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Crazy for Crust

Mar 24

Carrot Cake Roll

This Carrot Cake Roll is a delicious take on the favorite Easter cake! Spicy carrot cake is rolled up with cream cheese frosting, for a dessert that will wow your family and friends.


I am often sad that I only have one child. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, or know me at all, you know that I always wanted two kids. I myself am an only child, and while I loved that, I always wanted more. Having more than one child was not in the cards for us, and I really am okay with that – most days. Some days are harder. Some are easier.

And the easier days are when I am reminded of how much easier it is sometimes to have an only. (And yes, I firmly believe that it is not always easier to have one child. That’s another convo for another day.) This weekend was one of those reminders. Jordan was invited to sleepover at her cousins’ house that is a two hour drive from here. We met halfway yesterday, and I’ll pick her up at the same place this afternoon.

Which means that, all afternoon yesterday and until 1:00 today, I am childless.

And it’s kind of awesome.

My husband already had a trip planned for today. So he left at 5am. I got up and am now spending five straight hours getting 60% of my work done for the week because it’s Spring Break and ohmigod how do you work when the kid is home? I mean, without hiring Mr. T.V.?

So yeah, it’s days like today I am kind of happy I only have one. The days of wishing for two are stretching farther and farther apart, especially now that Jordan has found a “sister” who she can spend every waking moment on FaceTime with. Since she’s the only “only” child that we know, it’s nice for her to be able to connect with another kid who is in her boat. It reminds me of when I was a kid and all my friends were onlys: we were each others sisters.

Anyway, the wonder of the only child is the reason I can actually bring you a post today. And all week. So, yeah. I’m happy today. 🙂

And you should be happy too, because I made you another cake roll, one that is perfect for Easter. A Carrot Cake Roll.


I got so much positive response on my Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll, that I decided to make another one. Since Easter is next week, Carrot Cake was the obvious choice. Also, I can tempt my husband to eat my goodies, so it’s a double win.

I had a lot of comments last time about how people are scared of making cake rolls. I was too – I had had a pan and a recipe for approximately 4 years before I gave in and tried it. And, with a little patience, it’s really SO easy. I thought I would try to do a visual for all of you who want to try, to help illustrate my instructions.

{Process photos are so not me. I find them hard, and the lighting sucks. So…don’t judge, mmkay?}


First, while your cake is in the oven, lay out a (clean) kitchen towel on your work surface. Cover it with a heavy dusting of powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup). Just make sure the powdered sugar covers the entire space with the cake will lay. This will ensure it doesn’t stick!


When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately overturn it onto your prepared towel. Remove the pan and the foil.


Starting at the short end of the cake, fold the towel over the edge, then gently roll the cake up in the towel. Try to roll it tight.


Once it’s rolled up, let it sit in the towel until it’s completely cooled, about 1-2 hours depending on how warm or cold your kitchen is. While you’re waiting watch the RHOBH reunion, eat some cookies, and make your frosting.


Once the cake is cooled, unroll it carefully. It won’t give you any trouble. Spread the frosting evenly across the cake, being sure to get right up to the long edges. Those will become the two ends of the cake roll once you’re done – you don’t want those pieces to be devoid of frosting!


Then, simply roll it back up, as tight as you can, peeling away the towel as you go. I probably could have used a little more powdered sugar on the towel, but it came off just fine. Wrap it in plastic, and chill it for 30 minutes to one hour, until the filling is firmed up a little. Dust it with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

See? Easy peasy, just like I promised!


This cake was adapted from the Pumpkin Roll Recipe my mother-in-law is famous for. Pumpkin cake and carrot cake is not that dissimilar, except for the produce inside. The spices are pretty much the same, and well, a cake recipe is a cake recipe.  This cake is filled with the traditional carrot cake spices of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. There’s carrots, of course. I do not like pineapple or raisins in my carrot cake (or, really, ever) but you can totally add some raisins if they float your boat.

And the filling – cream cheese frosting. I mean…is there anything better ever? Some day I want to make a cake of just that: cream cheese frosting. Delightfully rich and sweet. If you like nuts in your carrot cake, I suggest adding a 1/2-1 cup of toasted walnuts or pecans to the filling. Sprinkle them over it before rolling. It will add a delicious crunch to your cake.

