Love is all around with hearts and strawberries and fluffy cream cheese rolled into a light almond cake. I've created a twist on the classic jelly roll that is a Valentine's dessert as sweet as those you love.
Keyword: cake roll, Valentine's Day Strawberry Cake Roll
Line the bottom of a jelly roll pan (10-by-15 inches) with parchment.
To make the heart pattern batter: with an electric mixer, whip egg white and sugar until soft peaks form. Mix in oil and then fold in flour by hand. Divide batter in half and color half red and half pink with food coloring. Place each color in a small ziptop bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Pipe hearts, dots and designs onto parchment and freeze the pan 20 to 30 minutes.
To make cake batter: heat oven to 350º F. With an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, whip eggs and salt until very light and fluffy, 10 minutes with a hand mixer, six minutes in a stand mixer. Gradually add the sugar while mixer is going and then beat another four to five minutes.
In a small bowl, stir about ½ cup of the egg mixture into the melted butter with the almond extract. Then stir butter mixture back into the mixing bowl to combine with the rest of the fluffy egg.
Stir the flour into the batter until just combined. Immediately removed pan from the freezer and gently spread cake batter over the frozen heart designs. Bake until cake is light golden brown and is just firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
While cake bakes, prepare a clean dish towel by lightly dusting it with confectioners’ sugar. Have a second clean towel on hand. When cake is done, let sit in pan about one minute and then run a knife around the edges to gently loosen. Turn cake onto prepared towel. Remove parchment and lay second towel over the top of the heart designs. Carefully flip cake over in the towels.
Remove the towel from the plain side of the cake, then roll the warm cake inside the second towel from one short end to the other. The heart designs should be facing outward. Let cake roll cool for about 20 minutes.
To make the filling: Beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until very smooth. Add heavy cream and almond extract and whip until mixture if fluffy and stiff, about two minutes. Unroll cake and spread the plain inside surface with a thin layer of strawberry jam. Gently spread cream cheese filling over the jam, it will be about 1/4–inch thick. Roll cake back up over filling.
Wrap cake roll in the towel and refrigerate two hours or overnight. Trim ends and serve on a platter with strawberry slices as garnish if desired.
One thing that is different with this Valentine's cake roll is that because the heart design is on the bottom when baked, you need to do an extra flip once the cake is out of the oven. Usually you simply turn the cake out and roll. Here I used two clean kitchen towels to do this, turning the cake out of the pan, pulling off the parchment, then laying another towel on top and flipping over. Then simply roll the cake up in that towel to let it cool in the shape of a spiral.