A Valentine's Day Swiss Roll Made Easy!


Roses are red, violets are blue, I've got a fun Valentine cake for you!

Show your sweetie just how sweet they are with a stunning rose patterned roll cake. No fancy-schmancy artistic skills required — really! All you have to do is print and trace the template I've created for you here: Rose Roll Cake Template

Valentine roll cake tutorial


  • Cake paste (recipe at the bottom of this post)
  • Two walled cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper
  • Piping bags
  • Dishtowels
  • Small round piping tip (optional)
  • Gel food coloring
  • FREE rose template (optional)
  • Marker
  • Sponge cake batter (I used the one in the  Contemporary Layer Cakes class)
  • 3 cups of filling (I used American buttercream, but you could use your favorite buttercream, ganache or whipped cream.)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Step 1: Make and color the cake paste

Divide the cake paste recipe and add colors as desired. Color ¾ of the recipe pink and ¼ of the recipe green if you want to match what I did.

Place the colored piping batter into piping bags. Use a small round tip if it makes you more comfortable when piping the finer details of your pattern. 

It is possible to tint the sponge cake batter, but the design may not come out a sharp. The thicker cake paste holds its shape much better.

Step 2: Draw the pattern on parchment paper

Draw your pattern onto a piece of parchment paper. If you prefer to use a template (like the free rose template I created for you ), place the parchment paper over the template and trace.

You'll notice I left a large portion of the paper open. This is the side that you'll start your roll, leaving the designed part of the cake for the end where everyone will see it. 

Step 3: Put the parchment paper in place

Spray your walled cookie sheet lightly with pan spray and wipe it around with a paper towel. This will leave enough spray so that the paper sticks, but not so much that it warps the parchment.

Place the parchment paper sheet marker side down on the sprayed cookie sheet.

Step 4: Pipe the design

Pipe out your design, keeping in mind that the cake will be viewed in reverse. I started with the more intricate roses and then finished with the leaves.

Once your design is piped, gently tap the sheet pan against your work surface a few times. This smooths out any piping lines in the larger spaces. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the batter is frozen solid, at least 15 minutes.

Step 5: Mix your sponge cake batter

While your design is setting up, prepare your sponge cake recipe and preheat your oven. It’s important to use a true sponge cake in this kind of recipe, like the one shared in Contemporary Layer Cakes . A thicker cake like a pound cake or boxed mix might break when you try to roll it. 

Step 6: Pour the batter and bake the cake

Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and pour the sponge cake batter over your frozen design. Tap the cake pan against the counter a few times to make sure the batter gets down into all the little nooks and crannies of your design. Bake according to your recipe’s instructions.

Step 7: Flip the cake out of the pan

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly.

While the cake is still warm, place a clean dishtowel or a piece of parchment paper on top of the cake. Then place an upside-down cookie sheet on top of that. Flip the whole thing over. Remove the sheet pan that the cake was baked in. You should see your patterned parchment paper.

Place another clean dishtowel over the cake. Then place another upside-down cookie sheet over the dishtowel. Flip the whole thing over again. Remove the other cookie sheet and parchment paper. Your cake should now be design side down on a dishtowel.

Step 8: Roll!

While the cake is still warm and pliable, use the dishtowel to roll the cake up into a log. If you live in a humid climate, dust the towel with powdered sugar, which can prevent sticking. 

Let the cake cool completely while rolled up in the towel.

Step 9: Prepare and spread the filling

Prepare your filling while the cake is cooling.

Once the cake is cooled, carefully unroll the towel and lay the cake flat.

Spread your filling onto the cake. I added a handful of sprinkles just for fun! You could add fresh fruit, chocolate chips or even chopped nuts.

Roll the cake back up in the same direction as you did with the towel. Use a serrated knife to trim the ends of the cake. Stash these little baker’s rewards aside for yourself. 

Place the finished roll cake onto a platter and enjoy! One of the benefits of this kind of cake is no decorating time after the cake has been baked and cooled.

Enjoy the cake at room temperature on the day that it was baked. Store extra cake in the fridge, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, for up to three days.

Cake paste recipe


  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Gel food coloring

International readers may find our  metric conversion guide  useful.

  1. Combine egg whites, sugar and flour in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. 
  2. Switch to a rubber spatula and add the softened butter until the mixture forms a paste. 
  3. Divide and add food coloring. 

Make layer cakes that would satisfy the best pastry chefs!

contemporary layer cakes

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in February 2016 and was updated in January 2018.
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A Valentine's Day Swiss Roll Made Easy!