Patriotic Cake Roll

This Patriotic Cake Roll is perfect for the Fourth of July. With it’s red and blue filling, your friends and family will be wowed by your presentation!

Patriotic Cake Roll by | A fluffy vanilla cake filled with red and blue frosting!

Picture it: California Adventure Park, early afternoon, summer. The Tower of Terror ride, outdoors, an hour wait. All the snaking turns in the maze of the lines are full of hot, sweaty, irritable people and scared-of-whats-to-come children.

I had been waiting in line about 20 minutes, by myself. My family (read: Jordan) did NOT want to drop from the Tower of Terror and I really, really wanted to ride it.

All of a sudden, I hear heated words in front of me. I hear the the b-word and, at first think being said funny, like you’d talk to your girlfriends. Then I realized the people didn’t know each other.

There was a trio of people standing in an exit row, waiting. They had come in the wrong gate, thinking it was the line, and then realized they were in the wrong place, but wanted to get in the line where they were.

Because, obviously, the snakes of people and the huge TOWER OF TERROR sign above the actual line entrance was easy to miss.

The people they asked first declined them passage in front of them. They told them where the back of the line was…and encouraged them to find there way there.

That’s when “you don’t have to be such a b- about it” was slung, by the cutters. And when I say cutters, I mean middle aged women, not teens who you’d expect that from.

It just went on from there. There were kids with the lady who’d been called names. She wasn’t too happy to have been called a b in front of her kids, let me tell you that much.

At that point I tweeted my adventure, of course. I mean, could there be a better gift for me from the Disneyland Gods? I almost took out a pen to start transcribing the event on my arm but figured that would be too conspicuous.

Welcome to the happiest place on earth, where standing in the hot sun with 1,000 strangers will make you want to cut a b-!

I mean, cutting in line at Disneyland is not only something we learned was wrong in Kindergarten, but it’s kind of Un-American, right? Politeness and all that?

Whatever, I was looking for a segue to this Patriotic Cake Roll. Something that is easy, and makes you want to cut it…in a nice way.

Patriotic Cake Roll by | A fluffy vanilla cake filled with red and blue frosting!

Ever since y’all practically mobbed me when I made my Carrot Cake Roll, I’ve been trying to come up with some good new combos. I have SO many ideas for cake rolls.

Of course, I thought of making this Patriotic Cake Roll with red and blue swirls first. I’ve known I was going to make this since April! They remind me of these Sparkler Cookies by my friend Trish. {I made some like them a looooooong time ago, but her photos are way better. Go get her recipe!}

This Red, White, and Blue Cake Roll is so easy to make. I made a basic vanilla cake to pair the red and blue butter cream with. If you need a step-by-step instruction on how to roll the cake, check out this post.

Once your cake is rolled and cooled, you’re ready to frost. This is where it gets fun!

Patriotic Cake Roll by | A fluffy vanilla cake filled with red and blue frosting!

I added my colored frosting to piping bags and piped stripes down the cake. Then I spread them slightly with an offset spatula and re-rolled my cake.

Let’s talk food colors for a minute, okay?

Please, do not use the food coloring from the grocery store. You could use that food coloring for the blue, but definitely not the red. You need to head down to the craft store and get yourself some Gel Food Coloring. Wilton sells it but my favorite is AmeriColor. Either brand works fine, but you basically can not get a red colored frosting from the basic grocery store food coloring, unless you use the whole bottle. I used a few drops of Super Red for this frosting and it’s still not true red – so believe me. It’s worth it to get the gel food coloring.

I love the red and blue pops in this cake. It screams Fourth of July, which is probably my favorite holiday!

Patriotic Cake Roll by | A fluffy vanilla cake filled with red and blue frosting!

The cake is a soft vanilla cake. I used whole eggs, which gave it more of a yellow color. I also used vanilla bean paste – but you can substitute vanilla extract if you don’t have paste. You should totally get some Vanilla Bean Paste though, if you can. They sell it at stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur la Table, but you can also sometimes get lucky at Ross or Homegoods or those types of stores. It’s totally worth the money, and gives an amazing flavor to the cake.

