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Jelly roll cakes can be really fun to make with kids because there are so many variations. You can fill the cake with different things and also top it with fun things like icing and then coconut, sprinkles, candies and more.
Jelly roll cakes are simply a thin layer of cake, filled with some type of filing (like a jelly) and then rolled up into a “log” form. If you haven’t made one or had one before, you’ve probably seen one in the grocery stores around Thanksgiving when pumpkin rolls start appearing.
The hardest thing about making a jelly roll cake, even if you’ve made them before, is rolling up the cake without it falling apart. The key is using the right pan and taking your time when you’re rolling and unrolling the cake.
The reason we decided to pair a jelly roll cake with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book is because in the book poor Alexander, who, in case you don’t know, is having an awful day, watches all of his friends have dessert with their lunch while Alexander doesn’t have any dessert packed in his lunch. (It’s just one of the many things that go entirely wrong for Alexander that day.) One of his friends has a piece of jelly roll cake with coconut and sprinkles. So, we decided to make a jelly roll cake, too! However, Ella doesn’t like coconut, so we left off the topping. But, you can easily add coconut, sprinkles or anything else just by applying some of the cream cheese mix to the outside and then rolling the cake in the toppings or sprinkling the toppings onto the cake.
ALSO ON THE LITTLE COOKS READING BOOKS: ‘Alexander and the Terrible Horrible Day’ Lesson Plans
Alexander and the Terrible Jelly Roll Cake Recipe
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raspberry jelly or jam (or any other flavor you would like)
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups thawed whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
1. Heat oven to 375° F.
2. Line a jelly roll pan with cooking parchment paper or waxed paper and spray with baking spray. (Pan should be at least 14-3/4 by 9-3/4 by 1-inch.)
3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they are mixed completely.
4. Gradually beat the granulated sugar into the eggs.
5. Using the mixer on low speed, slowly beat in the water and vanilla extract.
6. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth and blended.
7. Pour the mixture into the jelly roll pan and spread so that it is even to the corners.
8. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan and invert onto a dish towel, sprinkled with powdered sugar.
9. Carefully remove the paper from the cake. If there are hard edges, trim those off with a knife.
10.While the cake is still hot, carefully roll it in the towel from short or narrow end.
11. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes before adding the filling.
For the Filling
12. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar in with mixer until well blended.
13. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping.
14. Unroll the cake and remove towel.
15. Spread the jam or jelly in a thin layer over the cake.
16. On top of the jelly, spread the cream cheese and whipped topping on top.
17. Roll up cake again. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
18. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Slice into pieces and serve with a little more powered sugar sprinkled on top.
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