Cakes/ Dessert/ Recipes

sweetheart chocolate roll cake

I lied.

I told you the other day that I would only be making one Valentine’s Day dessert this week. Buuuuuut…..I just couldn’t help myself!

I’m a sappy girl, after all.

A sappy girl who loves her chocolate cake and pretty pink buttercream frosting, that is. This chocolate cake roll is full of everything I love in life: extra chocolatey cake, fluffy delicious buttercream, rich chocolate ganache and of course, pink heart sprinkles!

I have to say (not to toot my own horn here), but this is the best chocolate cake I, personally, have ever made. It’s not only perfect for Valentine’s Day but it’s also perfect for a night in with your girlfriends, an extra girly birthday party or just a fun surprise dessert! I think it would also be cute for a baby shower—you could use blue food coloring instead of pink to celebrate a baby boy!

But since Monday is Valentine’s Day, let’s think about that. If you’ve never made a jelly roll cake before, this is your big chance!

I promise—it’s not as hard as it looks.

If you’re like me, one of the main reasons you never made jelly roll cakes in the past was because you were always scared the cake would break when you roll it.

Well, guess what? The cake you see before you totally ripped when I rolled it.

And then I had a mini meltdown in my galley-sized kitchen that was then completely covered with dirty dishes, pink sprinkles and melted butter. For a moment, it reminded me of the time in culinary school when my chocolate lavender cake layers fell apart in my hands during our final practical and I hid in the bathroom and cried.

However, even though this cake ripped I could still roll it together! And it turned out totally fine! All you need to battle cake emergencies is frosting and a heck of a lot of chocolate ganache.

Trust me, if I can do this anyone can!

Sweetheart Chocolate Roll Cake

Print this recipe!


6 oz semisweet chocolate

6 T butter

4 eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

sweetheart filling:

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 T milk

1 drop red food coloring

ganache topping:

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

Valentine’s Day sprinkles to top!


Preheat oven to 350.

Butter a jelly roll pan (baking pan) and then lay a sheet of wax paper on top and butter the wax paper as well, making sure to get the sides of the pan greased.

Melt the butter and chocolate together over very low heat until smooth. Take off the heat, add the sugar and mix well.

Beat eggs until thick, pale and light. This will take about seven-eight minutes beating on high. Fold in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract, but be careful not to over-mix (this will deflate the eggs).

Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to the cake batter, folding slowly the entire time. Make sure to get down to the bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula!

Spread the cake batter onto your prepared pan and smooth out to the edges, making sure the batter is evenly distributed.

Bake for 15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, beat together the softened butter and confectioner’s sugar to make the frosting. Add the milk, vanilla and food coloring and beat until very light and fluffy— about six minutes.

After the cake has cooled completely, lift the wax paper off the pan and set cake on the counter. Gently turn cake over and peel off wax paper. Spread the frosting out on top of the cake, leaving an inch free around all edges. Then, gently roll up cake. Don’t worry if it rips a little bit–it will turn out fine!

Stick rolled up cake in the freezer while you prepare ganache.

Bring cream to a simmer on the stove. Immediately pour over chocolate chips and stir to melt. Remove cake from freezer and pour ganache over the cake, making sure all sides are covered. Cover with sprinkles and return to freezer for 30 minutes to set.

Store cake in the fridge—can be made a day ahead of time!


1.5 hours including prepping, baking and chilling

Life is short…eat cake!

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  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    February 11, 2011 at 5:02 am

    i love that you mentioned you could make these for baby showers too…considering there’s an onslaught of them coming up I know what i’ll be bringing!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    February 11, 2011 at 5:03 am

    This is SO pretty. I’m a firm believer that you can never have enough pink in your life. Or chocolate!

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    February 11, 2011 at 5:03 am

    My first experience with a rolled cake, I made the rookie mistake of using a brand new, fluffy handtowel to roll my pumpkin roll. When I unrolled it, it look like my pumpkin roll was furry. Oy! Live and learn….and eat the mistakes along the way 😉

    • Nancy~the wife of a dairyman
      February 11, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Kristen, I’m glad you mentioned the new hand towel…..I have yet to bake a roll cake, but have been wanting to and I’m SURE I would have made that same mistake!

      Jenna, that is such a pretty roll cake… the vibrancy of the pink!

  • Jessica
    February 11, 2011 at 5:09 am

    This looks amazing. I’ve been looking for a dessert to make for our girls night. This will be perfect!

