Imperial’s Red Velvet Cake Roll

Today’s recipe is from Imperial Sugar, who sent a link yesterday describing it as a last minute holiday dessert. Now I don’t always click on email links, but we’d been invited to dinner with friends and I wanted to take something a little more festive than chocolate cake. Red velvet cake in the form of a jellyroll seemed perfect.

Red Velvet Cake Roll

And it was! The cake was very light, while the filling was rich, but gave the illusion of lightness thanks to the whipped cream. Here’s a less staged photo of the cake, which was actually longer before I trimmed it to fit a certain plate. If you are taking this to a small gathering, you could cut the cake in half, freeze 1 half, and take the remainder.

Red Velvet Cake Roll

The instructions on Imperial were very thorough, so I’m linking you to their recipe for Red Velvet Cake Roll.It came together nicely, but I did have to make a few judgement calls regarding time and temperature.

#1. They say to bake it at 420 degrees F. I decided to go with 400 degrees F. I
#2. They provided visual clues rather than a bake time. I like visual clues, but also prefer a ballpark range, so I will tell you my cake was done in 18 minutes (at 400F).
#3. They used thick, red, gel instead of bottled red food coloring which was great because it only took a small amount rather than a whole bottle.
#4. I used a completely different cream cheese icing called Whipped Cream Cheese Icing because it has a lighter texture.
#5. I put most of the cream cheese icing on the cake, but reserved about 1/2 cup, put it in a decorating bag, snipped off the tip and squeezed it decoratively over the top. I made a pretty big snip in the corner so my lines of icing or less elegant, but still cute.

All in all it was a fun cake! I might branch out and try to come up with a slightly easier version, but I can’t say this one was really hard since the stand mixer does most of the work.

Whipped Cream Cheese Icing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Whipped Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 oz unsalted or salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form and set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until creamy.
  3. Stir the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

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  1. Darlene says

    Anna, this seems like a perfect dessert for a holiday party and looks like it would feed a crowd. I definitely want to try your Icing/filling (my favorite part of a cake) – it looks wonderful and probably would be delicious in my pumpkin roll!

  2. Stephanie says

    Anna, I am making this for Christmas Day. I want to make the whipped cream icing today as well as the cake. Will the icing be ok if I make it today? Thanks by the way for the recipe. My daughter asked for red velvet cake.

  3. says

    Hi Stephanie,
    Yes! Go ahead and make the whole thing today, assemble and freeze. I cut a few pieces off, froze them and have been thawing and eating them (in the name of science, of course!). The quality is not diminished at all. The only thing you have to avoid is messing up the drizzled icing when you wrap the cake in plastic wrap. You could put the reserved icing in a decorating bag, store it in the bag until tomorrow (refrigerator is fine), then snip the corner and do the final topping tomorrow; or you could go ahead and pipe the topping on tonight, freeze the cake solid for a few hours without any wrap, then wrap it up tightly when it gets hard.

    What I like about this cake is the texture is really light. The eggs and all that mixing gives you a dough with a texture not unlike a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll that’s nice and bendy and easy to work with. There are some other recipes for cake rolls that are just regular cakes that you roll, but this one is spongy and (again) light. I’m not sure what your daughter’s tastes are, but if she likes traditional red velvet cake or cakes that are heavier and sweeter, you might want to google some of the other versions of red velvet cake roll that are just cakes baked in jellyroll pans and rolled. I’m pretty sure anything you pick will freeze well, and I know this icing will.

  4. Stephanie says

    I made the cake but used green gel to make green velvet. Hopefully equally festive? Thanks for your suggestions about making and freezing the cake today! That will help me a lot tomorrow. I think my family will actually like the light texture as we also have a lot of shortbread cookies to eat too! Thanks again for your help.

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