Sponge cakes work especially well, but just about any cake recipe will do, as long as it's not crumbly. Bake the cake in a cookie sheet with sides. You want the cake to be moist, so it'll roll without cracking, so don't make it less than 1/2-inch thick. When the cake is done, loosely cover it with foil or parchment paper so all the moisture doesn't escape and dry out the cake.
Up to a point, whatever frosting or buttercream you use, the stiffer the better.
When you roll the cake, don't expect a tight, pinwheel effect. Go for a gentle roll, maybe just going around once.
Put the cake on a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil. The board can be bigger than the cake, just ice the board and decorate it as well.
Don't worry about cracking or frosting squeezing out the sides. You can cover it all up with frosting.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This page created 1997. Modified August 2007.
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