ice cream cake roll

Wait, come back! No matter how charming Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood made them look on that early episode of Great British Bake Off, I know how most of us feel actually feel about making rolled cakes, which is that they’re the worst: pesky with separated eggs, fragile, cracking, prone to failure, causing foul language to leave the mouth of the person cooking. (“You owe me a quarter, mom.” “Not if you want cake.” is a conversation that might or might not happen around here on Passover.) But this one is different. With flour and cocoa inside, plus an additional egg, it’s stretchier and softer, and it doesn’t fight you so much when you want to roll, unroll it, and then reroll it. And you want to do all of these things because this is one of the prettiest ice cream cakes I’ve ever made, and much easier and faster than it looks.

getting startedstiff egg whitesbeat egg yolkssift dry ingredients over

This is one of those old-school recipes I’d seen bouncing around for years and studiously avoided due to an inherent and well-earned distrust of rolled cakes. But then it showed up in a new book this spring, The Vintage Baker*, there as a holiday-ready peppermint cake roll, and I couldn’t resist any longer. I love this story behind this book, which is that one day a decade ago, Jessie Sheehan, then a baker at the new Baked bakery in Red Hook, went into an antique/junk shop with her not-exactly-patient toddler in a stroller that didn’t exactly fit in the narrow aisles, something I can relate to just a little bit. She spotted boxes filled with brightly colored antique recipe pamphlets, the kind that were once distributed by brands as a thank you for purchases but really were just brilliant marketing devices, since all the recipes called for that brand’s goods, and in a haste to leave, scooped up as many as she could carry. She ended up going back for more and more, amassing quite a collection, and the resulting baking she did — with flavor and ingredient tweaks for modern tastes — is assembled in this book. Butterscotch pecan curls, pull-apart cinnamon raisin pull-apart flake bread, sand tarts, sour cream jumbles, and cornflake macaroons, I want to make everything in it. But I think I started in the right place.

batter into prepared panbaked cakedollop, then spreadrolled, ready to freeze

I took many liberties with the recipe. As written, it has a whipped cream filling and ganache topping. But it’s almost summer and I want ice cream, don’t you? I went to the store to find mint chocolate cookie (a flavor from the heavens, obviously) but came up with only cookies-and-cream. I decided to stick fully with the cookies-and-cream theme, swapping a little black cocoa powder (the “Oreo maker”) into the cake roll to get it extra dark. And I while skipped the ganache topping because it felt luxurious enough but if it was, like, your birthday, I’d definitely serve some hot fudge sauce and whipped cream on the side.

cookies and cream ice cream cake roll
cookies and cream ice cream cake roll

* I am no neutral observer of this book. If you spotted a very elaborate photo in my last cookbook for all of those one-bowl build-your-own party cakes, that was Jessie Sheehan who swooped in to help me bake, frost, and assemble them, saving the day. I got to preview this book over the winter and loved it so much, I blurbed it too.

Tomorrow! I’m going to demo a strawberry-ready recipe on Instagram Stories (@smittenkitchen) at 1:15pm EST. It’s been a while since I did one (I think they’re really fun, my kids are just useless at holding the phone camera) and I’m looking forward to it. Watch it live and you can ask questions while I cook and I’ll do my best to answer them on the fly. Hooray! [Live recipe demo on @smittenkitchen Instagram Live Stories on Friday 2/24 at 1:15pm EST.]


One year ago: Tall, Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Potatoes Anna, and Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake
Two years ago: Confetti Cookies, Roasted Carrots with Avocado and Yogurt, and Almond-Rhubarb Picnic Bars
Three years ago: Mushrooms and Greens with Toast, Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake, and Fake Shack Burger
Four years ago: Five Egg Sandwiches, and Soft Pretzel Buns and Knots
Five years ago: Japanese Cabbage and Vegetable Pancakes and Greek Salad with Lemon and Oregano, and Two Classic Sangrias
Six years ago: Warm Crisp and a Little Melty Salad Crouton, Chocolate Buckwheat Cake, and Vidalia Onion Soup with Wild Rice
Seven years ago: Leek Toasts with Blue Cheese, Vermontucky Lemonade, and Rhubarb Streusel Muffins
Eight years ago: Leek Bread Pudding, Oatmeal Pancakes, Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash, and Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake
Nine years ago: Endive and Celery Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette, Rhubarb Cobbler, and Broccoli Slaw
Ten years ago: Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Cauliflower Bean and Feta Salad, Jim Lahey’s Pizza Bianca, and Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Eleven years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle Salad with Roast Pork

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Broken Pasta with Pork Ragu, Roasted Cauliflower with Pumpkin Seeds and Brown Butter, and Apple Strudel
2.5 Years Ago: Kale and Caramelized Onion Stuffing and Apple Cider Sangria
3.5 Years Ago: Smoked Whitefish Dip with Horseradish and Sticky Toffee Pudding
4.5 Years Ago: Spinach and Egg Pizzettes and Perfect, Uncluttered Chicken Stock

Ice Cream Cake Roll

As mentioned, the original recipe calls for a peppermint whipped cream filling. Instead, I used ice cream. Use any flavor you wish, but if you want to go full cookies-and-cream with this cake, as I did, use the ice cream for the filling and if you can find it, swap all or half (a little goes a long way) of the cocoa powder with black cocoa powder. [We’ve talked about it before here and here.] Cream of tartar, an acidic ingredient, is often added to whipped egg whites to help increase their volume. I discovered I was out (making too much play-doh again, obviously) and used 1/8 teaspoon plain vinegar instead. It worked great.

