A Perfect Strawberry Jelly Roll

WANNA MASTER THE ART OF JELLY-ROLL-MAKING? Good. Follow me into the kitchen, and I’ll show you my no-fail method for producing this easy but elegant dessert.

A Perfect Strawberry Jelly Roll
Ingredients for one 11-inch-long roll, or about 10 servings
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
Grated rind and juice of one large orange
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, separated
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)
16oz strawberry jam
Optional: sliced almonds (for garnish)

To start, spray a (horribly stained) 17×11 baking sheet with vegetable spray.

Then line the baking sheet with waxed paper. Be sure to push the paper into the corners of the sheet, as shown.

Next,  spray the waxed paper with a floured vegetable spray, such as the non-stick “baking” formula made by Pam.

If you look carefully at the can of baking-spray I’m holding, you’ll see the claim “made with real flour.” Hmm. Is there such a thing as “fake” flour?

Measure out 3/4 cup of sifted cake flour. To do this, set one 1/2 cup measure and another 1/4 cup measure onto a sheet of waxed paper. Then — unless you have a proper flour-sifting gadget — pour the flour into a wire-mesh sieve. Tap the side of the sieve…

And keep tapping until the cups overflow with flour. Then scrape off excess with a knife, as shown. Set the flour-filled measuring cups aside.

And why did we sift the flour over a sheet of waxed paper? Because it permits the surplus flour to be returned to the container from whence it came.

Please make it your mission to use the adverb “whence” three times today.

Now take a large, perfectly clean orange…

And grate the peel.

Then juice each half of the orange.

From one large orange, you should be able to achieve roughly 1/3 cup of juice.

Separate 3 large eggs. Place the yolks in a medium mixing bowl…

And the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Tip: Egg whites won’t beat properly if they have bits of yolks mixed in. So to avoid catastrophe, do what I do, and always pour the white part into a small cup before adding it to the mixing bowl. This way,  if a yolk should break, you will have lost only one egg.

I hope this makes sense to you.

Measure out 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, and set it beside the bowl of yolks.

Grab a wire whisk, and start beating the egg yolks.

Whisking all the while, gradually add the sugar…

The grated orange rind…

The orange juice…

The sifted cake flour (add this gradually)…

And finally, the almond extract.

Set the yolk mixture aside.

Onto the egg whites. Beat these at medium speed until they turn foamy — about 1 minute.

Add some cream of tartar…

Then increase the speed to “High,” and add a tablespoon of granulated sugar.

Beat the whites until they form stiff peaks — about 3 minutes. The whites will have the consistency of Pond’s Cold Cream.

And how would I know about Pond’s Cold Cream? Well, when I was 7 years old, my family visited our Aunt Birdie in Tacoma, Washington. Birdie had a jar of Pond’s on her bathroom counter. I took the lid off, swiped some with my finger, and…ate it.

Well, the jar said “cream.” And I like cream.

Ice cream? Yum!

Whipped cream? Yum?

Pond’s cold cream? Blech!

Scoop the egg whites onto the yolk mixture.

And then fold the whites into the yolks. To do this, plunk a cobalt-blue spatula straight down through the whites and into the yolks…

Then turn the spatula, drag it to one side of the bowl,  and bring the yolks up and over the egg whites. The goal is to mix the yolks and whites without deflating the whites.

Give the bowl a quarter-turn;  repeat the folding procedure until the yolks and whites are blended.

The finished batter will look something like this.

Gently scrape the batter onto your waxed paper-lined baking sheet…

And, using an off-set spatula, spread the batter out to the sides and corners of the sheet.

An off-set spatula is one of the seven wonders of the world.

And that’s a fact.

Bake the cake on the center rack of the preheated, 375 degree oven for exactly 10 minutes. The cake will color only slightly, and its texture will be springy to the touch when pressed with a finger.

While the cake is still hot, thoroughly dust it with confectioner’s sugar.

