You have to try this cake roll! Moist, chocolatey & stunning. Step-by-step photos! @natashaskitchen

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This Storybook  cake roll is moist, rolled with a vanilla butter cream, covered in decadent chocolate and the cookie crumbs give it a subtle crunch. I love that this recipe uses one frosting that turns into vanilla and chocolate cream with a couple of quick add-ins. So don’t worry, you really only make the frosting once.

This roulade is based on a classic Russian cake roll known as Tort Skazka (Торт Сказка)- which translates to “storybook cake” and it has a delicious story to tell.

This cake roll looks and tastes like something from a fancy European bakery, but you can master it at home! I baked this cake twice in 1 week (and ate it twice in 1 week!) to ensure it was perfect for you and I included every detail to make sure you succeed.

This cake is simple enough to make for a tea party with friends, but it’s also fitting for any special occasion or holiday dinner. It has impressed everyone in the family (and I have a big family!). Your taste buds will dance.Story Book Cake Roll (Торт Сказка)

Ingredients for the Sponge Cake Roll:

1 cup sifted cake flour (click for easy tutorial on making cake flour) *measured correctly
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temp

Story Book Cake Roll

Ingredients for the syrup:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup hot water
3 Tbsp rum – I used Bacardi golden rum (it is optional, but adds great flavor)

Ingredients for the custard buttercream:

1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (uncooked – straight from the can)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp cocoa

Story Book Cake Roll-2

Ingredients for the topping:

1/2 cup golden brown cookie crumbs (I used crumbs from 4 graham crackers)

What you’ll need:

11×17 rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper

How To Make The Cake Roll:

If you’ve never made a European Sponge Cake, this video will give you an idea of what the batter and process looks like. Please note the proportions are slightly different in this cake but the general process is the same.

Preheat oven to 410˚F. 
1. Beat 5 eggs with white sugar on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until thick and fluffy. Next, sift in 1 cup of cake flour in two intervals and fold gently, scraping from the bottom, just until combined with no streaks of flour remaining. Spread batter evenly onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake at 410˚F for approx. 7-8 minutes or until the top is golden.

Story Book Cake Roll-6

2. Once the cake comes out of the oven, remove it from the baking pan, and while it’s still hot, place a sheet of parchment or wax paper over it and roll the cake loosely (rolling it while it’s still warm helps prevent cracks later). Let the rolled cake cool to room temp, then you can remove the backing and lay it flat again keeping the same side up as before so you are rolling in the same direction after it’s frosted. (Start making syrup and frosting – see how to make frosting below).

Story Book Cake Roll-7

How To Make Syrup:

1. Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add rum and let the syrup cool to room temp.

Story Book Cake Roll-8

How To Make Custard Buttercream:

1. In a small sauce pan, off the heat, whisk together 1 egg yolk, 1/2 Tbsp water, 1/2 cup condensed milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth.

2. Place over the lowest heat and slowly increase the heat to a medium/low or just until it is lightly steaming. Continue whisking constantly until it thickens slightly – don’t let it boil. When it’s ready, it will be the consistency of uncooked sweetened condensed milk. Total time on the stove: 7-8 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let custard cool to room temp. It will thicken more as it cools.

Story Book Cake Roll-9

Story Book Cake Roll-10

3. Beat softened butter in a mixer with whisk attachment for 5 minutes on high speed, scraping down the bowl as needed.

4. Add room temp custard mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time, into the whipped butter, beating on high speed for a few seconds with each addition. Once all of the custard is incorporated, scrape down the bowl and beat another 2 minutes on high speed.

Story Book Cake Roll-11

Story Book Cake Roll-12

5. Divide finished cream in half. The first half will remain your white cream and you will spread this over the moistened cake. Keep the second half in the mixing bowl with the whisk attachment and add 4 Tbsp cocoa (1 Tablespoon at a time) and 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. The oil will enhance the chocolatey color. Beat on high speed 2 minutes or until all of cocoa is well incorporated (scrape down the bowl as needed).

Story Book Cake Roll-13

Final Cake Assembly Instructions:

1. Once cake is room temp, brush the top of your unrolled cake roll (the side that will be the inside once it’s rolled up) evenly with the syrup (see how to make syrup instructions above). Let it sit and soak up the syrup at least 5 min

Story Book Cake Roll-3

2. Spread your white cream filling in a thin layer evenly over the top of the cake (this bent icing knife makes it easy) and start rolling your cake from the same side as before, keeping a tight(-ish) roll without squeezing out the frosting. It really is just a very thin layer of frosting, but it will be just right; you’ll see!

Story Book Cake Roll-14

Story Book Cake Roll-15

3. Next, spread a thin layer of chocolate cream over the top of your cake. You need just enough to cover the cake and keep the crumbs on the sides.

