Crazy for Crust

Jul 15

Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

Fresh from the garden, this Zucchini Cake Roll is the perfect way to use up all your zucchini! Even better, t’s filled with chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Zucchini Cake Roll by | Filled with a chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Have you ever had a dream where your zucchini plant grew as tall as your house, spawning these huge leaves of green talons and the squash blossoms grew teeth with snapping jaws? And the zucchini that grew on the plant were as big as grown men and they would detach themselves from the plant and run around in the night attacking small animals and taking swims in your pool?

I haven’t either, which is kind of a miracle considering how big my zucchini plants are. And how many zucchini I’ve gotten off of them.

It’s I.N.S.A.N.E.

So, in true Dorothy fashion, I made another cake roll…with zucchini.

Zucchini Cake Roll by | Filled with a chocolate cream cheese frosting!

This cake roll is fashioned after the recipe for my Carrot Cake Roll. I swapped a few things and added zucchini instead of carrots. And then I filled it with the best filling everrrrr…chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Why have I never made chocolate cream cheese frosting before? WHY?

It’s my new favorite frosting. I’m putting it on everything from now on. Watch out peanut butter cinnamon rolls, your new BFF is in town.

Zucchini Cake Roll by | Filled with a chocolate cream cheese frosting!

You can see that I had a little cracking on this cake roll. There, on the right. That crack happened because I didn’t follow my own rule of chilling the roll for at least 30 minutes (preferably longer) before slicing. I was impatient, and it was super hot in my kitchen. That, and this cake is a little wetter than some, because of the zucchini. Follow the instructions: pat it dry first. Then still follow all my rules.

Don’t break my rules, y’all. 😉

Let’s review Dorothy’s Cake Roll Rules 101:

  1. You cannot use a cake mix for cake roll recipes, unless you edit the ingredients and only use part of the mix. My first cake roll, the Chocolate Turtle Cake Roll, was made with a cake mix. You can adapt that recipe for your favorite cake mix flavor.
  2. You must use LOTS of powdered sugar on your rolling towel. The area where the cake is going to go needs to be white. Not see-through white but white. Probably about 1/4-1/2 cup at least. When you turn your cake onto it the powdered sugar will cover your floor, your counter, you, your dog, and your child across the room. That’s how you know you’ve used enough.
  3. To prevent cracking, the cake needs to be hot when you roll it. HOT. As in, you’re burning your fingers on the pan (use oven mitts!) when you turn it out and the heat of the cake through the towel is slightly uncomfortable but not enough to give you a burn. Roll it as soon as it comes out of the oven, waiting no longer than 1 minute before transferring it to the towel.
  4. The cake must be completely cool before unrolling. At least two hours…maybe more.
  5. After filling and re-rolling, chill for at least 30 minutes (or longer!) before slicing.

Those rules should aid in getting a crack-free cake. I can’t promise it…but that’s how mine have always been crack free (except, of course, when I violated rule #5).

Now, go make a cake roll. I have some zucchini for you. I’d rather get rid of it before it eats me in my sleep.

Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling


    For the Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling (see note)
  • For the Filling:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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, 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).
  5. While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (about 1/4-1/2 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 two hours.
  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. Slice and serve. Cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to one month.


Be sure to use LOTS of powdered sugar on your towel, probably 1/2 cup or so. More powdered sugar = less sticking. It should be a white layer on top of your towel. If you have powdered sugar all over your flour, your counters, and yourself, then you have the right amount. :)

Other fun ideas:

Zucchini & Squash Galette

Zucchini Galette

Zucchini Brownies

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll


Sweets from friends:
Chocolate Flourless Cake by Dieters Downfall
Cookies ‘n Cream Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Frosting by Life as a Lofthouse
Easy Hot Fudge Cake by Something Swanky


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This post may be linked to: Chef in TrainingLil’ LunaBuns In My OvenChic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff Saturday, Weekend PotluckWeekend Wrap Up PartySundae Scoop Link Partyand all of these too!

88 Responses to “Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling”

  1. lisa @ Wine & Glue posted on July 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm (#)

    Be honest. That first tip was for me. Lol!! This looks amazing Dorothy!! Pinning :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 15th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      LOL, I wrote it right after your comment on FB, but other people had the same problems! You weren’t the only one. :)


  2. Jenn@eatcakefordinner posted on July 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm (#)

    My zucchini plant is out of control too! Love this idea.


