An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

How I Roll


Despite my best intentions, that “day off” on Thanksgiving never actually happened. Instead, I found myself baking frantically all afternoon, rushing to complete this month’s Daring Baker Challenge before it was too late. Shuna Fish Lydon’s caramel cake was an excellent choice by Dolores, Jenny, and Alex, but putting it off until the very last moment was just asking for trouble. Sure, the first attempt was edible, but it sure as hell wasn’t pretty, and most disappointingly, was inexcusably bland. Unwilling to give up and serve this boring, amateurish cake, it was back into the kitchen for me!

Keeping things simple and veganizing the cake by using EnerG to replace the egg, there was no time for fancy ingredients or iffy procedures. Adding a pinch of five spice powder to the batter this time in hopes of livening up the flavor, the situation started looking better by the minute. Into a long, thin jelly roll pan it went this time, baking in a record 15 minutes. It certainly wasn’t one of the more difficult recipes to begin with, but at this point it seemed like a done deal.

Naturally, there was only one thing I wanted to do with this jelly roll: Roll it! When that cake wrapped snugly around the layer of silky and sweet caramel frosting, making it out in one piece, the clouds suddenly seemed to lift. All it needed was a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and then to gild the lily, a few pieces of star-shaped caramel candy.

This was a whole different beast than the original cake- and thank goodness! Some claimed it reminded them of gingerbread, while others could only puzzle over that enciting spice. There were raves, and a chunk of it was taken away with the dinner guests. What a relief, and a what a wonderful way to celebrate one full year of being a Daring Baker!

Perhaps the early disappointment was lucky, because it led to a far more spectacular dessert in the end.

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

92 thoughts on “How I Roll

  1. Fabulous! (And leftovers are most welcome. . . ) ;)

  2. Five spice…

    Jelly roll…


    Thanks for baking with us this month. I’m sort of glad your first attempt didn’t work out, because I’m looking forward to trying YOUR version for Christmas.

  3. I LOVE that you made a roll – how perfect for the Holidays, and so pretty. My cake was similarly holiday inspired in flavour…you know what they say about great minds :) Ok, but yours is much, MUCH prettier! I’m definitely trying your roll idea next time around.

  4. COngrats on 1 year as a daring baker! You rocked this challenge as always. Can you believe I’m waiting till tomorrow to do it? Ahh!

  5. Looks fabulous Hannah!
    Such a way to celebrate your DB anniversary.

  6. It’s beautiful!

    My roll cakes have been epic failures in the past! I’m excited to try this recipe and hopefully revive my mom’s bouche de noel this season.

  7. Congrats on one year of being A Daring Baker! Your roll looks gorgeous! The star shaped candy was a good touch! :)

  8. Oh yum, the jelly roll looks gorgeous.

  9. Great idea to roll it! I love the stars on top! Congrats to your one year DB-anniversary.

  10. Congrats on completion of an year of daring baker! I backed out after just two – just couldn’t go through find the alternatives here! You roll looks fabulous:)

  11. Waouw, amazing ! Very waouw !

  12. A great idea! you roll looks so pretty and perfect! Well done!



  13. Yiour roll looks so beautiful. And the starts on top, so pretty.

  14. Beautiful roll! I really like the idea.

  15. What a fun idea… bet no one else thought of that. The cute red stars are a fun addition too.

  16. You are too clever. I can’t stand it!! :-D

  17. Gorgeous! And it looks so delicious too!!!
    Congrats on your DB anniversary!

  18. I’ve been thinking of making a jelly roll-style cake, but didn’t even think of it when making this cake this month. Dang! And five spice – brilliant! Love the little caramel candies – did you flavor those with five spice too?

  19. Hannah that looks great. I still haven’t had a chance to post mine. The start of the holiday season marks insanity for me. This is inspiring me to make a roll sometime during the holidays. They are so beautiful.

  20. Caramel….cake…? Oh my goodness! That sounds soooo good (I LOVE caramel!) and like the perfect opportunity to try my first jelly roll. Hm……definitely will add that to my (very long) to-do list!

    Also, because you were one of the first three people to comment on my last blog post, I was wondering if you would like to participate in the Pay It Forward Challenge. Please let me know by emailing me at

  21. What a lovely idea. Like you said, it is a spectacular looking dessert.
    Congratulations on a year of DB challenges.

  22. Happy DBeversary! And your take on the cake looks fabulous! I can only imagine how wonderful it tastes…

  23. Very lovely rolled cake! I love how you spice up the photo using the star-shaped caramel candy.

  24. Wow, that is lovely, you got a really nice round roll, rather than the cracked oblong I know I might have ended up with!

  25. Great idea with the Jelly Roll Hannah! The hands-on sticky aspect would really jazz my kids up!

  26. Inspired Hannah! I didn’t get this in this month, but when I do make it, I’m totally going the roll-route!
    Happy DBers Anniversary!

  27. Your Jelly Roll looks so professional and yummy! What a great idea!

  28. How ingenious and sooooo appropriate for the coming Holidays… that is what very creative idea you’ve given your readers! …and a beautifully accomplished challenge!

  29. This looks delicious! Very creative and very beautiful.

  30. Consistently creative as ever! Beautiful.

  31. Yummy … rock’n’roll :-) …. looks great :-)!!!

  32. Very creative and looks lovely

  33. I’m about to make my cake right now and I’m totally inspired by your roll! You are brilliant as always Hannah!

  34. Wow! Your talent amazes me (both at baking and photography)!

  35. Lovely idea to make the cake into a roll!My mum always used to make a chocolate cake called log like this!

  36. I’m sorry you never got your day off, I hope you give yourself a break before the next month’s holidays!

    In any case, this looks bea-yootiful. The little stars are marvelous; I’m so impatient sometimes and have never had caramel turn out very nicely.

