minnie mouse cake roll -- for a three-year-old's birthday
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This is a slight variation from the Hello Kitty cake roll I made for Sky-Girl's birthday last year. Look to that post for success tips. Make sure you beat the egg whites to hard stiffness; otherwise, you'll send up with a sweet omelette.
  • 2 large eggs (1 egg works too, but the two seem to be better for the consistencies I want)
  • scant ⅓ cup (60 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup + 1 heaping tablespoon (80 g) all-purpose flour
  • Scant 3 tablespoons (40 grams) of unsalted butter, softened
  • Black, yellow, and red food coloring
  • 10 eggs, separated
  • 1½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1¾ cup (155g) cake flour 155g
  • scant 1⅓ cup (260g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional -- but good!)
  • 1½ cups whipping cream, or a bit less (it will squish our as you roll up the cake)
  • a bit of sugar to sweeten the whipped cream
  • fresh strawberries, sliced to sprinkle on the inside of the cake (you'll need a large handful)
  • SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: Three piping bags or prepared parchment cones, three #1- or #2-sized piping tips (depending on the detail of your design), 11x17-inch pan, a clean tea towel the same size as the baking pan. If no piping bags, the small amounts you need for detailing Minnie's face work well in Ziploc bags with the corner cut off (very small corner).
  • You also need food coloring to make Minnie's face: black, salmon pink (or other hairbow or tongue color), white (for eye whites; get white food coloring -- it exists!), and pink (or other polka dot color).
  1. PIPING THE DESIGN: Mix the ingredients for the piping batter, mixing well to make smooth. Divide the batter into five bowls. Mix up black (for ears, eyes), salmon pink (for tongue and bow), pink (for polka dots), light brown-pink (for face), and white (for eye whites).
  2. Fill each a piping bag (or Ziploc) with each color.
  3. NOTES ON TEMPLATE: I found a cartoon picture online and printed it out for my template. If you are using lettering or designs that are enantiomeric, make sure to reverse your design for the piping!*
  4. Position the chosen template underneath the parchment-lined pan. Lightly butter the edges of the pan, but not the bottom where the parchment is. I've actually kept them unbuttered without an issue.
  5. Pipe Minnie's outline with black, and do her eye pupils and ears. Make sure you do the details thickly, meaning you don't to just shallowly paint on the nose and eyes. The colors need to be anchored into the cake. Otherwise, the details will come off when you roll up the cake. We will work on overlaying parts of the design to help with this in the next steps.
  6. Freeze to firm up design. Give it about 10 minutes at least.
  7. Now, pipe on the bow, tongue, and the whites of Minnie's eyes. It's ok if you go over the eye pupils with the white: the other side against the parchment is what we will see. we are adding layers of color underneath. Freeze again.
  8. Next, pipe the face color on, completely covering the previously piped details and taking care to cover the black lines defining her face (see my photos in the post). This will help keep the fine lines on the cake. You can also add the polka dots on the background design here. Freeze again.
  9. CAKE BATTER: Meanwhile, mix up the cake batter.
  10. In a very clean mixing bowl attached to a stand mixer, whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and HALF of the sugar to stiff peaks. Transfer the cloud of egg whites to a large bowl and set aside.
  11. Don't wash the bowl you whipped the egg whites in, add whip attachment, and add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and remaining sugar. Beat until pale yellow, smooth, and ribbons in texture.
  12. Sift the flour one third at a time over the yolk mixture, folding it in.
  13. Turn your attention to the egg whites and similarly fold them in to the yolk mixture. Take care to fold gently and not smash. Fold until you have a fairly homogeneous batter, a few white streaks being okay.
  14. Using a larger piping tip or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off, pipe cake batter gently onto the now-frozen design, trying to fill all the nooks and crannies. Or, gently lie the batter on top of the cold design and gently push batter into place. The better you do this, the less air bubbles will be present in the final design and the less your polka dots will look screwy.
  15. Bake in the oven for 7 minutes at 375 degrees F, turn pan 180 degrees with pans doubled (one pan under another to prevent browning on the bottom), and bake for 6 more minutes or until cake tester comes out clean in the center or close.
  16. REST 'N ROLL: Cover the cake with the clean tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  17. Use a knife to release the edges if not already pulling away and, starting at a shorter width, roll up gently, keeping the towel atop the cake and the parchment stuck on the design surface. Make sure you start on the end of the cake you want tucked inside, so your Minnie Mouse faces are exposed on the outside of the roll. Allow to cool completely, towel rolled up, at least 30 minutes. This step is important to help keep the cake roll from cracking. The unfilled roll up while cooling helps with the cake's "memory" of the final intended shape. You also have to wait until the cake is completely cool to fill it with whipping cream as a warm cake plus whipped cream equals a soggy mess.
  18. FILLING PREPARATION: When the cake is cool, mix up the filling.
  19. Whip whipping cream until stiff. Add a tiny bit of sugar if you desire (I send to undersugar because the cake is already so sweet.)
  20. When cake is cool, unroll gently and peel off parchment paper. Add a larger and clean piece of parchment underneath the cake (this will wrap up the cake when chilling). Trim outside seam edge if raggedy.
  21. Spread whipped cream onto cake, sprinkle with chopped/sliced strawberries.
  22. Using parchment to help roll, roll up cake gently. Roll up into parchment and tuck or twist ends as if you were wrapping a large piece of candy. Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge to chill for at least two hours. Wrap with foil if freezing. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. Serve with fresh berries, if desired. Keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. If using ice cream, soften it first, roll and freeze for at least an hour to firm up. Ice cream cake keeps well for weeks if tightly wrapped.
* Some important notes on design: Remember that your design will be mirrored once the cake is rolled up. In other words, if you write lettering, it will be backwards on the finished product unless you pipe it backwards. My Minnie Mouse is a face-on view, both her halves mirror images. No issues here.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at https://www.storyofakitchen.com/miscellaneous-recipes/minnie-mouse-cake-roll-for-a-three-year-olds-birthday/