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
  • Heaped 1/8 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • Heaped 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar (see Note)
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) dutch-process cocoa, plus more for dusting (see Note about using black cocoa)
  • 1/3 cup cake flour (40 grams) or 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Heaped 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 to 2 1/4 cups slightly softened ice cream of your choice (I used cookies and cream)
  • Powdered sugar, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, or all of the above to garnish

Heat oven: To 400 degrees F. Grease a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray or softened butter. Line pan with parchment paper and grease again. Dust with cocoa powder, knocking out any excess, and set aside.

Make the cake: Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed, until foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar in a steady stream and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add the salt and cream of tartar and whip until stiff peaks form. Scoop into large bowl and set aside. (If you’re fancy and have two stand mixer bowls, you can just switch bowls.)

Place the egg yolks in now empty bowl of the stand mixer, still fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the yolks on high speed, slowly adding brown sugar, until thick and ribbony, at least 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and water and mix until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the yolks in three additions.

Place a mesh sieve or sifter over the bowl and place cake flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in it. Sift over batter, then gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet with a rubber spatula.

Gently spread the batter into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula or butter knife to smooth it. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes (yes, that’s it!), until the cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Unmold cake and prepare to fill: [I always have to read this part twice.] Use a paring knife to make sure the cake isn’t stuck to any side of the pan. Sift cocoa powder over top of cake. Place a large (larger than the cake) dishcloth you don’t mind getting dirty over it. Place a cutting board or baking tray or cooling rack over the cloth that’s larger than the cake pan. Grab this board, the cloth, and the cake pan tightly together and flip the cake over, onto the cloth on the board. (The board just supports the cloth; its work here is done.) Lift your cake pan and it should unmold onto cloth. Gently peel the parchment paper off the cake. Use your paring knife to cut a thin edge (about 1/4-inch) off all sides of the cake; it’s easier to roll with softer edges. Sift more cocoa powder over the back of the cake. Use the cloth it is on to roll it tightly into a spiral, within the dish towel. Rest on a cooling rack, seam side-down, until it reaches room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Assemble cake: Once cake is cool, gently unroll it. Spread inside of cake with slightly softened ice cream. I use a small scooper to drop dollops all over, and a small offset spatula or knife to smooth it. Work quickly so it doesn’t melt too much. Once ice cream is evenly spread, roll cake back up around it (minus the dish towel this time, but you can use it to help nudge cake into a coil). Wrap cake in plastic and freeze for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight, to re-firm the ice cream.

To serve: Decorate the cake as you wish. (I used a dusting of powdered sugar and colored sprinkles. Hot fudge sauce and whipped cream are never unwelcome.) Cut into thin 1-inch slices. Keep leftovers in the freezer, for as long as they last.

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166 comments on ice cream cake roll

  1. SallyT

    YAY!!!! I’m so glad that you wrote about Jessie’s book – I’m a big fan of hers, and helped test some recipes for Vintage Baker. Can’t wait to make this version!

  2. Elemjay

    Does the cake freeze hard or does it still have a bit of give in it? I’ve read about ice cream cakes but never really eaten a proper one so don’t know how thite textures work….

      1. Saurs

        What about a semifreddo? I don’t mind if the slices but badly or end up looking sloppy on the plate, but would it ruin the cake and make it too soppy?

          1. Hk

            Can I bake this a day before and spread with ice cream/whip cream a day later? If so, how do I store the cake? Rolled up or flat? Will saran wrap work?

  3. mika4d

    Oh, I’m so excited! This is something that my mother was famous for making, and it is included in our Food, Family, and Fun family cook book. I will compare the recipes, but at first glance they are either very similar or the same. I know she took a jelly roll recipe and replaced the jelly with ice cream. She usually used vanilla, but it’s awfully good with my favorite chocolate ice cream.

  4. RachelinIN

    This type of cake is my diabetic sons’ favorite dessert. I’ve only ever made the vanilla/yellow cake version. Filled with low sugar ice cream and topped with a low sugar chocolate sauce, it is delicious.

  5. Scargosun

    Hmmmm….I wonder if just made homemade ice cream would work for the ‘slightly softened’ bought ice cream. You know how homemade ice cream can be soft? I wonder if it would be too soft to use for this. I make a killer coffee almond ice cream and that with the really dark chocolate would be awseome!