  37. This was a great idea! Your cake is simply beautiful!

  38. Wow, Hannah! This is stunningly gorgeous! Adding the five-spice was clever, but rolling the cake was genius! It looks so sophisticated.

    I don’t suppose there’s a teeny-tiny slice left for me to taste?

  39. Wow! I’m so impressed. I’ve never made a jelly roll before, it looks really beautiful and so creative. I love the caramel stars.

  40. The caramel stars are a lovely touch. Great job!

  41. Love that you made a jelly roll, looks very pretty and delicious!

  42. Ah! A roll! So cool! I love it!

  43. A jelly roll! Too clever. As always, beautiful photos. You’re inspiring me to spend more time on my food photos. :)

  44. That looks SO delicious!!

  45. Oh Hannah, you’re brilliant! Love the jelly roll and the fact that you veganized it?! You are so very very talented, hon. GREAT job.

  46. This is so creative I love 5-spice, and never thought to put in the cake. Darn-it, I am going to have to bake again tomorrow!

  47. Oh my oh my oh my. Brilliant. Seriously. Perhaps if I made mine into a jelly roll, I would have liked it better. I think what you did with this recipe is amazing. I am so impressed. Excellent job.

  48. WOW! That is just gorgeously simple!

  49. I was also thinking of rolling it but the cake was a bit dense for me — a bit impossible. I like the use of 5-spice :)

  50. Gorgeous, gorgeous roll! Wonderful job!

  51. beautiful! learning from mistakes is the best way to make…cake? yes.

  52. WOW…I would have never thought to do a roll!

  53. I love your star-shaped caramels and the jelly-roll idea is great! Very creative, as usual!

  54. Wow, fantastic idea for coming up with a jelly roll version. I don’t think any one did this. All I can say is great job and love the idea plus the deco.

  55. I’ve seen so many variations of this cake, but you’re the first with the jelly roll version. Love it AND the little stars! Great work!

  56. This is a beautiful interpretation! I am inspired to start rolling up cakes in the near future…

  57. I love the jelly roll idea. Brilliant, and original. I did everything by the book, I’m sad to admit. And those little star-shaped caramels are lovely.

  58. Ooo, your cake looks great, I Love the idea of making it into a jelly roll =D!

  59. Looks divine, as usual. Happy Daring Bakers anniversary!

  60. Your site is really one of the most beautiful site vegan that I have ever seen! Your pictures are always beautiful and your ideas, superb!
    It’s good to see that in the vegan community, we do not just eat salad!
    I like coming to your site watch your creations, you have fingers in gold, gift waouw impressive!
    Your challenge is just perfect!

  61. What a fantsatic idea. Your roll turned out perfectly and I love the sugar stars.

  62. Your roll looks amazing, I love the little caramel stars. Happy Thanksgiving too, by the way :)

  63. Fantastic! Love it!! It puts me in the mood for Christmas!

  64. Lovely cake! I love the stars!

  65. A jelly roll! What a fabulous idea. Great job with the challenge!

  66. How creative – a jelly roll, and five spice powder to kick it up! This is a beautiful piece of work.

  67. Amazing! I always love seeing all the different variations on the DB challenges, but this one is spectacular!

  68. Hannh this looks great! mistake or no mistake!!

  69. I was thinking of doing a jelly roll (good to see that it worked) but I decided on lamingtons. Your jelly roll looks great and a nice variation on the orginal cake. Happy holidays to you and your kin.

  70. That turned out absolutely fantastic. And I am loving the stars, what a great touch.

  71. Wow youre the first person Ive seen thats made a jelly roll! Yours looks so light and delicious! Love it!!

  72. this is brilliant and oh so gorgeous!!
    wonderful idea!

  73. You did a fabulous job on your cake. I love your idea to make it as a jelly roll and the lovely stars on top. Nice touch to use Chinese 5 spice too!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  74. YUM! I roll like that too! :-)

  75. High Roller! :-) It looks so gorgeous. And sounds so delicious (as usual!).

  76. WOW! I love this…it looks fantastic! How creative did you have to get? The decorations are fantastic as well.

  77. There are so many comments I couldn’t tell if I already left you one, but if not, outstanding job on this challenge! It’s the best one I’ve seen.

  78. That is so pretty! I love the stars on top as well and it sounds so tasty.

  79. I love the roll, great idea. It looks fantastic!

  80. Hannah, it’s just beautiful, as usual.

  81. How pretty, and what a great idea! I didn’t think it was possible for this particular cake to be rolled. I love your presentation, and anything that reminds anyone of gingerbread, is definitely a good thing :)

  82. Looks amazingly tasty!
    May I ask? What are the stars? They are so simple and cute, but what are they? They look almost like ‘jell-o’.

  83. Ooh, I need to start making jelly rolls! so pretty!

  84. Your cake roll looks amazing! What a great interpretation on the recipe!

  85. gorgeous! I’m especially enamoured with that candy!

  86. I love it! A jelly roll is a great idea!

  87. It looks beautiful. What did you use in the filling to make it “silky and sweet” without dairy?

  88. Pingback: Leave the “Egg” out of Eggnog « BitterSweet

  89. What a fantastic cake- just what I’m looking for for my Christmas-pudding-hating guests on the 25th!
    The five-spice you used- is this like Chinese 5-spice, or what is known in Britain ‘allspice’ and has cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger and allspice in?
    Cheers, and keep up the good work!

  90. Is there a recipe for this cake somewhere?

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