  3. Miss Messy posted on July 15, 2013 at 3:44 pm (#)

    This looks amazing and thanks so much for the tips!


  4. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen posted on July 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm (#)

    I love the idea of zucchini and chocolate together, and in a cake roll just makes it so much more fun!


  5. gayathri posted on July 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm (#)

    Zucchini cake roll looks super yummy…Tempting clicks


  6. Mr. & Mrs. P posted on July 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm (#)

    We are so nervous about making a cake roll… Any tricks to avoid breaking the cake?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 15th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      The biggest problem I think people have is that they don’t roll it while it’s super hot. And make sure your filling is super spreadable, or it can rip while frosting it. :)


  7. Lisa @ Cooking with Curls posted on July 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm (#)

    I am so jealous of everyone’s zucchini! Our weather did not cooperate, so I never even got any planted :( I may have to go to the farmer’s market so I can make this cake!!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 15th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Oh, how I wish I could share with you!!! Thanks Lisa!


  8. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet posted on July 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm (#)

    Totally love that you put zucchini in your cake roll! Makes feel like I am eating healthier while I eat cake!!


  9. Mom posted on July 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm (#)

    Great, moist cake and the frosting is to die for!!! Thanks again.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 15th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Thanks!! I knew you’d like that frosting!


  10. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life posted on July 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm (#)

    No way! I just made zucchini bars! our zucchini plants are going crazy, too:) Best way to eat them is covered in sugar, right? Loving all that chocolate!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:55 am

      Those are on my list too, if I get up the gumption to bake with more zucchini. YUM!


  11. Deborah posted on July 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm (#)

    I was just brainstorming zucchini recipes the other day – I would have never thought to do this. Genius!


  12. Tieghan posted on July 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm (#)

    I love your cake roll 101!! Great tips!

    This is gorgeous. I would have never of done a roll like this, but it is such a great idea. Oh and so jealous of all your zucchini plants! They sound like they are doing real well!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:54 am

      Thanks Tieghan, they are doing crazy awesome. I’m so tired of zucchini!


  13. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:42 am (#)

    I’ve never had any luck with cake rolls – thanks so much for the helpful tips! Maybe I can finally master it :)


  14. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:50 am (#)

    I am totally making this soon. We have a ton of zucchini in our garden. This looks incredible!


  15. tanya posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:06 am (#)

    Thank you for listing out your cake roll rules, very helpful!! That cream cheese filling is phenomenal! This is such a great roll for summer. I’m very jealous of your zucchini plants!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:53 am

      Thanks Tanya! I wish I could share the extra zucchinis with you!


  16. Kathy posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:33 am (#)

    Wow! That frosting looks amazing!


  17. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig posted on July 16, 2013 at 7:40 am (#)

    What a beautiful cake! I love baking with zucchini and this is so fancy!!


  18. Brenda @ SweetSimpleStuff posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:40 am (#)

    The photos alone are making me drool 😉 Thank you Dorothy, for one more great cake roll recipe!


  19. Raquel @ Organized Island posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:54 am (#)

    This looks great Dorothy! I love zucchini and have not baked with it in a while. Looks great in this cake roll!


  20. Trish - Mom On Timeout posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:03 am (#)

    Love this Dorothy! Cake rolls are so much fun!


  21. Rachel Cooks posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:30 am (#)

    I still need to get around to making my first cake roll. This one looks awesome!


  22. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:48 am (#)

    That chocolate cream cheese frosting is calling my name!


  23. Hannah posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:29 am (#)

    I went crazy with the zucchini at the farmers’ market despite it not being on my menu for the week once! I will have to try this, clearly :)


  24. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:48 am (#)

    What I great idea – I love the ways you’re using all your zucchini! :) And I will totally be referring back to your rules when I get brave enough to make a cake roll!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:49 am

      Thanks Lindsay, I’ve got more recipes coming… :)


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  26. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats posted on July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm (#)

    Cake Roll rules?! I NEED those. I’m so scare of making one I avoid them at all costs. Seriously. Bless your heart. Oh and the cake roll looks amazing :) In Minnesota our Zucchini still isn’t ready to harvest. Boo.


