Soft and fluffy, subtly sweet Japanese style cotton candy cake roll. Easy to use chiffon cake recipe that doesn't crack easily while rolling.
This cotton candy cake roll recipe came about from some experimentations I did with my lastest recipe: fancy pattern cake roll. That recipe uses a yolk-less cake base that is snowy white and neutral tasting which makes it perfect for taking on color and extracts. I decided to experiment with it by making this pretty soft pink cake log flavored with cotton candy extract. Like the fluffy chiffon cake base, the flavor is formulated in the Japanese-style, just subtly sweet with a distinct but not overpowering cotton candy flavor. It's a wonderful and convenient year-round flavor achieved with a little bit of shelf-stable extract. I think pink color and cotton candy flavor is perfect for Valentine's Day, baby showers, bridal showers, birthday parties and anytime you're stumped on what rainbow colored desserts should taste like. I hope you'll enjoy it!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- Super fluffy chiffon cake base in the Japanese style
- Subtle semi-sweet cotton candy flavor
- Cotton Candy flavor suits many color themes
- Flexible cake roll recipe prevents cracking
- White cake base using no yolks - perfect for adding colors
- Perfect for Valentine's Day, baby showers, birthday parties & more
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.
- Cotton candy 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
- Cotton candy extract - adds flavor to the cream, this can be substituted with other flavors of extract.
Where to Buy a Good Cotton Candy Extract?
Just like my cotton candy meringue kisses, I used a cotton candy extract that was specially concocted by Jenna Rae Cakes to have that unique spun sugar taste. It's the same flavoring that is used in the cotton candy products sold in their popular bakery chain in Canada. I like that it's not too overpowering or artificial tasting.
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.
Step By Step - Cake Roll
Line a 8 X 12" rectangular cake pan with toaster-sized silicone baking mat or parchment paper. 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, whip until soft peaks and add then add gel color. Continue whipping until stiff peaks (Note 6). This is now called the meringue.
Gently fold the meringue into the wet flour mixture in three additions.
Pour the batter into a cake pan. 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. 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. The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack while making the cotton candy whipped cream.
Step By Step - Cotton Candy 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. Do not over whip. Use cream to assemble the cooled cake immediately.
Step By Step - Assembly
Spread the cream onto the cake with a bit of extra on the side that is to be rolled first. 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. Cotton candy cake roll can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
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.
Ideas for Decorating Cotton Candy Cake Roll
The wonderful thing about cotton candy flavor is it's adaptability for a variety of themes and colors. Most cotton candy flavored baked goods usually come in a combination of pink and baby blue but I think any pastel color would be nice as well. To create a combo color effect, you can split the finished batter in half and color it accordingly, then alternate between colors when you pour it into the pan. For a dramatic effect, you can decorate it with real cotton candy. I've seen them sold in tubs at gourmet candy stores, wholesale clubs or in handy little packets online. Take note that cotton candy shrinks after being exposed to air so add it to the cake only before serving. It's also best not to let it touch any elements with high moisture like whipped cream.
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 the 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.
Other Cake Rolls You Will Love
Get creative and match this cotton candy cake roll with other flavored fillings. These recipes below will provide you with inspiration on how to flavor the cream while keeping it strong and sturdy for use in a cake roll.
- Strawberry Cake Roll with Fresh Cream
- Matcha Green Tea Cake Roll with Adzuki Bean Cream
- Chocolate Cake Roll with Real Chocolate Whipped Cream
- Coffee Cake Roll with Kahlúa Cream
- Carrot Spice Cake Roll with Marscapone Cream
- Peach Cake in a Cup and How to Cake Roll Cake in Different Sized Pans
Dry Mix for Cake Base
- 70 grams cake flour, cake flour (Note 2)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Wet Mix for Cake Base
- 90 ml whole fat milk
- 20 ml vegetable oil (Note 3)
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cotton candy extract
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- 55 grams granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar (Note 4)
- Gel color in desired colors
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream (36% M.F.) (Note 5), chilled
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar to taste
- 1 teaspoon cotton candy extract
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin powder
- 4 teaspoon water
- Line a 8 X 12" rectangular cake pan with toaster-sized silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
- 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, whip until soft peaks and add then add gel color. Continue whipping until stiff peaks (Note 6). This is now called the meringue.
- Gently fold the meringue into the wet flour mixture in three additions.
- Pour the batter into a cake pan.
- 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. 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.
- The side facing up will eventually become the top of the cake roll. Let it sit on cooling rack while making the cotton candy 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 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. Cotton candy cake roll can be kept in the fridge in an air tight container for 2-3 days.
Cotton Candy Cake Roll
Stabilized Cotton Candy Whipped Cream
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. Soft Peaks: When the whisk is pulled out of the mixture and the peaks fold back/melt into itself. Stiff Peaks: When the whisk is pulled out and the peaks hold their shape and points upwards.
7. Depending on the volume your cream attains once whipped, not all of the cream may be needed. A layer about ½" is recommended, with a bit more on the edge that will be rolled first.
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Amount Per Serving Calories 278Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 35mgSodium 129mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 0gSugar 13gProtein 6g
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.