Lemon Cake Roll

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

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Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

I love puzzles.  I’ve always loved puzzles.  And now Robbie loves puzzles.  Growing up, the top of my bedroom closet was always filled with puzzles.  They started with 100-piece Garfield puzzles and progressed to more and more difficult ones over time.  On any given day, you could likely find a partially completed puzzle on a card table in the corner of my room. 

As I got older, the puzzle thing stuck with me.  The Garfield puzzles mysteriously disappeared in a move (*ahem* Mom?), but I’ve replaced them with all sorts of other fun puzzles.  We even have one where you have to put the puzzle together (without a picture as a guide) to solve a whodunit mystery.  Fun stuff!

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

Can you imagine putting together a puzzle…using huge concrete blocks?  That’s exactly what happened to the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Dresden, Germany.  This church was originally built in the 1700’s, but it was bombed heavily during WWII.  More specifically, it was basically a pile of rubble after the war. 

For 50 years, German leaders decided to leave the rubble as a reminder of the war.  However, in the early 1990’s, Dresden leaders decided to rebuild the Frauenkirche…using original blocks from the massive pile of rubble.


Using old photos and original building plans from the church, the project was completed in the mid-2000’s.  As the reconstruction began, the rubble was carted away piece by piece and sorted.  In the end, approximately 3,800 original stones were placed right back in their original pre-bombing positions.  How insane is that!?  The older stones have a darker color due to weathering and fire damage, so they can clearly be seen in the photo of the new church.

If you ever get the chance to visit Dresden, Germany, I highly recommend it!  The city is nicknamed “Florence on the Elbe,” and it’s full of artistic treasures mixed with open green parks throughout the city.  The city was heavily damaged due to Allied bombing in WWII, but the rebuilding process has returned Dresden to its former glory as a cultural center of Germany.

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

Lemon Cake Roll

Switching gears a bit, let’s chat about food.  Everyone loves food, right?  And most folks like cake, yes?  Well this Lemon Cake Roll is definitely a fan favorite around here.  I’ve personally been a huge fan of cake rolls for a while now.  They might seem difficult to make, but it’s actually quite the opposite. 

Once you master the cake roll technique, then there are so many fun ways to add twists and variations.  And for the record, if you can roll a newspaper up, then you can make a cake roll.  #Truth

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

As we’re heading into the early days of Spring here in upstate New York, I decided a lemon dessert was necessary.  This Lemon Roll Cake is packed with lemon-y deliciousness.  And the light whipped cream filling?  So good you can eat it with a spoon!  I made this cake on a Friday recently, and let’s just say it didn’t last the weekend.  Even Robbie grabbed a fork and helped with the cause!

How to Make a Cake Roll

Sure, they might look fancy, but making a cake roll isn’t very difficult at all!

  • To make a rolled cake, start by lining a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. You’ll want to spray the pan and the parchment paper generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  • A thin cake batter gets poured into that pan and baked for a short time – only 10-12 minutes. (The cake is called a “sponge cake.” You’ll notice that the cake springs back when you touch it – kinda like a sponge.)
  • While the cake is baking, lay a clean kitchen towel on the countertop and dust it with confectioner’s sugar. Once the cake is done baking, immediately turn the hot cake (it’s one giant layer at this point) out onto the kitchen towel. Peel off the parchment paper (which is now on top) and roll the cake up with the kitchen towel into a tight roll.
  • Let the whole thing cool for 1-2 hours.
  • Unroll the cake and towel. Spread whatever you’d like (whipped cream, frosting, etc.) on top of the cake. Roll cake back up…this time without the kitchen towel.
  • Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ~1 hour. Dust the top with more powdered sugar right before serving. That’s it.

If you’re craving a lemon flavor dessert to celebrate Spring, then I highly recommend this Lemon Cake Roll.  It gets finished with a light dusting of powdered sugar right before serving, and the result will have everyone coming back for more.  Happy baking, my friends!

P.S. Looking for a traditional Swiss Roll Cake? I got ya covered! This version uses the same process, but it’s chocolate (yum!) filled with whipped cream. It’s like childhood….but way better!

