The best pattern cake roll made from a flexible cake base that is easy to roll without cracking. Tastes delicious and looks amazing! Perfect base recipe for every holiday or theme.
This is a dedicated post on how to make detailed pattern cake rolls without it cracking and breaking. It's based off of my first pattern cake, tiger cat cake roll, which is easier for beginners. In that recipe, it's not necessary to create a separate pattern paste but the design possibilities are more limited due to the time constraints of having to bake the cake batter/pattern paste immediately.
In this recipe I use different techniques to find a balance between using a soft and pliable pattern paste for the design while ensuring it stays in place as you pipe. The elimination of a thicker pattern paste, commonly used in other swiss cakes, makes it easier to roll without cracking, plus its more aesthetic with a better texture. I decided to use a fruit theme in this tutorial but I can think of endless ways to play with patterns on cakes - celebratory messages, cute characters or special occasion themes like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day etc.
I hope you find this tutorial useful! If you have a chance to make it, please tag me on Instagram so I can share your work.
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- - Easy to follow for beginners
- - Pattern paste is stretchy making it easy to roll
- - Flexible cake base prevents cracking
- - White cake base uses no yolks - perfect for adding colors
- - Neutral flavor is a great base for flavored extracts
How This Cake Roll Differs From My Previous Recipes
You might have already made some swiss rolls using my previous recipes like: strawberry cake roll, chocolate cake roll, matcha cake roll and wonder how this new recipe compares. This recipe contains no egg yolks so the cake base is whiter and easier to color making it perfect for pattern cakes. It also has a more neutral flavor profile and takes on extracts and certain flavorings wonderfully. Lastly, the "skin" peels off more readily to reveal the beautiful design on the roll. I used a basic vanilla flavor in this recipe but you can use the techniques in my other posts to create different flavored cake bases and fillings (see: coffee cake roll, carrot cake roll, peach cake in a cup.)
How to Prepare Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cake flour - a low protein flour which will help make this cake softer than if using AP flour. It usually has a protein content between 6-8% while pastry flour, also a lower protein flour, has a protein content between 8-9%. Grocery stores usually sell a combination of cake and pastry flour at 7-9% protein. It can be substituted with all-purpose flour but the cake will be a little tougher than if using cake flour.
- Sea salt - provides a nice contrast to the sweet taste in the cake and brings out the flavors. Use half the amount if using table salt.
- Whole fat milk
- Vegetable oil - neutral tasting oils like canola, grapeseed and avocado are all good choices.
- Granulated sugar - this first set of sugar is added into the wet ingredients to help add moisture and break up the grains when the dry ingredients are added.
- Vanilla extract - adds flavor to the cake, this can be substituted with other flavors of extract.
- Egg whites - from large eggs. Egg whites whip better at room temperature so keep it out on the counter for about half hour before whipping.
- Cream of tartar - is an acid that helps to stabilize the meringue. It can be substituted with double the amount of lemon juice or vinegar.
- Granulated sugar - adds stability to the meringue and tenderizes the cake.
- Gel color - gel colors are a potent form of food coloring that doesn't add excess moisture when added to baked goods.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Heavy cream - is a cream with a minimum milk fat content of 36% and above. Whipping cream has milk fat content of 30-35%. Heavy cream yields a more stable whipped cream but whipping cream will work just as well in this recipe since gelatin is being added.
- Unflavored gelatin powder - when added to the cream, it creates a super stable whipped cream that will prevent the cake from sagging.
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract - adds flavor to the cream, this can be substituted with other flavors of extract.
Tips For Baking a Great Cake Roll
- A strong and healthy meringue (whipped egg whites with sugar) is needed to act as one of the leavening agents in this cake. Egg whites should be whipped in a clean and dry non-plastic bowl since plastic tends to trap oil. Egg whites don't whip well in the presence of oil and water. To further remove oils, use a paper towel and wipe down the mixing bowl with lemon or vinegar before you start.
- Carefully separate the egg whites and yolks when the eggs are cold. Make sure no yolks are present in the egg whites. An egg separator can come in handy.
- Bring the egg whites to a stiff peak. This is characterized by egg whites that have a beak that points upwards (instead of slumped over) when the whisk is pulled out.
- Once the liquid is introduced to the flour, do not over mix. This will produce more gluten, making the cake less tender.
- After pouring the batter into the cake tray, rap it a few times on the counter to get rid of large air pockets, this will make the design show on a smoother surface.
- Use a gentle folding movement with a spatula to incorporate the meringue into the wet flour mixture. Do not stir, this will prevent the air in the meringue from deflating.
