Chocolate-Strawberry Roll Cake: baking up some romance

Valentine’s Day. Some people love it. Some people don’t.

Any excuse to celebrate is a-OK in my book! Whether it was with my special someone or just a spa day with my girls, this holiday has always been a fun one for me. I think it’s my daddy’s doing.

He’s been sending me flowers since kindergarten. I can still remember it clearly. The loud announcement over the intercom that I had to report to the principal’s office. For a teeny, tiny girl in a K-12 school, there was nothing more terrifying.

I bawled my eyes out all the way up the stairs and down the hall, only to see our secretary, Mrs. Borst, standing there with a vase of colorful flowers, a big heart-shaped balloon, and a huge smile on her face for the little girl with the doting father. My love affair with Valentine’s Day began that day.

My husband and I try our hardest to limit how often we go out to eat. It’s simply better for our waistlines and our wallets to cook for ourselves. Because of this, we’re always looking for something to “celebrate.” There are those that say you should treat every day like this love-packed holiday. While this is true, we’re still quite fond of Cupid’s day, as it’s an excuse to get all gussied up and have a nice meal that neither of us had to prepare.

It happens every time – you indulge in a big meal and a nice glass of wine, and find yourself too full for dessert! This is where this blog ties in. Why not make a show-stopping dessert as a gift for your love, and serve it to him or her when you arrive home? That way you’ve had plenty of time to digest and make room in your stomachs.

You could go the whole chocolate-covered strawberry route, or you could go all out with this tasty treat. Nothing says, “I love you” quite like a fancy-schmancy cake that looks as good as it tastes. A chocolate roll cake, filled with bright and lovely strawberry filling, sliced up and served on Valentine’s Day for that person you love. Or persons. This certainly serves more than two. Spread the love around!

Roll cakes look visually impressive on their own. Add the brightness of the pink filling and the taste bud satisfying combination that’s chocolate and strawberry, and you have a recipe for lovey-dovey success.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 10″ x 15″ jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Don’t grease it!

Dry-ingredientsSift together:
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Fluffed-eggs3In a separate mixing bowl, beat together 4 large room-temperature eggs and 1/4 cup vegetable oil until the mixture becomes pale yellow and thick. It will take a few minutes.

add-vanillaMix in:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisking-dry3

Fold the dry ingredients gently into the egg mixture. I find using the whisk attachment on the mixer works really well.

spreading-in-panSpread the batter into the lined pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed.

roll-prepRemove the cake from the oven, and allow it to cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

While your timer is counting down, get out another piece of parchment paper and spray it lightly with non-stick cooking spray. You have to spray this piece of parchment because the top of the hot cake is still a little sticky. You don’t want to chance all of your hard work potentially being for naught, do you?

Rolling-cakeAfter 2 minutes, loosen the edges of the cake, and lift it up and out of the pan using the parchment sides. Place the greased parchment on top of the cake, and using the two pieces, roll the cake up between them starting from the short end. Allow the rolled cake to cool completely before frosting.

dried-strawberries2To achieve the brightly flavored strawberry filling, I had a lot of help from my freeze-dried friends. Freeze-dried strawberries can be found at your local grocery store. I found mine at our local co-op. Just buzz them in the food processor until they make a fine powder.

Filling-ingredientsTo make the strawberry filling, combine the following:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup strawberry powder
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
zest (grated rind) of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon strawberry flavor
3 to 4 drops red food coloring, optional; I didn’t use any, but feel free if you really want the color to pop!

The stainless steel mixing bowl made my frosting look lighter than it actually turned out on the cake!

Beat all of the ingredients at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Spreading-fillingCarefully unroll the cake. Don’t stress too much if it cracks a bit in places. Consider the filling a delicious glue, keeping your roll together. The one you see here started doing that… but you’d never know if I didn’t tell you!