Cover the cake with your prettiest tea-towel…

Then place another baking sheet — either the same size or a little larger — on top of the towel.

I hope you don’t faint at the sight of badly-stained baking sheets.

Now grab the ends of both sheets…

And invert them.

Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes, or until the the top pan feels cool to the touch.

Peel off the waxed paper. It should slip off  without a hitch.

Use a sharp knife to trim off any crisp-looking edges. Crisp edges will crack when you try to roll the cake.

Now, either eat the trimmed edges…

Or feed them to your waiting sous chef.

Heat the strawberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds (to make it easy to spread), and then pour it onto the cake.

Here again, an off-set spatula will come in handy.

Here’s the fun part: Lift one end of the towel…

And roll the cake up.

Keep rolling…

Until you reach the end.

Carefully lift the roll, and set it seam-side down on your serving platter.

Give it a generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and then decorate the top.

I wanted to show you how beautiful this roll looks when adorned with fresh strawberries on top. Alas, the strawberries at my local market looked even worse than my baking sheets. So I went with sliced almonds instead.

This strawberry roll will send you over the moon. Promise me you’ll make it some day.

Oh – you can make the roll a few days in advance of serving. Just omit the decorative dusting of sugar and almonds, and wrap the cake in plastic wrap. Dust and decorate just before serving.

Need a copy-and-paste version of this recipe? Here goes:

A Perfect Strawberry Jelly Roll
Ingredients for one 11-inch roll, serving 10-11 people
For the egg-yolk base:
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
The grated peel and juice of one orange (about 1/3 cup of juice)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup sifted cake flour

For the egg white mixture:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Additional ingredients – Non-stick spray; Non-stick “baking” spray; confectioner’s sugar (for dusting); 16 oz strawberry jam; sliced almonds
Special equipment – An 11×17 baking sheet; a second baking sheet, 11×17 or larger; waxed paper; an electric mixer; a wire whisk; a tea towel large enough to cover the 11×17 baking sheet

Preliminary work – Spray a baking sheet with vegetable spray; cover the sheet with waxed paper. Spray the waxed paper with floured “baking” spray.

Preheat oven to 375F.

The yolk base – In a medium bowl, briefly beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk. Bit-by-bit, whisk in the sugar. Then whisk in the grated orange peel and orange juice, and finally, the flour. Set aside.

The egg whites – Using either a hand-held electric mixer or standing mixer, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they foam. Add the creme of tartar, increase mixing-speed to “high,” and add one tablespoon of sugar. Continue to beat on high until the whites form firm peaks – about 3 minutes.

The cake batter – Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk base, being careful not to deflate the whites. This is your sponge-cake batter.

Baking – 10 minutes in the preheated 375-degree F oven – Pour the batter onto the waxed-paper-lined baking sheet; bake on the center rack until set — 10 minutes.

Inverting and cooling – Generously dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar; place the tea towel over the cake, and set the second baking sheet over the towel. Then invert the sheets. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the top baking sheet, and gently peel off the waxed paper.

Filling and rolling the cake – Heat the jam in the microwave for 30 seconds; spread the jam over the cake. Then, using both hands, grab one end of the tea towel, and use it to roll up the cake. Roll as tightly as you can, which may not be very tight at all.

Advance preparation – Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Serving – Carefully set the rolled up cake on your serving platter, dust both cake and platter with confectioner’s sugar, and then the cake’s top with sliced almonds.


  1. Thank you much Kevin..tomorrow in my kitchen—->>>Jell Roll

  2. Delicious! I know because this is a family favorite! But we eat it with whipped cream on top! Always! Super-delicious! We also use other jams – anything you love will work. And in the summer we use fresh berries. Ahhh . . .
    Another way to make this is this way: for each separated egg, use 2 tablespoons sifted flour and two tablespoons granulated sugar. That is the entire ingredients list- and it enables you to make the jelly roll any size at all! The process is the same as yours. You can add orange or lemon zest or a variety of flavorings to enhance it.