- Add more cream along the short edge of the cake which is to be rolled first. This will prevent the cake from cracking due to large gaps in between the folds. These angled spatulas will come in handy for even frosting any time of cake. Instead of putting your hands directly onto the cake, use the parchment paper to push the cake onto itself as you roll.
- Fold gently and do not worry too much about rolling the cake very tightly. As long as the cream is spread out evenly (with a bit more along the short edge as per above), the amount of cream in this recipe will allow the sheet cake to hold up without cracking due to large gaps.
- Chill the bowl, beaters and whipped cream for optimal whipping volume. They should all be be very cold. Whipping in a stainless steel bowl placed on top of a bed of ice will help keep things nice and cool on a hot day.
- Gelatin is added to the whipped cream to help stabilize it. Many recipes do not include this step but I prefer it when using whipped cream in a cake roll. It prevents the cream from deflating so the roll stays rounder and looks nicer. You can leave this step out if you plan on serving the cake immediately. If you need further guidance on stabilizing the cream, please read my post on How to Stabilize Whipped Cream with Gelatin.
- If you find rolling the cake and stabilizing the whipped cream is too time-consuming, try this easy Japanese Peach Cake in a Cup, it has the same great chiffon base but doesn't require rolling or whipped cream stabilization and can be baked in a pan of any size.
Tips to Make Pattern on Cake without Cracking and Using a Thick Paste
In creating this recipe, I experimented with several pattern paste techniques. I found that it wasn't ideal to use a separate "thicker" paste for the pattern because it made the cake harder to roll and was prone to cracking, erasing all that hard work. In this recipe, we use the same cake batter throughout the entire cake. Here are some tips on making the pattern roll without a thick paste:
- To prevent cracking, use a proper cake roll recipe. Not all cake recipes are meant for rolling because the cake base is not flexible enough. I've tested this recipe many times with various designs and it works!
- After baking, there is no need to roll up this cake for "muscle memory". You can let it cool down on the wire rack while making the cream. Assembling it right away with the cream eliminates the amount of times the cake is handled.
- To help the design stay in place without the need for a thicker pattern paste, pipe the colored cake batter onto a silicone mat instead of on parchment. The Silpat toaster-sized silicone mat fits perfectly into my 8x12" cake pan.
- Optional: To further set small details, the design portion can be chilled before pouring the rest of the batter and baking. Take the silicone mat with the piped design and place it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Alternatively, it can be baked in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 325F.
Step By Step - Pattern Paste
Print out desired cake roll templates from post. Determine how much pattern paste you need. (For example, you can halve the pattern paste ingredients if you are using 2 colors or less. For this particular design I used the entire amount of batter.) In a small bowl, combine sugar, milk and oil together. Sift in flour, stir until combined.
In a mixing bowl, whip sugar and egg whites together until stiff peaks form. Gently fold meringue into the wet flour mixture until just incorporated. Don't overdo it as you can fold a bit more later.
Split the pattern paste into separate bowls and add desired color. Gently fold again to incorporate color. Transfer into piping bags and pipe desired design onto silicone mats with templates placed underneath as guide. Discard leftover pattern paste. 5-10 minutes before pouring cake base over design, place it in the freezer to set small details.
Step By Step - Chiffon Cake Base
Preheat oven to 325 F. In a small bowl, combine all the "wet" ingredients together with a whisk and set aside (this includes first portion of sugar). In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine. Create a well in the center. Inside it, add all the "wet" ingredients. Combine until just incorporated, do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake. Set this flour mixture aside. In a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl, whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar.
Increase speed to medium, once the whites become opaque and bubble size have tightened up, add the second portion of sugar a little bit at a time. Increase speed to med-high, add gel color and keep whipping until stiff peaks have been reached. You've now made a meringue (Note 6). Gently fold the meringue into the wet flour mixture in three additions.
Take the silicone mat out of the freezer and place into cake pan. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #10 round tip with some of the cake base. Pipe the batter onto the mat around the design. This eliminates any gaps between the design and main batter. Tap the tray on the counter to help settle the batter. Gently pour the rest of the cake batter into the cake pan over the design, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula. Tap the pan on the counter to release large air pockets.
Bake for 10-12 min. at 325 F until a skewer pulls out clean and cake springs back in the center. Let cool in pan for 5 min. Place cooling rack over cake pan. Flip cake over onto the rack, gently remove paper or mat. The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack while making the stabilized whipped cream.
