Sushi Roll Cake

I’ve made sushi cakes before, but this time I wanted to take it a bit further and make a sushi roll cake!!

The key to making a good sushi cake is having jet black frosting and perfectly sized candy “rice.”

image of a sushi roll cake made for a birthday

Through trial and error, I’ve found that white jelly beans (the coconut flavor, to be specific) work best! I get mine at my neighborhood candy store, but if you can’t find them you could also use white sprinkles, or shredded coconut.

For the jet-black frosting, I use my tried and true black frosting recipe. There are a few tricks to getting a deep color. I love to add black cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate and making it a couple days in advance. As crazy as it sounds, the frosting deepens in color overtime.

One thing to quickly note! In the tutorial video for this cake I made it with a surprise inside center. I used colorful cake layer cut outs to make the inside look like a real salmon avocado sushi roll.

However, after realizing how much extra work it is I’ve modified this sushi roll cake recipe to be a bit simpler.

Substitutions and Swaps – Vanilla Cake Layers

This sushi roll cake recipe use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make:

  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cake layers.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Egg Whites – If you want to use whole eggs in place of the egg whites in this recipe, use 4 whole large eggs. Of if you have an egg allergy you can use 4 flaxseed eggs or 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce + 1 extra Tbsp baking powder.
  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, sour cream, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
  • Vanilla Extract – You can use another extract in its place to flavor the cake layers! Almond, coconut, or even lemon would all taste great!

Substitutions and Swaps – Vanilla Buttercream

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Vanilla Extract – You can use another extract in its place to flavor this frosting! Almond, coconut, or even lemon would all taste great.
image of american buttercream colored and ready to make a sushi roll cake

Tips for Making the Best Sushi Roll Cake:

  • Don’t overmix your batter! Mix on the speed the recipe recommends until the flour is just combined.
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour! Either spoon it into the cup measure, then level with a knife or use a kitchen scale.
  • Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature to help them mix together better.
  • Don’t level your cake layers until they are completely cooled.
  • This recipe can also be used to make four, 6″ cake layers! They will need slightly longer to bake, and I recommend baking them at 325F for 33-36 minutes.
  • Make this sushi cake vegan or dairy free! Use your favorite type of dairy free milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream, vegan butter sticks in place of the butter, and flax seed eggs.
  • If you can’t find white jelly beans, use white sprinkles or shredded coconut as your sushi rice.
image of a sushi roll cake

Making This Sushi Roll Cake in Advance and Storage Tips

  • Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The frosting locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious! Just wait to add the jelly beans until you plan to serve it so that they don’t lose their color.
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this sushi roll cake recipe, please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets, so I can see your beautiful creations!!

Also leave a comment below, and a rating to let me know your thoughts.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 24

Sushi Roll Cake

image of a sushi roll cake made for a birthday

This sushi roll cake is perfect for any sushi lover! It's made with deliciously moist cake layers & is decorated to look just like a sushi roll.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 2 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cake Recipe

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar (600 grams)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (10 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226 grams) - 2 sticks
  • 1 cup pasteurized egg whites from a carton (or about 7 egg whites) (235 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (345 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (28 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams; 1 lb box)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (12 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams; 2 lb bag)
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (45 grams)

Ingredients to be Added to the Frosting To Color It Black

  • black gel food coloring
  • 1/3 cup black or dark cocoa (33 grams)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled (90 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp Heavy Cream (15 grams)

Additional Decorations & Equipment

Instructions

Vanilla Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 8" pans with parchment rounds, and grease with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Mix together 3 cups all purpose flour, 3 cups sugar, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer until fully combined.
  3. Mix in 1 cup of unsalted butter slowly into the dry ingredients on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain and the mixture looks crumbly.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of egg whites and mix on low until just incorporated. Mix in 1 1/2 cups buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  5. Add in 2 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on a low speed for about 30 seconds to make sure everything is properly mixed together.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared pans. I like to use a digital scale to make sure each pan has the same amount of batter, so that each cake layer is the same height.
  8. Bake for 32-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the pans to cool for 10 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  9. Place cake layers into the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
  10. Use a serrated knife to level the tops of the layers right before you plan to assemble your cake, or you can wrap and freeze them in you're making them in advance.
  11. If you make these cake layers in advance and freeze them, let them thaw for about 20 minutes before making your cake. The cake layers should still be slightly cold to the touch, which will make it easier to assemble your cake.

