This gluten and dairy free roll cake combines the taste of comfort food with the appearance of a sophisticated dessert. The gluten free vanilla sponge is fluffy and flavourful, and goes wonderfully together with the dairy free chocolate frosting. The polka dot pattern adds the finishing touch, and only contains natural colourings.
I love polka dots. I also love complicating things. So, knowing this, and also knowing that I’ve never made a roll cake before… of course my first roll cake would be gluten AND dairy free, with a polka dot pattern. Of course.
Despite my being a roll cake newbie, it turns out that adding polka dots to a roll cake is… a piece of cake (sorry, bad pun) and that making a gluten and dairy free roll cake isn’t that difficult after all.
There are many things to love about this polka dot roll cake.
It’s cheerful and fun and it makes you happy just looking at it.
The vanilla sponge is fluffy and full of flavour.
The chocolate frosting is rich, decadent and chocolatey.
The polka dots are adorable and 100% naturally dyed.
And this delightful dessert is gluten and dairy free.
And it looks AMAZING, despite being easy to prepare!
Now, there was going to be a video. But some clips have mysteriously disappeared (I blame the recipe-video-stealing ninja monkeys), so just a written recipe it is. However, this polka dot roll cake recipe was inspired by the amazing roll cakes by The Novice Housewife, who has made a super handy video tutorial on how to make patterned sponges.
You might think that making a patterned roll cake is waaaay too much effort and waaaay too difficult – but, honestly, if I could do it (with my very first roll cake, at that), then so can you. Okay? Okay.
Plus, it looks bloody amazing.
Now, I could end this post by repeating just how amazing and delicious and pretty and scrumptious and mouth-watering this gluten and dairy free polka dot roll cake is. But I have something far more pressing on my mind. Is it a roll cake, or has it been a cake roll all along?
Gluten & Dairy Free Polka Dot Roll Cake
For polka dot pattern:
- 1 egg white
- 2 1/2 tbsp (30 g) caster sugar
- 1/4 cup (35 g) plain gluten free flour blend (I've used a simple store-bought blend of rice, potato and maize flour with no added xanthan gum)
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3/4 tbsp raspberry reduction (Note 1)
For vanilla sponge:
- 4 medium eggs
- 1/2 cup (90 g) caster sugar
- 1 cup (145 g) gluten free flour
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable or coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For chocolate frosting:
- 1/2 of dairy free chocolate frosting recipe made with the largest amount of cocoa powder suggested (Note 2)
You will also need:
- 10 x 14 inch baking sheet
- 2 piping bags with small round piping nozzles
For polka dot pattern:
- Line the baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the egg white with the caster sugar.
- Add the gluten free flour and xanthan gum. Mix well until homogeneous.
- Add the vegetable or coconut oil and mix well.
- Split the mixture into two, and add cocoa powder to one half and the raspberry reduction to the other half. Mix well.
- Transfer each polka dot mixture into a separate piping bag with a small round piping nozzle.
- Starting with one colour (e.g. pink), pipe a row of small dots about 5 mm in diameter about 1 1/2 inch apart onto the lined baking sheet. Pipe the next row about 3/4 inch away from the first one. The dots in the second row should be halfway between two dots in the first row. Repeat until you cover the baking/greaseproof paper.
- With the other colour (e.g. brown), pipe small dots also about 5 mm in diameter in between the pink ones along each row (try to place them halfway in between). Do not pipe in between the rows. Repeat until you get an even pattern of dots of alternating colour.
- If any dots have peaks or are unevenly shaped, use a slightly damp/wet finger to correct them.
- Freeze the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes.
For vanilla sponge:
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 ºC (350 ºF).
- In a bowl, whisk together eggs and caster sugar with either a stand or a hand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is pale, fluffy and has increased in volume about 3 - 4 times.
- Sift together the flour, xanthan gum and salt.
- Add the sifted flour mixture, vegetable or coconut oil and vanilla extract to the egg-sugar mixture and fold them in. Mix until everything is evenly incorporated and until the volume has decreased by about 20%.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and spread onto it the vanilla sponge batter. Using a spatula, even out the batter.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven at 175 ºC (350 ºF) for 7 - 8 minutes or until the sponge feel springy to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Note that the baking time depends strongly on the oven, so keep an eye on the sponge!
- While the sponge is baking, prepare a baking sheet covered with a damp tea towel. Place a piece of baking/greaseproof paper on top of the tea towel (the piece should be slightly larger than the vanilla sponge). Have another large plate or baking sheet ready.
- Immediately after removing it out of the oven, turn the vanilla sponge onto the second plate/baking sheet (the one without the tea towel). Carefully remove the baking/greaseproof paper to reveal the pattern.
- Turn the sponge onto the baking sheet with the tea towel and baking paper so that the side without the pattern faces up.
- Tightly roll up the vanilla sponge together with the damp tea towel and baking/greaseproof paper.
- Leave rolled up until completely cooled.
- Once completely cooled, unroll the sponge and spread the chocolate frosting evenly on top.
- Roll the sponge back up – tightly, so that no holes remain between the sponge and the frosting.
- It is easiest to cut the roll cake with a piece of thread. Place it under the cake in the position where you want to make the cut, cross it over the top and pull. You should get a clean cut with no frosting spread over the sponge. For an even cleaner cut, place the roll cake into the firdge for about 15 minutes before cutting.
- The roll cake keeps well wrapped up in cling film in a cool dry place (or the fridge) for about 3 - 4 days (but only if you hide it really well).
Looking for more gluten free goodness? You’ve come to the right place!