July 10, 2024

Lemon Cake Roll

Serve slices of this impressive looking lemony cake to Easter guests, at a Sunday brunch, or as a special springtime dessert.

Lemon Cake Roll

Lemon Cake Roll

Serves at least 8-10.



For the Cake

  • 1 box Better Batter Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Fresh zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 c water
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 recipe of Quick Buttercream Frosting
  • Fresh zest and the juice from 1/2 lemon

Other Ingredients and Materials

  • Cooking spray
  • Up to 1 c Powdered Sugar
  • A clean kitchen towel for rolling up the cake
  • 2 15x10 jelly roll pans
  • Parchment paper to fit one jellyroll pan
  • Lemon candies crushed into small bits to top the cake roll



Preheat and Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of one jellyroll pan with cooking spray. Add the parchment paper to the bottom of the pan and then spray the parchment with cooking spray as well. In the other jellyroll pan, spread out the kitchen towel and liberally coat the towel with powdered sugar. Set both pans aside.


Mix the Cake Batter. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer), beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, water, lemon juice, and cake mix to the bowl and blend well. Add the lemon zest and lemon extract and blend until combined. The butter yields a slightly thicker batter than making this recipe with oil as stated on the back of the box mix, but helps the cake to hold together well.


Pour and Bake. Pour the cake batter onto the parchment-lined jellyroll pan and spread to the corners with an offset spatula or butter knife, making sure the cake is as level as possible. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until the center of the cake is cooked through; the cake will spring back into place if you gently push on it. Be sure not to over-brown the cake or it will become too dry and break when you attempt to roll it up.


Flip and Roll. Upon removing the cake from the oven, immediately invert it onto the powdered sugar-lined towel and jellyroll pan. Adjust the cake to make sure it is flat and then peel back the parchment liner, discarding it. Working from a short end of the flat cake, tightly roll up the cake towel and all. Let the cake cool, rolled in the towel on the pan, approximately one hour. It is imperative that this cake be first rolled up while it is still hot out of the oven to yield the best rolling results later.


Prepare the Frosting. Meanwhile, prepare one recipe of Quick Buttercream Frosting, and adding the lemon zest and substituting lemon juice in place of 1 Tbl heavy cream. Beat well until light and creamy.


Frost the Cake. Carefully unroll the cooled cake, taking care to not break it. Use a butter knife to gently pull away the towel if the cake sticks to it. Use one half of the lemon buttercream frosting on the inside of the cake, spreading an even layer from edge to edge.


Re-roll the cake from a short end and place the seam on the bottom. This cake is delicious with just the powdered sugar coating on the outside, but guild the lily a bit and use the rest of the frosting to create a thin exterior layer, spreading it the length of the cake and over the ends.


Sprinkle crushed lemon candies on top and gently press them into place. Refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.