Learn how to make a homemade Chocolate Roll with me ! These easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make a chocolate sponge cake filled with whipped cream, rolled up just like a Swiss Roll and smothered in buttercream frosting.
It wouldn’t be Christmas time without chocolate rolls. In my house it has been a tradition that has been passed down over the years. It is one of those desserts everyone enjoys. Admittingly, I do have a strange way to roll the cake – Yes, I use a towel to roll the cake but trust me it is the best way to do it!
This recipe will show you exactly how to make the best chocolate roll, including a decadent chocolate cake, whipped cream and buttercream frosting. If you’re a fan of Little Debbie Swiss Roll snacks, you are going to LOVE this full-size version. Enjoy!
Chocolate Roll Ingredients //
This chocolate roll comes together in 3 parts, the cake, the whipped cream and the frosting. Here’s what you’ll need to make everything from scratch:
For the cake:
- Eggs: Add structure and help achieve a moist, spongey roll, just like a Swiss Roll.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar works great. I don’t recommend using brown sugar in this one as it may make the cake too moist and difficult to roll.
- Flour: It is the structure of the cake. I know it may seem bizarre that there’s only a quarter cup of flour, but trust me on this, it works!
- Baking Soda: Acts as a leavening agent and helps make a moist, rolled sponge cake.
- Salt :It strengthens the cake batter and enhances all of the sweet and chocolate flavors.
- Cocoa: Gives the cake a pleasant chocolate flavor. For deeper flavor, you can use dark cocoa powder.
- Vanilla: For a touch of sweet flavor.
- Brewed Coffee: Adding coffee to chocolate cake batters intensifies the chocolate flavor, deepens the color of the cake and adds moisture. Do not use ground coffee. It must be brewed coffee!
For the whipped cream filling:
- Heavy Cream: Is perfect for whipped cream. It whips into a velvety, spreadable consistency.
- Powdered Sugar & Vanilla: These ingredients sweeten and flavor the whipped cream filling.
How to Make // The Steps
Step 1: Preheat oven and prepare pan.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 10″x15″ jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with cooking spray.
Step 2: Beat eggs and sugar.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the eggs. Beat for about 5 minutes while gradually adding in the sugar. Continue to beat until the eggs become pale and lemon-colored.
Step 3: Fold dry and wet ingredients together.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa over the bowl and gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Add the coffee and vanilla and fold.
Step 4: Bake.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The cake is done when it pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back when you gently press into it.
Step 5: Roll cake.
This is when the recipe gets kind of weird. Please stick with me. Spread out a clean hand towel and coat it with confectioners sugar. While the cake is still hot, turn it out onto the hand towel and then carefully roll the cake and the towel from the longer side up. Let the cake cool completely rolled up into the towel.
Step 6: Make whipped cream.
Once the cake has cooled, make the whipped cream. Add the cream to a bowl and whip, gradually adding the sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
Step 7: Spread whipped cream.
Unroll the cake and spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the top.
Step 8: Roll cake with whipped cream and let set.
Roll the cake back up, enclosing the whipped cream, and transfer it to the fridge to set for a half-hour or so.
Step 9: Make buttercream frosting.
While the sets bakes, make your chocolate buttercream. I reduced the butter to 1 1/2 sticks and added 3 tablespoons of cream cheese. It turned out ultra-rich and creamy.
Step 10: Decorate the chocolate roll.
Once the chocolate roll has set, frost it with the chocolate buttercream and sift powdered sugar over the top. Merry Christmas!
Tips & Tricks //
- Keep an eye on the cake so it doesn’t overbake. If it hardens, it won’t roll.
- You can use wax paper (although the towel trick is more straightforward).
- Be sure to let the cake cool completely wrapped up in the towel. If you unroll it while it’s still warm, it will probably fall apart.
- The cake also needs to be cool when you add the whipped cream. Otherwise, the heat will melt the whipped cream, and it will ooze out of the sides.
- Don’t sweat it if your roll isn’t perfect. You can hide any imperfections with the frosting.
Why is Chocolate Roll So Good?
- Step-by-step instructions will show you exactly how to make the perfect chocolate roll.
- It makes a lovely holiday entertaining dessert.
- It can be made ahead and frozen.
- This cake is a nod to a childhood favorite!
- Add booze: Replace the coffee with liquor. I think Kahlua, brandy or amaretto would be fantastic.
- Add some flavor to the whipped cream: Peppermint, almond, and hazelnut extract would be great.
- Oreo crumb filling: Sprinkle a layer of crushed oreo over the whipped cream before rolling up your cake.
- Chocolate cinnamon rolls: Sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar over the whipped cream before serving. Sprinkle more on top of the cake as garnish.
- Yule Log: Put those cake decorating skills to use and decorate your chocolate roll to look like a Christmas Eve yule log.
Storing & Freezing //
Storing: Leftover chocolate rolls are best kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Freezing: If you plan on freezing it, wait until after the roll has thawed back out before frosting. To freeze, wrap the entire log or individual slices in a few layers of plastic wrap and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months—Thaw in the fridge before frosting.
This most likely happened from overmixing the batter. There isn’t much flour in the batter, so it’s super delicate. Next time be sure to gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together and stop fussing it with as soon it’s combined.
You can -although making whipped cream from scratch is super quick and easy. If using store-bought, be sure to keep it as cold as possible so it doesn’t destabilize and lose its fluff.
It would be best if you rolled the cake when it’s still warm, so when it cools, the shape sets. If the cake is too cold, it won’t move as easily. Be sure to let the cake cool completely before unrolling it to add the filling.
More Chocolate Cake Recipes //
For the cake:
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 t. baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 Tablespoons coffee
For the whipped cream:
- 2 cups whipped cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Chocolate Buttercream
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the eggs for about 5 minutes. Gradually, add the sugar and beat until the eggs are pale and lemon colored.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa over the bowl.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Pour in the coffee and vanilla. Fold together.
- Pour the cake batter into a 10×15 jelly roll pan that has been lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. The cake will be ready when the cake pulls away from the sides and the cake springs back when you touch it.
- Here is where this recipe gets a little weird. While the cake is still hot, turn it out onto a hand towel that has been coated with confectioners sugar.
- Roll the cake up and let it cool completely in the towel.
- When the cake is cool, whip the cream and add the sugar and vanilla.
- Unroll the cake, and spread the whipped cream evenly over the top.
- Roll the cake back up and put in the fridge to set up. Maybe a half hour or so?
- Meanwhile, make some Chocolate Buttercream. I reduced the butter to 1 1/2 sticks and added a few Tablespoons of cream cheese.
- Frost the chocolate roll with the Chocolate Buttercream. I piped the extra frosting onto the bottom, but you do not have to do that.
- Sprinkle with some powdered sugar.