This chocolate cherry cake roll is made with rum-soaked cherries, sweetened condensed milk cake cream, & fluffy chocolate sponge cake. Absolutely decadent! 

A half of the chocolate drunken cherry roll on plate

Looking for a decadent dessert to serve for your next party? This chocolate cherry cake roll is the definition of festive. Although the rum soaked cherries won’t give you a hangover, this cake will surely linger in your mind for a couple of days after having your first slice. What’s even better? It’s perfect for making-ahead and can be prepared up to 5 days in advance. 

Baking with Booze 101

Baking with liquor and liqueurs brings such a depth to cakes. Below, find the top three reasons we like to infuse our baked goods with booze from time to time. 

  • Flavor: Baking with liquors like vodka, rum, or bourbon adds such a rich flavor. While the actual alcohol bakes off, the spirit of the liquor stays behind. 
  • Moisture: Liquor also helps prevent the cake from turning out dry. 
  • Consistency: The liquor also helps bind the water and fats in the cake, making for such an even and rich consistency and texture. 

How to Prepare a Cherry Cake Roll from Scratch

This cake requires under 10 ingredients to make and features a special trick to help you make a bakery-worthy roll (spoiler alert: it’s easier than you think!). 

  • Soak the Cherries: Drain the jar of morello cherries of the syrup, place them in a bowl, and soak them in the rum for 24 hours in the fridge.
  • Prepare the Wet Ingredients: Using an electric mixer, beat the 6 large eggs with the sugar on high speed until the mixture doubles in volume. 
  • Prepare the Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the all purpose flour and cocoa powder together. 
  • Mix the Wet & Dry Ingredients: Next, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in thirds. 
  • Bake the Cake: Spread the batter onto a prepared pan lined with parchment paper and bake it for 12 minutes at 350°F. 
  • Roll the Cake: Remove the cake from the oven and lay a kitchen towel over it. Roll up the cake from the shorter side to form a spiral and let it cool at room temperature. Remove the towel and parchment paper. 
  • Soak the Cake: Drain the rum from the cherries and dice them into small pieces. Unroll the cake and spoon the cherries across it. Allow the cake to soak in the cherry juices for a couple of minutes.
  • Make the Cake Cream: Next, whip the condensed milk with the cacao and cold heavy whipping cream. 
  • Assemble the Cake: Spread a thick layer of cake cream over the cherries. Reroll the cake and place seam side down on a serving plate. Decorate the outside and top of the cake with the remaining cake cream. Decorate the cake with cherries, chocolate shaving, or cacao. 
  • Allow the Cake to Rest: Store the cake in the fridge overnight. Slice and enjoy! 

5 Helpful Tips to Make a Cherry Cake Roll

A couple of handy tips will help you make the perfect cherry cake roll.

  • Don’t over mix the cake batter. Once the flour mixture is incorporated into the meringue (eggs and sugar mixture), stop mixing the batter. If you over mix it, it will lose its fluffiness. 
  • 10in.×15in. inch sized sheet pan. A 10in. x 15in. pan yields the perfect thickness for the cake roll. This jelly roll pan is our favorite. 
  • Use extra cold heavy whipping cream. Make sure your heavy whipping cream is extra cold before whipping it, as it yields a more firm texture. If you have to, stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes beforehand. 
  • Use plastic wrap to get a smooth finish on your frosting. Ever wonder how bakeries make their frosted cakes look so smooth? A little trick is to place some plastic wrap over the top of the frosted roll and use your hands to smoothen out any bumps or creases. Once smooth, remove the plastic wrap and decorate the roll as you wish! 
  • Allow the cake to set overnight. Pop the cake in the fridge overnight to let it set and further develop its flavors. This will make all the difference! 

Make-Ahead & Storage Tips

This cake is the perfect candidate for making ahead of time. Here’s all you need to know to store it properly. 

  • Make-Ahead: You can make this cake up to 5 days in advance. Since the cake needs to set in the refrigerator before serving, making it ahead of time is actually preferred. This will bring out the flavors and make sure that this ultra-creamy cake can stand up to a knife when it comes time to cut into it. 
  • Storage: To keep it fresh and protect it from getting damaged, keep the cake stored it in a sealed cake roll container to prevent it from drying out.

FAQ

Which cherries are best for the drunken cherry cake roll?

Morello cherries are by far the best option for this cake roll. They absorb the vodka so well, yet keep their tart cherry flavor. Stray away from maraschinos, as they taste a bit artificial and won’t provide the depth of flavor you are looking for.

Where can you find morello cherries?

Trader Joe’s has amazing morello cherries. They are fairly priced and delicious. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, go to your local Eastern European specialty store.

What’s the difference between a roulade and a cake roll?

There is no difference! The two words refer to the same roll-style cake.

Why did my cake roll crack?

If your cake cracked, it’s likely due to the fact that you didn’t roll it while it was still warm. This is key, as a warm cake is much more malleable and easier to handle.

What ingredient makes a cake roll soft and fluffy?

The meringue (beaten egg and sugar mixture) is what makes this cake roll so soft and fluffy. Additionally, it’s important that you don’t over mix the batter, or else it will fall flat during baking.

More Boozy Cakes to Bake 

About Author

Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.