Christmas vanilla roll cake

A simple vanilla roll cake with red and green dots and spirals of creamy buttercream is the perfect dessert for Christmas parties.

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This spiral cake has always caught my attention. Although it carries different names depending from country to country, I find roll cakes prettier than a layer cake. Plus, not to mention they are so much easier to make. My love for roll cake grew with every roulade (that’s how we call it in Romania) my mom made, mostly around the holidays.

Last year I made a gingerbread roll cake and few weeks ago I made a pumpkin roll cake. I wanted to make a new one for this Christmas, but wasn’t sure what flavor to pick until I found the red & green batter bits. I knew right then I wanted a simple vanilla cake filled with creamy buttercream with lots and lots of Christmas sprinkles.  

A simple vanilla roll cake with red and green dots and spirals of creamy buttercream

If you’ve never made a roll cake, it’s time to change that. You should not be afraid, just follow few simple steps and in no time you’ll have the most beautiful swill cake. The secret to roll cakes is beating the egg yolks until light yellow and thickened. That should take round 3 minutes on high-speed or around 5 on medium speed.

For the creamy buttercream, I used Land O’Lakes butter sticks (I buy mine from the local Walmart). The secret to the creamy buttercream is to whip the butter fist before adding the powder sugar to it and whip on medium speed for 2 minutes once all the sugar is incorporated. Doing so, you’ll have a light buttercream way better than the store-bought ones.

Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake Recipe

I know there are still few weeks until Christmas but you can never be too prepared. I know I’m already taste testing some dishes I want to make for Christmas. Oh, and the fun part is testing the desserts! If you’re looking for new Christmas ideas, check out the holiday recipe collection the lovely people at Land O’Lakes put together.


And that’s not all! You can win a $250 gift card from Walmart. Here’s how :

1. Follow Land O’Lakes on Pinterest

2. Enter your email  in the form and click “Enter”

3. Pin the image to any of  your Pinterest Boards

4. Visit the Holiday Treats Board and share your favorites

1 Winner will be selected at random and they can only enter once!

Contest runs 11/25/13-1/14/14

Christmas vanilla roll cake recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: one roll cake

Christmas vanilla roll cake recipe

A simple vanilla roll cake with red and green dots and spirals of creamy buttercream is the perfect dessert for Christmas parties.


    Vanilla Roll Cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) sifted cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup red & green Wilton batter bits (found at WalMart)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Vanilla Buttercream
  • 1 cup Land O'Lakes butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups (360 grams) powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp red & green sprinkles
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3 teaspoons heavy cream
  • Decorations
  • 4 oz white chocolate
  • red & green sprinkles


  1. Heat the oven to 450F.
  2. Line a 17X12" jelly/sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl add the 2 eggs, 3 egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar. With the paddle attachment on, beat on medium to high speed around 5 minutes until pale in color and thickened. Add the vanilla extract and beat few more seconds.
  4. Sift the flour and the cornstarch over the egg yolks mixture and with a spatula gently fold it in.
  5. Fold in the batter bits as well.
  6. In a separate grease-free bowl, add the 2 egg whites and 1 tablespoon of sugar. With a whisk, whip until firm peaks form.
  7. With the spatula, fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolks mixture.
  8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, spread it evenly and bake for 6-7 minutes until golden brown and, when touched, it springs back.
  9. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven sprinkle with powder sugar and then invert the cake onto a clean dish towel. Remove the parchment paper, sprinkle with more powder sugar, and roll up the cake with the towel. Place on a wire rack to cool
  10. Vanilla buttercream
  11. In a clean bowl add the butter. With the whisk attached on to the the mixer whip the butter for 2-3 minutes on medium to high speed.
  12. Lower the speed and slowly add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  13. When all the sugar is incorporated increase the speed and whip for 2 more minutes.
  14. Add few drops of heavy cream until it reaches the consistency you desire.
  15. With a spatula fold in the sprinkles.
  16. Gently unroll the cake and spread the buttercream evenly all over it.
  17. Roll it again and place in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  18. To decorate, melt the white chocolate in double boiler or microwave and pour it over the cake. Add Add more sprinkles (optional)
  19. Let the chocolate settle for few minutes and slice the cake.
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Vanilla roll cake with swirls of buttercream and white chocolate frosting

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    Hello! My name is Roxana and I'm a self-taught baker, wanna-be photographer and the writer behind Roxana's Home Baking, where I share original and adapted scratch recipes. 