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

Did you make this Lemon Cake Roll at home?  Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).  I’d love to see your version of this cake roll!

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

Lemon Cake Roll

Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 302kcal


For the Cake

For the Whipped Cream Frosting


For the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Line a standard 11”x17” jelly-roll pan (rimmed baking sheet) with parchment paper; spray paper generously with nonstick baking spray. Set pan aside.
  • Using a countertop mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest together on high speed for 4-5 minutes, or until mixture turns foamy and light yellow in color. Add sugar to the bowl in (3) separate ¼-cup additions, mixing for 1 full minute after each addition. Add oil and mix until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. (Tip: Spread batter evenly to edges using an offset spatula.) Tap pan on counter several times to remove air bubbles.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. While cake is baking, lay a large, thin kitchen cloth on counter. Sprinkle powdered sugar generously on top of cloth.
  • Once baked, immediately turn hot cake out onto the powdered sugar-dusted cloth. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting with a short end of the cake, roll up cake (and cloth). Let rolled cake cool completely (1-2 hours) before continuing.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting

  • Using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and sugar until smooth (~1-2 minutes on medium-high speed).
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest and whipping cream; beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Carefully unroll cake and spread frosting evenly on top of cake. (Tip: Make sure to frost all the way to the edges.) Roll cake back up (this time without the towel). Wrap cake roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  • Prior to serving, remove cake roll from refrigerator and dust top generously with powdered sugar. (I used a fine-meshed sieve to dust the powdered sugar evenly.)
  • {Optional} Garnish top of cake with sliced lemons.
Filled with a whipped cream frosting, this Lemon Cake Roll is a fun dessert for warmer days!

Looking for more tasty lemon dessert recipes?  Check out these other favorites, too:

This No Bake Lemon Cheesecake makes for a tasty dessert on a warm summer evening!  Enjoy!

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

This Lemon Pistachio Cake uses pudding mix in both the cake and frosting for an extra creamy (and extra delicious) cake!

Lemon Pistachio Cake

This Classic Lemon Meringue Pie is a delicious combination of tart and sweet! PERFECT for summer!

Classic Lemon Meringue Pie

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  1. 5 stars
    That’s some puzzle! Wowzers! You’ve reminded me of a puzzle I picked up around Christmas that we haven’t yet gotten to…might be a good time to get at it! Also, I’ve wondered where mom put some of my old childhood toys and things, lol. Wouldn’t mind having a few of those now! If I can roll a newspaper, I can make this? You’ve convinced me! I’ve yet to try a cake roll because I figured I’d make a mess of it, but I’ll have to try it out. Plus, I LOVE lemon desserts, like a lot. This one looks absolutely perfect, David, and I bet it tastes even better! Can’t wait to try!

    1. Yes! This would indeed be a good time to find the puzzles. My father-in-law has been working on an insanely hard 1,000 piece puzzle, and he and Robbie Facetime to compare their progress. (Robbie’s is only 200 pieces. Haha!)

      If you ever want anything from your Mom’s garden again, I suggest not pushing the childhood toys issue. 🙂

      Also, go make a cake roll. If I can do it, you can do it!

  2. 5 stars
    What a beautiful cake roll that’s perfect for Spring! This will certainly cheer somebody up. And puzzles? What a great story! I’ve never had much patience, but I do love puzzles as a group activity!

    1. Thanks so much, Abbe! Puzzles have been a life-saver recently with the whole social distancing thing…both for me and Robbie! 🙂

    1. Yeah, tell me about it. I absolutely love Europe (Italy especially), but now is not a good time to be traveling. Hope this thing resolves itself soon! We have a vacation booked here in the States this year…but we’re kinda wondering whether we’ll be able to go. *fingers crossed*

      In other news, this cake. It’s delicious! 🙂 Thanks, Alexandra!

  3. 5 stars
    I love puzzles too, but I absolutely draw the line at a puzzle made with concrete blocks. Just a regular jigsaw puzzle hurts my back if I lean over it too long working on it. . .I can’t imagine how my back would feel putting a church back together after a bombing! Anyway, this cake looks delicious! I love lemon desserts, especially in the spring!

