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So excited to share my Zucchini Cake Roll recipe! This has a fantastic chocolate cream cheese filling which pairs deliciously with the zucchini roll. Each slice of this cake roll has a beautiful swirl of zucchini cake and yummy chocolate filling. 

sliced cake roll with chocolate filling and powdered sugar sprinkled on top.


Cake Roll with Zucchini

I have made a cake roll recipe almost every other month: gingerbread cake roll, chocolate cake rolls, chocolate sponge cake, carrot cake rolls, swiss cake rolls, birthday cake rolls, I mean you name it.  But this one? It’s a favorite! 

I couldn’t help myself but try another zucchini recipe. I’ve just been obsessed with how amazing this vegetable compliments sweet desserts. This jelly roll cake is made from my favorite vegetable, zucchini, and is rolled with a fantastic chocolate cream cheese frosting filling. I didn’t want to use a regular whipped cream filling because zucchini tastes so good with chocolate. But don’t worry, my favorite chocolate filling is so easy to make. 

ingredients in zucchini cake roll.

Ingredients Needed

  • Eggs: Large eggs are the #1 leavener in this recipe – they’re what creates the sponge.
  • Oil: to bake, I like to use a neutral oil like vegetable oil so it doesn’t compromise any flavors
  • Baking powder: Helps the cake get fluffy
  • Cinnamon: A must with any zucchini desserts!
  • Zucchini: shredded zucchini from either one large or two small zucchini
  • Powdered sugar: this is to help with rolling and for the frosting
  • Cocoa powder: I’m using unsweetened cocoa powder to turn my cream cheese frosting into a chocolate version!

How to make zucchini cake roll

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Beat eggs until frothy and dark yellow. This is a very important step – do not skimp on time. Beat them for the full 5 minutes to ensure a soft and moist fluffy cake.
  3. Mix in sugar, oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk together salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients then stir in shredded zucchini.
  5. Spread mixture in a jelly roll pan (a 10×15-inch pan with 1-inch sides). The 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. 
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 
  7. Sprinkle the kitchen towel with powdered sugar while the cake is baking. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. 
  8. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. 
  9. Cool completely while rolled, for at least two hours.

How to Roll a Cake Roll

It’s important to roll your cake in a towel while it’s hot. As the cake cools it will learn the rolled shape! That’s the secret trick to making cake rolls: roll it hot.

I spread out a clean kitchen towel and cover it with powdered sugar. Flip the hot cake onto the towel and roll it up. The powdered sugar is so it doesn’t stick to the towel. Let it cool completely before filling.

How to fill a cake roll

  1. Make the frosting: beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
  2. Carefully unroll the towel with the cake inside.
  3. Spread the filling on the cake evenly, and re-roll tightly. 
  4. Chill until it firms up a bit, at least thirty minutes to one hour. 
  5. Slice and serve.
sliced cake roll with chocolate filling and powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Expert Tips

  • Cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to one month.
  • You cannot use a cake mix for cake roll recipes unless you use a special cake mix cake roll recipe.
  • You know a cake roll is done baking when it bounces back when you press it lightly.
  • You must use LOTS of powdered sugar on your rolling towel. I use 1/4 cup usually.
  • The cake must be completely cool before unrolling. 
  • After filling and re-rolling, chill for at least 30 minutes (or longer!) before slicing.
  • If your cake roll cracks, just make extra icing to frost the entire thing with – no one will know!

FAQs

Why did my cake roll crack?

Cake rolls can crack when they’re under done or over done, so make sure the sponge is done properly.

Can you make this ahead of time?

Yes! Form your cake roll and allow it to chill even overnight to continue to the following day. 

sliced cake roll with chocolate filling and powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

Zucchini Cake Roll with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling

3.75 from 4 votes
Fresh from the garden, this Zucchini Cake Roll is the perfect way to use up all your zucchini! And it’s filled with chocolate cream cheese frosting!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Yield 12 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

For the Cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • cup (134g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¾ cup (93g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (206g) shredded zucchini (1 large or 2 small)
  • Powdered sugar to aid in rolling (see note)

For the Filling:

  • 4 ounces (113g) cream cheese room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) butter room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (10g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups (170g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. 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 5 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk together salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended. Stir in zucchini.
  • 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 15-20 minutes. The top will bounce back slightly.
  • While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar. 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 two hours.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • 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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • If you want to frost the outside of the cake too, double the frosting.
  • This is a moist cake; I don’t recommend rolling it in parchment paper because it will stick.
  • It shouldn’t crack as long as it’s baked all the way because of the moisture, but if it does double the frosting and frost the outside.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 353IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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91 Comments

  1. 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

  2. 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 🙂 

  3. 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 ><

      1. 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

  4. 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!

    1. 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!

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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!!

  7. 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!