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Christmas Roll

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a close up shot of a slice of Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake on a spatula
This Christmas roll cake features a moist vanilla cake wrapped around rich buttercream and topped with white chocolate drizzle, making it the perfect holiday dessert.
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Table of Contents
  1. Christmas Roll Cake Ingredients
  2. Substitutions And Additions For A Vanilla Roll Cake
  3. How To Make This Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake Recipe
  4. How To Serve A White Christmas Cake
  5. Storing a Christmas Swiss Roll
  6. Why We Love This Christmas Cake Roll Recipe
  7. More Christmas Recipes You’ll Love
  8. JUMP TO RECIPE
  9. More Recipes You’ll Love

This Christmas, take your love for vanilla cake up a notch by turning it into this show-stopping Christmas roll cake recipe. You’ll love the sweet flavor of the rich and moist vanilla cake and the pretty red and green colors of this festive holiday treat. 

a close up shot of a slice of Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake with a piece cut off

Christmas Roll Cake Ingredients

Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake raw ingredients that are labeled
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The light and fluffy cake roll is filled with sweet cream cheese and frosting filling that is both creamy and rich in taste.

The cake is then coated in a delicious white chocolate glaze that takes the taste to the next level.

You’ll need:

For The Cake:

  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, separated into whites and yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar (divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon of whole milk
  • 1½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 1½ tablespoons of red and green holiday sprinkles
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar for dusting

For The Buttercream Filling:

  • ½ cup of salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • ¼ cup of vegetable shortening 
  • 1 teaspoon of clear vanilla flavor
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1½ tablespoons of red and green holiday sprinkles 

For The White Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1½ cups of white chocolate chips (preferably good quality chips like Ghirardelli)
  • 3 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • Red, green, and white holiday nonpareil sprinkles or red, green, and white decorating sprinkles (optional garnishes)

Substitutions And Additions For A Vanilla Roll Cake

VANILLA: If you don’t have vanilla extract, you can swap it out for almond or hazelnut extract. Both alternatives offer a nutty aroma that complements the cake’s sweetness.

However, these extracts are more potent than vanilla, so you might want to use a bit less than the recipe calls for.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS: If you’re looking for a different flavor, you can use milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips. However, this will change the color and flavor of the glaze.

SEASONAL: You can serve this cake at any time of the year. You can substitute the red and green sprinkles for any color of sprinkles. You can even eliminate the sprinkles completely. 

Remember, while these substitutions offer flexibility and customization, they may alter the taste and texture of the recipe.

PRO TIP:

Do not add fabric softener to the tea towels when washing. The fabric softener will transfer to the cake and will throw off the taste of the cake.

Also, do not use a terry cloth tea towel for wrapping the cake roll in. The lint from the terry cloth will transfer to the cake.

How To Make This Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake Recipe

Let’s walk through the steps to making and assembling this festive holiday cake.

For The Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 10x15x1 jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.

STEP TWO: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.

STEP THREE: Using a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and white vinegar to medium peaks. 

egg white and white vinegar folded in a bowl

STEP FOUR: Continue mixing on high and slowly add the ¼ cup of granulated sugar.

Continue beating the egg white mixture to the stiff peak stage. This could take between 5 to 7 minutes. Set whipped egg whites aside

STEP FIVE: Using a stand mixer or a large bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks until they reach a slightly pale yellow color, about 2 minutes.

STEP SIX: Add the ½ cup granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, and almond extract to the egg yolk mixture.

Continue mixing for another 1½ to 2 minutes until well incorporated.

sugar, milk, vanilla and almond extract added to the egg white mixture in a bowl

STEP SEVEN: Add half of the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Add the remaining flour, and mix until completely incorporated.

flour mixture added to the sugar mixture in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Fold in the egg white mixture a quarter at a time. 

egg white mixture folded in a bowl

STEP NINE: Evenly sprinkle the red and green sprinkles onto the prepared baking sheet.

red and and green sprinkles sprinkled onto the baking sheet

STEP TEN: Pour the batter on top of the sprinkles into the prepared pan. Gently tap the baking sheet to release any air bubbles in the cake batter.

cake batter poured on top of the sprinkles in a baking sheet

STEP ELEVEN: Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until just golden.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

cake mixture baked on a baking sheet

STEP TWELVE: While the cake is baking, lay out a thin, clean kitchen towel and dust it with ¼ cup of powdered sugar.

