Time and Effort: Quick and Easy!
History: This is from a 1944 cookbook entitled “Home Baking Made Easy”. Jelly roll cakes were featured in cookbooks in the 1800’s.
Worth Adding to your Repertoire: We recommend it!
One of the things that I love about old cook books is the way they elevate cooking and housekeeping to a level of an art or craft that is very important. I have a cookbook that belonged to my husband’s grandmother entitled “Home Baking Made Easy”. It was published in 1944, and the editor was Virginia Roberts, Director of the Occident Home Baking Institute. Virginia took time to comment on each recipe and to introduce each section with some food for thought. Here’s what she says about cakes: “A beautiful cake touches off the spark of lively conversation, puts expectant smiles on every face, awakens joyous appetites. Mark well each of life’s many momentous occasions with the happy ceremony of baking and serving the finest cake….” I just love the reverence and high expectations she has for cake.
It inspired me to try an old classic- the jelly roll. Her comment on the jelly roll recipe is simply “an old-timer”. Even though I’ve seen this recipe in almost every cake section of every cookbook I own, I had never made one. My mother baked a lot when I was growing up, but I don’t recall her ever making a jelly roll, nor do I ever see anyone bring one to a potluck around here. I have seen them in bakeries in Europe, and I know that “Little Debbie” makes a version called the “Swiss Roll”, but I can’t say that I have ever tried the simple sponge cake and jelly version that is so ubiquitous in older cook books.
I wondered if it lost popularity due to being difficult or not very tasty. Neither of those things turned out to be true, so I can only guess that this cake was very popular when people used to make their own jelly and before the cake mix became so popular. It’s easy to make and very tasty!
Recipe: Jelly Roll
9″X 15″ pan
1 Cup Occident Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup sugar
4 Tbls milk
1/2 tsp extract
Beat eggs until they are thick and lemon colored. Add sugar gradually. Add salt and extract. Beat well.
Add milk. Add flour and baking powder (mix together first). Stir only to blend.
Line pan with waxed paper or parchment. Pour in batter and bake at 350 for 12-18 minutes.
When removed from the oven turn cake out on a damp cloth dusted with powdered sugar. Trim off crusted edges, and spread cake with jelly. Roll up carefully. Cool on rack.
* other recipes I’ve seen say to roll the cake up with the towel inside to cool, then unroll and add filling and re-roll. I did it the way this recipe says, and it turned out fine.