Recipe: Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

Recipe: Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

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Tessa Huff
Dec 16, 2014
(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

Searching for a festive, whimsical dessert to serve a crowd? This red velvet cake roll is not only surprisingly easy to put together during the busy holiday season, but it will look stunning on any dessert table. With tender red velvet sponge cake and a silky peppermint buttercream, this is a fun spin on a classic, crowd-pleasing dessert.

(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

Trying to roll up a sheet cake might sound impossibly daunting, but this really is a simple dessert. Bake the cake in a jelly-roll pan and then roll it up in a clean kitchen towel while it's still warm (to prevent cracks and ensure a beautiful spiral).

The red cake and white filling create a dazzling contrast with each slice — it's so pretty that there's no need to go overboard with the decorations. Frost the cake with any remaining buttercream or give it a heavy dusting of plain powdered sugar. You can even try grating some white chocolate over the top to look like fresh snow!

(Image credit: Tessa Huff)
(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

Peppermint Red Velvet Cake Roll

Serves 8 to 10

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled but still liquid
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Red food coloring

For the peppermint buttercream:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) egg whites, from about 4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 ounces white chocolate, melted
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To assemble:
Powdered sugar for dusting
Crushed candy canes or peppermint candies for garnish

Preheat oven to 35o°F. Spray a jelly-roll pan (9-x13-inch or 10-x15-inch pan) or sheet cake pan (with sides) with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. Whip the eggs and the sugar on medium-high until nearly tripled in volume and the mixture becomes pale in color, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer. Turn the mixer down to medium-low and add the butter and vanilla. Add in the buttermilk, vinegar, and red food coloring (to desired shade).

Stop the mixer and sift half of the dry ingredients over the liquid ingredients in the mixing bowl. Mix on low until just combined. Stop the mixer, add the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tilt the pan until the batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the surface springs back after being touched.

Meanwhile dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar and lay it flat on your work surface. As soon the the cake is done baking, promptly but carefully lift the cake out of the pan with the edges of the parchment paper. Invert the cake directly on top of the prepared towel. Remove the parchment from the back of the cake and discard. Dust the back (now top) of the cake with powdered sugar.

Starting with one of the short sides, roll the warm cake within the towel. Leave seam-side down to cool.

While the cake cools, make the buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Fill a saucepan with a couple inches of water and heat over medium-high. Place the mixing bowl on top to create a double-boiler. Stirring intermittently, heat the egg mixture until hot to the touch, about 150 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Once hot, carefully transfer the bowl back to the mixer. With the whisk attachment, beat on high until the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk for the paddle attachment.

With the mixer on low, add in the remaining ingredients. Once incorporated, mix on medium-high until silky smooth.

To assemble, carefully unroll the cake and remove the towel. Spread about a 1/2 inch of buttercream over the surface of the cake. Carefully re-roll the cake. Place the cake seam-side down on a cake plate or serving dish. Frost with the remaining buttercream and garnish as desired.

Recipe Notes

  • The key to success with this recipe is to have everything prepared ahead of time. Be sure to have the baking pan sprayed and lined before making the cake batter. Time is of the essence when it comes to rolling the cake in the towel, so be sure to have it prepared before the cake comes out of the oven.
  • If the cake cracks as you roll it, just take a deep breath. You can still "stick" the pieces together with the buttercream and it will taste just as delicious.
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