You will also need a large cutting board for the dusted cake transfer.

STEP THIRTEEN: When the cake has finished baking, run the tip of a sharp knife along the edge of the baking sheet.

STEP FOURTEEN: Carefully flip the dusted tea towel on top of the baked cake, dusted side against the cake.

You will need to leave a small “tail” of the tea towel on the short end of the cake for rolling the cake up.

dusted tea towel flipped on top of the baked cake on a wooden board

STEP FIFTEEN: Place a large cutting board on top of the tea towel. Remember, the baking sheet will still be very hot, so be sure to protect your hands. 

STEP SIXTEEN: Quickly flip the baking sheet over so it is now lying on top of the tea towel and cutting board.

STEP SEVENTEEN: Carefully peel off the parchment paper.

STEP EIGHTEEN: Lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.

powdered sugar dusted on top of the cake

STEP NINETEEN: Flip the small tail of the tea towel over the short edge of the cake. Carefully begin rolling one end toward the other. Once rolled, transfer to a wire rack to let the cake cool completely.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING ROLL CAKES FROM CRACKING WHEN ROLLING:

  1. Ensure you roll the cake while it’s still warm, as this makes it more pliable.
  2. Use a thin kitchen towel to aid in the rolling process. The towel helps distribute the pressure evenly, reducing the risk of cracks.
  3. Don’t overbake the cake. An overbaked cake is drier and more prone to cracking.
  4. If you notice minor cracks while rolling, don’t worry too much. Once the cake is filled and chilled, many small imperfections will be less noticeable.
rolling one end to the other on a wooden board

For The Buttercream Filling

STEP ONE: In a medium bowl and using a hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter and shortening for 1 to 1½ minutes.

butter, almond extract, vanilla, heavy cream and shortening folded in a bowl

STEP TWO: Add the vanilla and almond extract. Continue mixing on medium-high until well incorporated.

STEP THREE: Lower the mixer to low speed. Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream. Once all ingredients are added, increase the mixer speed to high and mix until completely combined and smooth.

Assembling the Roll Cake

STEP ONE: Once the cake is completely cooled, slowly unroll the cake.

STEP TWO: Using either a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread the filling. Be careful to avoid the edges of the cake. 

filling spread with a knife

STEP THREE: Evenly sprinkle the red and green sprinkles over the buttercream.

red and green sprinkles sprinkled over the buttercream

STEP FOUR: Once filled, slowly and with even pressure, begin rolling the cake back up. 

STEP FIVE: Tightly wrap the rolled cake in plastic wrap to ensure the cake holds its shape. Chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight.

roll cake wrapped in a plastic wrap

Topping

STEP ONE: Just before you are ready to serve the cake, using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the white baking chips and heavy cream.

STEP TWO: Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and heat in 20-second intervals until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.

STEP THREE: Remove the cake roll from the plastic wrap and place it on top of a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath.

STEP FOUR: Drizzle the melted chocolate mixture over the cake roll. Sprinkle the holiday sprinkles over the top of the chocolate.

chocolate mixture drizzled over the top of the roll cake on a cooling rack

STEP FIVE: Transfer the cake roll to a serving plate. Slice ½-inch slices of the cake and serve.

How To Serve A White Christmas Cake

While this Christmas roll cake can be served immediately after it’s made, allowing it to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour can help set the filling and make slicing easier.

If you’ve stored the cake in the fridge for longer, consider letting it sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before serving. This ensures the cake isn’t too firm and the flavors are more pronounced.

Serving Suggestions

While this cake roll is a star on its own, these serving suggestions will help you tailor the recipe to your preferences.

