The ultimate sponge cake, angel food cake is the perfect sunny weather dessert because it’s so airy and refreshing. (There’s no fat at all.) If you use a box mix as your base for the roll, it’s also incredibly simple to put together – no fretting about over-beating the egg whites or having too heavy a hand with the flour, or trying to figure out what to do with all those leftover yolks.

Plus, it calls for just 15 minutes of baking time, so you won’t even heat up the kitchen.

If you’ve never done a jelly roll-style cake, this might seem like a sure-fire recipe for disaster. I know I was a bit nervous about trying my hand at it. But the cake actually ended up being really easy, if somewhat messy (I sent icing sugar flying everywhere when I flipped the cake out of the pan.) The only real challenge was finding a clean dish towel.

Some notes of caution: Resist the urge to grease the pan before adding the batter (the cake won’t rise properly if you do) and don’t panic if the cake feels sticky when you start to pull off the parchment – it will easily peel away. Also, be sure to flip the hot cake (with oven mitts) onto the dish towel in one fell swoop. It won’t break in half, I promise.

Be generous when dusting the dish towel with icing sugar. It will prevent the cake from sticking to the cloth.

You’ll be amazed at how easily the cake rolls up inside the towel, but you have to work fast, while the cake is still warm and pliable (cake stiffens as it cools). Don’t be afraid to roll it as tight as you can, as that will result in more spirals of filling.

The cake unrolls just as effortlessly after it’s cooled. It will have a slight curve, so it neatly rolls back up once it’s been filled.

I used a red, white and blue combo of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, but any combination would work.

For a more decadent dessert, you could add 3 tablespoons of cocoa to the batter and some grated semi-sweet or milk chocolate to the icing for a chocolate roll.

Or go even lighter, and simply dust the cake roll with icing sugar instead of icing it, and serve the remaining fruit on the side.

However you make it, one thing is guaranteed: You will have guests oohing and aahing, and the cake will quickly disappear.

ANGEL FOOD CAKE ROLL WITH SUMMER BERRIES

This version of an angel food cake is light, fruity and creamy. Recipe adapted from www.tasteofhome.com

boxed angel food cake mix
1/4 cup plus 3/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar, divided
225g light cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups diced fresh strawberries, divided
1½ cups fresh blueberries, divided
1½ cups fresh raspberries, divided

For the sponge

Preheat oven to 175°C. Line the bottom of a 28x40cm jelly roll pan with parchment paper (make sure that it lays flat on the bottom). Do not grease the pan.

Prepare angel food cake mix according to package directions.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden and springs back when lightly touched.

Loosen cake from the edges of the pan.

Spread out a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup icing sugar. Flip warm cake out onto the towel and carefully remove parchment paper while cake is still warm.

Immediately roll up cake, in the towel, starting at the short end. Place seam-side down on cooling rack and let cool completely at room temperature, 1 to 2 hours.

For the cheese cream

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.

Add 3/4 cup icing sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on low until combined, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes until fluffy and stiff peaks form.

Unroll cooled cake and spread with half of the cheese cream. Top with half the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

Carefully roll cake back up and place on a serving plate.

To ice

Spread top and sides with remaining cheese cream and top with remaining berries.

angel food cake

Ice the outside of the roll and top with remaining berries.

Serve immediately (leftovers are best eaten within 24 hours). – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Tribune News Service/Gretchen McKay