Tie Dye Cake Roll
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Recipe courtesy of Amanda Neal for Food Network Kitchen

Tie-Dye Cake Roll

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr
  • Yield: 8 servings
This colorful jelly roll-inspired cake features a groovy tie-dye design that’s easy to achieve and sure to impress. The trick to creating a clean cake spiral is to "train" the cake by tightly rolling it while still warm in a kitchen towel, which prevents cracking and makes it easy to re-roll once cooled. Kids can help with swirling together the colorful batter with a toothpick to create a marbled effect and rolling up the vanilla frosting-filled cake. Frosting roses and a shower of colorful rainbow sprinkles are the perfect finishing touches for this beautiful and festive dessert.


Tie-Dye Cake:

Vanilla Frosting:


Special equipment:
a pastry bag and open-star pastry tip
  1. For the tie-dye cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 17 1/2-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the parchment.
  2. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until light and foamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, increase the speed to medium high and continue to beat until shiny stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the milk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until smooth and thick. Divide the batter between 6 small bowls. Tint each bowl a separate color with 1 to 2 drops of gel food coloring: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Stir each batter until no streaks remain. Divide the whipped egg white mixture between the 6 bowls (about 1/2 cup each), then gently fold until the batters are fluffy and no streaks remain.
  4. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter on the prepared baking sheet, alternating between the colors and making sure the batter reaches the edges of the baking sheet. Drag a toothpick or wooden skewer through the colors to create a marble-like tie-dye effect; do not overmix or the colors will become muddy. Bake until the cake springs back when gently pressed, about 12 minutes.
  5. Immediately sift confectioners' sugar generously over the top of the warm cake and loosen the edges with a knife. Lay a clean non-terry cloth kitchen towel over the cake. Place a second baking sheet on top of the towel. Holding the baking sheets together, flip the cake to invert it onto the towel. Remove the top baking sheet and parchment. Starting at a short end, roll up the cake and towel together into a spiral. Transfer seam-side down to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.
  6. For the vanilla frosting: Fill a medium saucepan about one-third full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk the sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cream of tartar, salt, egg whites and 3 tablespoons water in a large glass or metal bowl heatproof (see Cook's Note).
  7. Set the bowl over the saucepan, but not touching the water. Beat the mixture with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and holds firm peaks, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture cools slightly, about 30 seconds more.
  8. While the frosting is still slightly warm, start to assemble the cake. Spoon about 3/4 cup of the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with an open-star pastry tip. Set aside.
  9. Gently unroll the cake, then spread on the remaining frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) with an offset spatula, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Top with the rainbow sprinkles. Starting at a short end, roll up the cake into a spiral and transfer it seam-side down to a cutting board. Use a dry pastry brush to brush away any confectioner’s sugar on the cake roll as needed. Trim the ends with a serrated knife, then transfer to a platter. Pipe small rosettes and stars of frosting on top of the cake roll, then top with more sprinkles. Set aside at room temperature until the frosting is set and completely cool, about 30 minutes. The cake roll can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) We prefer gel food coloring for this recipe because just a couple of drops create vibrant results. Look for true shades of each color and avoid neon or pastels for the most pigmented design. For the fluffiest frosting, be sure there is no sign of yolk in the egg whites; separate each egg white into a cup before adding it to the bowl. Also start with a clean grease-free bowl, preferably glass or metal instead of plastic.