Jelly Roll with Cranberry Compote and Orange Marscapone

Follow a number of food bloggers on Instagram and other social media. One of my favorites is theboywhobakes. Around Thanksgiving time he posted an roulade (though I think of it as a jelly roll) that looked so tasty I saved the post for a random weekend when I’d be able to examine it further. This was that weekend.

[Jelly Roll]I confess that jelly rolls don’t have a good reputation in our kitchen. More often than not then have become the basis for a sweet trifle when they cracked in half during rolling. For whatever reason I was convinced I could make it work. Then I looked at the recipe and was a bit dumbfounded. This looked like no jelly roll cake I’d seen before and I looked away. I found a cake recipe I was more comfortable with, tweaked it a bit and went with that.

The jelly roll still cracked however it was delicious. Worthy of another try I think.

Jelly Roll with Cranberry Compote and Orange Marscapone
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 90 minutes

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting the cake

Ingredients for the compote:

  • 1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon

Ingredients for the mascarpone filling:

  • 1 lb. mascarpone
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • zest of 2 clementines or 1 orange


  1. Make and bake cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray then line the tray with parchment. Finally spray the parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Combine 1 cup of sugar with the remaining dry ingredients. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and yolks in a small bowl.
  4. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer still running slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until medium peaks are formed. Carefully transfer whites to another bowl.
  5. Add the egg yolks to the mixer bowl along with the oil, milk and extract. Mix at a medium speed until everything the mixture is blended and a pale yellow color. Add the dry ingredients and mix for about 1 minute to incorporate.
  6. Remove the beater and scrape clean. Take the bowl off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and gently fold into the batter until no white is visible. Repeat twice more until all the egg white is thoroughly incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-28 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. Move pan to a cooling rack.
  8. Use a knife to cute along the edge of the pan. Sprinkle the cake libarally with confectioners’ sugar. Lay a clean dish towel over the cake followed by a second cooling rack. Flip the cake over so it is on the towel and remove the baking pan. Carefully remove the parchment from the bottom of the cake.
  9. Sprinkle the bottom of the cake with more powdered sugar. Roll the cake, and the towel, into a log. Let the cake cool seam side down for 15 minutes.
  10. Make the compote: While the egg whites whip combine the cranberries, sugar and lemon juice in the medium sauce pan. Set it over medium heat and cover. Ignore for 5 minutes.
  11. Uncover, stir and reduce heat to low. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Stir in the reserved lemon zest. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature while the cake bakes.
  12. Make the marscapone filling: At some point while the cake bakes you should wash the mixer bowl. Combine the mascarpone, cream and orange zest in the clean mixer bowl. Beat on low for about 30 seconds to combine.
  13. Add the confectioners’ sugar and slowly increase the speed over a minute to high. Beat for 5 minutes until volume doubles. Set aside.
  14. Assembly: – Unroll the cooled cake. Allow to cool 5 more minutes.
  15. Spread the cream over the cake. Dollop with compote and spread it evenly across the cream.
  16. Slowly roll the cake back into a spiral, using the towel to help maneuver the cake into shape.
  17. If serving immediately then give it a final dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Otherwise transfer it to a long plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerating until ready to serve. Dust with sugar and enjoy.

The cake took longer than the recipe I followed suggested; almost twice as long. It also turned out thicker than I expected. A thinner cake might not have cracked. Then again it might have.

I’m not convinced that a towel was the right tool for rolling the cake after baking. I chose it because I thought it would allow the cake the cook easier. That said I think I’ll try parchment next time as suggested by America’s Test Kitchen (link below).

I pretty much doubled the compote and filling recipes since I knew that a half sheet pan was almost double the size of the pan called for by theboywhobakes. Coverage was good so I think it worked out.

Here are a handful of links to source recipes and techniques I incorporated into this recipe.
Jelly roll cake recipe from King Arthur Flour
Cranberry Compote and Orange Mascarpone from theboywhobakes
– America’s Test Kitchen’s tips on jelly rolls

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