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Jelly Roll Recipe & Video

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A Jelly Roll is defined as a thin sheet of sponge cake that is spread with a layer of jam or jelly and then rolled up. Normally it's decorated very simply, that is, with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. When you cut the Jelly Roll crosswise, each slice has a pretty pinwheel design. This type of cake has been around since the mid 1800's and goes by many names. Depending on where you live you may know this cake as a Jelly Roll, a Sponge Roll, a Cake Roll, a Roulade, or even a Swiss Roll

As the name "Jelly" Roll implies, traditionally it's filled with a jelly, a jam, or a fruit preserve. However, you can use other fillings. My personal favorite, used here, is a whipped cream that's flavored with raspberry jam. But you could try filling the sponge cake with lemon curd, chocolate ganache, dulce de leche, a buttercream, a pastry cream, or even nutella.

I was taught how to make a Jelly Roll in Home Economics class in Junior High School. In fact, this recipe is from my Home Economics cookbook. I love how it tastes, how it looks, and how easy it is to make. It uses just six basic ingredients (eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, and salt) that you probably already have in your pantry. Now, it's important to have your eggs at room temperature so when they're beaten with the sugar they reach their full volume. Once that is done all you need to do is sift the flour over the top of the batter and fold it in. I have used cake flour as it's a low gluten flour that gives the sponge cake a soft and tender crumb. If you cannot find cake flour where you live, then you can make your own. If measuring by volume, then the easiest thing to do is to take 3/4 cup all purpose flour, remove 1 1/2 tablespoons and replace it with 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. Now, if you are making the cake flour using weight measurments then for 3/4 cup (90 grams) of cake flour whisk or sift together 75 grams of all purpose flour and 15 grams cornstarch.

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Sponge Cake: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place your oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, a 15 x 10 inch (38 x 25 cm) baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and then butter and flour the paper (or spray with a nonstick vegetable/flour spray).

In a small bowl, sift or whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.

Place the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (can also use a hand mixer). Beat on high speed until the mixture is thick and fluffy and pale yellow in color (this will take about five to ten minutes). (When you slowly raise the beater the batter will fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Then sift about half the flour mixture over the egg mixture and fold in gently with a rubber spatula, just until the flour is incorporated. Sift the remaining flour over the batter and fold in. (Don't over mix or the batter will deflate.) Pour the batter into your prepared pan, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and when pressed lightly, it springs back. Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven sprinkle the top of the cake with a light dusting of powdered sugar. Then invert the cake onto a clean dish towel. Gently remove the parchment paper, sprinkle the top of the cake lightly with powdered sugar, and roll up the sponge, with the towel. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Raspberry Whipped Cream: Place the whipping cream and sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer) and beat until soft peaks form. Add the raspberry jam and beat just until stiff peaks form.

To Assemble: Unroll the sponge, spread with the cream and reroll. You can serve immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator. If you like, you can dust the top of the Jelly Roll with powdered sugar before serving.

Serves 6 - 8 people.

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Sponge Cake:

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (90 grams) cake flour

3/4 teaspoon (3 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

Raspberry Whipped Cream:

1/2 cup (120 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (35-40% butterfat)

1 - 2 teaspoons (5 - 10 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)

1/4 cup (60 ml) (75 grams) raspberry jam (or other flavored jam)

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