Vanilla and Black Buttercream Frosting:

  1. While the cake layers bake and cool, make the vanilla buttercream frosting.
  2. Beat 2 cups of unsalted butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds until smooth with a paddle attachment / stand mixer or a hand mixer.
  3. Mix in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed.
  4. Slowly add in 7 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with 3 Tbsp of heavy cream or milk, and mix on a low speed. I like to place a kitchen towel over my mixer to contain any powdered sugar clouds.
  5. Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  6. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  7. Place 1/3 of the frosting in a separate bowl and color it black with 3 squirts of black gel food coloring, 1/3 cup black cocoa, 1/2 cup of melted and cooled dark chocolate and 1 additional Tbsp heavy cream. Mix with a rubber spatula until the frosting is evenly colored.
  8. Leave the remaining frosting uncolored. Cover both frosting bowls with plastic wrap and set aside.

Decorating This Sushi Cake:

  1. Stack and frost cake layers on a greaseproof cake board, using a dab of white frosting to help stick the first cake layer to the board.
  2. Add an even layer of the uncolored white vanilla buttercream between each cake layer with a large offset spatula.
  3. Add a thin coat of frosting around the cake, fully cover the cake layers.
  4. Smooth using a bench scraper, then chill the cake in the fridge (20 minutes) or freezer (5 minutes) until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  5. Add a second, thicker layer of black frosting around the sides of the cake and smooth using a bench scraper.
  6. Spread a thin layer of white frosting on top of the cake.
  7. Color 1/2 cup of frosting a salmon color with pink and orange gel food coloring, and 1/2 cup green with electric green food coloring.
  8. Use a small offset spatula to cover a 4 inch circle on top of the cake with the green and salmon colored frosting, making half the circle salmon colored and the other half green. The goal is to make this look like the salmon and avocado filling in a sushi roll. Pipe thin lines of of white frosting on top of the orange frosting to look like thin ribbons of fat that are found in salmon.
  9. Fill in the top of the cake around the green and orange frosting with white jelly beans to look like rice.

Notes

Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them: It breaks the process up and make it more approachable.

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Yield

24

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 571Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 69mgSodium 263mgCarbohydrates 78gFiber 1gSugar 62gProtein 5g

7 thoughts on “Sushi Roll Cake

  1. This recipe is one of my favorites (although I am completely enamored by ALL your cake recipes and decorative creations!!). My boyfriend’s two favorite things in this world are sushi and cake, so I’m about the win Girlfriend of the Year if I can pull this off for his birthday tomorrow! ?
    Thank you for such a detailed tutorial, the photos and videos are especially amazing as I’m a visual learner. I spend hours watching your content!
    On a side note, congratulations for having the courage to leave corporate America and pursue your dreams. I also chose to go against the norm and do what I love for a living (a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and Hollywood stunt woman) but not many people are willing to take that leap of faith. That in itself is just as inspiring as any of your cake creations! It’s awesome to see your joy and success. Keep up the beautiful (and delicious!) work!! ?

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Jessi, you have one lucky boyfriend!! I bet he’s going to love it, I hope it turned out wonderfully <3

      And omg that is incredible! Leaving my job to bake wasn't too crazy, but becoming a full time acrobat is wild!! I'm so happy you took the leap too, I think that it helps us do our best work, when we love what we do 🙂 I wish you all the best too!

    2. I’m so happy to hear that Jessi, you have one lucky boyfriend!! I bet he’s going to love it, I hope it turned out wonderfully <3

      And omg that is incredible! Leaving my job to bake wasn't too crazy, but becoming a full time acrobat/ stunt woman is wild!! I'm so happy you took the leap too, I think that it helps us do our best work, when we love what we do 🙂 I wish you all the best too!

  2. Hey making this for my sushi loving sons birthday. Tomorrow will dark coco work if I cant find black coco?

Let me know what you think!