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This Easy Carrot Cake Roll is made using my one bowl carrot cake recipe. It is moist, tender and flavored with cinnamon, carrots, raisins and walnuts. The soft cake is rolled up with my Favorite Cream Cheese Buttercream!
I feel like pumpkin rolls get all the glory but there is something just as spectacular about a carrot cake rolled up with a silky cream cheese buttercream. You could also buck tradition and use a vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream or even a caramel Swiss meringue buttercream!
There are no shortage of carrot cake recipes on CLF like the best carrot cake recipe, this easy carrot cake that is made in one bowl, and these carrot cake scones. That is because carrot cake is timeless and it is my husband’s favorite!
If you watched the carrot cake roll video, then you already know the secret to this cake…BOURBON. Yes, I soaked this whole cake in a Bourbon simple syrup. That marked the day that I learned what every Southerner probably already knew: that Bourbon and carrot cake belong together.
I am not often surprised with pastry anymore, but the electricity of that combination absolutely knocked my off my feet. Almost quite literally.
Tips for making the perfect Easy Carrot Cake Roll!
- Mixing method. Emulsification: It’s not magic, it’s science.
- Carrot Cake Roll Secrets: You cannot substitute for freshly shredded carrots that you squeeze of excess moisture. I use cheesecloth or a tea-towel in a pinch. You can use pre-grated carrots but they will be fatter and have variable amounts of moisture.
- Chiefly, bake your cake right, mmkay?
- Unfortunately, an over-baked cake will be dry and have a tendency to crack. Fix it by making a quick bourbon simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water brought to a boil and mixed with bourbon) and brushing the cake with the syrup prior to rolling.
- An under-baked cake is possibly worse because it will be sticky and gooey and it will stick to the towel and to you and to basically everything you don’t want it to stick to. Just like plastic wrap (grrr)
- Cooling: Cool the cake in a towel really does make a world of difference! It also keeps your cake moist. Pre-roll your roulade before adding the buttercream, and let it cool almost all the way. Add your buttercream and the cake will be trained to want to be in the rolled shape for the REAL ROLL round. Winning.
- Chill your cake well before slicing and slice with a sharp knife or a serrated knife!
- Bonus points: Soak your carrot cake roll in Bourbon Simple syrup. It’s a certainly revelation!
Hate mess? One bowl magic.
Could I make this roll in one bowl? There is an important distinction between “can” and “should” in pastry. Can you mix this all in one bowl, yes. Should you mix it all in one bowl, perhaps not. Pre-whisking together the dry ingredients has two benefits: distributing the leavening and spices in the flour, and allowing for the fastest incorporation with the wet ingredient. Mixing it all in one bowl can more easily lead to an overmixed cake, which will create tunnels in your carrot cake roll and a tough, chewy texture. How sad, and no sadness allowed here at CLF.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Easy Carrot Cake Roll
For the Cake:
For the Simple Syrup:
- ½ cup Water
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Bourbon whiskey
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray half sheet pan or large jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. They should be pale and voluminous.
- Whisk the sugars into the wet ingredient mixture. Fold the dry ingredient mixture into the wet.
- Fold in carrots, walnuts, and raisins.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven 8-10 minutes or until there is a slight resistance and spring-back when touched lightly in the center. The top will begin to brown slightly.
- Allow to cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto a tea towel. Pre-roll the cake to accustom it to its new, not flat shape. Allow to cool most of the way in the towel and then unroll and cool completely. This will help it to keep from cracking later.
While the cake cools, make the simple syrup and buttercream:
- To make the simple, stir together water and sugar in a small pot. Bring just to a boil then remove from heat and cool completely. Refrigerate. Mix about ¼ cup of the simple syrup with 2 tablespoons of bourbon (more or less to taste).
- To make the buttercream, cream together cream cheese, butter, and sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. If it gets too warm, chill it. Just pop the whole bowl and attachments in the fridge and give it an hour. Beat with your stand mixer's paddle attachment. ? Breathe. It’s just buttercream.
- Once cool, soak the cake lightly with the simple syrup and spread a ⅛ inch thick layer of buttercream on the inside, leaving about ½ inch space at the end that is frosting free. Roll tightly starting from the center of the side and then top with more buttercream, dust with powdered sugar or a cream cheese glaze.
- For easiest slicing, chill completely before serving.