This lovely rolled take on the classic lemon-poppy seed combo is an ideal sweet finish to any springtime meal. Airier than a typical lemon poppyseed cakes, which tend to be quite dense, this roulade with a light and creamy lemon filling. This is a good recipe for first time roulade makers, as we found that this sponge cake rolls very easily with no cracking. And once chilled, the roulade cuts cleanly with no problem. If you want to go beyond a light dusting of powdered sugar to finish, you could also top this dessert off with a simple lemon glaze and toasted, sliced almonds.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest, plus 4 tsp. fresh juice (from 3 lemons), divided, plus additional zest for garnish
3/4 cup (about 2 7/8 oz.) cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 teaspoon table salt, divided
2 cups (about 8 oz.) powdered sugar, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper; lightly grease parchment. Set aside.
Beat granulated sugar and egg yolks with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Stir in poppy seeds, vanilla, 1 tablespoon of the lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice.
Beat egg whites in a separate bowl on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into granulated sugar mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites. Sift cake flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt over egg mixture; gently fold just until incorporated. Spread mixture in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven until cake springs back when touched, about 8 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the powdered sugar evenly over cake. Run a knife along the sides of cake; invert onto a parchment paper-lined work surface. Peel off top layer of parchment from cake; discard parchment. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the powdered sugar evenly over cake. Starting at 1 short side, carefully roll cake and bottom layer of parchment together. Transfer to a wire rack, seam side down, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and smooth, about 4 minutes. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon each lemon zest and lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat heavy cream in a separate bowl on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes; fold into cream cheese mixture.
Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over the cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Starting at 1 short side, reroll cake without parchment. Place cake, seam side down, on a serving platter. Cover and chill 2 hours.
Sprinkle cake with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar; garnish with lemon zest.