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This Chocolate Coconut Cake Roll has a chocolate cake, is filled with a coconut whipped cream, then topped with chocolate ganache and toasted coconut. Looking for the perfect cake to wow your guests? This. Is. It!
I am no stranger to cake roll recipes: I have more than 20 recipes for cake rolls on this website. Cake rolls are how I roll, if you will.
Back in the day I was scared of making jelly roll cakes because they just seemed so hard and daunting. And then I made a carrot cake roll several years ago for Easter and realized how easy it actually is!
What’s in a Chocolate Coconut Cake Roll?
- It starts with my chocolate cake roll base, which is simple to make using one bowl and a hand or stand mixer.
- The chocolate cake is filled with a fresh coconut flavored whipped cream. I toasted 2 cups of coconut for this dessert. Half gets folded into whipped cream that’s scented with coconut extract, the other half gets dusted on top.
- Then the cake is topped with chocolate ganache and more toasted coconut. It’s like a chocolate and coconut lover’s dream, this dessert.
TIP: Learn how to toast coconut with my tips and tricks. It’s simple but can go horribly wrong if you don’t do it right.
How do you make a Cake Roll?
It’s so simple, but you do need one special piece of equipment: a cake roll pan.
Cake roll pans come in all sizes. My recipe fits a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan, so be sure to get that size.
You can watch the video below, but the simplified version of how to make a cake roll is this:
Eggs: Beat your eggs for the full time specified. If you don’t, your cake will be flat, dense and/or tough.
Mix: Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Bake: Bake it for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven). It should bounce back when you touch it.
Roll: Roll it while it’s hot in a towel coated in powdered sugar then let it cool.
Fill: Once cool, you can unroll it and fill it as desired, then roll it back up!
FAQ and Tips
I always get so many questions about cake rolls in general, so here are some good answers:
1. Why did my cake roll crack?
Well, if I’m being honest…this cake roll cracked. #keepingitreal
I have no idea why the cake cracked. I get comments on my cake rolls a lot that someone has had a roll crack on them and they want to know why. The answer? I don’t know.
I’ve made this cake roll what seems like a gazillion times; sometimes it cracks, sometimes it doesn’t. There are lots of reasons why:
- I baked it too much.
- I didn’t bake it enough.
- I beat it too much.
- I didn’t beat it enough.
- It was hot.
- It was cold.
- It was humid.
- It was Sunday.
- Grey’s Anatomy was a re-run.
Get my drift? They crack for any number of reasons. But a cracked cake roll isn’t a loss, obviously. This one cracked bad. One whole section practically broke off one end. What did I do? I filled it like normal. The crack got rolled into the cake. Then I poured ganache over it.
Ganache and coconut hide a lot.
My point is, cake rolls crack. Even for people like me who make them all the time. Just glue it back together with filling and frost the top. #problemsovled
2. My cake is flat/tough/dense/etc.
Chances are you didn’t beat the eggs long enough. The eggs MUST be beaten for at least 3 minutes with a hand or a stand mixer, not by hand. You’ll see as you beat the eggs they’ll get thick, foamy, and dark yellow. This gives the cake it’s airiness.
That said: this is not a traditional cake recipe. It’s not light and fluffy like a layer cake; it’s more dense and sturdy by design. So keep that in consideration as well.
3. The cake is dry how do I fix it?
Add more flavor by frosting the inside of the cake with Nutella before adding the filling. Or brush it (lightly, so it doesn’t soak) with simple syrup or cold coffee to add moistness.
4. Can I use a cake mix to make a cake roll?
Yes, sort of. A full cake mix will actually make two cake rolls, but not unless you add other ingredients. If you want to use a cake mix to make a cake roll use this recipe.
5. Can I freeze cake rolls?
Yes, with some exceptions. I freeze most of my cake rolls because one person can’t eat the whole thing. (In honesty, I freeze almost everything I bake. See how I freeze dessert here.)
- If your cake roll has a typical frosting for filling (buttercream, cream cheese, etc.) and has no coating (or uses that frosting for coating) then you can freeze it after it’s completely assembled. (This applies to cake rolls like my Carrot Cake Roll or Birthday Cake Roll.)
- If your cake roll has a whipped cream filling you can freeze it if there is no fruit. This Chocolate Coconut Cake Roll can be frozen even though it has whipped cream filling.
- Cake rolls with ganache topping or whipped cream frosting (like this one) should only be frosted/glazed after thawing. Freeze them after filling but top them after thawing.
- Cake rolls with fruit should not be frozen (i.e. my Strawberry Shortcake Cake Roll).
Chocolate Coconut Cake Roll
For the Cake
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons brewed coffee or water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Powdered sugar to aid in rolling
For the Filling & Topping:
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut toasted
- 1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream divided
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Make the Cake: preheat oven to 350°F. Line a jelly roll (10×15”) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (I like to use the spray with flour).
- Beat eggs at high speed for 3 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. Beat in sugar, coffee or water, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together cocoa, salt, baking powder, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended.
- 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. Make sure it’s even. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to release air bubbles. Bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done because if you lightly poke the top with your fingertip it will slightly bounce back.
- 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.
- 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 (or you can wrap it and chill it overnight).
- Toast the coconut by adding it to a medium skillet and cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until it turns golden. Immediately remove to a plate to cool.
- Make the Filling: beat 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer, but it will take longer.) Slowly add in powdered sugar during beating, one tablespoon at at time. Add both extracts. Beat until whipped cream forms. Stir in 1 cup of toasted coconut.
- Assemble Cake: once the cake has cooled, unroll it carefully. Spread the whipped cream on the cake, leaving 1” without filling at either end. Re-roll cake, scooping out any filling that spills out as you roll. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour before frosting.
- Make the topping: place chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over low heat for a few minutes or in the microwave for 60-90 seconds until it just simmers. Pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for one minute, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Chill for about 10 minutes.
- Place cake roll on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Pour the ganache over the cake evenly. Top with remaining toasted coconut. Chill until set.
- Note: The cake should stay chilled until right before serving or the whipped cream filling will get warm and it will be hard to slice.
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Last Updated on March 2, 2021