Happy First Day of Spring, friends! I made something sweet and colorful to celebrate.
One of my all-time favorite desserts to make is a cake roll (as evidenced here, here and here). I hadn’t made one in months so I made up for it big time by rolling up three (!) for this swirly-twirly dome cake.
Technically, you’ll only need one cake roll to create the swirly exterior. And I freely admit that this tri-color version is just a result of me having a ball in the kitchen. I got carried away as I often do. If you’d rather make just one brightly-hued cake roll, then the dessert will be no less delicious and will save you a little time and leftovers.
The interior is luscious Bavarian cream, which is a classic pastry element similar to pastry cream. It’s thicker and moldable since it has the addition of gelatin. The Bavarian is layered with sweetened whipped cream that I tinted pink. Assembly may seem daunting, so I made a short video to show you how it’s done.
This is a lengthy recipe, but it makes a fun project for a day dedicated to serious baking. If you’d like an easy shortcut, the Bavarian cream can be replaced with layers of your favorite softened ice cream. If making the ice cream (bombe) version, you’ll need to store the cake in the freezer in stead of the refrigerator, of course.
Spring Twirl Dome Cake
- jelly roll pan
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup 150g granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pink yellow and sky blue gel food color
- 1 cup 120g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cake roll filling
- 1/2 cup 113g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 1/2 cups 285g confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Milk or cream
- 1/3 cup 65g sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 2/3 cups 400 ml milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 cups 360 ml heavy cream
- 2 cups 480ml heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup 65g granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 drop pink food color
Make the cake roll
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 jelly-roll pan with white vegetable shortening and line with parchment; grease parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer for 5 full minutes – set a timer if you need to! Properly whipped eggs will lighten in color considerably and have the appearance of yellow cake batter. With the mixer still running, slowly add sugar and oil to the whipped eggs. Next, add milk, vanilla extract and food coloring (add food coloring a little at a time until desired color is achieved).
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the liquid ingredients. Mix until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and tilt pan to distribute batter evenly. Sprinkle a cotton tea towel with powdered sugar and rub sugar into the towel with your hands.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Check at 10 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back when pressed with fingers. When cake is baked turn it out onto the tea towel – do this without delay! Peel off parchment and immediately roll cake into the tea towel, beginning at the narrow end. Roll tightly and as evenly as possible. Place rolled cake on a wire rack seam-side down and let cool completely.
Make the filling
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat well with an electric mixer. Gently unroll the cake, remove the tea towel and transfer the cake to a sheet of wax paper. Spread 3/4 the filling evenly over the surface (save remaining frosting for later use). Re-roll the cake, thereby creating the roulade. Wrap the roll in the wax paper and some plastic wrap and refrigerate. When the roll is chilled firm, cut it into as many rounds as possible (about 1/2-inch slices) using a serrated knife (use small sawing motions to cut).
- Line a 4-quart stainless steel (or glass) bowl with long sheets of plastic wrap and allow the edges to hang over the sides of the bowl. Line the bowl with the roulade pieces, placing them as closely together as possible. Use the remaining frosting to fill in any holes or gaps between the rolls (use a piping bag if needed) and smooth the frosting with the back of a spoon. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the cream portions.
Make the Bavarian Filling
- Place a fine strainer over a small bowl. In a heavy saucepan, stir together sugar, salt, gelatin and yolks until well blended, using a wooden spoon.
- In a separate small saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to just below a simmer. You can gauge this will a thermometer (170°F) or cook the mixture until it is steaming but not boiling. Stir a few tablespoons of hot milk into the yolk mixture to temper it. Gradually add the remaining hot milk and vanilla bean, stirring constantly.
- Heat the egg and milk mixture, stirring constantly, to just below a simmer again. Steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. It will leave a well-defined track when a finger is run across the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through the strainer, scraping up the thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until the seeds separate.
- Cool the sauce over an ice-water bath, stirring with a whisk, until whisk marks barely begin to appear. The mixture will start to set around the edges but will still be very liquid.
- Whip the heavy cream until it mounds softly when dropped from a spoon. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream just until incorporated. Pour into the cake-lined bowl. Trim the cake spirals if needed. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Make the whipped cream
- Beat the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on high speed. Gradually add the sugar. When the mixture begins to thicken, add the extract and food color. Mix well thick and well blended. Spoon the whipped cream over the Bavarian cream in the bowl and refrigerate until well set, at least two hours.
- To unmold, unwrap the plastic wrap from the cake and place the plate of a 9-inch cake stand onto the bottom. Invert the cake stand and bowl. Remove the bowl and peel away the plastic wrap. Cut into slices using a large chef’s knife.
- Store the cake in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
What a beautiful variation on a Charlotte Royale! It looks so much prettier than the original (which looks like brains, IMHO)!
Hilarious! They do kind of resemble brains – especially the kind with red jelly filling!
So pretty and fun! Love it!
I love Bavarian Cream!! The cake roll looks so delicate and fluffy making me want to dive right in. This sounds like an awesome flavor combination, too. Plus, it's bright and cheerful 🙂
I love the addition of the video. Lovely cake and very helpful watching you make it in pieces.
First thing I thought was an awesome brain cake, too – but DANG this looks so so delicious! I think a pastel one would be so cute too! PS I'm scared of cake rolls, I've never made one – should I stop being scared?? xo
I'm certain you'd knock a cake roll out of the park, Lyndsay! The process is a little bit messy but we live in powdered sugar clouds anyway, right?
I'm not sure how you feel about pumpkin cake at this time of year, but my first cake roll was a pumpkin roll. The Libbey's (Nestle) recipe is a great place to start if you're looking to drift into cake roll territory.