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Dec 14, 2010 08:11 AM

Whatever happened to jelly rolls?

It was a staple of my childhood, not from home cooks but from bakeries or the grocery store baked goods. I remember small ones, a la Twinkies or Dolly Madison cakes, and larger ones, perhaps 5 or 6 inches in diameter. Seemingly always a red filling, which I now realize was raspberry jelly, and crunchy sugar on the exterior. Are they still around in any part of the country?

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  1. I'm in Northern New Jersey and they are still in some bakeries I pop into.

    In this area, the produce stores are dominantly Korean owned. The produce is cheap by supermarket standards, but what's even more cheap, is the bread and bakery items if available. Most of the bread is supplied by either Italian, Portuguese or other Latin baker......of the two or three dessert type items they will stock.....the most prominent one is the Jelly Roll.,,,,yellow cake, not sponge. It's about 6-7 inches in length and costs $3.49 each.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      I've had yellow-cake jellyrolls back when they were popular nationwide, and always thought they were a poor substitute for the sponge ones my grandma made. That's the one application for which I think that slightly rubbery kind of cake is superior, though some of it might have had to do with her generous filling of real homemade raspberry jam, not jelly. It's been over half a lifetime since I've had one, but my French sister-in-law uses the same technique - and cake - to make a splendid buche de Noel.

      I guess that's just another one of those desserts we lost interest in. Been a long time since I've seen an iced angel-food cake in a bakery department, too, and I must say I don't miss them.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Yes, here in Montréal we have bûches de Noël, and they are definitely a roll cake with jam, jelly or something similar to ganache or dulce de leche. The Spanish brazo de gitano is also a roll cake. As for the plainer ones, I fear they may have gone out of style due to the rather woeful corporate versions described in the opening post. Homemade ones are a nice simple pastry if the cake and the jam are good. Psst, you can put a bit of booze in the cake. ;-).

    2. Jelly rolls for me were donuts filled with raspberry jelly. Oh how I loved those. I haven't seen them for years, but I haven't been in a donut shop for years.

      1. Didnt they have some coconut on outside clinging to red jam?????