    1. Haha! Tell me about it, Kelsie. Can you imagine putting that church back together!? Stunning. But they did it! As for me, I’ll stick to making (and eating) cakes. 🙂

    1. This cake really is light and airy, Kathy! And the whipped cream frosting in there just adds to it. I love lemon desserts as well…and I always crave them like crazy each Spring. Yum!

  4. 5 stars
    Great way to welcome spring David! We are officially experiencing our FIRST spring here in Canada as we didn’t have a season called “spring” in India. I see there isn’t any single crack in your cake roll. I am super impressed and I am gonna try this with your measurements.

    Take care of yourself and your family.

    1. Hey Priya! Wow, what an experience that must be to feel Spring for the first time. It’s amazing! (Of course, that means you experienced winter for the first time, too. Winter is fun at the start…but then it gets old FAST.)

      Either way, I highly recommend this cake roll recipe. It might sound difficult, but it’s not at all! Hey, we all have some extra time right now to learn a new recipe/skill, right? Stay safe, my friend!

  5. 5 stars
    omg, talk about the ultimate puzzle, to rebuild that church with its original blocks! That is some serious dedication, but what an accomplishment too.

    A lemon cake roll was one of the first recipes I attempted as a teenager, so this treat is pure nostalgia for me, David. Yours looks much better than mine though – this one’s a must try!

    1. I know! I can’t imagine the difficulty of rebuilding that church using some of the original pieces. It would’ve been so much easier to start from scratch entirely. However, it’s pretty darned awesome!

      Wow, what a fun story about cake rolls. Glad this recipe could take you back down memory lane! You should totally make a cake roll again…you know, to relive memories and all. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I’m not very good at puzzles. I’m afraid I really don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to that sort of thing. However, I’m happiest at creating great recipes, particularly ones like this lemon cake roll. Perfect for all the baking I’m doing at the moment!

    1. I’ve always had this silly amount of patience for puzzles and the like. I actually enjoy the “grind” on online games – if you’ve ever played any of those. However, I enjoy eating cake more! This lemon cake roll was a huge hit here in our house. It just screams warm weather to me!

  7. 5 stars
    This is definitely a good time for puzzles! I need one right now, since I’m getting tired of online sudoku and solitaire. Ha! This lemon cake looks so tasty! I just love citrus season! And I learned how to roll a sponge cake when making a bouche de Noel for my son’s French Class 2 years in a row! Funny the new skills we learn in (our children’s) school!

    1. So Laura just showed me a Facebook post going around that involved a 40,000 piece puzzle. 40,000! Hey, we’ve got the time! And when you get tired of doing that puzzle, you can go bake a cake roll…or maybe make an Easter version of that bouche de Noel! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    I’m working on a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Don’t think I’d try concrete. Yikes! Very cool, though. 🙂 Now for that lemon deliciousness . . . beautiful and delicious! ~Valentina

    1. Haha…1,000 is certainly nothing to sneeze it, Valentina! My father in law and Robbie are doing puzzles non-stop these days. Then they get on Facetime and show each other their accomplishments. Kinda funny! Thanks so much, and I hope you and your family are staying safe, my friend!

  9. 5 stars
    YUM!!!!!!!!! Wow David talk about the perfect spring dessert! I adore all things lemon. It’s probably my favorite dessert flavor. And I’ve never made a cake roll, so it’s time I start with your delicious recipe here! Fascinating info about Dresden and the Church of Our Lady. I absolutely love stories from history like this! Never been to Dresden and now I’m adding it to my list of places to visit!

    1. Hey Shannon! For some reason, I always crave lemon desserts in the spring. I mean I enjoy lemon desserts all year long, but in the spring I absolutely crave them. I highly recommend trying your hand at a cake roll. They look impressive, and they truly aren’t as hard to make as you might think. Oh, and yes, put Dresden on the list of places to visit once we’re able to travel again. It’s a really cool city!

  10. This looks great! Well, it might be January…but if it’s 70 degrees out, this recipe is just fine, right?😂

    1. Haha – I’ll trade you in that weather department…it’s currently 9°F here. But, hey, this cake roll will make it feel like warmer days are coming! 🙂

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