SERVE WITH FRESH BERRIES: A handful of fresh raspberries or strawberies on the side can add a burst of tartness, contrasting beautifully with the sweet vanilla of the cake.

TOP WITH WHIPPED CREAM: A dollop of freshly whipped cream can add a creamy texture, making each bite even more luscious.

SERVE WITH ICE CREAM: A scoop of vanilla ice cream with this moist roll cake is a match made in dessert heaven.

GARNISH WITH MINT LEAVES: A few fresh mint leaves can bring a refreshing touch, both in terms of flavor and presentation.

PAIR IT WITH A HOT BEVERAGE: A cup of hot chocolate, mint hot chocolate or a latte would be the perfect warm drink with this recipe. The warmth of the drink contrasts with the cool, creamy filling of the cake.

Pssst – we also have warm boozy drinks such as our Drunken Rudolph, Baileys hot chocolate, spiked hot chocolate,

ON A CHRISTMAS DESSERT TRAY: Create a diverse dessert platter that showcases this Christmas cake as the centerpiece.

Surrounded it with an assortment of other sweets that complement the cake’s flavors including our Christmas pinwheel cookies and our Christmas fudge.

Our rainbow roll cake is another impressive version of this decadent dessert, while our chocolate Swiss roll is where these delectable cakes all started.

Storing a Christmas Swiss Roll

Here’s a handy guide to ensure your cake remains as delectable as the day you made it.

MAKE AHEAD: This Christmas cake can be made a day in advance. Simply prepare the cake as directed, but hold off on adding the filling.

Once the cake has cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it at room temperature. The next day, you can add the filling and roll it up.

IN THE FRIDGE: If you have leftovers or if you’ve made the cake ahead with the filling, store it in the refrigerator.

Place the cake in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. It will stay fresh and moist for up to 3 days.

Remember to let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving to enhance its flavor.

IN THE FREEZER: For longer storage, this cake can be frozen. Once the cake is filled and rolled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil.

This will prevent freezer burn and keep the cake’s flavors intact.

Label it with the date, and it can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw the cake in the refrigerator overnight.

a close up shot of a slice of Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake on a spatula

Why We Love This Christmas Cake Roll Recipe

There’s something truly magical about this Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake that makes it a favorite in our kitchen and, undoubtedly, in many of yours as well.

Here’s why we can’t get enough of it:

DELICATE AND DELICIOUS: The soft vanilla sponge paired with the creamy filling strikes a balance that’s hard to resist. Every bite is a blend of textures and flavors.

MEMORIES IN THE MAKING: Baking this cake has become a cherished tradition for many. The joy of rolling it up, the anticipation as it sets, and the delight in slicing it to reveal the beautiful swirls.

VERSATILITY: While it’s a Christmas-themed cake, a simple tweak in the sprinkles can make it suitable for any occasion. Whether it’s for birthdays, anniversaries, or just a weekend treat, this cake fits right in.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is a jelly roll pan the same as a baking sheet?

A jelly roll pan is different from a baking sheet. It’s important to use a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan for this cake as you want it to be nice and thin. A baking sheet will not work for this recipe.

Why did my Swiss roll cake crack?

Your Christmas vanilla cake roll needs to be rolled into the towel as soon as it comes out of the oven.

When the cake is rolled while warm, the heat and moisture will help give you a crack-free cake. The cake is much more likely to crack if it is rolled when cooled.

Spirals of creamy buttercream dotted with red and green sprinkles fill this festive Christmas roll.

It is worth the time it takes to make this dessert and is sure to impress your friends and family over the holidays.