  3. Louise Brouillette says:

    This looks delicious. I thought I was the only one with horrible looking baking sheets–I’m glad I’m not alone!

  4. This is such a delightful tutorial to read! I found it really entertaining, plus, I’ll make your delicious strawberry jelly roll too!

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful recipes! This one will go in my file. Yesterday I made the figgy pudding, planning on reheating/flaming on Xmas night. Found your blog through the column on using white vinegar to kill weeds. That worked wonderfully well, and since I have been a dedicated reader. Just wanted to send a Happy Christmas to the oracle from WHENCE these great ideas came!

  6. Brenda Johnson says:

    This was so pretty on the plate…. very elegant looking! The cake was so moist and flavorful, and the strawberry preserves along with the almonds sprinkled on top- a delicious combination! (and well used loved pans produce the very best things!)

  7. Thanks for your continuous supply of creative recipes! This will be beautiful to serve on Christmas! I’m so glad I have some home-made jam set aside. Merry Christmas!

  8. Merry Christmas Kevin! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Xmas and New Year and thank you for sharing so much of yourself this year. I can’t wait for 2013!

  9. Gretchen Mercer says:

    Dear Kevin,
    PLEASE!!! beauty is in the eyes of the beholder…..and I see not ugly stained pans, but pans that have been used to faithfully prepare uncounted delicious mouthfulls of goodies! They’re a work of art and are due respect and admiration to be the chosen ones to help repare your culinary masterpieces.
    I have a question, please. You specify colors of spatuals for doing specific jobs, such as the cobalt blue for mixing your jelly roll. I have only clear silicone spatulas and wonder would wraping an apropriate colored ribbon around the handle be an acceptable substitution? I’m looking forward to preparing this masterpiece and wish to follow your instructions completely.
    I wish you, your partner and all the other members of your extended family a very merry Christmas filled with wonderful moments that continue all through the New Year – plus the time and good nealth to enjoy it all.
    Gotta run, I hear a jelly roll pan calling me.

  10. Laura Graham says:

    Kevin, this looks absolutely deee-licious. Your step by step pictures and directions are at the top of the proverbial heap as always. I would like to comment on your pans. I like them. They have seen so much baking that they are proud to wear battle scars. They are as well seasoned as your favorite cast iron skillet, I’m sure. I once let a friend borrow two pans that had been seasoned for 70 years starting with my mother. They were evenly dark tan with a few darker sprinkles. Beautiful. When she brought them back, they were all shiny. They neveer cooked the same again. So BEWARE cleaning too much seasoning off your baking pans. Plus I figure it is a waste of time. A time when you could be making a new creation in them or enjoying a Merry Christmas with all your friends and family.

  11. Merry Christmas Kevin and family,
    The look of your bakingsheets made me remember how the pan looked in which I for years did fry things. Dark mahogany instead of steelcolor.
    I tried to scrub it clean often but it never realy came out clean.Tjem O decided to put 2 cups of water in it and 1 cup of white vinegar. I put a liod on and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
    When a bit cooled i threw away the water, where the water had been boiling the surface was clean and above the watermark the fat/oilresidue had become a brittle lightbrown stuff I could easily wipe off with a papertowel.
    Because the microwave-oven had some brown spots in them I tried the same method, using water and vinegar to boil in the microwave for 3 minutes. Same effect! Even the glassdoor was clean!
    Wgeb we bought the house we were living in now the thing above the stove that sucks in the cooking odeurs and steam ( sorry I do not know the english word) was a mess inside, we even had to use a knife to scrape old fat from the inside fanblades. I often tried to get rid of the fat in the metal ‘sieve’ but nothing realy worked.
    Then I decided to wrap the top of the stove in alu-foil ( to protect it from dripping fat) leaving one cookzone in the back free.. Then I put a big pan on the stove to boil water and white vinegar in it. without the airthingy on, so all steam would rise first to the outside. When that started to drip I did put on the airthing so hot vinegarwater was sucked up in the sievething. I put the thing on and off so the dirtwater could drip out in between. The water turned brown and kept brown for a long time. But it worked very well and now I can keep it clean easily by cleaning it regurlarly in hot soapy water .
    I am happy that I did not have to use unknown and maybe harmfull chemicals.
    Only next time I will do all the vinegarcooking on days that the windows can be opened 🙂
    I like to hear if/when you try this vinegar method on some of your utensils.
    with kind regards,

