unikko deco roll cake

unikko deco roll cakeAlright, this one is a kind of a doozy.  This one was a labour of love.  It goes beyond the usual philosophy of this blog and employs a bit more labour, time and patience then my standard posts, but I just couldn’t help myself.  It had to be done.  HAD to.

There was no special occasion for this cake, except that I had to try it.  Regardless, does there really need to be a special occasion for cake?  Pshaw… I didn’t think so!

unikko patternThis deco roll cake is a lemon sponge filled with cream cheese frosting.  The outside is colourfully decorated with the classic Unikko floral pattern by Marimekko, which just happened to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary this past year.  I love this pattern.  And although it may look like an intimidating pattern for a cake, it was actually simpler to do than you think.  I’m not saying it didn’t take it’s sweet time, hell yes, it did.  I’m saying it wasn’t overly difficult.  Unless you don’t have patience.  I have patience.

There are so many beautiful examples of deco roll cakes out there on the web.  So many patterns, from simple polka dots to tartan, and even those cut little minions from Despicable Me.  I went with the Unikko pattern because my piping skills are … well … not the best.  (Pattern available at the end of the post).

unikko deco cake sliceThis pattern is soft and forgiving for a poor piper like me.  A perfect grid of polka dots terrifies me.  If I ever did polka dots, it would have to be a random pattern or I should say, it would become random *lol*.  I suppose I could just practice.  One day!

unikko pattern frozen multiYou can see my completed, piped flowers.  Note; I’ve lain the batter a bit too thick.  Make sure you make it as thin a layer as possible.  Think of it like painting the batter on.

unikko multiI think this cake is beautiful and cheery for spring.  And mother’s day.

unikko deco roll cake

unikko deco roll cake


    For the Pattern
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, scant
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp dutch process cocoa, reserved
  • For the Cake
  • 4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • For the Filling:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


    For the Pattern:
  1. Line jelly roll pan very neatly (including sides) with parchment paper. Place printed template under the parchment so the 11 inch side of the paper stretches across the 11 inch side of the pan, about an inch in from the end of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then add egg, then flour. Mix untill well combined. Remove about 1/8 of the batter to another bowl, add 1/2 tsp of dutch process cocoa and enough black gel colouring to achieve solid black.
  3. Put black batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain small tip, or if using disposable bag, cut a small opening. Pipe areas of the pattern that show as black (middle of flowers & stems). It does not need to be a thick layer. When finished, place tray in freezer for at least 15 minutes before adding next colour.
  4. Take another 1/8 cup of the remaining batter for the pattern and add some yellow food colouring gel. Fill piping bag. Remove tray from freezer and pipe the yellow portion of the flowers. Place tray back into freezer for at least 15 minutes again before adding final colours.
  5. Take remaining batter and colour it red with gel paste and fill piping bag. Remove tray from freezer again and pipe the outline of the flowers, fill the inside of the flowers by piping extra and spreading it with the back of a small teaspoon. Place back in freezer for at least half hour.
  6. For the Cake Batter:
  7. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  8. Place the egg yolks and icing sugar in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until the yolks have doubled in volume and hold a ribbon when the whisk is lifted, about 4 minutes. Add in the lemon zest.
  9. In a separate, or cleaned, grease free bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt on low speed until foamy, then increase the speed to high and pour in the granulated sugar, whipping until the whites hold a medium peak.
  10. Sift half of the flour into the yolk mixture and add all of the poppy seeds, and fold in using a whisk, then fold in half of the whipped egg whites. Repeat with the remaining flour, and then change to a spatula to fold in the last of the whites until evenly incorporated.
  11. Remove the pan from the freezer and pull the template out from under the parchment paper. Spread the batter over the pattern, taking the time to ensure the batter is level. An offset spatula is helpful here.  Run your thumb or finger around the edges of the pan wiping off any excess batter.
  12. Bake the cake for about 12 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the centre. Let the cake cool for about 2 minutes on a cooling rack, then loosen the sides with a spatula. Invert onto a clean tea towel that has been sifted with icing sugar.  Peel off the parchment paper and dust this surface with icing sugar, cover with another clean tea towel, flip the cake again so the pattern is is now face down.  Roll the cake up from the 10-inch side with the towel and let it cool almost completely (cooling it rolled sets it so the cake won’t crack once filled).
  13. For the Filling
  14. Beat together the ingredients for the filling.  Unroll the cake and spread in an even layer over the cake.  Roll the cake back up again.  Serve immediately or cover and store in refrigerator for a day or two.

Special equipment: 11x15 jelly roll pan, printed unikko pattern, piping bag & tips, gel food colouring (black, yellow, red), parchment paper, sifter, 2 clean tea towels at least as large as the jelly roll pan, room in the freezer for the baking sheet to lay flat.


unikko deco cake sliced

 Printable Unikko pattern PDF.

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