Spread the filling along the inside of the cake. Re-roll the cake (being sure not to roll the parchment along with it), and place it seam-side down on a serving plate.

finished-cake-before-trim2Pop the cake in the freezer for a bit while you make the glaze. It will make trimming up the edges easier. If you roll as straight as I do, you’re going to need to trim some cake off to make it look clean. I’d like to think it’s the fault of my subconscious. It WAS a delicious snack of scraps.

Photo-Jan-22,-4-36-44-PMTo make the glaze, gently heat:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup, light or dark
1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate, or chocolate chips – I used Guittard semisweet wafers

Photo-Jan-22,-4-40-30-PMStir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. I microwaved everything for 45 seconds and it came out perfectly. You don’t want it to boil, and you’ll have to stir it to allow the chocolate to slowly melt; just be patient and keep stirring!

Finished-cake2Remove the cake from the freezer and trim those edges. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, allowing it to slowly and artfully drip down the sides. Garnish with fresh strawberries, or serve as is. It’s a real beauty, isn’t it? Delicious, too!

ChocStrawRollCake_900wWhomever you decide to celebrate with, be sure to let them know just how much they mean to you. You could always go the classic “flowers and chocolate” route. But we think you’ll enjoy upping the ante with this homemade dessert. Some sweets for your sweet. Chocolate and strawberry are a taste bud match made in heaven. Perfection on a plate.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Chocolate Strawberry Roll Cake

Or print just the recipe.

Gwen Adams
About

Gwen Adams grew up in northern New Hampshire, on top of a mountain, surrounded by nature and not much else. After graduating from Lyndon State College in 2010, Gwen sought a career that combined her passion for writing with her love of baking. She found ...

comments

  1. Kalisa

    Those freeze dried strawberries are a great method to get the taste you want without all the liquid that fresh strawberries would introduce to the filling! The pink frosting looks so great with the dark chocolate cake, what a great presentation. If you screw up and the cake ends up breaking on you, then hey, just layer it in a sundae glass and call it a trifle. 😉

    I have yet to try a jellyroll cake but this looks great.

    Reply
    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      I think you’ve figured out the baker’s secret weapon, Kalisa! Trifles are the perfect fall dessert, ready to save the day whenever there is a cake disaster. I encourage you to give a roll cake a try. It looks much more difficult than it really is, especially with the help of parchment! -Gwen

  2. Paul from Ohio

    L U S C I O U S……..and my compliments on dynamite photos, they make me want to lick my computer monitor for the chocolate – just kidding. Especially that end on shot with the just applied chocolate!!!! I understand what you wrote about adding or not adding food coloring – but for me, especially if one was to serve it with real strawberries – wouldn’t you really want the filling color to like, match a bit more? Maybe not. I’M SURE IT’S a mouthful of all good things regardless of the color. Thanks for a terrific special dessert.

    Reply
    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      I get where you’re coming from, Paul. I personally like to use food coloring, but there are those that really, really don’t. This recipe is too tasty to scare people off with a few drops of color. The strawberry powder actually adds quite a bit of color on its own, which I was pleased to see.

      I know what you mean about the chocolate photos. I ate quite a bit of it! It’s as delicious as it looks. Happy baking! -Gwen

    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      Hi Jessica- It took nearly the entire bag to get my 1/2 cup of powder. So worth it! Happy baking! -Gwen

  3. Mary Jo

    I’m still confused about the freeze dried strawberries. I haven’t been to the grocery store to look for them yet. I’m assuming they are different from just frozen strawberries?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Yes, Mary Jo, you’ll notice them by the package’s VERY light weight – since they’re freeze-dried, they’re “light as air.” When you get to the supermarket, ask one of the grocery employees where they might be; different stores tend to place them in different aisles. Good luck – PJH

  4. Carolyn

    I found freeze dried fruits at a Whole Foods type of store that I visited yesterday. In the brand you show they only had a strawberry-banana combination and a mixed berry. Another brand had individual fruits (5) but no strawberry. It will take some further looking. It occurs to me that a raspberry filling would be very good also. Do you know whether they might be available in the freeze dried form? I’ll see what I can find.