    1. Stacy

      Please make this and report back and also where is that coffee almond ice cream recipe from because I need it. Like yesterday :)

      1. Scargosun

        It’s called coffee butter almond. I was having a hard time getting the address but if you look up coffee butter almond ice cream and cuisinart it will be on top. Need to try soon!!!

  6. Deanna

    Basically the perfect summer dessert because who doesn’t love a 5-7 minute baking time. I can’t wait to make this with all of the ice cream flavors I can get my hands on.

  7. Kate

    The cake sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try it, but what I really want to know more about is the little white plate with the scallop trim edge… Where can I find that??

  8. Shawn

    Do you think this would work ok with a hand mixer and the regular beater attachments? Or would I just need to whisk furiously by hand? I’d love to make this for my husband’s birthday next week (he loves ice cream cakes) but I don’t have a stand mixer.

    1. deb

      Hand mixer should be fine.

      Usually cakes like this call for beating egg yolks and then, with clean beaters in a clean bowl, beat egg whites, but I reverse it because remnant egg whites in the bowl won’t affect how egg yolks whip and then we save on dish-washing. I know this isn’t what you asked. ;)

      1. Shawn

        Not what I asked, but absolutely what I needed to know! Thanks for quick responses that go above and beyond. Can’t wait to try this cake!

        1. Best roll cake/ ice cream cake recipe ever. I undertook this cake after I failed to order one my for sons birthday in time. Hands down the best thing that ever happened! I have been recruited to make this cake for every family gathering from now until forever. Love it. Always comes out great!

  9. Am

    This looks great, BUT I think you could simplify it further. I’ve made a Mary Berry Swiss roll that has four eggs, and you don’t need to separate them. The cake still came out great, didn’t crack when rolling, and everyone raved about how good it was.

    1. deb

      I was curious about that — I have a banana bread cake roll (highly recommended, not that I’m biased at all, in Smitten Kitchen Every Day) where I do that. However, there is so much moisture from the mashed bananas, there’s no textural compromise. Happy to hear how it goes if anyone tries it.

      1. Kathy

        I tried it with the eggs + sugar, then salt and cream of tartar, then everything else method and it appears to have worked. Or, at least it worked well enough that there is a rolled ice cream cake in my freezer waiting for our barbecue tomorrow!

  10. Lori

    Yay! I’m so looking forward to trying this. It is a hands-down family favorite from childhood. I’ve made it twice from random recipes. Once it came out great and it was pretty terrible the second time. The Costco (Kirkland) vanilla ice cream is highly recommended if you want a simple flavor profile and a good ice cream texture to go with the cake.

  11. Julia

    Could you make this as a vanilla cake? If you take out the cocoa, would you need to add anything else? I’d love to make this for my husband, and he’s a huge fan of vanilla cakes.

    1. deb

      I would probably go ahead and make Mary Berry’s swiss cake roll, which seems to have good reviews (it should be online somewhere) — it’s vanilla with jam. Or you could swap the cocoa for more flour, I’d say minus 1 to 2 teaspoons to adjust for the fact that cocoa is lighter.

  12. jms

    This looks wonderful. Do you think using natural cocoa would make much difference? It’s hard to find Dutch processed cocoa around here. Thank you!

  13. Carolyn

    I just have to say your daughter is absolutely adorable – and her hair is beautiful.
    I love reading through your blog and seeing the ongoing pictures of your kids. It’s really a delight.

    Best wishes.

  14. JP

    There are two CA bay area ice cream flavors that would be wonderful here. Fenton’s Swiss Milk Chocolate and Lourd’s Chocolate Showers. Decisions, decisions! Happy Memorial Day to you and yours!

  15. Adrienne Yorke

    Could you do the opposite and leave the cocoa out of the cake batter and make a white cake roll with chocolate ice cream?

    1. deb

      I’d do what I suggested to Julia, which is to seek out Mary Berry’s swiss cake roll, which seems to have good reviews; it’s vanilla with jam. You could use ice cream instead. (It should be online somewhere.). Or you could swap the cocoa for more flour, I’d say minus 1 to 2 teaspoons to adjust for the fact that cocoa is lighter.

  16. Helen in CA

    And if it were cold (and therefore ice cream isn’t as appealing – I’m sorry I just don’t like ice cream when it’s cold & here in Northern California it’s cold) is there anything special one would have to do to whipped cream to be the filling?

    To stabilize it?

  17. Liz W

    Oh, I’m excited to try this! I turn your Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll into a frosted yule log every year for Christmas Day (filled with Grand Marnier-spiked whipped cream). While the cake is amazingly chocolatey and delicious, as you say, rolling it up is an exercise in patience, swearing, and crack-patching skill. Looking forward to seeing if this version helps me finally create a crack-free rolled cake.

  18. MaggieToo

    Dang, this cake is looking like an awfully good candidate for a Buche de Noel….. with a non-melty filling, of course.

  19. eberaudrey

    I’m really wanting to make this without buying anything…do you think the cake flour is absolutely necessary? I have plain flour but no corn starch.

