This carrot cake roll tastes just like the traditional carrot cake but it’s stuffed with a decadent cream cheese filling and dusted with powdered sugar. It’s such a fun twist on a classic Easter dessert, and while it looks oh-so-fancy, the technique is very simple!
Some may be a little hesitant to swap their traditional carrot cake for this cute roll. But, to all of the fellow pumpkin roll lovers, this one is definitely for you! The ratio of cream cheese filling to cake is perfect and it’s easy to make ahead of time.
I’m a sucker for a good creamy frosting and use cream cheese most of the time because it pairs well with lots of desserts, plus it’s my husband’s favorite. Some of our other cream cheese inspired dessert favorites are blueberry cream cheese frosting, lemon cream cheese cookie bars, and lemon dump cake, along with this fabulous strawberry cheesecake trifle. All of these desserts are great for gatherings because they are relatively simple to make and use pantry staples. Our coconut cream cake is a gorgeous and flavorful cake that also has a coconut cream cheese frosting.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- flour – we used all-purpose.
- cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt – all of the flavors you need for a great spiced cake.
- eggs – bring them to room temperature before adding to the batter.
- granulated sugar – adds sweetness.
- pure vanilla extract – rounds out the spiciness.
- vegetable oil – helps to keep the cake moist.
- fresh carrots – our star ingredient!
- Cream Cheese Filling:
- butter – we prefer unsalted so the salt doesn’t overpower the other flavors.
- cream cheese – be sure to soften at room temperature before using.
- powdered sugar – adds sweetness and helps with consistency.
- vanilla extract – just a subtle hint of vanilla is what this frosting needs.
- Jelly roll pan – while some pans can be larger, the most common is a 10-inch jelly roll pan. They have 1-inch sides and are 15 inches in length (10×15).
- Mixer – you’ll need a hand electric mixer or a stand mixer to mix the cake batter.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes – use this same recipe, except bake in a muffin tin and increase the cooking time.
- Filling – not a fan of cream cheese? Make a batch of homemade whipped cream or use Cool Whip for the filling. Substitute this easy mascarpone cheese recipe for the cream cheese portion for a lighter filling.
- Other flavors – this spiced cake is perfect to make when you have extra apples and zucchini laying around. With the zucchini just be sure to remove as much water as possible.
- Add-Ins – raisins, walnuts, pecans, or mini chocolate chips would go well in this cake!
PREP: Line the jelly roll pan with parchment paper, grease it with non-stick cooking spray, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Step 1: Whisk together the dry ingredients in medium a bowl and set aside.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugar at medium speed until they are pale and foamy.
Step 3: Mix in the oil, vanilla, and shredded carrots. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients just until incorporated.
Step 4: Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Pro Tip: Do not over-mix the cake batter! We want. it to stay tender and moist!
Step 5: Lay out a clean kitchen towel. Lift the cake from the pan and place it on top, while aligning one short end with the edge of the towel.
Step 6: Roll from the short ends of the cake until it is all the way rolled up. Place the cake roll on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
Step 7: While it’s cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat on low speed for a few seconds and then increase your speed, beating until it’s smooth.
Step 8: Unroll the cooled cake roll on a cutting board or flat surface that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Peel the parchment paper off as you unroll. Leave the two ends curled.
Step 9: Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake leaving an inch of space at the right hand short edge.
Step 10:Working from the left side, re-roll the cake tucking it as tightly as you can without squeezing out the cream cheese icing.
Step 11: Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge or freezer with the seem side down.
Step 12: Before serving, unwrap and dust with powdered sugar.
SERVE: Slice into 1-inch pieces and serve.
- This cake roll is light and spongy, similar to a chiffon cake because of the lack of fat that is used. It’s the perfect cake for a jelly roll pan because you can roll it without it cracking.
- When rolling the cake initially, it’s easiest to leave the parchment paper attached. If you use a towel and parchment paper, you need to dust the cake with powdered sugar to prevent the linen from sticking.
- The parchment paper “steams” the exterior a little so it’s a bit stickier after cooling, but it doesn’t change the taste.
- If you are not going to frost or dust the finished roll with powdered sugar, I would remove the parchment paper for initial cooling as it is a bit more aesthetically pleasing.
- Use a box grater or food processor with the grater attachment for the carrots. Mine were skinny so I used 6-8 to make 2 cups of shredded.
Originally bakers used carrots in the cake because sugar was expensive and these had natural sweetness!
Cake slices can be stored in an airtight container in the wrapped or wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 week. The roll can also be frozen for up to a month.
Chances are the dry ingredients were over-measured or it was over-baked. Sometimes ovens are naturally hotter than what they read, so if this happens often when you are baking, you may need to lower the temperature.
If you try this Carrot Cake Roll or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Carrot Cake Roll
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
Cream Cheese Filling:
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, use a standing mixer or electric hand mixer to combine eggs and sugar until they are foamy and pale slightly.
- Mix in the vanilla, vegetable oil, and grated carrots until fully combined.
- Spread the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan.
- Bake 15 minutes – the cake should be evenly browned across the top.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes.
- Lay out a clean linen. Lift the cake from the pan and place on top of the linen, aligning one short edge of the cake with the side edge of the linen. (*see notes) Roll from short end to short end. Dusting the top of the cake with powdered sugar will help prevent the linen from sticking to the cake. Place the rolled cake on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature – about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese filling by beating together the butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
- Gently unroll the room temperature cake onto a surface dusted with powdered sugar. Peel the parchment paper off of the cake as you unroll it if you have not already done so. The two ends will still be curled slightly; it’s best to leave them curled.
- Spread the filling over the cake – leaving about an inch of space at the right-hand short edge (the filling will squish an fill out this space as you re-roll it.
- Working from the left-hand side, re-roll the cake, tucking it as tightly as you can while maintaining that nice layer of cream cheese filling on the inside.
- Wrap the log with plastic wrap, to ensure it holds its shape. Chill in the refrigerator (or the freezer) for at least one hour more, seam side down.
- When ready to serve, unwrap the cake roll, dust with powdered sugar, and slice into approximately 1” pieces.