Here you'll find no fuss, no hassle easy recipes with ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.  Read more ....


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  1. Cynthia says

    When the directions say, “roll up the cake with the towel,” does that mean the towel stays with the cake roll? Or are you using the towel to roll up the cake? I have never made a cake roll and wanted to try it but being a retired English teacher…well, you understand. lol Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  2. Joyce Roth says

    This looks so yummy. Could you tell me what red and green baking bites are? Is it what you decorate sugar cookies with? Or is it mini M&Ms?

  3. Linda H says

    I don”t have a fancy mixer. When the recipe says to use the whisk or paddle attachment can I just use my plain old hand held mixer and get the same results? I really want to make this but want it to turn out right. Thank you

    • says

      Hi Linda,
      If you only have a hand mixer, check to see if it comes with different attachments.
      My hand mixer comes with hooks for dough, paddles for batters and a whisk. If you have one like mine, you can still use it, just beat the egg yolks for more than 3 minutes. Beat them until thickened and pale in color.

    • Renee says

      I cant say if the plain hand mixer will work for this recipe. But in the past when recipes call for fancy attachments I have used my own normal mixer and have had everything come out just fine.

      • says

        Hi Renee,
        A hand mixer will work just as well. Just make sure you beat the egg yolks until thickened and the egg whites until firm picks.
        Remember not to overbake the cake


  4. says

    This is probably a totally blonde question… especially from a redhead, lol… but is that 2 whole eggs PLUS 3 egg yolks… or 2 whole eggs and an extra egg yolk without the eggwhite?

  5. says

    Hi Roxana, this roll looks so beautiful and colorfull, thank you for the recipe. I like very much your blog. Please visit mine too :) Best regards, Ani

  6. Cheryl Newton says

    This recipe is going to get me to make my first roll cake ever! But first, 1 question: when does the vanilla get added for the frosting? With the butter before it gets whipped? Thanks, Cheryl

    • says

      Oops, sorry about that. Thanks for catching my mistake.
      The vanilla is added after the sugar is all incorporated. Just before you add few drops of heavy cream

  7. Linda says

    These look amazing , my husband loves coconut and I know he would love these, so gonna try these for Christmas also ty again. :)

    • says

      As long as you roll it tight in plastic wrap and then in a freezer bag, you can make it ahead and freeze.
      Take it out the night before and leave it in the refrigerator

    • says

      As long as you roll it tight in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag, you can make it ahead and freeze.
      Take it out the night before and leave it in the refrigerator

  8. says

    So pretty Roxana, I do love how a cake roll looks, they are yummy to eat as well. Your vanilla version is just as tantalizing as a chocolate one would be to me.

  9. Carla says

    Looks great, I’ve seen the pumpkin roll this past Thanksgiving and this one looks even better. So regarding one of the above questions, after you unroll the cake and frost it, you leave the towel out and roll up the cake by hand?

  10. Brittany Spurlock says

    Why does it say 3 hours for the total time?
    15 minutes plus 7 minutes is 22 minutes. I’m just curious.

    Can’t wait to make this. It looks delicious!!!!

    • says

      Hi Brittany,
      You need to let the cake cool before adding the buttercream to it, plus chill it for a while before slicing. If you take that time in consideration, you end up with 3 or more hours.

  11. Annabelle says

    Did I miss if you mentioned using salted or unsalted butter?
    When you ate the cake roll, did the little bits soften up at all or werethey crunchy?
    It is a stunning cake. Will definitely make.

    • says

      Hi Annabelle,
      I rarely use salted butter in my recipes. The colored bits pretty much melt, they are not crunchy or anything.
      Yes, there’s no salt needed to make this cake. I usually add salt only to some chocolate or caramel recipes.

  12. Lisa Howell says

    I love vanilla cakes & my little boy loves anything with colorful sprinkles. Looks gorgeous! Can’t wait to try making it.

  13. Nancy says

    Can I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour? I’m excited to try this for our Sunday school Christmas party!

    • says

      Hi Denise,
      A jelly pan is a sheet pan with sides, usually between 1/2 to 1 inch deep.
      Make sure the pan you’re using is 17X12 or your cake will turn out too thick or too thin.