Step By Step - Stabilized Whipped Cream
Place beaters, bowl and cream in fridge to chill. It's important for these tools and ingredients to be completely chilled before whipping. Place water in a heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes. Place cup in a small sauce pan filled with simmering water. Once gelatin becomes liquid, take it out of the water. Let cool on the counter.
Immediately start whipping the cream and sugar on medium speed.
Whip until the beater starts leaving tracks inside the cream, pour the cooled gelatin into the bowl slowly and steadily. Aim for the area in between the whisk and the bowl while continuing to whip. Add extract.
Increase speed to medium-high. Stop beating once the cream turns stiff (Note 6). Do not over whip. Use cream to assemble the cooled cake immediately.
Step By Step - Assembly
How to Make Swiss Cake Roll Look Neat and Round
To prevent the cake roll from sagging, stabilization of the cream filling is key. After that, employing an extra rolling technique with plastic wrap will further guide the cake towards a round shape. After assembling the cake with the cream, wrap the assembled cake in plastic wrap. Once it's secured inside the first piece of plastic, place it on a new piece of plastic and start wrapping it again while gently rolling it away from you, making sure you are creating a log shape at the same time. Just use gentle pressure, we don't want to squish the fluffy cake base! Allow the assembled cake to firm up in the fridge for several hours before serving. Doing the above steps will give you a beautiful round cake log at home.
Why Does My Cake Roll Crack?
The main culprits of cakes that crack are: problems with the recipe, overhandling or incorrect rolling techniques. First, not all cake recipes are meant for rolling into a cake roll. I've tested all my cake roll recipes countless times and I can confirm that this cake base is indeed flexible enough for rolling into a cake log.
Second, overhandling can cause the cake to crack. Therefore, I've eliminated the extra step of rolling up the cake while warm for "muscle memory". This cake recipe is flexible enough that we can just leave the cake to cool on a rack to release moisture while we make the cream. Once the cream is completed, we can begin to roll the cake immediately.
Lastly, using the correct rolling technique will prevent the cake from cracking. Add a little bit more cream on the short edge that is to be rolled first. This will give the log more cushion in the center so it won't crack due to large gaps. Use gentle pressure and don't worry about rolling the cake too tight, you can shape the log into a round log later with the tip in the section above. Make sure to bake the cake in the correct sized pan, below.
Can I Bake This Cake in a Different Sized Pan?
The cake pan used in this recipe has been tested to provide the optimal amount of cake to cream ratio. The height of the cake is just high enough that it's light and fluffy but not so much that it needs to be folded into itself many times. If you don't have the proper pan size, you can use aluminum foil to make one or roll it up to create a dam inside your larger-sized cake pan. This post will show you how to bake this chiffon cake in any sized cake pan.
Why Doesn't the Skin on the Cake Roll Come Off Neatly?
It should be noted that not all cake roll recipes intend for the "skin" to come off, the ingredients play a part in whether or not the parchment paper peels off clean after baking. This particular recipe is formulated for use as a pattern cake roll so it should peel off neatly if you use the correct temperature and tools. Keep the temperature low and consistent. We're using 325F here to start but you may need to adjust it if you find that the skin is sticking. You can either lower the temperature or pull out the cake a bit earlier.
Next, using the right tools help the skin to peel off more readily. Line the cake pan with parchment paper or better yet, a silicone baking mat. You might have to find a heavy duty paper brand and do not use wax paper.
How Do I Make Cake Rolls in Different Flavors?
To make the cake roll in different flavors, powders, extracts and infusion-method can be utilized in either the cake base or the filling. Dry powders (like cocoa, matcha etc.) can be added into the cake base with the dry mix, whereas liquid extracts can be added into the wet mix.
Another way to add flavor is to simply add extracts into the cream filling during the whipping process. The flavors can also be infused into the cream by letting the flavored ingredients (like leave leaves) soak/steep inside the cream before using it for whipping. Just make sure not to use ingredients with high acidity as it will cause the cream to curdle.
You can even try mixing and matching different flavored cake bases with different cream fillings using these recipes to guide you: chocolate cake roll, matcha cake roll, coffee cake roll, carrot cake roll.
Pattern Cake Roll Templates
Here are some pattern cake roll templates I made for you. I'll be introducing more templates as I move along in my cake roll series. To download them, sign up for the newsletter and you will receive a welcome email with the password into the Subscriber's Area.
