean kitchen towel to retain moisture. Assemble the cake soon after it cools while it is still soft enough to roll without cracking.

Why did my Jelly Roll Cake slices fall apart?

Make sure to tightly roll the cake. You can use the parchment paper to help tighten the roll. Wrap the parchment around the cake with a slight overlap along the bottom edge. While holding the top edge, pull on the bottom edge to tighten it around the cake.

Let the cake sit for several hours before cutting. This gives the jelly time to absorb into the cake so the slices won’t unravel.

How long does Jelly Roll Cake keep?

A Jelly Roll Cake will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature, covered.

Can I freeze a Jelly Roll Cake?

Yes. Roll, wrap and freeze for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature in the wrapping.

If you love chocolate you might want to make Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

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4.67 from 51 reviews

Jelly Roll Cake

Jelly Roll Cake is a classic treat that is truly easy to make. Light and airy vanilla cake is the perfect wrapping for sweet, tangy raspberry preserves. This is a great make-ahead recipe.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time12 minutes
Total Time42 minutes
12 servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 oz vegetable oil (1/4 cup)
  • 3 each large eggs (separated)
  • 2 oz water (1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 oz all purpose flour (1 cup, see note)
  • 6 oz granulated sugar (3/4 cup, divided)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz seedless raspberry preserves (1 cup)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Combine the oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla in a mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
    2 oz vegetable oil, 3 each large eggs, 2 oz water, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Sift the flour with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to yolk mixture. Whip on high speed for 1 minute, then set aside
    5 oz all purpose flour, 6 oz granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Whip the egg whites on medium speed to soft peak. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, increase the speed to medium high and whip to full peak. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture in three increments.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and smooth until level. Bake until the middle of the cake springs back with lightly pressed, about 12 minutes.
  • Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and cool the cake completely in the pan.
  • Run a small knife around the edges and flip the cake out of the pan onto the towel. Peel the parchment off the back of the cake. Use the towel and the parchment to flip the cake back over onto the parchment paper.
  • Remove the towel and spread the preserves over the cake. Use the parchment paper to lift the long side of the cake then roll the cake tightly.
    Wrap the parchment paper around the cake and let it overlap at the bottom. Grab the top edge with one hand and the overlap piece with the other. Pull on the overlap to tighten the parchment around the cake. Wrap with plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours to allow the jelly to meld into the cake. At this point the cake can be frozen for up to 1 month.
  • Unwrap the cake and trim the ends at a slight angle. Transfer it to a serving tray, seam side down. Generously sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar and serve at room temperature. The cake will keep covered at room temperature for 2-3 days.

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Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 206kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

25 Comments

    1. A standard half sheet pan is 13″x18″x1″ deep. So you’d have to know the measurements of your jelly roll pan. If it’s close to those measurements you can use it. Some jelly roll pans may be closer to a 1/4 sheet size (13″X9″X1″). If you have the smaller size you should divide the recipe in half.

  1. I made two. One with homemade strawberry jam and one with homemade blueberry jam. Both came out delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this after using an old recipe for decades- yours wins!! I filled it with raspberry jam and whipping cream with cream cheese blended. Oh my gosh, it’s like eating cheese cake. Love it 5* I am now following you.

    1. @Linda,
      Sounds yummy this way. How much whipping cream to cream cheese for this sized cake did you need? Thanks

    1. Even Google doesn’t have the final word on how much a cup of flour weighs. The weight of a cup of flour is not an absolute. How you fill the cup with flour will affect the density of the flour in the cup. I use the “dip and sweep” method to fill a measuring cup. That is, I dip the cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess. Using this method I consistently get 5 oz of AP flour per cup. Other bakers may fluff the flour in the bin then spoon it into the cup. That method incorporates more air into the flour so the weight in the cup is less. Often 4 – 4.5 oz, up to a full oz less. Neither method for filling the cup is “correct”. As long as you’re following my recipe you can trust my conversion from volume to weight for my recipes. That being said, if you measure your recipes by weight there’s no reason to worry about the volume measures. I put those there for folks who don’t have a kitchen scale and because most American bakers use volume measure. Feel free to ignore the volume measure and just go by weight.

    1. As mentioned in the recipe steps, I use a half sheet pan for this cake. The standard half sheet pan measures 13″x18″.

  3. May I ask can I leave out the salt and still have a good result. I wanted to bake this for a friend, but she cannot have any salt. Any input would be helpful.

  4. Thank you Eileen, I’m a big fan of the new recipe card
    format. How thoughtful of you to use this method, it will
    save bakers time in the long run. 🙂

  5. I love this new format! I like being able to use the metric measurements as I think it makes for a better product in general. Thanks for sharing this new idea!

  6. 5 stars
    What a great feature for your new recipe cards. Perfect. I actually like weighing my ingredients on a food scale. I think the recipes turn out better.

  7. Eileen
    I am in awe of your baking experience, part chemist part baker. It is so enjoyable to read your recipes, I am learning new things even after baking for 60 years. I always felt baking is chemistry so thank you for a website. And yes I love your new recipe conversion button. I should use the metric but so used to use cups,teaspoons but its an improvement from the old hand full and pinch. Keep up those recipes,I tried the Italian Merinque Buttercream,Where was this my whole life ? My favorite now.

  8. I really like the new recipe card format. Being able to switch to metric, adjust the serving size and not having to scroll back up for the exact amounts are all definite improvements in my book!
    All that is missing now is the addition of temperature in Celsius, for those of us that don’t ‘do’ Fahrenheit…

  9. I love this new recipe forma. Would it be possible to include metric measurements to help all of us non U.S. residents who also love your recipes.

    With thanks.

    1. Did you click the button at the top of the card switching from US Customary to metric? The default is US Customary so you have click the button to switch. I have always included metric in all my recipes.

  10. 5 stars
    LOVE LOVE the new recipe card format!! Scrolling up to read the measurements of an ingredient SEEMS like a minor thing, but it’s just so inconvenient. All aspects of this new style are user-friendly!

    1. So glad you like it, Melanie. I hate scrolling to find ingredient amounts myself. The ingredients being in the instructions does make the card longer. But that feature is turned off when you print the recipe card so it won’t print as long.

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