  20. Oh my goodness, this looks *insanely* good. The idea of an ice cream swiss roll reminds me pleasingly of Arctic Roll, which was a regular pudding (dessert…) in my (British!) childhood:
    And now I want to make this immediately, in about every flavour combination possible. I’m thinking I’ll stick with the chocolate cake, and maybe go for a raspberry ripple, or cherry, or something to make this kind of black forest gateaux like. YUM.

  21. nbmandel

    Reading this actually IN Baked Red Hook, thought you and Jessie might be amused. (Went all out with the lemon-lime shortbread bar, something I am unlikely to make myself.) Also, is your child Carole King?

    I will say that there’s nothing that reconciles me to the price of butter better than going into a bakery where a slice of layer cake is priced at $5.00 or more.

  22. Elizabeth

    Question- did you use a 1/4 sheet pan or a jelly roll pan for yours? I too have a *tiny* NYC apartment and have a quarter sheet pan (9 1/2x 13), but not a jelly roll pan, and would love to avoid buying/storing another pan!

    1. Anna

      She used a jelly roll pan. I have used a rimmed baking sheet for this before and it worked out fine. I wouldn’t recommend using a 9×13, unless maybe you cut the recipe in half (the area of the 9×13 is about half that of a jelly roll pan) since putting all of the batter in the current recipe into a 9×13 would make it super thick–so it probably wouldn’t roll up too well.

    2. JP

      I actually made one of Deb’s cake rolls (the banana one from her cookbook) in a quarter sheet pan and it worked just fine. It happened that I thought that it was a jelly roll pan and by the time I found out it wasn’t (by measuring), I had to go ahead because I needed to bring the dessert to friends that evening. I do not know if the measurements are the same or close in both recipes, but the banana one did not rise above the edges while baking and rolled up just great. I wish I could tell you more! Good luck!

    3. deb

      I used a jelly roll pan, 10×15 inches. It holds 125% of what a 9×13-inch (quarter-sheet) does. I’m not sure if it would still work, and just make a slightly thicker cake, or if it would be best with a little batter held back.

  23. I had to make a jelly roll for Home Ec class in middle school. It was actually not as horrible to make as I’d worried it would be. Have I ever made it again? Absolutely not.

  24. Yum! Ever since I failed at my attempt to make a Bouche Noel (a rolled French Christmas cake) several decades ago as an exchange student in France, I’ve been gun shy. Totally looking forward to trying this one. Thanks so much for sharing :)

  25. Nicole

    This makes me reconsider my gluten free lifestyle. What’s health when I can eat all the ice cream cake rolls?! If anyone has successfully made this GF please let me know

  26. janmorrison12

    Oh no you don’t! I have a completely bandjaxed hunk of stoopid filo pastry in my freezer – you aren’t going to get me this time! And I’m not afraid of most challenges. Why I recently became a grade two teacher at the age of 66. I make pasta without a machine. I’ve made pretzels and quilts and last year I made twenty-two dolls. But finicky shite- unh uh. Reminds me of trying to put contact paper on my kitchen shelves as a young mother. Brrrrang! One expensive ball of checked mess later.

  27. Mary

    The cake looks amazing and all, but your daughter!!! She is gorgeous and her hair is so beautiful! What a little sweetheart!

  28. Abby

    If I made this in a full size sheet pan instead of a jelly roll pan would I just need to double the recipe? Also, do you know if this recipient doubles ok? I think it would make a great birthday cake!

    1. deb

      A full sheet pan sounds like a lot! My oven fits a 13″x18″ or half-sheet pan, max. I was, however, thinking about trying a version at that size. It’s about 1.5x the size of a 10×15, so this recipe should be easy to scale up.

  29. Jeanie

    Just made two of these and they turned out awesome! There are a lot of steps, but the recipe is so easy to follow. Both of my cakes stayed intact and were pretty easy to roll up. I filled one with coffee ice cream and the other with vanilla and will be serving them at a birthday party this evening. I can already tell they will taste delicious as we snacked on the cake edges with a little leftover ice cream.

    Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

  30. Maggie

    Ok, I too was attracted yet repelled by such a recipe. After I read Deb’s post, I REALLY needed to make this cake, plus I had relative visiting this weekend, so I had a great excuse. I made this cake last night after 8 PM. It really handled easily. I had no problem mixing it, baking it, or rolling it in and out of the towel. The only issue I had was the ice cream. Deb said, “slightly softened” or something like that, and i was scared of runny ice cream, so I erred on the conservative side. The two and a quarter cups of ice cream did not seem like enough either. My ice cream was hard to spread, and then when it was ready to spread it was too runny and things got a little crazy, but at the end I just rolled it, wrapped it, and put it in saran. I figured, even if it was ugly it would still be tasty. So, tonight I sliced it up and it was gorgeous and delicious and I served it with one of Deb’s homemade hot fudge sauces. My only regret is there wasn’t enough ice cream, so I clearly have to spread more next time. There will definitely be a next time! I give this recipe two thumbs up!