{I used regular vanilla in the frosting because the paste gives it more of a yellow color and I didn’t want too much interaction with the food coloring.}

Don’t be scared of cake roll recipes. They really are easier than you think. They’re perfect for parties, especially when they’re dressed up all patriotic. And the cutting will inspire oohs and awwwws, not bad words and ugliness.

Patriotic Cake Roll by | A fluffy vanilla cake filled with red and blue frosting!

What kind of cake roll do you think I should make next?

Did you make this recipe?

Patriotic Cake Roll

A vanilla cake roll filled with red and blue filling for the 4th of July!


For the Cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red and Blue food coloring (I used Americolor Gel, Navy Blue and Super Red)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll (10×15”) 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, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended.
  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 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.
  7. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour.
  8. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter until it’s fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.
  9. Divide the frosting into two bowls. Tint one with blue and one with red food coloring. I suggest using gel food coloring, not the regular kind from the grocery store. You can find gel food coloring at craft stores! Place each color frosting in it’s own ziploc bag, for easy piping onto the cake.
  10. When cake is cool, carefully unroll the towel. Snip the corner off the blue frosting and pipe evenly spaced stripes horizontally on the cake. Spread slightly with a knife or offset spatula. Repeat with the red. Gently but tightly, re-roll the cake and wrap it in plastic wrap. 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.
All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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  1. Haha, I don’t know if I would even want to “cut” this – I would rather stick my face in it! The cake sounds so amazing and with the red and blue layers, this is one of the prettiest cake rolls I’ve seen! Gorgeous!

  2. It really is so hard to get things colored red and not pink. I see those cute elmo cupcakes all over and I think they must have used a ton of red food coloring to actually make it red. Love the cake!

  3. What a pretty cake…I love the colors! I never even think of roll cakes, of course I am a bit obsessed with bundt cakes 😉 If you would like to show off your cake at another link party I know of the perfect one, hint hint 🙂 Best of the Weekend We would love to have you, and your cakes! Have a fabulous 4th of July!!!

  4. Oh geez…the happiest place on Earth, huh? I’ve encountered my fair share of cutters at Disney World and while it is super frustrating, I never heard any swear words being thrown around 😉

    This cake is so fun! Perfect for the Fourth 🙂

  5. Love love love cake rolls!!! Oh my the story from Disneyland. It’s like hey welcome to America!

  6. This looks so good. I love love cake rolls! Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is SO cute!! I’ve wanted to try a cake roll for ages, but I’m scared… What if the cake doesn’t stay rolled? What if the filling oozes out? What if I squash it while cutting it? What if… What if… What if…

    I think you should make a chocolate cake roll with peanut butter filling next! Or banana cake with chocolate filling… Or could you do an ice cream cake roll??

  8. What a super cute cake!
    Oh I just don’t like standing in line for rides or really anything else for that matter and people who are rude when doing the wrong thing really gets me mad. Glad you were able to stay back and not get involved, that is the hard part for me and yes I often thing what are these people thinking, haven’t the left their house in the last decade? I bet a slice of this beauty would have sweetened up the situation nicely!

  9. This is beautiful and so festive!

  10. How about making a zucchini cake roll?

  11. Your cake roll is perfectly patriotic! It looks so soft and yummy! Wow, Such a dud when an adult cannot control themselves, especially in front of children! Sheese!

  12. This is such a fun cake! I love the fireworks effect the two frostings make when rolled together! Maybe some of this cake would have helped those ladies be a little sweeter to each other. LOL so much for the happiest place on earth!

  13. I love the colors in this, Dorothy! Such a great idea – it turned out just perfect!

  14. This is such a great idea! My kids would think this is great!

  15. So fun! I love all the colors! Wish I had some right now. I Have not baked or cooked in over a week and I am dying for some homemade treats! It is back to the kitchen tomorrow!
    Beautiful, fun and delicious looking roll Dorothy!

  16. Disney is cut- throat 🙂 your roll is perfect, mine are always a bit squished:(

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  20. Love this! So fun and festive. I’m heading to a BBQ at a friend’s on the 4th and have been searching for a fun, but special dessert. You nailed it!