    Reply
    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      I think raspberry would be delicious, Carolyn! I know they make freeze-dried raspberries, and raspberry and chocolate make a wonderful combination. Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it turned out. Happy baking! -Gwen

    2. Nicole

      Raspberries: works amazingly well, but you do get some of the seeds. I sifted them with the icing sugar and eliminated about half the seeds I think.

  5. Jen

    Looking at the picture, my first thought was how did they get the ice cream to look so good and spread so evenly on the cake.

    I’m glad to know it is not ice cream but a filling. I think the freeze dried strawberries helped trick my eye. looks good, I think I’ll add it to my “I have to try” pile.

    Reply
    1. Gwen Adams, post author

      Ice cream DOES sound amazing though, Jen. Probably a lot more risk involved! -Gwen

  6. JuliaJ

    Would sprinkling the top of the cake with powdered sugar keep it from sticking to the top sheet of parchment? I’ve always found cooking sprays to leave an oily taste so try to avoid using them.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      You might want to try a mixture of half powdered sugar and half cocoa powder; that way your cake won’t look moldy when you go to roll it up. Worth a try. Susan

    2. The Baker's Hotline

      I think you might have difficulty turning the paper over onto the cake and having the sugar stay in place. Putting the sugar on the cake may cause white spots, or bits of moisture on the cake. You might try nonstick parchment, or lightly buttering your sheet instead. I think some bakers use a linen towel instead, so there are a few options to try. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

    3. JuliaJ

      Thanks, Susan, for suggesting dusting with cocoa powder! And Laurie, baking parchment like Quilon does have a nonstick finish, though will try buttering it too. And Reynolds has a non-stick foil, though I’ve never used it (it’s a bit pricey). Thanks for all the ideas!

  7. Yvonne

    OMG the freeze dried strawberries are GENIUS!! I would have never thought of that!!! THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

    I have now lost my wee mind. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Yvonne

      Went shopping, found not only freeze dried strawberries but also peaches. Imagine a peach filling as above but with an almond flavored sponge! I TOLD YOU, THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!!!

      My wee mind is working overtime now.

  8. Annette

    Wee minds indeed! No such things! Love, love, love the ideas of the freeze dried fruit! And FYI, I have always used a clean kitchen/tea towel sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar to roll my jelly roll cakes in!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No, there aren’t any wee minds here! And thank you for sharing your rolling methods, Annette! Barb@KAF

  9. Cindy Burson

    There are fruit and vegetable powders available now too. I like the Beet powder from Synergy. It is so sweet and bright red.

    Reply
  10. Marjie

    I’m so excited about the non-dairy cake recipe. And I agree: the freeze-dried strawberries are genius! Now all I need to do is figure out a non-dairy filling…
    Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Deb

    looking forward to making this for Valentine’s Day. Freeze dried strawberries are yummy. I purchase through NUTS.com, wonderful place to get all kinds of freeze dried fruits and spices! Never thought to use as powder, genius. I also dehydrate strawberries in the summer with good luck. I love having them in the pantry to add to baked goods.

    Reply
  12. Susan A.

    We are allergic to Red 40. Are there any substitutes for the strawberry liquid that don’t have artificial colors?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Susan, if you can get the freeze dried berries, you may decide the filling is bright enough without any extra food coloring. That’s where I’d go. Maybe worth drying a tablespoon of cherry juice, too. Susan

  13. millerk

    I’m another fan of nuts.com. They actually have Organic Freeze Dried Fruit Powder, strawberry, wild blueberry and others. I have ordered from them many times and have never been disappointed.

    Reply
  14. Linda

    Two questions —

    Is “frozen” comparable to “freeze-dried”?