Story Book Cake Roll-16

4. Sprinkle finished roll with cookie crumbs on the sides; it was easy with a food scraper; pour crumbs along the base of the cake and use a scraper to pull them up on the sides of the cake (see pics below). Pipe remaining chocolate over the top of the cake. I made swirls across the top with a large Wilton 1M open star tip. <– click to see the frosting set I have and use for everything. It turned out so pretty and I really loved that it looked like it just walked out of a hair salon.

Story Book Cake Roll-17

Story Book Cake Roll-18

Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Once the cake is chilled, it is much easier to transfer and slice. It tastes great cold straight out of the fridge or softened up to room temp.

Story Book Cake Roll-19

You have to try this cake roll! Moist, chocolatey & stunning. Step-by-step photos! @natashaskitchen

Storybook Cake Roll Recipe

4.98 from 41 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Prep Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients 

For the Sponge Cake:

  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temp

For the Syrup:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3 Tbsp rum - I used Bacardi golden rum, optional, but adds great flavor

For the Custard Buttercream Frosting:

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup golden brown cookie crumbs, I used crumbs from 4 graham crackers

What you'll need:

  • 11 ×17 rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper

Instructions

How To Make the Sponge Cake: Preheat oven to 410˚F.

  • Beat 5 eggs with white sugar on high speed for 5-6 minutes or until thick and fluffy. Next, sift in 1 cup of cake flour in two intervals and fold gently, scraping from the bottom, just until combined with no streaks of flour remaining. Spread batter evenly onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake at 410˚F for approx. 7-8 minutes or until the top is golden.
  • Once the cake comes out of the oven, remove it from the baking pan, and while it's still hot, place a sheet of parchment or wax paper over it and roll the cake loosely (rolling it while it’s still warm helps prevent cracks later). Let the rolled cake cool to room temp, then you can remove the backing and lay it flat again keeping the same side up as before so you are rolling in the same direction after it’s frosted. (Start making syrup and frosting - see how to make frosting below).

How To Make Syrup:

  • Dissolve sugar in boiling water. Add rum and let the syrup cool to room temp.

How To Make Vanilla and Chocolate Custard Buttercream:

  • In a small sauce pan, off the heat, whisk together 1 egg yolk, 1/2 Tbsp water, 1/2 cup condensed milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth.
  • Place over the lowest heat and slowly increase the heat to a medium/low or just until it is lightly steaming. Continue whisking constantly until it thickens slightly - don't let it boil. When it's ready, it will be the consistency of uncooked sweetened condensed milk. Total time on the stove: 7-8 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and let custard cool to room temp. It will thicken more as it cools.
  • Beat softened butter in a mixer with whisk attachment for 5 minutes on high speed, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  • Add room temp custard mixture, 1 Tablespoon at a time, into the whipped butter, beating on high speed for a few seconds with each addition. Once all of the custard is incorporated, scrape down the bowl and beat another 2 min on high speed.
  • Divide finished cream in half. The first half will remain your white cream and you will spread this over the moistened cake. Keep the second half in the mixing bowl with the whisk attachment and add 4 Tbsp cocoa (1 Tablespoon at a time) and 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. The oil will enhance the chocolatey color. Beat on high speed 2 minutes or until all of cocoa is well incorporated (scrape down the bowl as needed).

Final Cake Assembly Instructions:

  • Once cake is room temp, brush the top of your unrolled cake roll (the side that will be the inside once it’s rolled up) evenly with the syrup (see how to make syrup instructions above). Let it sit and soak up the syrup at least 5 min.
  • Spread your white cream filling in a thin layer evenly over the top of the cake and start rolling your cake from the same side as before, keeping a tight(-ish) roll without squeezing out the frosting. It really is just a very thin layer of frosting, but it will be just right; you'll see!
  • Next, spread a thin layer of chocolate cream over the top of your cake. You need just enough to cover the cake and keep the crumbs on the sides.
  • Sprinkle finished roll with cookie crumbs on the sides; it was easy with a food scraper; pour crumbs along the base of the cake and use a scraper to pull them up on the sides of the cake. Pipe remaining chocolate over the top of the cake. I made swirls across the top with a large Wilton 1M open star tip. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

Notes

Once the cake is chilled, it is much easier to transfer and slice. It tastes great cold straight out of the fridge or softened up to room temp.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: Storybook Cake Roll
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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You have to try this cake roll! Moist, chocolatey & stunning. Step-by-step photos! @natashaskitchen

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Grace
    December 5, 2021

    Very good recipe. Loved the moist sponge cake and the custard buttercream was delicious and not overly sweet. My only change would be to double the recipe for the custard buttercream as I prefer more filling inside my cake roll. Made as per the instructions it’s 4 stars and although I liked it I really feel more filling would make it 5 stars.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 5, 2021

      Hello Grace, thank you for sharing your experience trying out this recipe. Feel free to double the filling on your next try, I’m sure you’ll perfectly love it!