  27. Nessa posted on July 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm (#)

    That chocolate cream cheese frosting- mind-blown! Yum :)


  28. Sara Howe posted on July 16, 2013 at 3:47 pm (#)

    I MUST try this!!! It sounds beyond good!


  29. Mindy posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm (#)

    I didn’t plant a single zucchini this year. Idiot. Thankfully, my neighbor did. :) I have stuffed zucchini in the oven for dinner as I type. Mmmmm.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:47 am

      YUM! We are only doing one plant next year, for sure!


  30. Tahnycooks posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm (#)

    This looks fabulous! I love zucchini bread and I can only imagine this would taste even better! I love that you have cake roll rules!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:44 am

      I live by rules, it’s the teacher in me. 😉


  31. Jamie @lifelovelemons posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:52 am (#)

    Love using veggies in cake form!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:33 am

      I know, me too. Thanks Jamie!


  32. Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 posted on July 17, 2013 at 9:42 am (#)

    I love all parts of this. Thank you!


  33. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction posted on July 17, 2013 at 9:53 am (#)

    I never would have thought of trying to make a cake roll with zucchini! This is a great way to break out of the mold of the usual cakes I make with zucchini!


  34. Cathy@LemonTreeDwelling posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm (#)

    I am loving this fun new way to use up zucchini! A few years ago I had so much of it I didn’t know what in the world to do….truth be told, I probably still have some of it grated in baggies in my freezer, never to see the light of day again! But THIS looks amazing!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      I need to do that, grate it and freeze it. Great idea!


  35. Amy posted on July 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm (#)

    I thought it was the weirdest thing when I first saw my mom put cream cheese on her zucchini bread when I was 8 years old. Why would she want to mask the sweet zucchini flavor?? But chocolate cream cheese, on the other hand… Totally brilliant. And thanks for the Cake Roll Rules — I definitely needed to read those! Just might give me the courage to make my own soon. :)


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  37. lisa posted on July 19, 2013 at 5:27 am (#)

    Looks amazing as do your other zucchini recipes. Off to check them out too!


  38. Julia | posted on July 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm (#)

    The only dessert I’ve eaten that involves zucchini is a zucchini bread! I am not very adventurous, am I? I especially realize that after looking at this gorgeous, luxurious cake roll with the chocolate cream cheese filling – and you were able to incorporate zucchini into this beautiful dessert!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 23rd, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Before our first bumper crop a few years ago, that’s all I knew of. Then we had it coming out our ears and I started to think outside the box! :) Thanks Julia!


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  44. Patrice posted on August 15, 2014 at 2:40 pm (#)

    Could you use Nutella instead or the chocolate mix?


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  46. jess posted on October 9, 2014 at 6:14 am (#)

    I’m wondering if I can use cucumber instead of zucchini here? I know cucumber has a higher water content so the cake might be more moist…which means adding less cucumber but I don’t know how much less haha. Experiment time ><


    • Dorothy Kern replied on October 9th, 2014 at 6:46 am

      I’ve never baked with cucumber, so I’m not sure? If you do try it let me know!


      • jess replied on October 14th, 2014 at 8:33 am

        Hi, I did make the cake with cucumber eventually ^^ I used a cup of grated cucumber (most of the moisture drained/squeezed) and an extra 3/4 cup of flour and it turned out great! Light and fragrant :) Didn’t manage to roll it though

        • Dorothy Kern replied on October 15th, 2014 at 8:10 am

          Possibly the wetness of the cucumber affected it, but I’m glad that it tasted good!

  47. Matea posted on December 6, 2014 at 7:09 am (#)

    Thanks for the tips on how to make a cake roll! I’m making one for tonight and was a little nervous about it but I should be ok now :)  


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 7th, 2014 at 6:13 am

      They get easier the more you do them, that’s for sure!


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  49. Ruth Simpson posted on July 28, 2015 at 6:46 pm (#)

    I love the fact that this zucchini cake roll is made without any flour

    I was also checking out other recipes listed look like I’ll be cooking and baking


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