Because the filling is so rich, this cake doesn’t need frosting, so I sprinkled it with powdered sugar. That’s what my MIL does with her Pumpkin Cake Roll and it’s the perfect complement. You could also use some toasted coconut…that would be amazing too!

Now that I’ve made you two roll cakes and one set of instructions, you really must try it. No more excuses!


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write 4 more posts and impersonate the Easter Bunny since I won’t be alone again for 8 more days.

Happy Sunday!

Carrot Cake Roll

Yield: 12 servings

A delicious spring version of your favorite cake roll: Carrot Cake Roll! This is easy to make if you follow my photo tutorial!


For the Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling

For the Filling:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll (10x15”) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (I like to use the spray with flour).
  2. Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk together salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended. Stir in carrots.
  4. Spread in prepared pan. Batter will be in a very thin layer and you will need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to spread it to all the corners of the pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes (mine took 10). **edited to add: ovens vary greatly. It can take up to 15 minutes to get this completely done.** Err on the side over over done vs. under done for best results in rolling.
  5. While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup). As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove foil carefully.
  6. Working at the short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.
  8. When cake is cool, carefully unroll the towel. Spread the filling on the cake evenly, and re-roll tightly. Chill until it firms up a bit, at least thirty minutes to one hour. Dust with powdered sugar,then slice and serve. Cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to one month.


If your carrots are wet, you may want to pat them dry before adding to the batter so your batter is not too wet.

Add some walnuts to the filling for a nice texture!

The Perfect Carrot Cake Roll with photo tutorial

You may also enjoy these cakes:

Sugar-Free Pumpkin Snack Cake

sugar free pumpkin cake 1 words

Raspberry Snack Cake


Sweets from friends:
Banana Snack Cake from A Kitchen Addiction
Carrot Cake Poke Cake from Something Swanky
Triple Chocolate Poke Cake from Six Sisters’ Stuff

254 comments on “Carrot Cake Roll

  1. I “stole” your recipe for my readers and transformed it into german.
    Thanx for sharing – it is just sooooooooooooooooooooooo yummy!
    xxx Sandra


  2. I made your carrot cake roll or is it carrot roll cake? Anyway super easy and such a tasty treat. Excellent with coffee!!

    I have a very “high maintenance” daughter who is now 13 and is still very social at school. She is also independent and artistic at home. My secret… I got her reading, writing her own stories (I would do the illustrations while she told me the story) sewing, knitting, scrap booking, painting, and baking, all at a super young age. It was exhausting at first, but it has really paid off. She is started doing these projects on her own with age and is growing into a wonderfully young lady who can do anything she puts her mind to. Don’t worry so much, she will find her way and be all grown up in a blink of an eye. Spend as much quality time with her as you can spare/afford. What seems like forever now will be all history in no time.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 1st, 2014 at 6:58 am

      That’s a great idea – she is definitely good at doing things herself, like rainbow looming or art. But she has to be in the mood, lol!!


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  6. Can you make this night before and leave in the fridge?!


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  9. Could you use parchment paper instead of the kitchen towel to roll up the cake? Would if affect the cake at all? Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 22nd, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I just googled it and found a pumpkin roll recipe that had been rolled in parchment, so in theory, yes. I’ve never done it, so let me know how it works!


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  11. my bf loves carrot cake whereas I prefer pumpkin flavor even though they’re somewhat similar esp in terms of spices. anyway, saw your blog and wanted to surprise him with this treat. i was super excited and it looks so easy . it’s chilling in the fridge now for him to try tomorrow! 😉 my only problem is when I unrolled the cake to put the filling, the cake tore a bit and kept sticking to the towel. I’m pretty sure I used 1/4c powdered sugar ;( is it better to use a more tea towel type that is less fluffy than one that is?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 6:48 am

      I usually use a tea towel – those are the only ones I use in the kitchen. That could be the culprit! As for the cracking, it happens to the best of us! Just jam in more frosting, ha. 🙂 Enjoy!