      Reply

  • Wava Temples
    September 9, 2021

    Where can I buy a recipe book that has cake roll recipes in it? I am lost cannot find anything! HELP!!!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 9, 2021

      Hi Wava, I don’t have a cookbook out yet, but it’s on my list of life goals, so stay tuned. Regarding cake roll-specific recipes, I recommend an online search.

      Reply

  • Cindy
    September 6, 2021

    Can the cake recipe be used with strawberries?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 6, 2021

      Hi Cindy! I bet that could work! I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • linda
    July 13, 2021

    can i use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?

    Reply

  • Anna
    February 13, 2021

    This is so soft and moist and tasty. But not overly sweet at the same time. I poured a chocolate ganache over the outer chocolate buttercream layer as well .

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 13, 2021

      This recipe always feels special! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Anna
    January 11, 2021

    Thanks for this tasty recipe ! I did get disappointed though that the custard flavour for lost in the butter. Do you think we could get away with halving the butter amount to get a more custardy frosting or will it not hold and ooze out ?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 11, 2021

      Hi Anna, I haven’t tested it that way but it may be worth experimenting.

      Reply

  • Lucy
    August 6, 2020

    Hi, if I want to make the cake a chocolate one, can I just add cocoa powder?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 7, 2020

      Hi Lucy, You can take out 2 to 3 Tbsp of flour and replace with cocoa, just sift the cocoa and flour together to evenly disburse it. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Mikki
    February 11, 2020

    How to freeze this sheet cake?
    Can even do that to use it later?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 11, 2020

      Hi Mikki, Yes, you can make the cake base ahead of time and store it either in the fridge or at room temperature for a day or 2 or wrap and freeze up to 3 months.

      Reply

      • Mikki
        February 11, 2020

        Do I have to roll it with parchment paper and freeze? Do freeze it flat?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          February 12, 2020

          I haven’t tested it myself to advise but I believe either should work as long as it is wrapped properly. I believe it will take up less room rolled up.

          Reply

          • Inga
            May 3, 2023

            I bake, roll, cool, then wrap cooled and rolled roll in plastic wrap and pop in freezer. Then remove and thaw for about an hour or two, make frosting, and ice.

  • Chi
    February 6, 2020

    Hi natasha, thanks for sharing your recipe. Can this be used for a pumpkin roll

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 6, 2020

      Hi Chi, I haven’t tested that but I think it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe

      Reply

  • Cindy
    February 14, 2019

    I tried the recipe exactly as constructed, the cake was fine, but the frosting was horrible it tasted like butter. I threw it away.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 14, 2019

      Hi Cindy, the frosting is a buttercream so you will be able to taste the butter but it should be balanced with the correct proportion of ingredients listed.

      Reply

  • Leah
    August 8, 2018

    Just made it to celebrate my daughters first day of 1st Grade and can’t wait eat it with my family tonight 🙂 love, love the frosting!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      August 8, 2018

      That’s so great Leah! Thank you for the awesome review!

      Reply

  • Tina
    November 26, 2017

    Delicious!
    This recipe is a keeper

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 27, 2017

      I’m glad you love the recipe! Thanks for sharing Tina!

      Reply

  • Elena
    September 14, 2017

    Very easy, fast and delicious roll. Made it countless times. Thank you, Natasha.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      September 14, 2017

      You’re welcome Elena! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing your great review! 🙂

      Reply

  • Louanne
    September 9, 2017

    My son wants me to make this with chocolate as the filling and icing. Do you think 1/2 cup cocoa added to the entire batch of icing would work?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 11, 2017

      Hi Louanne, yes that should work :). I hope you and your son love the recipe! 🙂

      Reply

      • Louanne
        September 11, 2017

        Thanks, Natasha!

        Reply

  • Alessa
    May 7, 2017

    The recipe looks so delicious! I can’t wait to make this. However, I was wondering, could I make this a couple days in advance? How should I store it?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      May 7, 2017

      Alessa, cover and refrigerate. Let it come to the room temperature for the frosting to soften before serving. The cake roll can be easily made couple days in advance.

      Reply

      • Caroline Fortin
        December 21, 2017

        Do you think it would be OK to freeze it, or the buttercream would be ruined ?

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          December 21, 2017

          Hi Caroline, I haven’t tried freezing this but I froze a similar cake with a very similar frosting and it worked great! It thawed beautifully. I think this would work well to freeze it 🙂

          Reply

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