Chef Stella Parks's Aluminum Foil Trick For Easier Rolled Cakes

Rolling a cake can seem like a daunting task for even the most experienced bakers because of the tendency for it to sometimes crack. Chef Stella Parks, also known as BraveTart, has a game-changing tip to make cake rolling a breeze: Cover the sheet pan cake with aluminum foil. This simple trick helps lock-in moisture, ensuring that your cake remains soft and pliable, making it easier to roll without cracking or falling apart.

To use this straightforward tip, after baking your cake in a jelly roll sheet pan, carefully remove it from the oven and immediately cover it with aluminum foil while it's still hot. Be sure to seal the edges tightly to create a steamy environment that will keep the cake moist as it cools. Let the cake cool while still covered with foil. The additional moisture in the cake as it cools will work wonders, allowing it to become more flexible and less likely to crack when rolled. It is, however, still important to pay attention to how much you allow the cake to cool — even with the foil covering.

Master the foil rolling trick

But how long should you cover the cake with foil, and how long should it cool before attempting to fill and roll it? Chef Parks recommends covering the cake with foil until the cake is slightly warmer than room temperature — around 30 to 45 minutes after it comes out of the oven. This allows enough time for the steam to penetrate the cake and lock in the moisture. However, it is crucial that the cake does not completely cool to avoid breaking as it is rolled.

Once the cake has cooled enough, carefully remove the foil and spread your desired filling evenly over the surface. Whether you're filling your cake with whipped cream, frosting, or jam, be sure to leave a small border around the edges to prevent the filling from oozing out when rolled. Then, using a gentle but firm hand, carefully roll the cake from one long end to the other, using the parchment paper underneath to help lift and guide the cake as you roll. Once the cake is rolled up, now is the time to allow the cake to really set, not only to room temperature but by chilling it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

With Chef Stella's tip and a little patience, you'll be rolling moist, fluffy cakes like a pro in no time. So unleash your inner baker and whip up a deliciously rolled cake that's sure to impress thanks to its perfectly whole exterior.