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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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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.
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!
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.
- Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with foil and coat it with baking spray that has flour in it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Make the Ganache: I like to do this step after the cake because it needs about one hour to chill in the refrigerator.
- 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.
- Whisk until smooth and pourable.
Caramel Filling: The filling is a simple caramel buttercream frosting – it’s really easy to make.
- 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!
Assemble the Cake Roll: Once you’ve made the filling and frosting and cake are cooled, you can assemble the cake!
- Carefully unroll the cooled cake onto a work surface. Spread the caramel buttercream over the top in an even layer.
- Roll the cake up into itself like a jelly roll.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other Favorite Recipes
- Peanut Butter Cup Cake Roll – use this recipe with that filling/topping!
- Strawberry Shortcake Cake Roll – use a yellow cake mix!
- Funfetti Gooey Bars – another favorite cake mix recipe.
Have you made this recipe?
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Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll (Cake Mix Cake Roll Recipe)
For the Cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cups Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Betty Crocker SuperMoist Devil's Food)
- ⅓ 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
- 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.
- Original Caramel Ganache Filling: For the original filling for this recipe you’ll need 30 unwrapped chewy caramels and 1/2 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.
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 January 19, 2023