  31. Alyssa B

    Just made two of these and they were delicious! No issues at all with the baking, rolling and unrolling. I made one with gluten free flour plus the cornstarch and vanilla ice cream and one with cake flour and mint cookie ice cream. I did end up using 4 cups of ice cream per roll, 2 cups was definitely not enough. This was such a fun recipe to make and I am looking forward to making many more this summer!

    1. A

      Can I ask what kind of g-fl flour you used for this? And what amount of cornstarch? Any other changes to make it g-f?

      1. Alyssa B

        I use ‘Cup4Cup’ GF flour. I have had great success with this flour in the place of all-purpose flour in all sorts of different baked goods over the years. I don’t alter anything else about the recipes when I use it.

        For this recipe I added the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch Deb said to use with the all purpose flour.

  32. I just made this today for a Memorial Day party. I think perhaps the ice cream measurement is a bit sparse; 2 cups was not nearly enough to fill it. I’d say it’s closer to 2 1/2 or more (I set out 3 cups to soften and had none left; but I have to account for the spoonfuls that *ahem* did not make it on to the cake).

  33. Hilly jacklin

    I was just thinking of my Grandmothers cornflake macaroons, I didn’t they came in a coconut flavor until I was an adult.

  34. finnbot2

    I made it this morning and haven’t eaten it yet, but I wanted to chime in to agree that the ice cream measurement is definitely not enough to get good coverage. Also, my jelly roll pan is 12″ x 17″ so I had to up all of the ingredients by 25% and felt that the cake was a little too thin in spots, I might do 50% more next time with even more ice cream and get a bigger roll. Still, the cake was fairly flexible and sturdy as advertised, so the actual rolling wasn’t too bad. I’m sure it will be delicious!

  35. Robin

    Deb you did it again. Just as I was trying to figure out what to make for a Memorial Day bbq your email came in with this. And well enough said – it was a huge hit. I do agree more ice cream is probably needed and I found myself stuffing some into the opening but otherwise flawless perfection. Served with whipped cream and red, white and blue sprinkles. Thank you.

  36. LemonPi

    Ahaha I can see myself now: I’ll just get one more slice. And then one more. And now just a little one. Thanks for posting this!

  37. Deb, this looks wonderful! I make ‘Swiss rolls’ nearly every weekend (personal challenge…) and I will try this variation of separating the eggs. My own recipe calls for, what I call, a cold Genoise batter (whole eggs and sugar whipped, cake flour folded in). I also fill when warm and don’t get any cracking. Good luck everyone who makes this ice-cream cake roll, there’s a wonderful feeling of achievement when the baking stars align and everything falls into place.

  38. My wife is going to love this recipe. She has just started watching the Great British Bake Off, which features these kinds of rolls. Every time I see them rolling the cake, I get super tense (is it going to crack/crumble/smoosh??). Looks really fun with the sprinkles. Maybe we’ll try this for my nephew’s birthday coming up!

  39. Uma

    Thank for this timely recipe, Deb!

    Can you suggest a way to make this without eggs? I found a few recipes for swiss roll cakes online but was wondering if you had any ideas / thoughts on making this eggless.

    1. deb

      I’m not sure about this cake without eggs, because all of the structure and stretch (that allows you to roll it) comes from eggs. There are other cakes that take better to egg swaps than I imagine this would.

  40. Melis

    Made this over the weekend for my son’s birthday (at his request upon seeing the gorgeous photos) and it was a huge hit. Mint choc chip ice cream and the homemade hot fudge sauce made it spectacular. I feel like ice cream is the secret win to rolled cakes since it freezes everything in place and you don’t get the ooze, squish, mash.

    1. Erin

      Turned out great, and much faster than my typical layered ice cream cake with Oreos. I used 1 quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream, which was just right. Let the ice cream warm up for 30 mins in the fridge while the cake cooled. Served with fudge sauce and sprinkles.

  41. Carol

    Looks Amazing!
    Can you just use regular cocoa powder instead of Dutch process? Will it make a difference?
    So I don’t have to buy more cocoa ;)

    1. deb

      This one has flour and doesn’t crack at all, or if so, barely.

      “But this one is different. With flour and cocoa inside, plus an additional egg, it’s stretchier and softer, and it doesn’t fight you so much when you want to roll, unroll it, and then reroll it.”

  42. I made this last night and it was perfect for a summer evening in the midwest. The cake went together beautifully and rolled like a charm. (I use one of those rolling mats rather than a dish towel. It’s made specifically for rolling cakes and works great!) Only thing I messed up on a bit was the ice-cream. I didn’t think mine was too melted but it did kind of slide along when I rolled the cake so I need to work on that part of the recipe. And definitely my advice to anyone making this is “err” on the side of firmer versus softer on the ice-cream. All in all, a lovely dessert. Thanks, Deb! (Oh, and I love the instructions about cutting off the edges of the cake because then you get to eat those lovely edges. Yum)

  43. kim

    I made 3 of these cakes last night to serve at my son’s 8th birthday party today. They were easy to make and a huge hit at the party! Everyone was raving. I loved how moist and flavorful the cake was even when frozen solid. I had never made a rolled cake before and was surprised at how easy it was. I didn’t have to trim the edges at all. Just rolled the whole thing right up. Thanks for this amazing recipe! BTW, I also served your grilled feta at the party and it was gobbled up. I don’t know how I would throw a party without your amazing recipes!