  21. A cake roll is one of those things I am scared to make. This one is so fun!

  22. Ah Disneyland, it brings out the worst in people. But this roll would make it better, so pretty!

  23. One day, I will get over my fears of cake rolling. But until then, I want to cut a bitchin’ slice of this cake!! 🙂 Holy cow, I don’t blame you for wanting to whip out your iPhone and record everything as it happened, lol. Except I probably would have, and then would have gotten into a fight, and then would have been kicked off the ride which is my favorite EVER, so it’s probably best I wasn’t there, haha.

  24. Can I just tell you that the day you posted this, I literally woke up thinking about this VERY idea??? Which tells me one of two things is going on. 1. You and I have a psychic connection that is only explained by the fact that we are actually twins seperated at birth (let’s ignore the age difference and how little we look like each other). OR 2. I’m obsessed with desserts, holidays, and blogs. Maybe a little of both? The cake is good, the story is awesome!!! 🙂

    • It’s like girls who live together…sync together? Once we become bloggy BFFs the same thing happens. I swear, we should all share our editorial calendars! 🙂 Thanks Lisa, I’ll just pretend we’re the same age. Then we could be fraternal.

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  26. We have never made a cake roll before…. We are so nervous about it cracking or breaking.. Need to give it a shot!

  27. Sounds like you had some bonus entertainment at Disneyland 😉 Always surprises me when I hear words like that at a place where children are SURROUNDING you. Classy. Perfect segue though 🙂 Love the cake Dorothy! Makes me want to shout USA! USA! I keep meaning to do a cake roll and you just keep on inspiring me – one of these days!

  28. Hi Dorothy, this delicious Cake Roll is perect for a pool side Party! In Germany we used to make cake rolls with fruit and cream, but yours look so much easier to cut and eat.

  29. On the next…Stories of Disney Land Moms…….. I love this and I would also totally be tweeting about it. I am sharing this on my July 4th Round Up tomorrow! Also…. I don’t think I could roll a cake for the life of me!

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  31. …maybe it’s a good thing Jordan wasn’t in line with you?? lol I’ve wanted to go on this ride ever since I saw the made-for-t.v. Disney movie about it back in the 90s!
    This cake roll looks so good. And do-able too!

  32. wow. Grown women are ridic. I’m seriously. I’m so confused by how people act sometimes. Couldn’t we all just grow up a little? I mean, unless it’s silly fun then that’s all me, but the nastiness has got to go!!!

  33. I’m always amazed at how grown people will act in public! This cake roll, though – so perfect! I love it!

  34. Wow, what gorgeous colors! Your cake came out perfect 😀

  35. Great cake roll … love the surprise of color when it’s cut 🙂
    What can you say … some people shouldn’t be allowed out in public!

  36. Looks delicious! Maybe I should make it…. 🙂

  37. This is so FUN! It’s adorable and looks tasty!

  38. I love this!! It almost looks to pretty to eat. I will have to try a cake roll out, never made one before!

  39. I’m so excited to try this today!! My daughter has several food allergies and this is something she will be able to enjoy!! Thank you 🙂

  40. If you were wondering if a box of cake mix would work for this, the answer is, no. Definitely no. 🙂

    • Oh no!! I’m sorry. 🙁 You have to do special instructions for a cake mix – the first one I made (the chocolate turtle one) was from a mix. But you only use a few cups of it, otherwise it’s too much for the pan.

  41. What a fun 4th of July recipe; pinning for next year! My grandma used to make pumpkin rolls all the time, I’ve never made one but can’t wait to try! Thanks for the inspiration Dorothy! 🙂

  42. It’s a gorgeous roll Dorothy !!
    I love the coloring, and I admire the patriotic theme of the roll

    I recently made a
    Hearts Patterned Roll Cake

  43. Loved your cake roll! So cute! I tried to make it, and didn’t turn out so well for me, but I applaud your awesome skills! 🙂 Here’s mine:

    Hope you enjoy a laugh. 🙂


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  46. The things that happen in the lines at Disney…if lines could talk! Whoever named it “the happiest place on earth…” hasn’t waited in line…I must admit that even my dear family has contributed to the “tension” in a line or two. 🙂

    This cake is just lovely! So festive and looks so moist! Must try it!

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