  14. Bridget says

    Can you use a regular cake mix ( Betty Crocker / Duncan Hines)? Can you also use white vanilla too? Btw the blog and site is great.

  15. Brittany Yarbrough says

    My mom and I just made this! Its delicious!!! But the second direction says 17″ x 12″ jelly pan. I think you need to change that to a cake pan?? We put it in the jelly pan and in the oven it went, then realized how are we gonna roll it up?yMy mom said its suppose to be in a cake pan!!! So we had to take it out and transfer it. Big mess! And it’s definitely a 2 person job! Lol!!!

  16. Wendy Robichaux says

    I love to bake and try new recipes, but I’ve never made a roll cake. This one looks amazing! My husband saw it posted on Facebook and made a special request :) I’ve got everything together to make it tomorrow. Can’t wait! Oh, and I found the batter bits at Michael’s.

  17. alyssa says

    When I made my pumpkin roll for thanksgiving it didn’t want to roll and the cake broke so I basically had a pumpkin layer mess… what did I do wrong?? I don’t want the same thing to happen when I try to make this one… it looks so yummy!

  18. Brittany Yarbrough says

    Hello again! Well maybe you need to rephrase that as sheet pan. :) we are making it again for Christmas. That was our tester. And we will use a SHEET PAN!

  19. Linda says

    Just wondering about the batter bits – is it 1/4 cup each of the red and green or is it a total of 1/4 cup? Thanks!

      • michelle says

        It says so many eggs then so many egg whites then it says more egg hooks at the end of the recipe do I need all those mentioned??

        • says


          The recipe calls for 2 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks and 2 egg whites.
          The whole eggs and the yolks are creamed till thickened while the egg whites are whisked so they incorporate air into the cake batter.

  20. Cynthia Carneal says

    I made this cake roll over the weekend. It turned ot pretty, but thought the filling was too sweet and sugary. Think it would be better with a cream cheese whip cream type filling. Also the amount of white chocolate needed to cover the roll is wrong. It needs much more than the stated amount called for in this recipe. Beautiful cake for the holidays though.

  21. Maria-Fernanda says

    Greetings from Chile!

    This is just perfect! I baked my first roll cake with this recipe this afternoon and it looks delicious!
    I changed a few things to make it brown and I didn’t use batter bits cause we don’t have in Chile but it turned out just fine.
    Thank you very much for charing this recipe :)

    Merry Christmas!

  22. Joya says

    Making this tonight for Christmas! :) Thank you! I had to laugh, though. It says “Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 7 minutes. TOTAL time: 3 hours??? lol Merry Christmas!

      • says

        Lol I was only teasing. I made it and it was out of this world, good! Although, I didn’t realize I was out of both almond AND vanilla… geesh, lol. So, I used butter extract in place of those (but only 1/2 tsp) and WOW. Yum! Absolutely delicious! Thank you, again, for this recipe! Sure to be a favorite year round!

  23. says

    I wasn’t too sure I could pull this one off as I’ve never made a cake like this before. I did it though! Thanks so much for sharing – I’m excited to share it with my family tomorrow. :)

  24. Michelle says

    Not exactly sure what I did wrong but I (finally) got around to making this roll cake tonight and it turned out terrible! The cake tasted like eggs, it was very firm and heavy. I also had an issue with the pan size. (I measured to make sure it was 17×12.) when I poured the batter in there was hardly enough to make a thin layer. I transferred it to a smaller pan (maybe that’s where I went wrong?) at any rate, the cake didn’t taste like cake at all, just sweetened eggs. The icing was absolutely delicious though!!

    • says

      Hi Michelle,
      So sorry to hear the cake didn’t turn out as you hoped it would.
      The cake is made for a 17X12″ pan and yes, the batter is a very thin layer, hardly covering the entire pan but while it bakes it puffs up during baking.
      It’s definitely not firm and heavy since air has been incorporated into the batter when beating then eggs until thickened and when whipping the egg whites.

  25. Mary says

    Made this today using just green bits for St. Patrick’s Day. Looks great. My family will love it this evening. I started to make it for Valentine’s Day using all red, but I saved it for today because it is so hard to find pretty ideas for St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks!

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