      • tines replied on May 13th, 2014 at 8:53 am

        I’m happy to say that as cracked as it looks on the outside, it’s definitely a winner inside. it was super yummy!!! Ihe did ask if I put any raisins and pineapples in it but I’m not a big fan of them in carrot cake so since I made the cake, too bad. hahaha!! he liked it a lot and I packed some for work. I’m definitely going to be making this again and your lemon cake roll is next in my list! thank you so much for the speedy reply!:)

        • Dorothy Kern replied on May 13th, 2014 at 11:20 am

          Yay! I’m so glad. Enjoy!

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  15. I am a pumpkin roll master. Seriously, I make about 15 every year. I always wondered how to change it up a bit, not that I don’t love pumpkin roll, but…I like your recipe because it doesn’t call for pineapple, I am allergic to it, and many of the carrot cake recipes I read, when I ask about it, that cannot be left out or substituted for moisture and flavor. The only addition I am going to make is adding chopped walnuts to the top before baking just like I do with the aforementioned. I am also going to try your Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll for Halloween. Thank you, looking forward to trying this this year!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 17th, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Enjoy! I love cake rolls – making new flavors are my favorite thing!! And don’t worry – I hardly ever use pineapple. I’m not a fan! 🙂


  16. So I just made this and had to share my story.  It was very easy but when I was getting ready to flip the cake onto the powdered sugar towel, the cake and foil just slid right off my baking sheet!  So I tried to grab the edges of the foil and flip it but it just folded i half.  I was panicking at this point. I had to get 2 spatulas to try to get the cake flipped back with out it breaking.  I managed for the most part but then the wrong side was down on the powdered sugar!  So I just sprinkled more powdered sugar on top and added some to the towel as I rolled the cake up.  There ended up being a few cracks i some places and the middle of my roll seems like it wants to break in half but I am sure that is where the cake originally folded in the middle.  lol  I may just cut the log in half and present it as 2 logs then!  Sheesh. 😉


    • Dorothy Kern replied on September 21st, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      So sorry Jen! Yes, that flip thing takes some practice – I seriously hold my breath every time. Will it flip? Will I get powdered sugar all over me? Will I burn myself? It’s a prayer, every time!

      And cutting it half – yes! My MIL does that with her pumpkin roll to make 2 out of 1. Totally doable!


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  20. unfortunately this cracked terribly when I unrolled it. It seemed super moist.  Maybe needed longer in the oven?  Not sure, as I make pumpkin rolls and jelly rolls all the time and have no problem.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 3rd, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      I’m so sorry that happened Violet! It could be that it needed longer in the oven – not all ovens bake the same so it might take longer than mine. Also, carrots are not all created equal. So many have more water than others, so I recommend patting them dry if you try again!


  21. Hey, thanks for the delicious receipt! Unfortunately my cake didn’t turn out as pretty as yours. The filling was too soft so that when I rolled it, it squeezed out on the sides and the cake broke while rolling in the filling… Can you advice me on what I might have done wrong?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 15th, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Frosting will do that when the ingredients are too soft. They’re easier to mix that way, but it’ll end up too liquidy. Chilling the filling for 30-60 minutes before filling will fix that problem!


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  26. Just made this and with your step by step it helped so much! But when I take it out of the oven and flip it out of the pan and remove the foil do I flip the cake back over so the bottom of the cake is at the bottom where the powdered sugar on the tea towel is? If that makes sense. That way the smooth part will be on the outside when I roll it back up in the towel ? Just wanted to know for next time 🙂 


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 25th, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      It doesn’t really make a difference, I don’t think. I always just flip it over so the top is on the bottom, then peel off the foil. Since it’s so hot to the touch it’s much easier than trying to get the foil off and then trying to flip it back over!


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  28. I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! The only problem I had were that my carrots weren’t soft. Is this normal or is there something I can do so the carrots will not be crunchy?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 31st, 2015 at 6:43 am

      What kind of carrots did you use? Did you shred your own or use pre-shredded? I have that problem with preshredded. You might try soaking the carrots in water first for a little while and then dry them well before adding them to the cake!


