Traditional Jam Roly Poly


A classic golden oldie of the pudding world, perfect when served warm from the oven, this certainly staves off the hunger pangs as a teatime treat.

Here's how you do it

1.       Start by popping your oven on to 180 degrees.

2.       Next, line a relatively deep baking tray with greaseproof paper, as you will be baking this cake in a shallow rectangle to roll up later.

3.       Now place another roll of greaseproof paper on your work surface and sprinkle with a fine layer of sugar, which we will use in a moment.

4.       Now whisk your eggs and icing sugar until they thicken and fold back on themselves.

5.       Fold in your flour, suet and water until it resembles a cake batter.

6.       Pour your batter into the lined baking tray, pushing out the mixture to the sides and corners evenly and bake in the oven for around ten minutes, until it just starts to brown, but is still spongey. Keep an eye on it as you do not want it to burn.

7.       Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes and then quickly, but carefully, turn it out, upside down, onto the sugared paper, removing the paper that it cooked on, which will now be on top.

8.       Using scissors, cut off one end of the paper next to a shorter side and working quickly, yet carefully again now roll up your cake, with the paper inside, into your roly poly shape and leave this to cool for around 15 minutes in this position. And do not worry if it cracks a little as you roll, it all adds character, but do try to roll carefully as if there are too many cracks, the jam will fall out!

9.       Heat your jam in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water and gather a pastry brush, although a spoon works fine here too.

10.   Now carefully unroll your cake and spread the entire rectangle with the warmed jam. You can trim the edges before rolling again, however I like the rustic effect and leave them in place.

11.   Once all the jam has been spread out evenly, roll it all back up again (minus the paper this time!) and sprinkle the top with a little more sugar before serving.

This delicious pud is best served on the day it is made. Although simply refresh it the day after by heating it up and adding lashings of custard or cream.  Of course, you can use any jam as a filling – damson, blackcurrant, lemon curd, even apple puree, all make for a scrummy and filling sweet treat. On the note of jams, have you tried our Apricot and Amaretto Jam from The Wooden Spoon? It’s divine, be that in a roly poly or slathered on a crispy crumpet, this is definitely one to try.

Um. On a side note, this dessert is also perfect for Halloween as its nickname is Dead Man’s Arm (!), as it was once traditionally boiled or steamed in an old shirt sleeve. Don’t let this creepy piece of information put you off! But thank goodness the recipe has been adapted over time to be baked, am I right?


  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g suet
  • 75ml water
  • 5 heaped tbsp of The Wooden Spoon raspberry or strawberry jam, warmed
  • Granulated sugar to sprinkle

What’s in this recipe