  44. Rachel

    I have tried to make roll cakes for years without any success so I’m pleased to say this one worked beautifully! No cracking, cake light and airy, and it paired well with the coffee Haggin Daz I filled it with. I also took the advice to serve with hot fudge and no regrets there. Thank you!

  45. Rebecca Cartier

    I made this over the weekend and everything was going very well. I left it to cool for over an hour. I unrolled it and it broke in many places. Do you think I left it to cool rolled up too long? I still filled it with ice cream and rolled it up as best as I could. It’s super yummy.

  46. Ellie Cleary

    Yum! This looks delicious! It reminds me of the arctic roll we used to eat as kids… Happy summer has finally arrived in London so we can have a go at making this :-)

  47. Pam

    Fun to make. Made it in the evening and it was solidified by breakfast. Another ‘breakfast of champions’ from SmittenKitchen!

    I had to use up partial-pints from 3 flavors to make room for the roll in the freezer, so I didn’t measure the ice cream. And perhaps predictably I used more than what’s seen in the photos, but the cake rolled and did not crack.


  48. Yum Yum Yum
    My daughter just saw this and has booked me in for the weekend to make it – thank you :-) I’ve just discovered your site and can’t wait to look at your other recipes for some cooking inspiration – thank you

  49. Laura Barrett

    Kind of silly question, but can you make this and freeze a few days in advance? Will that have any negative effects on texture, etc?

  50. Claire

    Hi Deb,

    This cake looks amazing! I see other readers have inquired about a quarter or a full sheet pan. Do you think the cake would work out fine in a half sheet pan or should I up the ingredients? The half sheet pan I have measures 16.25 x 11.25 x 1. Thank you in advance!

    1. I just finished making this in a 17.25×11.25×1 sheet pan, and I upped the ingredients by 1.5. I would recommend upping the ingredients, but if you decide not to do that would likely just result in a thinner cake. Happy baking!

  51. I just finished making this for a Father’s Day celebration this upcoming weekend, and wanted to say two things:
    1. Next time I am DEFINITELY subbing some black cocoa powder. The chocolate is clearly there when using Dutch-process, but I’d like some more chocolate oomph. (This might also be helped by using a bit of espresso powder. Has anyone done that successfully with this recipe? I’ve used espresso powder before with cocoa powder but am cautious about altering recipes that require such a specific texture, like this one.)
    2. I only cursed one time during the assembly of this cake, which makes me feel like I deserve an award. Was definitely expecting this to be much more exasperating to put together than it was!! It did crack a little bit on me, but it was on the inside of the roll and I think it will be patched well with the ice cream.

    Thank you Deb for such a thorough recipe that worked so well!!!

    1. jessiesheehan

      Hi! Just thought I’d weigh in here, as the original recipe (mine!) that Deb so magicallly transformed into an ice cream cake, calls for 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to be dissolved in 1 1/2 T of boiling water. In other words, espresso powder will work in the recipe with no negative consequences!

      1. Thank you Jessie! I feel a little like a celebrity just caught notice and replied to me… appreciate your expertise. :) I’m super excited to peruse The Vintage Baker, it is on hold for me at the library to go pick up!

        P.S. I also just visited your website and noticed the recipe for chocolate rugelach. They looked so captivating that the dough is now chilling in my fridge, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to bake some!

        1. jessiesheehan

          oh, gosh, the only celebrity around here is Deb! but thank you. so glad to hear you’re getting the vintage baker out of the library and yay re: rugelach! XO

        2. This cake is fantastic. I tried Deb’s family roll cake, which was delicious but I lacked the skill to roll it successfully. This cake was a dream to work with. We celebrated my daughter’s 7th birthday today, and she asked for a Neapolitan ice cream ice cream cake. Deb had my back! We did the deluxe version, with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and strawberries. Delicious! I can’t wait to try it again!

  52. suzan


    When you were just a wee baby there was a magazine called Chocolatier. We subscribed to it but alas did not keep all of the issues. I am in search of an ice-cream recipe that had three types of chocolate in it including a final addition of shavings. Anyway… you and all of your masses would love it and of course I can’t fine it. Any change for an APB with followers or do you know of a potential archive? Thanks and keep on keeping on.

  53. I made this and followed the recipe to the tee except I didn’t have any vinegar or creme of tarter and used apple cider vinegar instead. It was perfect. I was so scared of the cake falling apart while being folded but it held up strong! Thanks, Deb! This excited me so much. I couldn’t wait for my partner to get home and see.

  54. Jessica

    I’d love to make this cake and bring it to a party, but I don’t think the ice cream would make it. Would it be possible to bake the cake and leave it rolled and cooling for a longer time and then fill with ice cream later?

