Watermelon Cake Roll

This summer watermelon cake roll would be so fun to include at a watermelon themed food party!

So continues my love for all things watermelon ????

If you’re interested in more cute watermelon themed desserts, check out our watermelon marshmallow slices and watermelon cupcakes

I decided to take our standard cake roll recipe from this post* and transform it into a watermelon (figuratively speaking) really easily with some food coloring!

It wasn’t until AFTER I made the cake roll that I realized I could have (and should have) flavored the filling to be watermelon flavored! You can easily do that by adding a packet of watermelon kool-aid powder to the filling!

Adults might not be as crazy about the flavor, but I bet kids would really enjoy it!

Cake rolls can be a little finicky, especially if it’s your first time, so I’ve included lots of tips and tricks to ensure that yours turns out as best as possible!

Tip #1: Make your filling first. That way it’s done and can be in the fridge chilling until you need it. Once the cake comes out of the oven, you have to work fast.

Tip #2: Powdered sugar is going to be the cake roll’s best friend. Once the cake comes out of the oven, you need to roll it. This will give the cake “muscle” memory. For successful rolling, I recommend that while the cake roll is baking, rub powdered sugar on BOTH sides of a towel. The more powdered sugar you put on, the less likely the cake roll will stick.

Why both sides? Because once you start rolling the cake up, the outside of the towel will get rolled into the cake, and to prevent sticking, we want everything to be coated in powdered sugar.

Tip #3: Once the filling is inside the cake and it’s rolled back up, put the cake roll in the fridge for about 2 hours to firm up. This will help prevent your cake roll from getting all smushy when you go to slice it.

Tip #4: Add more chocolate chips than you think. I should have added more because they do disappear in the filling. You can use regular chocolate chips or minis!

For a step-by-step of how to make this watermelon cake roll recipe, watch this short video:

Watermelon Cake Roll

Total Time:3 hours

This summer watermelon cake roll would be so fun to include at a watermelon themed food party!



  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Leaf green gel food coloring (I used wilton brand)


  • 4 oz, 1/2 package, cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups cool whip
  • Red and pink gel food coloring (I used red no taste wilton brand and pink wilton brand)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (regular or mini)


  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • Leaf green gel food coloring (I used wilton brand)



  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer, 1 minute.
  2. Add in the cool whip and mix gently with a spatula.
  3. Add in a small amount of red no taste gel food coloring and pink gel food coloring. Mix until you get your desired color. Add more food coloring as needed.
  4. Cover the bowl and place the filling in the fridge to chill.

Topping (green coconut)

  1. Place the shredded coconut in a ziploc bag and add a small amount of green leaf gel food coloring to the bag. Zip close, and shake the bag until the coconut is green. Add more food coloring to get a more intense color.

Cake Roll

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a jelly roll pan (15x10) with parchment paper and spray the paper with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, beat all 4 eggs on high with an electric mixer for 3 minutes. The eggs will turn pale yellow. Continuing beating the mixture as you slowly add the sugar. Add in the vegetable oil, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla, beat lightly. Spoon in the flour mixture, mixing until it’s just incorporated. Add a small amount of leaf green gel food coloring, mixing until the color is even. Add more food coloring for a more intense color. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch. Note: while baking lay a towel on a flat surface. Dust both sides of the towel with a generous amount of powered sugar. This is to prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.
  5. Once the cake is done baking, immediately turn it over onto the towel with powdered sugar. Roll the cake around the towel. Place the rolled up cake on a rack to cool for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Once the cake is cool, unroll the towel carefully, using your fingers to help release the cake from the towel. Spread the filling over the cake roll, leaving about a 1/2 inch gap around the edges. Add the chocolate chips. Roll the cake roll back up and place it on a tray, seam side down.
  7. The outside of my cake roll was sticky so I was able to use my hands to pat the coconut onto the cake roll. If you're cake roll isn't sticky on the outside, you could make a simple glaze (powdered sugar + milk) and use that to moisten the outside of the roll, then pat the coconut all over the cake roll.
  8. Place the cake roll in the fridge to chill for at least 45 minutes. The longer you let it chill, the easier it will be to slice.
Notes: If you want the filling to be watermelon flavored - add 3/4 tsp powdered watermelon kool aid mix.