Flexible Pattern Paste
- 20 grams cake flour
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp milk
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
Dry Mix for Cake Base
- 70 grams cake flour (Note 2)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
Wet Mix for Cake Base
- 90 ml whole fat milk
- 20 ml vegetable oil (Note 3)
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Meringue for Cake Base
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 55 grams granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (Note 4)
- Gel color in desired colors
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream (36% M.F.) (Note 5), chilled
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp granulated sugar to taste
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
- 4 tsp water
Flexible Pattern Paste
- Print out desired cake roll templates from post. Determine how much pattern paste you need. (For example, you can halve the pattern paste ingredients if you are using 2 colors or less.)
- In a small bowl, combine sugar, milk and oil together.
- Sift in flour, stir until combined.
- In a mixing bowl, whip sugar and egg whites together until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold meringue into the wet flour mixture until just incorporated. Don't overdo it as you can fold a bit more later.
- Split the pattern paste into separate bowls and add desired color. Gently fold again to incorporate color.
- Transfer into piping bags and pipe desired design onto silicone mats with templates placed underneath as guide. Discard leftover pattern paste.
- 5-10 minutes before pouring cake base over design, place it in the freezer to set small details.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a small bowl, combine all the "wet" ingredients together with a whisk and set aside (this includes first portion of sugar).
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine.
- Create a well in the center. Inside it, add all the "wet" ingredients.
- Combine until just incorporated, do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake. Set this flour mixture aside.
- In a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl, whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium, once the whites become opaque and bubble size have tightened up, add the second portion of sugar a little bit at a time.
- Increase speed to med-high, add gel color and keep whipping until stiff peaks have been reached. You've now made a meringue (Note 6).
- Gently fold the meringue into the wet flour mixture in three additions.
- Take the silicone mat out of the freezer and place into cake pan.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #10 round tip with some of the cake base. Pipe the batter onto the mat around the design. This eliminates any gaps between the design and main batter.
- Tap the tray on the counter to help settle the batter.
- Gently pour the rest of the cake batter into the cake pan over the design, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula.
- Tap the pan on the counter to release large air pockets.
- Bake for 10-12 min. at 325 F until a skewer pulls out clean and cake springs back in the center.
- Let cool in pan for 5 min.
- Place cooling rack over cake pan.
- Flip cake over onto the rack, gently remove paper or mat.
- The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack while making the stabilized whipped cream.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Place beaters, bowl and cream in fridge to chill. It's important for these tools and ingredients to be completely chilled before whipping.
- Place water in a heatproof cup and sprinkle gelatin on top to bloom. Wait 5 minutes.
- Place cup in a small sauce pan filled with simmering water. Once gelatin becomes liquid, take it out of the water. Let cool on the counter.
- Immediately start whipping the cream and sugar on medium speed.
- Whip until the beater starts leaving tracks inside the cream, pour the cooled gelatin into the bowl slowly and steadily. Aim for the area in between the whisk and the bowl while continuing to whip.
- Add extract.
- Increase speed to medium-high. Stop beating once the cream turns stiff (Note 6). Do not over whip.
- Use cream to assemble the cooled cake immediately.
- Spread the cream onto the patter cake with a bit of extra on the side that is to be rolled first (Note 7).
- Carefully roll up the cake from the short edge using the parchment paper to help push the cake onto itself.
- Wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to set before cutting.
- Before serving, cut off sides for a cleaner presentation. Cake roll can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
1. Some ingredients are repeated, use them in the same order as outlined in instructions.
2. Cake flour is preferable for a soft fluffy texture. It can be substituted with All-Purpose Flour.
3. Neutral oil choices: canola, grapeseed, avocado
4. Cream of tartar is an acid that helps to stabilize the egg whites, it can be replaced with double the amount of lemon juice or vinegar.
5. Heavy cream is cream with milk fat content of 35%+ (also labelled as 35% M.F.) It can be substituted with whipping cream which has milk fat of 30%+. Heavy cream is preferred for it's stability.
6. Stiff peaks are characterized by egg whites that have a pointed peak when the whisk is pulled out. It points upwards and doesn't droop on itself.
7. Depending on the volume your cream attains once whipped, not all of the cream may be needed. A layer about 1/2" is recommended, with a bit more on the edge that will be rolled first.
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Wilton #10 Round Decorating Tip
Fat Daddio's POB-8122 Sheet Cake Pan, 8 x 12 x 2 Inch, Silver
Toaster Oven Size Silpat Non-stick Silicone Baking Mat
White Fondant Icing, Decorator Preferred, Ready to Use, 250g (8.8oz)
Gel Food Coloring AmeriColor Junior Kit, 8 Colors.75 Ounce Bottles
OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Egg Separator
Amount Per Serving Calories 213Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 35mgSodium 127mgCarbohydrates 18gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 5g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.