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Roll Cake (Bolo de Rolo)

The Roll Cake and Souza Leão Cake are protected, preserved and cherished for their historical, cultural and gastronomic importance to the country.

Roll Cake (Bolo de Rolo)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 04/09/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Roll Cake, a type of Swiss roll with thin layers of a local version of sponge cake, is a Brazilian dessert that originated in Pernambuco, and was officially recognised as a cultural and immaterial patrimony of the State, in 2007, through Law Ordinate nº. 379.

Considered to be one of the typical specialities of Pernambuco cuisine, like the famous Souza Leão cake (which was also recognised as a cultural and immaterial patrimony of Pernambuco, in 2008), the Roll Cake gets its named from an almond-filled Portuguese cake known as colchão de noiva (Bride’s Mattress). In Brasil, the Bride’s Mattress was transformed and underwent adaptations due to the lack of original ingredients in northeast Brazil.

The almond filling was replaced by one made from guava, preferably homemade. The dough was rolled in increasingly thinner layers. In the end, the cake looked like a roll, giving it its name.

It was served as a dessert or snack. An illustrious visitor could not leave a home without sampling a slice of roll cake. In this way, it was used as a way to extend the bonds of friendship, as a way of thanking someone, as a gift or even as a way to ‘soften someone’s heart’. Even Pope John Paul II, during his visit to Recife, in 1980, tried a slice.

Gradually becoming more known and talked-about, roll cake eventually became famous and began to be made in practically all states in northeast Brazil, though the original from Pernambuco retains differences in both taste and the way it is prepared. Tourists and even people from other states “commission” the dessert from a friend or relative whenever they have the opportunity.

Today, the Roll Cake and Souza Leão Cake are protected, preserved and cherished for their historical, cultural and gastronomic importance to the country.

Recipe for Roll Cake

250g sugar/ 250g butter/ 5 eggs/ 250g flour/ ½ can guava paste, melted in a little water.

Mix sugar and butter well, and add egg yolks one by one. Next, add beaten egg whites. Sift in flower and gently mix.
Divide the dough into seven baking trays greased with butter and flour. Bake one by one in a pre-heated oven for a short time.
Remove the dough from the baking trays, placing them on a tea-towel sprinkled with sugar.
Coat each layer with melted guava paste and roll quickly. Repeat until the last layer.

• the dough should be baked in fine layers and remain only a short time in the oven so that they don’t become too dry and brake when assembling the cake;
• the guava paste should be melted with cold water until it becomes creamy and should be spread in thin, uniform layers;
• when serving the cake should be cut in thin slices;
• it can be served with slices of Minas cheese (or edam).

Recife, 30 October 2008.
(Updated on 9 September 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2011.


sources consulted

BOLO-DE-ROLO. Disponível em: < >. Acesso em: 24 out. 2008.

CAVALCANTI, Lectícia. Bolo de Rolo. Disponível em: <,,OI1118181-EI6614,00.html>. Acesso em:  24 out. 2008.

FREYRE. Gilberto. Casa Grande e Senzala. 34. ed. Rio de Janeiro: Record, 1998.

GUSMÃO, Flávia de. Mestrado em bolo-de-rolo. Disponível em: <> . Acesso em: 24 out. 2008.

_______. Patrimônio da gula. Continente Multicultural, Recife, ano 8, n. 90, p. 14-17, jun. 2008.

QUITUTES pernambucanos: bolo-de-rolo e bolo Souza Leão. Disponíveis em: < Acesso em: 31 out. 2008. Site de onde foi extraída a foto que ilustra este texto


how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Roll Cake (Bolo de rolo). Pesquisa Escolar On-Line, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.