    1. deb

      Yes, but… the cake needs to be rechilled before it can be sliced. At least an hour, probably two in most freezers. The spreading melts ice cream a lot.

  55. Tara

    Success! I live at 7,600 feet so high altitude baking is something I avoid. I added an extra egg and baked at 355 for 13 minutes and it was perfect. My first baking success in a long time. (And I also didn’t trim the edges, they were soft enough to roll.)

  56. PD

    Looks brilliant! I plan to make a few of these rolls for my kids’ birthday party this summer. I assume we can make and freeze this a few days ahead of time, with no ill effects?

  57. Danielle

    Not sure where I went wrong. I followed the recipe exactly, but it fell apart as I tried to roll it. The cake was really stuck to the dish towel! So, should I have waited for it to cool longer before rolling it up in the towel? Should I have waited longer to unroll it? Should I have cooked it longer?

  58. Hy

    It must be obvious to everyone else, but I can’t figure it out: Do you roll starting on the short side (so you get a 10 inch roll that’s tall) or the long side (so you get a 15 inch roll that’s short)? Many thanks; definitely making this very soon.

  59. Jess

    OH NO! I rolled mine long ways (per my husband’s suggestion)! But it was great anyway. Made this dairy free for an allergy friendly birthday by subbing cocnut ice cream. SO GOOD!

  60. Dawn

    I only recently discovered this site and made your chocolate peanut butter cheesecake which came out excellent, so I’m going to try this. I have made rolled cakes before with varying degrees of success but never tried one with ice cream. The comments about the ice cream have been helpful but does anyone have a guide as to how long to let the ice cream sit before spreading? Some people said they waited too long and some not long enough. I normally wouldn’t write a review until I’ve tried something but just had to say right now, this looks easy and so good! I am going to put a ganache on mine because no, it cannot be too decadent.

    1. deb

      I would say to err on the side of not waiting long at all. See if you can spread it right from the freezer — depending on the brand or how cold that spot in your freezer is, it might be fine or soften faster as you work with it.

  61. Jennie

    This was a great success! I don’t understand why I had to butter the pan beneath the parchment paper – that didn’t seem necessary. But otherwise the recipe was totally perfect and a lot of fun. Great centerpiece for a birthday.

  62. Deana

    You’re right – this was easier than I expected and was a really nice treat for a got day! I didn’t use black cocoa because I’ve never come across it and the vinegar in place of cream of tartar worked great. Next time we will definitely make some fudge sauce and I might even try with coffee ice cream in lieu of the French vanilla I did today. Yum!

  63. Elizabeth Kelley

    Deb, I love your recipes and I enjoy your commentaries but, why, oh why, don’t you use weight measurements?? I just made the ice cream cake roll in 1.5 quantity for a half sheet pan and couldn’t believe how ridiculous it was to be fiddling with 1.5 x 5 tablespoons, etc! It is undeniably silly when a simple weight measurement would make it more accurate, faster and require far fewer measuring implements!

  64. shilpa

    Hi ,
    This sounds amazing !! Planning on making this for a get together this weekend !
    Once we freeze the cake will be difficult to slice them ?
    Is there any particular temperature on which it should be frozen ?
    Thank you

  65. Sani

    I don’t know what came over me as I never make cakes and am on a diet, but I just had to make this after seeing Deb’s post and pics. It turned out great! So yummy and even travelled well to a friend’s get together in an insulated bag. I also was worried about too runny ice cream so tried to spread it when it was too hard, next time I’d err on the side of too runny as it’ll firm up back in the freezer. I literally have never made anything from this site and the cookbooks that wasn’t phenomenal.

  66. Kelli

    Please tell me about your stand mixer. Mine broke and I am trying to decide how much power I need in my new one. I bake a lot and make lots of loaves of bread and pizzas. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. deb

      I have this one and I’m very happy with it. I’m the rare baker that prefers both the tilt-head and the 5-quart bowl — I had a bowl-lift model with 6-quart for a while and it was just too big for most of my baking, which isn’t for large crowds.

        1. Deb, I have read from Serious Eats and others that the 5 qt. lift uses plastic parts, whereas the lift up 6 qt & up are “pro” lines having sturdier gears and parts. I’ve always had a lift up–I use mine constantly.–Not for large amounts (at most 16 servings). But I’ve just about worn out my 2nd one in 35 years. I saw an original one (professional) from the 40’s or 50’s?–will have to revisit photos–in a chocolate Museum in Paris a few years back. WOW! blew my mind!

  67. Miriam Gross

    I just convinced my son that this is what he wants for his birthday this weekend, just so I could make it ;) He got all bug-eyed and drooled. Success!

