This Carrot Cake Roll is a perfect spring dessert. Perfect for Easter or any occasion. The cake has no oil or butter and is lighter and healthier than traditional Carrot Cakes. It is also gluten-free. Cream cheese filling is lightened up with Greek yogurt or Skyr.
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I love Carrot Cake, but most recipes call for a cup or more of oil and I cannot fathom using that much oil in a cake. This particular recipe has no oil, no butter, no shortening!! And, it is also gluten-free! Although I give non gluten free variation also.
In fact, recipe for the batter is quite similar to a few of my other cakes that have also no oil, no butter. For example, 5-ingredient Pumpkin Cake, 5-Ingredient Strawberry Cake, and Easy 3-ingredient Cake Roll with Strawberry Jam all have no oil and no butter. They also have a similar technique in terms of whipping the eggs to start the batter.
Yes, there’s fat in the cake recipe, but it comes from almonds and breadcrumbs, so it’s not that bad. In fact, this is a relatively (key word is relatively) healthy recipe.
Cream cheese frosting is lightened up by using Greek Yogurt or Skyr. I must say, the frosting is DE-LI-CIOUS!!! I personally prefer it 100% more than the traditional cream cheese and butter frosting.
This recipe is one of a few that I saved from my George Brown College Baking courses but over the years of making it, I adjusted the ingredients, turned it into a gluten-free recipe, and generally made a few tweaks and changes in the technique.
How to make Carrot Cake Roll
- Start by whipping the eggs and sugar with a mixer until they triple or even quadruple in volume. The mixture will be really light, fluffy, and pale yellow in colour.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and gently mix trying not to deflate the whipped eggs.
- Spread the batter on a prepared baking sheet and bake for just 15 minutes.
- Once baked, sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with icing sugar and place the baked cake over it. Icing sugar will help the cake not stick to the towel.
- Roll up the cake with the towel and let cool. Rolling the cake while it’s still warm will help it keep its shape and not crack.
- While the cake is cooling, make the light cream cheese frosting by whipping all the room temperature ingredients with a mixer.
- Unroll the cooled cake, spread the cream cheese filling over the whole cake and roll again.
- Transfer to a fridge for at least an hour for everything to set.
Serve Carrot Cake Roll with icing sugar on top.
Ingredients and variations
Do you need to use rum and/or vanilla extract?
Both ingredients are optional. They add a lot of flavour to the cake and frosting and I recommend using them but they aren’t required.
Lately I’ve been using Baker’s Extract instead of Vanilla Extract and I love it.
What are the gluten-free dry ingredients?
This case uses cornstarch, almond flour, and gluten-free breadcrumbs as its gluten-free ingredients. You can use store-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs or you can make them yourself by drying some gluten-free bread and then pulsing it in a food processor until you get fine breadcrumbs.
What if you don’t want to make gluten-free cake?
If you aren’t following a gluten-free diet then use regular all-purpose flour instead of cornstarch and regular breadcrumbs instead of gluten-free breadcrumbs. Both variations still use almond flour.
How do you shred carrots?
You can use a food processor to shred carrots. You can also use a regular box grater. You can use either bigger side or smaller side for carrots.
Can you change spices?
Of course you can. I use cinnamon and nutmeg. But you can add a bit of clove or ginger. Use your favourite carrot cake spices.
What kind of yogurt can you use for filling?
I recommend using Greek or Skyr kind of yogurt. But I’ve also made this filling with plain thick yogurt, usually it’s the 6% minimum that is thick enough for the filling.
Do you need to roll cake after it’s baked?
Rolling the cake after it’s baked and while it is still warm ensures that it is pliable enough for rolling once it’s cooled. If it is not rolled immediately, then it may dry out and crack when it is rolled later.
It is important to have icing sugar on the kitchen towel when rolling the cake as the icing sugar prevents the cake from sticking to the towel.
More Carrot Cake Recipes:
- Instant Pot Carrot Cake Bread Pudding
- Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese-Maple Syrup
- Instant Pot Carrot Cake Jam
- Instant Pot Carrot Cake Creme Brulee
Carrot Cake Roll
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar (about 100 g)
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons rum (optional but highly recommended)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (or regular all-purpose flour for non gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs for non gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1.5 cup shredded carrots (about 150 g)
- icing sugar for the roll (about 1/4 cup or less)
Light cream cheese filling
- 3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature (170 g, about 1/2 block + 1/8 block)
- 6 tablespoons icing sugar
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (or Skyr or thick yogurt)
- 1 splash rum and vanilla extract (optional)
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line standard half sheet rimmed baking pan (11x16-inch) with parchment paper, spray with oil.
- Add the eggs, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Using a hand-held (or stationary) mixer, whip the eggs for about 6-8 minutes. Mixture will become pale yellow, fluffy and will triple in volume.
- When the eggs have tripled in volume, add vanilla, rum and mix for 30 seconds to combine.
- In a small bowl combine the cornstarch (or regular all-purpose flour), breadcrumbs, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well.
- Fold in the flour mixture into eggs trying not to deflate mixture.
- Mix in the shredded carrots.
- Make sure that batter is still fluffy, but flour is fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and spread. It'll be thin.
- Bake for 12-15 min depending on your oven. My oven takes full 15 minutes.
- While the cake is baking take a clean kitchen towel, lay it on the kitchen table and sprinkle it with icing sugar, it'll help prevent cake from sticking to the towel.
- Turn the baked and still warm cake onto the icing sugar towel and roll like sushi. Rolling it while cake is still warm will keep it from drying out and cracking when it's ready to be filled. Keep parchment paper on.
- Let the cake cool for about 30-45 minutes until it is no longer warm.
For the light cream cheese filling
- While the rolled up cake is cooling, make the filling. In a medium bowl, using a mixer whip the cream cheese and icing sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the Greek yogurt, rum and vanilla if using and whisk for a few more minutes until the filling is light and fluffy.
- When the cake is cooled, unroll it, take the parchment paper off, evenly spread the filling and re-roll while removing the kitchen towel.
- Let the cake cool and set in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Serve sprinkled with some icing sugar on top.
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And just for fun, here’s a photo from March 2015 when I originally published the recipe.