This cute Christmas Cake Roll is made with doctored-up cake mix, and 4-ingredient vanilla frosting! perfect for this year’s Christmas parties, or to share with family and friends.
Have you made cake rolls before? I actually bought a Jelly Roll Pan just to make homemade cake rolls. They’re easier to make than they look, and everyone loves them! I have a from-scratch Pumpkin Cake Roll that you should check out. But for now, let’s talk about this festive red and green cake roll that I made with cake mix and easy-from-scratch frosting.
This cake is so simple to make, and can be made with either white or yellow cake mix. It’s fluffy and filled with a delicious vanilla frosting that requires just 4 ingredients to make. The batter is divided into 2 and colored in red and green, then it’s pipped onto a jelly roll pan to create a pattern and baked. I’m giving you clear step-by-step instructions to make this easy cake roll.
What is a Jelly Roll Pan?
If you’re unsure what a jelly roll pan is, it’s a flat 10×15″ inch rimmed pan that is mainly used to make rolled cakes (Think swiss roll, cream roll, or a yule log). If you’re someone who cares about cake to frosting ratio (I know I do), you should invest in one of these.
Jelly roll pans can also be used for baking brownies, or smaller batches of cookies. And here’s my favorite jelly roll pan that I bought from Amazon.
You’re probably wondering if you can use a quarter or a half sheet size for this recipe. The answer is no, you need a jelly roll pan. A quarter sheet size pan is too small for this, and the batter will overflow. And the half-sheet size is too large and will make a very thin cake that will break as you roll it. It simply won’t work.
Here’s what you will need to make this Christmas cake roll:
Complete list of ingredients with quantities and instructions is located in the recipe card below
- Cake Mix: So many great recipes start with a box of cake mix, and this is one of them. I used Pillsbury white cake mix, and you will also need the ingredients that should be added to make it (check the back of the box). Usually, it’s eggs and oil.
- Food Coloring: We are using just green and red for a Christmas-themed cake roll, but feel free to change up the colorings for the occasion you’re making this cake.
- For The Frosting: You will need softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.
How To Make a Cake Mix Cake Roll
- Get Ready: Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C, and prepare a jelly roll pan with shortening and flour. This step will ensure that your cake does not stick. Set aside.
- Make Cake Batter: Prepare the cake batter according to the box directions, and divide it into 2 bowls. Add a color of food coloring to each bowl and mix until the colors are uniform throughout. Transfer the batter into 2 ziplock bags, and cut a small corner off of each bag.
- Create the Pattern: In a diagonal pattern, squeeze strips of each color until the pan is filled. If you have batter remaining, you can go back and fill in as needed. Then gently shake the pan to even out the cake batter. Using a toothpick or the tip of a knife, draw swirls in the batter to create a tie-dye look.
- Bake for 18 minutes or until the cake is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
- Roll: Place a towel on a flat surface and sprinkle flour on it, then flip the cake out of the pan and onto the towel. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the top side of the cake and cover it with another towel. Starting on one end, roll the cake up with a towel on each side. Try to keep it as tight as possible, and allow the cake to cool down completely (leave it rolled).
- Make Frosting: When cool, gently unroll it and prepare the frosting. To prepare the frosting, using a stand or a hand mixer, beat butter and vanilla together. Add powdered sugar and enough milk to reach the consistency you desire.
- Fill: Spread the prepared frosting on the cake covering the top of the cake. Begin rolling the cake from one end, using one towel to help guide you. When the cake is completely rolled, wrap the towel tightly around it to help hold its form. Place the cake roll in the freezer for 4 hours then slice and serve.
- Use a Piping Bag. The best way to create a neat cake pattern is by using a piping bag.
- Be sure to roll the cake while it’s hot. If you let the cake cool too long in the pan, it will become too tricky to roll it up without breaking it.
- Don’t frost the edges. The ends of the cake will be less pretty than the rest of the cake roll, so you will probably cut those off and eat them as “quality control”! Skip frosting all the way to the edges, or the frosting will ooze out when you roll the cake.
- Chilling is important! If you try to cut the cake roll into slices while it’s at room temperature, the frosting will be too soft and smear all over.
The Christmas cake roll can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s best if you serve the cake while it’s still cold in order to get clean slices.
More Cake Mix Desserts You Should Try
This Christmas Cake Roll is so fun to make, and everyone will be so impressed with it! Be sure to Pin the recipe for the holidays!