  68. Haig

    For those that are trying this the first time: make sure the amount of ice cream applied equals the thickness of the cake. I pulverized approximately 5oz. of Oreo thins in the food processor. They were spread on top of the ice cream and then rolled. The sweetness of the Oreo cream boosted the overall flavor. Or of course, use Oreo ice cream. For high altitude recipes I recommend

  69. Miriam Gross

    I made this for my son’s birthday and it was a big hit! I used an oat-milk based strawberry ice cream from Trader Joe’s (needed to make it dairy free) and mixed it a handful of cacao nibs for crunch and some slight bitterness. It worked great and was fairly easy to complete thanks to the clear instructions!

  70. Polly

    I took Deb’s suggestion from her gingerbread Yule log recipe and Yule-d this cake for a Southern Hemisphere Christmas. I covered it with whipped cream mixed with a little icing sugar and topped it with white chocolate bark (from the Yule log recipe) and fresh raspberries.
    It was perfect!

  71. Monika

    While under lockdown during these covid times – spending a lot of time with my 87 year old mother. Talking about the good old days…..
    During one of our talks walking down memory lane (mom has dementia) – Sunday night treat as a child came up – ice cream cake roll. My grandparents were on a tight budget so this was extra special! How her face lite up when she talked about the frozen treat and how she and her 4 brothers would fight over the last piece.
    So, I decided to look for a recipe and came across yours. We made it together yesterday afternoon.
    From the bottom of my heart – thank you for sharing this recipe. I will cherish the time spent making it with my mom for the rest of my life.
    It truly is delicious and fairly easy to make. The hard part is the waiting for it to freeze through before eating it!
    Mom absolutely loved it and was so pleased that she had a hand in helping to make it. The smile on her face while she ate it – is burned in my memory. Thank you!

  72. Sheila

    I’m excited to try this but not relishing the thought of washing cocoa powder out of my tea towel. How do you think a dusting of flour or powdered sugar would work instead? Guessing the sugar may just dissolve in the steam from the warm cake, and perhaps this would also make the flour wet and gluey, but thought I’d see if anyone’s tried. Thank you!

  73. Marisa

    This ice cream cake is delicious!! My family and I devour it everyone I make it! Thanks for the clear instructions. Absolutely love this ice cream cake!!!

  74. Mom24

    I made this and despite my underbaking it the flavor was phenomenal. However, we wanted more cake, I wonder if I could increase it 1 1/2x or even double it and still bake it in a jellyroll pan? Any thoughts?

  75. Lisa

    Thanks to the previous comments the second time I made this it was a huge success. Putting the ice cream in the refrigerator for 45 minutes did the trick! Also not measuring and just covering with about an inch of ice cream worked perfectly. My first practice attempt the ice cream was too soft and squirted out the ends and there just wasn’t enough ice cream. It still tasted great but wasn’t pretty so I had confidence it could be great if I got the assembly right.

    I didn’t have cake flour and I used potato starch rather than corn starch with Wheat Montana brand regular flour. Normally I would never substitute anything on my first attempt but the grocery store is 30 minutes away and some internet searching seemed to indicate in this situation they were interchangeable.

    I used vanilla ice cream and I served the cake with berries and whipped cream. Everyone loved it. Now my husband wants one with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Thanks for another fabulous recipe.

  76. Diane

    I live in The Netherlands and someone recently told me all about why I should be worried about baking here because the sugar is beet sugar and does all kinds of different things (I’ve been here 6 years and barely noticed). I worry about messing with recipes now though.

    I made some swaps that I thought I’d share:
    -I have no idea if my cocoa is Dutch process. It’s literally from The Netherlands but I am not sure it ticks the boxes.
    -I only had a larger pan so I did 1.5 times the recipe.
    -I don’t have a mixer or hand mixer but used the whisk attachment on my stick blender and it seemed to work fine. The cake baked up beautifully and I’m sure I didn’t do the folding all that well.
    -I did a much less complicated rolling method where I just flipped it onto a cutting board, peeled off the paper and then rolled it with the paper until it cooled. I think it’s the way you roll the banana cake from your book.
    -I made my own cookies and cream ice cream by crushing Double crème Oreos and mixing them into vanilla ice cream (you can’t buy tubs of cookies and cream where I live).

    I can’t speak to the finished product yet. But all of the components tasted good and the cake seemed to be the right texture (no cracking either).

  77. Krista

    I realized I didn’t have a jelly roll pan after committing to making this today, so after scrolling through the comments saw a commenter and Deb have an exchange about different pan sizes! I used a 1/2 sheet baking sheet (13×18) and scaled the recipe up by 1.5. It worked great! Baked for 7 minutes on the dot and is cooling all rolled up right now. I guess something to be careful of is making sure you have a kitchen towel big enough for a half sheet :)

  78. Robin

    I’ve never done a roll cake before. When you roll out with the towel to cool, does the towel also get rolled in the spiral, or is the towel just around the rolled cake? Could you also roll it from the long side?

  79. Hk

    I’ve made jelly roll cakes in the past and mine always crack. What should I make sure I do to avoid that from happening with this?

  80. Jennifer S.

    I forgot to grease the parchment paper, but the cake peeled right off. I filled it with most of a half gallon box of mint chip ice cream – delicious!!!!