How to Make a Cake Roll with Box Cake Mix

5 from 1 vote
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Learn how to make a cake roll with box cake mix! This Chocolate Caramel Cake Roll is filled with a smooth caramel buttercream filling and topped with an easy chocolate ganache frosting and pecans. It tastes like chocolate turtle candy and is a show-stopping dessert!

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Chocolate caramel turtle cake roll with one slice falling off

This Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll is out of this world! A chocolate cake made from cake mix rolled up with a caramel filling and topped with ganache and pecans is an indulgence to the max. If you love turtle candy, this is it turned into a beautiful chocolate Swiss roll.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

If you’ve never made a cake roll, fear not. This chocolate Swiss roll with caramel has been tested and retested. It’s actually a recipe I posted years ago, and I recently updated it to make it even better. 

As a side note, are you a fan of the old recipe? Don’t worry! I’ve included the info for the original recipe in the recipe card, so be sure to check it!

For this recipe, we’re making a light and tender chocolate cake roll using cake mix, rolling it up with a new and improved caramel buttercream filling, and topping it with ganache for the finishing touch. This is a dessert to make when you want to wow your family and friends!

  • I am sharing my best tips for making the cake roll, so it doesn’t crack and break on you. Follow my steps, and you’ll feel like a pastry chef when you see the final result!
  • There are three components to this cake: the cake, filling, and frosting. There are several steps, and it does take some time, but none of the steps are complicated.
  • What I love best is that this is a jelly roll recipe using cake mix! We’re skipping the steps on the box and using whipped eggs to turn that cake mix into a soft, tender, and light chocolate cake.
Chocolate caramel turtle cake roll with one slice falling off

Ingredients in Cake Mix Cake Roll

Eggs: Be sure to use large eggs. We’re going to beat them for a long time, until they’re thick.

Cake Mix: Use any 15.25 ounce chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Devil’s Food).

Water and Vegetable Oil: To finish off the cake recipe.

Powdered Sugar: This is used for dusting and in the filling.

Butter: Use softened unsalted butter to make the caramel buttercream.

Caramel Sauce: You can use store bought or homemade. I love using my homemade caramel in this recipe.

Vanilla Extract: For flavor

Heavy Whipping Cream: This is for making the ganache – it helps make the rich chocolate coating. No substitutions!

Chocolate Chips: I used milk chocolate chips but you can also use semi-sweet.

Pecans: Use chopped toasted pecans as a decoration for the top. Learn how to toast pecans!

6 photos showing how to make a cake roll

How to Make a Cake Roll with Box Cake Mix

Cake Mix Cake Roll: You can make the cake first and, while it cools, you can prepare the frosting followed by the filling. Note: Be sure to follow the directions – you do NOT use the entire cake mix!

The cake will need about one hour to cool.

  1. Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with foil and coat it with baking spray that has flour in it.
  2. Beat the eggs at high speed in a large bowl. Beat them for about five minutes or until they are thick with a lemon-yellow color. 
  3. Add the cake mix, water, and oil to the beaten eggs. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and then medium speed for 1 minute. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. 
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake at 350°F for 11 to 14 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back when you lightly touch it. Check the cake early to ensure it doesn’t overbake.
  5. Lay a large kitchen towel on the counter. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top. This will keep the cake from sticking to the towel. Carefully place the HOT cake upside-down on the towel. Peel off the foil. While the cake is hot, start at the short end and roll the cake into itself with the towel, so it looks like a jelly roll. Be sure to roll the towel up with the cake.
  6. Place the rolled-up cake on a baking rack and let it cool for an hour.

How to Roll the Cake: It’s essential to do this step while the cake is still hot. Then, when you roll it up, it will cool and hold the shape. That way, when you unroll it to add the filling, it will roll up easily again.

2 photos showing how to make ganache

Make the Ganache: I like to do this step after the cake because it needs about one hour to chill in the refrigerator.

  1. Pour the cream into a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup, then add the chocolate chips and microwave it on high for one minute or until it just starts to boil. 
  2. Whisk until smooth and pourable.

Caramel Filling: The filling is a simple caramel buttercream frosting – it’s really easy to make.

  1. Cream the butter, powdered sugar, and caramel in a bowl until the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Mix in the vanilla, and it’s ready!
3 photos showing how to assemble a cake roll

Assemble the Cake Roll: Once you’ve made the filling and frosting and cake are cooled, you can assemble the cake!

