Boring old layer and sheet cakes have nothing on awesome fruity cake rolls.
No party is complete without cake – well, no good party, anyway – so why not add a sweet touch to your next get-together with an impressive roll-up cake? Jelly rolls are lighter than your average cake and make a killer presentation, which means they're perfect for celebrations – even the most casual ones.
Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, and mixing together a half cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, 3 tablespoons of ground almonds (or another nut) and 1/8 teaspoon of salt in a bowl.
Set the mixture aside and coat a 12.5"x17.5" rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, then lining it with parchment paper and coating it again with cooking spray and flour, tapping out the excess.
Next, place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water – with the bottom of the bowl about an inch or two from the water – and add three large eggs, two egg yolks and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Using an electric mixer, blend the eggs and sugar until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved. Then, take the bowl off the heat and beat the contents on high until the mixture looks like yellow cake batter – which should take about five minutes.
Now, sift the flour mixture into your beaten eggs and sugar, folding with a spatula to incorporate the dry and wet ingredients and being careful not to deflate the batter. Once it's evenly blended, pour it into your baking sheet and stick it in the oven for seven or eight minutes.
Kids, this is the hard part: Before the cake is fully cool, you're going to turn the pan upside-down onto a clean tea towel and peel off the parchment paper. Very carefully, begin rolling the cake from the short end and let it cool with the seam down.
Now, the fun part: Once it's cooled, you can unroll the cake and fill it with just about anything you like. Conventional wisdom dictates that the jelly roll be filled with jelly (duh), but you can add whipped cream, chocolate ganache, nuts, chocolate chips or cream cheese frosting. The sky is the limit, friends.
Once you have the technique for making an awesome jelly roll, you can try other varieties, like this Chocolate-Cinnamon Cake Roll
or this Heavenly Hawaiian Cake Roll