  29. I have made my mom’s pumpkin cake roll for years, I would have thought to make  a carrot cake roll. I know what my Easter desert will be this weekend!! Thanks again.


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  33. My cake is still in the oven, 16 min later! Not sure why it’s taking so look to bake through? Smells delicious!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 3rd, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      That’s strange Kelly! Do you have an oven thermometer to make sure it’s at the right temp? All ovens cook so differently! Hopefully it came out okay.


  34. Thanks! Great recipe.
    I made it and tasta amazing, but the cake turn cracked when si roll them. How I can prevent this?

    Regards from Chile!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 5th, 2015 at 11:24 am

      That can happen for so many reasons! Possibly it was under baked (or over baked). In the future when the cake roll cracks, just glue it together with filling, leave some out and frost the top with the remaining filling! Then no one will know.


  35. This recipe is amazing!!!
    Thanks a lot. 🙂


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 5th, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


  36. This is one of my favorite pinterest finds! I made this for Easter today and it is so delicious. I’ll have to perfect my flip the pan methods because I burned my arm and it ended up breaking a little but it was worth it. Yum, yum! 🙂


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 6th, 2015 at 6:40 am

      I’m glad you liked it Anna! And yes, perfecting the flip is key. I burned my fingers so many times until I got better at the flip, ha!!


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  38. This was my first attempt at making a cake roll and it turned out perfect! Thanks for your step by step instructions – it made the process less daunting 🙂


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 13th, 2015 at 6:57 am

      YAY!!! I’m SO glad. Thanks for letting me know!!


  39. made this tonight we all loved it!! my first time making one thanks for the great recipe!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on April 18th, 2015 at 7:16 am

      I’m so glad you liked it!


  40. Awesome & easy recipe!
    Came out delicious!


  41. Can you freeze this carrot roll cake?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 5th, 2015 at 6:12 am

      Yes! I haven’t frozen this one but my MIL’s pumpkin roll was always frozen (this recipe derives from that one). Just wrap it tightly in plastic and freeze until you’re ready to use!


  42. This is a great recipe as is. However I wanted all the flavors of traditional carrot cake. So into the cream cheese mixture I added 1- 8 oz. crushed pineapples [very well drained] and 1 cup coconut flakes and mixed in the cream cheese. Very big hit. It passed the son in law test and that is huge!


  43. Can you use wax paper instead of towel?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 14th, 2015 at 5:57 pm

      I’m sure you can, or parchment!


  44. The batter was thinner than the pumpkin roll version. I used already shredded carrots from a bag. They made the cake to chunky. Then during the flip to the towel my roll broke in half. I’m not happy what so ever. I hope it still tastes great.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on February 11th, 2016 at 6:27 am

      I’m sorry it broke! Chances are it needed to bake longer. I’ve learned over the years that cake rolls need to be baked to more done rather than underdone or they crack easier. Hopefully you can glue it back together with the frosting! And yes, for best results, shred your own carrots.


  45. Making this for Easter… Can you tell me approximately how many it serves? Trying to decide if I need to mak one or two..


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am

      It depends on how big the slices are, but probably around 10!


  46. I made this today for Easter tomorrow. Everything looks and smells great! However, when I unrolled the cake to fill it the cake cracked:( I still frosted and rolled back up and placed in the fridge. I hope it turns out ok. I did notice that the towel I used was pretty wet too. Maybe the cake was undercooked??


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 27th, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      It may have been somewhat under done (all ovens cook differently, bake cake rolls on the “over done” side) and as long as you were able to frost it together, no one will know it cracked! Mine crack sometimes too, it just happens occasionally.


  47. What kind of flour ?


  48. I made this for our Easter dinner and it was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe! I made it exactly as you posted and wouldn’t change a thing! I loved being able to make this the night before and have it chilling to pull out after we finished our meal the next day. Thanks!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on March 29th, 2016 at 6:31 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! Making it ahead is the BEST!


  49. Patti Shenfield Reply

    I have this recipe in my national bestselling cookbook from 22 years ago and I sprinkle it with chopped pecans just before baking for some nice texture.


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