Life·Technical Bake

Bolo de Rolo

This traditional cake from Brazil makes a tempting centrepiece, with a sprinkling of just enough sugar to make it sparkle

This traditional cake from Brazil makes a tempting centrepiece, with just enough sugar to make it sparkle

A rolled cake on a white dessert platter
Bolo de rolo (Photo by: Geoff George)

A traditional dessert from Brazil, bolo de rolo consists of thin alternating layers of lightly baked sponge cake and tangy guava jam, tightly rolled together. It makes a tempting centrepiece, with a sprinkling of just enough sugar to make it sparkle.

The cake requires you to work fast and be consistent and organized, so have all of your equipment at hand!

Bolo de rolo was the Technical Bake for Cake Week in Season 6 of The Great Canadian Baking Show.

Bolo de Rolo


Guava Jam:

  • 1½ bricks (600 g) guava paste, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp port wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt


  • Cooking spray
  • 2¾ cups (615 g) unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft but not melted)
  • 9 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 4½ cups (650 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar


  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided


  • Edible flowers
  • Foliage
  • Egg whites
  • ¼ cup (55 g) superfine sugar


Guava Jam:

Combine all of the ingredients for the jam in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Break up the lumps using a potato masher, and simmer until the guava paste is fully melted. Strain the jam through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside to cool.


Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease three 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pans with cooking spray and line them with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper.

Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter at medium speed until it lightens in colour and is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Place the egg whites in a separate stand mixer bowl, and use the whisk attachment to whip them to stiff peaks. Set aside. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Return the batter to the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour in the sugar and beat for 1 minute, increasing the speed to high for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer on low, add the egg yolks one at a time, waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Gradually add the flour until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the bowl to incorporate any flour stuck to the sides. The batter will be thick. Using a large spatula (and some muscle!), fold in the egg whites, mixing until the batter is smooth and homogenous.

Divide the batter into six equal portions, about 1½ cups (375 g) each. Pour one portion into a prepared jelly roll pan and use a small offset spatula to spread it in a thin and even layer. Firmly tap the pan on the countertop a few times to knock out any air bubbles. Bake in the oven until the top looks dry, matte and light blond, 8 minutes. It should not brown. 

Remove the cake layer from the oven. Working quickly and safely, run a sharp knife around the edges and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Lay a clean tea towel on top, and place an empty half-sheet pan on top of that, right side up. Flip everything over to release the cake. The cake should now be resting on top of the tea towel on the bottom side of the empty sheet pan. Remove the used sheet pan and parchment paper to use again. and gently slide the bottom sheet pan out from under the tea towel. 


Working quickly while the cake is still hot, use a small offset spatula to spread one-sixth (a heaping ⅓ cup) of the warm guava jam on the cake in an even layer. Starting with the shorter edge of the cake, pull up the corners of the tea towel to begin rolling the cake onto itself (minimal cracking is to be expected on the first roll). Continue rolling the cake, using the tea towel for support as needed, until the cake forms a tight even roll. Wrap the rolled cake in a tea towel so it stays warm and keeps its shape.

Continue this process with the rest of the sheets of cake, rolling each new layer around the previous one. (Make sure the new layer overlaps the seam on the roll — this way, there won’t be a gap if the cakes shift.) When all of the layers have been incorporated, rest the cake on its seam and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top. Wrap the cake in a tea towel to maintain its round shape, and cool in the fridge. Trim the ragged edges, sprinkle the cake with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and place on a platter for serving. 

If desired, brush flowers with egg whites and sprinkle with superfine sugar. Garnish the plate with flowers and foliage.

Makes one cake