More Christmas Recipes You’ll Love

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a close up shot of a slice of Christmas Vanilla Roll Cake on a spatula

Christmas Roll

5 from 11 votes
This Christmas roll cake features a moist vanilla cake wrapped around rich buttercream and topped with white chocolate drizzle, making it the perfect holiday dessert.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 37 minutes
Servings 24

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, separated into whites and yolks
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • tablespoons red and green holiday sprinkles
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Buttercream Filling

  • ½ cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla flavor
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • tablespoons red and green holiday sprinkles

White Chocolate Glaze

  • cups white chocolate chips, preferably good quality chips like Ghirardelli
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • sprinkles (Red, green and white holiday nonpareil sprinkles or red, green, and white decorating sprinkles for optional garnishes)

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 10x15x1 baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set it aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or a medium-sized mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites and white vinegar to medium peaks.
  • Continue mixing on high and slowly add the ¼ cup of granulated sugar. Continue beating the egg white mixture to the stiff peak stage. This could take between 5 to 7 minutes. Set egg yolk mixture aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat the egg yolks until they reach a slightly pale yellow color, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the ½ cup granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Continue mixing for another 1½ to 2 minutes until well incorporated.
  • Add half of the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Add the remaining flour, and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Fold in the egg white mixture a quarter at a time.
  • Evenly sprinkle the red and green sprinkles onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Pour the cake batter on top of the sprinkles. Gently tap the baking sheet to release any bubbles.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until just golden.
  • While the cake is baking, lay out a thin tea towel and dust it with ¼ cup of powdered sugar. You will also need a large cutting board for the dusted cake transfer.
  • When the cake has finished baking, run the tip of a sharp knife along the edge of the baking sheet.
  • Carefully flip the dusted tea towel on top of the baked cake, dusted side against the cake. You will need to leave a small “tail” of the tea towel on the short edge of the cake for rolling the cake up.
  • Place a large cutting board on top of the tea towel. Remember, the baking sheet will still be very hot, so be sure to protect your hands.
  • Quickly flip the baking sheet over so it is now lying on top of the tea towel and cutting board.
  • Carefully peel off the parchment paper.
  • Lightly dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.
  • Flip the small tail of the tea towel over the short edge of the cake. Carefully begin rolling one end toward the other. Once rolled, transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

Buttercream Filling

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl and using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the butter and shortening for 1 to 1½ minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and almond extract. Continue mixing on medium-high until well incorporated.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low. Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, alternating with the heavy cream. Once all ingredients are added, increase the mixer speed to high and mix until completely combined and smooth.

Assembly

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, slowly unroll the cake.
  • Using either a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread the filling. Be careful to avoid the edges of the cake.
  • Evenly sprinkle the red and green sprinkles over the buttercream.
  • Once filled, slowly and with even pressure, begin rolling the cake back up.
  • Tightly wrap the rolled cake in plastic wrap to ensure the cake holds its shape. Chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight.

Topping

  • Just before you are ready to serve the cake, using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the white baking chips and heavy cream.
  • Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds, stir, and heat in 20-second intervals until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.
  • Remove the cake roll from the plastic wrap and place it on top of a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate mixture over the cake roll. Sprinkle the holiday sprinkles over the top of the chocolate.
  • Transfer the cake roll to a serving plate. Slice ½-inch slices of the cake and serve.

Notes

  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • Do not add fabric softener to the tea towels when washing. The fabric softener will transfer to the cake and will throw off the taste of the cake. Also, do not use a terry cloth tea towel for wrapping the cake roll in. The lint from the terry cloth will transfer to the cake.
  • Be very patient when you roll and unroll the cake. It is delicate and well worth the effort.

Nutrition

Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 83mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 221IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 0.4mg
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This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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  1. Amanda souders says

    5 stars
    This cake turned out AMAZING! I served it on my dessert table yesterday at our Christmas party and this cake was gone within ten minutes!! I wouldn’t change a thing to the recipe, it is perfect the way it is! Patience when rolling the cake! Happy Baking!

  2. Maureen says

    5 stars
    This cake roll would definitely be a nice addtion to a dessert table for Christmas. You could use gold sprinkles to the cake for a real holiday feel. Fudge would be a nice compliment.

  3. Sue says

    I would love to include this on my dessert table for Christmas, but I will admit that I am a bit intimidated by the rolling of cake! I’ve seen the Great British Baking episode where the cake breaks apart. 🙂 I will admit that you make it look doable though.

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