    Would other frozen/freeze dried fruits also work? Is there/are there fruits that would not?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Frozen fruit retains all its moisture, but must be kept cold; freeze-dried has all of its moisture removed, and it’s shelf-stable at room temperature. So the two aren’t interchangeable. But do feel free to use other freeze-dried fruits in place of strawberry. PJH

    2. Susan Reid

      Hi, Linda. No, frozen isn’t the same as freeze-dried. Frozen fruit still has all the water in it from when it was picked. Freeze-drying is a dehydration method, where the water is rapidly removed at colder temperatures, preserving that bright red color we were after. There’s no reason you couldn’t make the filling with raspberries or any other dried fruit you think will pair well with chocolate. I think banana might be great! Susan

    1. Susan Reid

      About 3 days; if you’re willing to forgo the beauty drip on the end, just cover the ends with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. Susan

  15. ruthiedoll

    King Arthur, I applaud u on your wonderful website! I work in a kitchen at a retirement village that buys your products and have reaped its exceptional quality in my baking. I always learn from your recipes even if I do not make that exact item. So…”kudos” to the chef and design team. Just wanted to let u know not to change a thing and I appreciate ur work! Love to bake, Ruthiedoll

    Reply
  16. Julie Ball

    While looking at this wonderful appearing cake roll I was wondering if you could roll both ends towards the middle and place wedged towels under the sides to form a Palmier looking cake that would look more like a heart? Not sure if there is enough cake to properly form the Palmier look though. Any ideas if this may work? And I would just slice the cake and maybe drizzle the ganache type sauce over the individual slices or on the plate prior to placing the slice of cake on top.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unfortunately, cake really isn’t that flexible. I fear that it you are going to have cracks in your cake if you try it, but let us know how it turns out. Jon@KAF

  17. Rhonda

    I am planning to try this soon. Is it possible to make ahead and fill and freeze? I have good success making cakes without icing or filling, and I wouldn’t glaze until a few hours before serving, but I am wondering if the filling can hold up to the freezing. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The filling isn’t cream based, so the prepared cake roll should be fine to freeze. Shorter time will be better than a long freeze (like this winter we are having!). Glaze the cake just before you serve it. Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  18. Artist Elaine

    I just have to say that I am so excited to try this tomorrow for Valentine’s Day! It looks so luscious and beautiful and strawberries/chocolate is probably my favorite combination! I was all set to order the freeze-dried strawberries from Amazon, but in my Google search, I found that Walgreens claimed to have them in stock. Since it’s a handy store for me, I checked and sure enough, they had them-and for a more reasonable price than any place I had found online. So, I’m all set-and I have a spare package for something later! I too have always just used a clean kitchen towel to roll the cake. I haven’t made a jelly-roll type cake in years, so I hope I’m successful! Thank you, King Arthur for yet another spectacular recipe to try!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That’s great to hear Elaine, that you were able to locate the ingredients that you needed for this Valentine’s Day knock-out dessert at a convenient location near you! There is nothing better than chocolate and strawberries together to celebrate the day of love. Enjoy and happy baking! –Kye@KAF

  19. Artist Elaine

    I just thought of one question I would like to ask. In that (distant) past when I have made cakes of this type, the pan was greased before being lined with the waxed paper that was what the old recipes called for. I see that this says to NOT grease the parchment that lines the bottom of the pan, so does that mean to NOT grease the pan under the parchment either? I’m obviously operating old-school here! While I do use parchment frequently now, I just wondered about that aspect! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Elaine- there is no need to grease the jelly-roll pan or the parchment paper that lines the bottom of the pan with this recipe. You do, however, want to be sure to spray the sheet of parchment paper that will go on top of the cake and aid you in rolling it up into its characteristic log shape. Good luck with this cake! It’s a beauty. –Kye@KAF

  20. Nicole

    I made this and it was super, thanks for the recipe/how to.

    Now all I need is a white cake/lemon version for my kid’s birthday on SATURDAY!! Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Use the cake recipe from the Buche de Noel- it’s a white chiffon cake-(omitting the hazelnut flavoring) and then try our Easy Microwave Lemon Curd for the filling. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

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