  • Hannah (Culture Connoisseur)
    February 11, 2011 at 5:17 am

    So cute! An Iranian friend of mine taught me to make something similar called rolette. It is vanilla cake with hand-whipped cream inside and shaved chocolate on top. My biggest annoyance was how some of my pans would warp and the cake would cook unevenly- resulting in cracks when I rolled it. Yours looks like perfection!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    February 11, 2011 at 5:23 am

    So so pretty!!! I love that the filling is PINK 🙂

    Super cute Jenna 🙂

    • Baking 'n' Books
      February 11, 2011 at 6:35 am

      Yep – PRETTY is the first word that came to my mind too!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    February 11, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Those sprinkles are so darling! Your man is a lucky one. 🙂

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    February 11, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Those sprinkles are so darling! You have one lucky man. 🙂

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    February 11, 2011 at 5:25 am

    Pink frosting AND sprinkles!? Weeeee!!! There seriously need to be more pink-hued holidays…we can’t get enough of it!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    February 11, 2011 at 5:26 am

    This is so pretty! I’m of the mind that some of the best things in the world are pink… this cake is evidence!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    February 11, 2011 at 5:28 am

    This is so pretty!! I would make this for myself for my solo-Valentine’s Day gift…but then I’d eat it all…not that there’s a problem with that…. 🙂

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    February 11, 2011 at 5:30 am

    This is so cute! I totally agree with you that if it breaks, it’s fine. I made two pumpkin rolls over Thanksgiving and both ripped, but I just pieced them back together with cream cheese icing and all was good!

  • Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes
    February 11, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Too, too cute! And I do not mind at ALL that you gave us more than one Valentine’s Day recipe — this one was too good to miss. I am SO scared about the ripping thing, but you have given me courage! I want to try this, asap!

  • Maria
    February 11, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Oh yum. I want to reach into my screen and eat that!

  • mary (sisters running the kitchen)
    February 11, 2011 at 5:51 am

    that looks great!! i have never made a roll cake. definitely looks like a good recipe!

  • Samantha Ullrich
    February 11, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I want to eat it for breakfast. Right now.

  • Evan Thomas
    February 11, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I think I feel the sugar rush looking at these pictures. They’re stunning.

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston
    February 11, 2011 at 6:22 am

    That’s a really pretty cake Jenna!

  • Stacey (The Home-Cooked Vegan)
    February 11, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Mmmmmm…it reminds me of those Little Debbie cakes that are rolled up with cream in the middle! Yummo 🙂
    I have to ask – what do you do with all of this food you cook? Do you give it away or have the boyfriend eat it – which I am sure he is glad to!
    I feel like baking all the time, but the thought of having all of these treats sit around for a week waiting to be eaten stops me! 🙂

  • Marie @ Peonies&Cupcakes
    February 11, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Look how beautiful that cake looks! Amazing & almost too pretty to eat…but I would definitely eat it anyways!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    February 11, 2011 at 6:35 am

    wow, this cake looks fabulous! great job- it’s so pretty!!

  • Katie
    February 11, 2011 at 6:36 am

    That is beautiful! I love heart sprinkles. 🙂 I am so sappy too. I just love Love!

  • Sheri @ Sugar Coated Chef
    February 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Looks amazing! Could be fun for a bachelorette party too! I made your pumpkin roll in the fall and even though it totally ripped while I was rolling it, it still turned out great.
    Thanks for another beautiful dessert!

  • J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)
    February 11, 2011 at 6:56 am

    That looks so pretty, and yummy!

  • rebecca lustig
    February 11, 2011 at 6:59 am

    the sprinkles make it– without a doubt.

    I’m such a V Day hater but I’m a sap when it comes to love.. I just love love.

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    February 11, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I have THE worst luck with making roll cakes look pretty. But for some reason, my pumpkin roll cakes always turn out great! I wonder why?
    Your roll cake is so lovely – the pink buttercream makes me happy!!

    • jenna
      February 11, 2011 at 7:34 am

      they are super moist because of the pumpkin so have less of a tendency to break! Definitely try this one though!!

  • Michelle
    February 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

    You can’t go wrong with pink frosting!

  • Beth
    February 11, 2011 at 7:12 am

    LOVE THIS! Definitely adding it to my “to bake” pile! Hopefully sooner rather than later 🙂

  • Maria
    February 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

    LOVE this recipe! The pink frosting and sprinkles are so fun!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    February 11, 2011 at 7:23 am

    You should add to your last statement… “FOR BREAKFAST!” Because that’s just how we roll… 😉

  • Nicole
    February 11, 2011 at 7:29 am

    I was hoping you were kidding when you said you’d only have one Valentine’s day recipe! The entire cake falling apart has always been my biggest fear! It looks really cute.

  • Camille
    February 11, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Oh dear lord, Jenna, what have you done!?
    This is one of the most beautiful things ever!

  • Amanda (Eating Up)
    February 11, 2011 at 7:37 am

    That cake would be great for a Valentine’s Day party! Looks great!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    February 11, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I love cake rolls because you get frosting in every bite! Ganache on top of that is perfect:-)

  • Stephanie Rose
    February 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I don’t know why but that pink buttercream frosting just looks creamier than usual! Cute dessert!

  • Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day
    February 11, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I have yet to attempt this. I’m sooo lazy when it comes to baking.

  • Marie
    February 11, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Jenna the cake AND photos are gorgeous! Is it terrible that I just want to make pink buttercream icing and hide it in a tub to secretly savor? I’ve already got a stick of butter softening on the counter…

  • sarah
    February 11, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Is that wax paper in the jelly roll pan or parchment paper? Doesn’t wax paper melt in the oven? I’ve never baked with it.

    • jenna
      February 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

      it’s wax paper! And no, it doesn’t melt in the oven. You could also use parchment paper if that’s what you currently have!