  1. Carefully unroll the cooled cake onto a work surface. Spread the caramel buttercream over the top in an even layer. 
  2. Roll the cake up into itself like a jelly roll.
  3. Place the roll on the baking rack and place a cookie sheet underneath to catch drips. Pour the ganache all over the top, then sprinkle the toasted nuts over the top for decoration.
Close up shot of chocolate caramel turtle cake roll with one slice falling off

Recipe Tips

  • Planning: The best tip for making this chocolate caramel cake roll is to plan ahead and allow yourself plenty of time for the chilling steps. 
  • Baking Tip: The key in making a cake roll that doesn’t crack when you roll it up is not to overbake the cake. A dry cake will crack. If you do end up with a crack, don’t worry – you can cover it with frosting, and no one will know the difference!
  • Make-Ahead Tip: If you want, you can roll up the cake with the filling and keep it in the refrigerator a day ahead. I leave the frosting off, so it doesn’t get smeared from the plastic wrap and wait to frost the cake until the next day before I serve it.
  • Variations: Since this is a turtle cake roll, I love to use pecans for the topping. If you don’t like them, you can use walnuts or almonds. Toasting the nuts adds a wonderful flavor and color, so I highly recommend that. If you don’t like nuts, sprinkle mini chocolate chips or sprinkles over the top for decoration.
Overhead shot of caramel chocolate turtle cake roll with one slice cut off

FAQ

Can you use cake mix to make a cake roll?

Yes you can use any flavor cake mix to make a roll cake but you don’t use the entire box mix for one cake roll. You’ll also need different ingredients than called for on the box.

Can I use the entire box of cake mix to make the cake roll?

Not for this recipe as written. If you want to use the entire cake mix it will make two cake rolls so you’ll need to double the recipe.

Why did my cake roll crack?

This happens if there is too much moisture in the cake or if it’s too dry. It needs to be baked exactly perfect – it’ll bounce back when touched and not stick to your finger.

Can I use any flavor cake mix for this recipe?

Use any flavor cake mix and any filling – this recipe is for my favorite Turtle cake roll version but you can use the method to make any flavor cake roll from cake mix.

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Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll (Cake Mix Cake Roll Recipe)

Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll – this EASY cake roll recipe starts with a cake mix! The chocolate cake roll is filled with caramel ganache and topped with chocolate ganache and pecans, like a turtle candy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Yield 10 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food)
  • cup (79ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the Caramel Buttercream:

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter , softened
  • ¼ cup (59ml) caramel sauce
  • 2 cups (226g) powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (170g) chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a jelly roll (15x10x1-inch) pan with foil and spray with baking spray that has flour in it.
  • Beat eggs in a large bowl on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until they are thick and lemon colored. Add cake mix, water, and oil. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and then medium speed for 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
  • Bake 11-14 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Do not overbake – mine cooked in about 11 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edges of the pan if the foil did not cover the whole thing to make sure the cake does not stick.
  • Lay a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface. Sprinkle with the powdered sugar. Turn the hot cake upside down on the towel and remove the foil. While hot, roll up the cake in the towel, starting at the short end. Cool completely on a cooling rack, while rolled up, about 1 hour.
  • Make the buttercream: Cream butter and caramel sauce until butter is broken up and chunky, then add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth and fluffy.
  • Make the ganache: Add the heavy cream and chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat for 1 minute, then whisk until smooth, heating additional 30 seconds if needed to get the chocolate chips to melt.
  • Once cake is cooled, unroll the cake carefully. Spread the caramel buttercream evenly over the cake. Reroll the cake. It should roll easily.
  • Place the cake on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drips. Drizzle the cake with the ganache. Top with toasted pecans.
  • Store loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • Original Caramel Ganache Filling: For the original filling for this recipe you’ll need 30 unwrapped chewy caramels and ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Add caramels and heavy whipping cream to a large, microwave safe bowl. Heat about 2 minutes (up to 2 1/2) on HIGH, stirring every 30 seconds, until the caramels dissolve into the cream. Stir until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until completely cooled, about 2-3 hours. Once cooled, using a hand held mixer, whip the caramel until it is spreadable, like frosting, about 3 minutes.
  • To use the entire cake mix, double the recipe.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 47mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 760IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake mix, chocolate, chocolate ganache, pecans, turtle
Overhead shot of caramel chocolate turtle cake roll with one slice cut off and recipe title on top of photo

This Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll is out of this world! A chocolate cake mix cake roll with a caramel filling and topped with ganache and pecans is an indulgence to the max. If you love turtle candy, this is it turned into a beautiful chocolate Swiss roll.

Last Updated on October 10, 2021

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20 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. What are the dimensions of a “jelly roll” pan. Is it the same as a rimmed sheet pan or is it a special pan? Thanks!

    1. It’s a 10×15-inch pan with 1-inch sides (not a cookie sheet; it’s a special pan, although if you have that size cookie sheet as long as it has the 1-inch sides it’ll be fine)

  2. It might have  been over cooked.  I did it for 11 mins and it seemed perfect but it definitely was not under cooked so Ill try again for 10 mins.  I am at a high altitude and sometimes things get tricky because of that.  Thanks.

    1. That can definitely be a culprit – the altitude. And I’m no help there, unfortunately. I need to learn more about that!

  3. Do you have any suggestion of cake recipe when it comes to making the cake from scratch ? 
    I’d rather not use a box
    Thanks!

  4. My 2-year old granddaughter and I will be attempting this cake, except it will be filled with vanilla ice cream, for Mother’s Day. Her mom (my daughter) is craving it. We’ll be smothering it with hot fudge and whipped cream….