If there ever was a time we needed comfort food it is today.     Something sweet to sooth the soul and have you smiling with delight.  A jelly roll to the rescue.    What a delightful idea.  Bake a cake.   Spread jam on it and roll it up.  Easy, peasy.   The ingredients  are all there in your kitchen – eggs, sugar, flour, flavouring and jam.

A classic sponge cake is not difficult to make.  Simply carefully follow the instructions. The eggs must be a room temperature, or a little warmer, and then beaten with sugar for at least ten minutes, or until thickened, tripled in bulk and full of air. It requires no leavening other than the air that is beaten into the eggs.  Carefully fold in the flour being careful not to disturb the air bubbles too much.  Then spread into the prepared pan

Don’t over bake your cake.  It will not roll easily and will crack. Depending on your oven bake for 18 to 20 minutes.  ( I hesitate to suggest the 20 minutes  but your oven may be on the cool side.)

While your cake is baking sprinkle a clean dish towel with sugar.  As soon as you take it out of the oven lay the long edge of your pan on the towel  and turn out your cake.

Lift the pan off the cake.

Trim the edges of your cake and then peel off the paper.  Trimming the cake makes it easier to roll.

While the cake is still warm starting with the short end roll the cake  and lay it with the edge seam side down.  Let it cool thoroughly before unrolling and filling.  If you are apprehensive about rolling the cake use the towel to help you.   When the cake is cool carefully unroll the cake and towel.

Use any desired filling.  Jam, jelly, lemon curd, whipped cream.  Just be sure it spreads easily.  If the jam or jelly is a little thick heat it gently before spreading it on the cake.  Using a small strainer dust the cake with lots of icing sugar.  You can also frost the cake with your favourite frosting.

This recipe calls for superfine granulated sugar and pastry or cake flour.  If you don’t have these in your pantry it is easy to make them.  For superfine sugar put at least one and a half cups of granulated sugar into your food processor and process for a few seconds.  Not too long or you’ll end up with sugar powder.   Measure your sugar after you have processed it.   You can always find a use for extra  super fine sugar.

For pastry or cake flour do this.  Take one cup of flour and remove two tablespoons of flour.  Add two tablespoons of corn starch (corn flour) to the cup. I put two cups of this mixture through a sifter five  to six times.    From this take the required amount of flour for your recipe.    Set aside the extra cake flour for future use.

The happy little jelly roll recipe awaits you in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

Bon Appetit dear friends.  Take care.  Stay safe.







Proust dipped a madeléine into his tea and  wrote about the all-powerful joy of remembering the past.    I paged  my stained and wrinkled family cookbook and  “the memory revealed itself”.  I discovered my own exquisite pleasure, my own memory, “the remembrance of things past”.

My Dad  in the kitchen baking.  Eggs whisked.  Flour folded.  A fragrant tray of cake baking.  The memory, the absolute delight of watching a tender sponge cake spread with homemade jam then  rolled in gritty sugar  become a jelly roll.  The very name made it seem like a cake especially made for children.  A cake you would take on a picnic and have a jolly jelly roll time.


A teddy bear’s picnic for one.



I’m three and styling in my new blue silk ruffled dress my mother brought back from England.



Three years later and the first picnic of the season, a spring picnic. It’s chilly so the drinks were hot and we three sisters are  wearing beautiful cable-stitch sweaters knitted by Mum.  Behind us is the playhouse our Dad built complete with veranda and fake chimney.

Those were happy times  and I’ve recaptured them in the kitchen with an old fashioned jelly roll.   If you have eggs and flour and jam in your pantry  you are half way there.  It is good for the soul, and delicious with tea.


This recipe seems long enough to be a novel, but it is really simple to make. I am passing along a few tips that will ensure this dessert a complete success.  Just read it carefully before you start.

3/4 cup sugar (plus about 1/2 a cup for coating the cake)

1/2 cup water

5 large eggs (at room temperature as always)

Minced zest of one lemon

2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Scant 3/4 cup all-purpose flour measured after sifting once

About 1 1/4 cups thick jam. It should be very spreadable.

Place a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 375F.  Line an 18 x 12 inch baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the paper or brush with oil.

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and the 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar over low heat, then bring to a boil, and boil for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the sugar syrup from the heat, immediately turn the mixer on high-speed, and slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the bowl as you whip the eggs.  (The syrup must be poured slowly down the side of the bowl-avoiding the whisk-so as not to spatter.)  The eggs will turn runny and loose, then will whiten and lighten.  Continue whisking on high-speed until completely cool, about 5 minutes.  The eggs will more than triple in volume and turn pale.

Remove the bowl from mixer.  Add the zest and the juice, then fold in the flour, 1/4 cup at a time.  ( I keep a rubber spatula specifically for folding egg whites.  Over time oil from other baking can permeate the spatula and deflate your whites)

Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth with a spatula.  Bake for 10 minutes , or until the cake is pale with touches of brown at the edges and is pulling away from the edges of the pan.  Remove from the oven, and set aside for a moment.

Rinse a tea towel in cool water, then wring it out thoroughly.  Lay the cloth flat on the counter, with a long side facing you, and sprinkle on about 1/2 cup sugar in a rectangular area the size of the cake.  Carefully flip the cake out onto the sugared towel, with a long side toward you and the underside of the cake facing up.  (It may feel a little scary the first time you do it, but in fact the cake just drops easily out of the pan and onto the sugar.)  Peel off the baking paper.  (The surface of the cake that is on the sugar will eventually be the outside of the roll.)

Spread the filling in a thin layer all over the cake, leaving a 1/2 border along the far side.

Grasp the towel under the front edge and use it to start rolling the long end of cake away from you.  Once you get the first edge turned, roll carefully, then pull the towel tightly around the outside of the cake and tuck in to hold the roll in shape.  Let stand for 3 minutes.   ( I must confess.  I got carried away with what I was doing and started rolling the cake from the short end.   You get less slices but it is still good.)

Unwrap the roll and place seam side down on a long platter.  Let cool for 30 minutes before slicing.  Serve with tea while reading Proust.


You can fill your jelly roll with thick custard, home made jelly, lemon curd or even whipped cream.