  • hippierunner
    February 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

    First I thought I’d make the truffles for V-Day but now this looks amazing!

  • Jenny
    February 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

    This looks so yummy and festive!:) and could one go wrong?

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)
    February 11, 2011 at 8:28 am

    If I could some how capture your skills Jenna, I would totally attempt to make this !! I LOVE PINK 😀 What a cute roll cake OMG I WANT lol.

    pink butter cream is SO pretty 😀 😀

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    February 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I love the color tone of those pictures – they look fantastic!

  • Stephanie
    February 11, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I’m pretty new to reading your blog, but I noticed with this roll and the pumpkin roll that they do break and split when you let the cake cool flat. I have always rolled my cakes like these in a clean bread towel while it is still warm and let it cool in the rolled position. Once it’s cool, unroll it—-it may crack as it unrolls, but after you ice it and roll it back up, the cracks will disappear………

  • sonia
    February 11, 2011 at 10:13 am

    This is so yummy and divine…loved the pink effects, makes it so romantic !

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    February 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    So pretty! Love the shade of pink – extremely festive. Not to mention chocolate cake + frosting = heaven.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    February 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    This is HUGE: “but this is the best chocolate cake I, personally, have ever made. ”

    After pastry school and no doubt probably 1000s (or 100s) of choc cakes and choc dessert-ish recipes on your blog, for you to say that…impressive!

    I LOVE the pink in it. It’s such a vibrant, cute shade of pink. And that counts for lots in my book 🙂

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    February 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    ooh, pretty in pink indeed 🙂 love it. Perfect for so many occasions, when you want something extra special! Thanks for the ‘rolling’ confidence too!
    Heidi xo

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    February 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    This is both adorable AND irresistable. The perfect valentines dessert.

    (p.s. don’t feel bad…I have a feeling I’ll be making more than one as well. 😉 )

  • LauraLee @ Old Fashioned Vegan
    February 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    This frosting is gorgeous! I want to spoon it in mouth while playing my little ponies 🙂

  • Heather
    February 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Can you tell me who makes the plates on the photos, with the “pearl bead” rims?
    They are so pretty!

  • Christine (The Raw Project)
    February 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Wow, this looks absolutely amazing! The pictures are beautiful and this is something I should consider making for hubby. Perfect colors, so festive. Thanks!

  • Kasey
    February 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    This looks soooooo good!

  • britt
    February 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    this looks great! but i’m still way too scared to make something like this.

  • Moni'sMeals
    February 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I love your ROLLS! I remember the pumpkin roll too. 🙂

    Super sweetness!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    February 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    That is SO CUTE!

  • stacey-healthylife
    February 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    So pretty.

  • Brooke @ bittersweetb
    February 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Pretty in pink! love love

  • Brooke
    February 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Looks delicious! Just a tip, if you roll up the cake in a dish towel right out of the oven and let it cool all rolled up in the towel, when you unroll it to frost it, it makes a PERFECT rolled up cake with no cracks!

  • sarah @ eatliveaustin
    February 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    so.. much… PINK!!! the cake is so cute… it makes me miss decorating the log roll cakes at baskin robbins

  • Errign
    February 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Forget making this for someone – I want someone to make this for me! It’s so pretty 🙂

  • delia
    February 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Way cute!

  • lena
    February 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    totally awesome! love the look, so pretty sweet and yummy! 🙂

  • jenny eats nutella from a spoon
    February 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    such cute sprinkles… so right up my alley

  • Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies
    February 12, 2011 at 12:21 am

    Love your girly little idea to make the filling pink. This looks like a Valentine’s Day dessert to devour. I hope you’ll come by and link it up to Sweets for a Saturday #4.

  • Jess
    February 12, 2011 at 6:11 am

    soooo cute! although i am still terrified of making a cake and trying to roll it up, you make it look so easy!

  • Ashley @ the fit academic
    February 12, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Awww, what a fun little Valentine’s Day treat! I need to do something like this for my guy : )

  • Blog is the New Black
    February 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    That hot pink filling is fabulous!

  • olivewineandfood
    February 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    that looks almost too pretty to eat!

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  • JenE
    February 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Oh Jenna, my Jenna. You should add a disclaimer: Must serve with champagne. Or, DANGER: if served with champagne may result in conception.. This is THE.BEST.EVER.
    No, really.

    Best powdered sugar frosting ever.

    Constructive criticism: please tell us which way to roll (long way or short way?). My oven is hot, I think I should have baked a little less.

    Either way this knocked my socks off. Hubby was away for V-Day so we had a family V-day dinner tonight. Thanks for heaven on earth.

  • Bette Ann Parry
    March 28, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Anyone who has every made a roll cae rolls the cake. Well I made this cake and couldn’t wait. I was making it for my neighbor. I don’t usually use your recipe but it lookd good. I followed directions for making the cake. Well I sprinkled confect. sugar and rolled the cake. IT EVAPORATED IN THE TOWEL. i HAD TO THROW IT AWAY. What is the differene between yours and the others I have made before???????????????

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