  12. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    Thanks, Kevin, for your inspiring photos and descriptive text.
    You make it look easy and do-able.
    I adore the flowered plate in the first photo. I actually grow an unnamed antique shrub rose that has colors like that, grown from a cutting taken from an old cemetery plant many years ago on a guided tour with the Master Gardener club. It starts off pink then fades to tones of purple, just lovely. I wish I knew its name.

    Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!!!

  13. Hey Kevin, this looks just divine! Can I use a handheld mixer to beat the egg whites? My mother gave the Kitchen Aid to my sister who does a lot more cooking than I do 🙂

  14. Kristina – Yes, this is a beautiful dessert to serve for Christmas. Have fun!

    Caroline – A handheld mixer will work fine for beating the egg whites.

    Beverly – The rose you described must be gorgeous. Wish I knew the name.

  15. MMMM… I made a pumpkin roll last year [why so long between roll’s… why?! I need to make more! Hee hee.] and I didn’t even THINK of using the inverted baking sheet to flip it!!! Now I feel silly, and dumb. 😀

    But I like your roll recipe far more than the one I used! It looks far more spongy…

    The recipe I had used was a little too… soft? It could also have been the use of roasted pumpkin flesh in the mix… [pumpkin/squash always seems to make cakes far too liquity…]

    I smell a spring-version of this with fresh strawberries and maybe a lightly sweetened minty-cream in the center~ And maybe a drizzle of honey on top… Mmmm…

    [Oh Lily, you and my Charlotte could be the best of friends!]

  16. Thanks for this recipe – I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was a huge hit! Mine cracked when I tried to roll it so we whipped up some butter cream frosting to cover it and hide the flaw, and added some fresh cranberries all around the base so it looked very festive. I loved the orange flavored cake with the raspberry jelly, what a great combination.

  17. Scott Trudell says:

    Hey Kevin… This looks like a delicious recipe. By the way… I love your Royal Albert Moonlight Rose china I see in so many of your photos. I have always loved this pattern… But already have more sets of china than I know what to do with!

  18. Kevin,
    editorialistic observation…if memory serves me, your previously posted recipe pics were taken from the chef’s perspective (by the chef). from whence did these 2nd person recipe pictures cometh? was Lilybelle playing the role of paparazzi pup? inquiring minds want to know……
    Dennis R

  19. Donna B. – My Lily sends her best to your Charlotte.

    Karen – So glad you tried the jelly roll. I wonder why yours cracked. Any chance you forgot to trim the edges?

    Scott Trudell – Glad you like the Moonlight Rose pattern.

    Dennis R – Yes, I usually have one hand on the spoon, and the other on the camera. But this time, Will was available. Consequently I asked him to take the pictures. And a good thing, too. For jelly-roll-making is a two-handed affair!

  20. Marquetta Horn says:

    I was soooo happy to see those ‘horribly stained’ pans! Mine look just like them. I have tried so hard to keep them looking nice, but it just doesn’t happen. I ‘ve been told there is a ‘product ‘ available that will take care of the problem, but I’ve yet to find out what this miracle ‘product’ is. Would love to know if anyone knows the secret!

  21. Wendy Watson says:

    copying and pasting some of your recipes I came across this one for jelly roll, must admit I was intrigued – until I opened the page up. Had to laugh, in England we call this a swiss roll, haven’t got a clue why, it’s always just been so. Am going to try your version of it tho and hopefully it will turn out as good as yours. Thank you so much for all you write, I do enjoy your emails. 🙂

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