Lemon Custard-Filled Cake Roll

Lemon Custard-Filled Cake Roll
20 min
25 min
10 servings
This classic Spanish dessert of a rolled sponge cake filled with a creamy lemon custard is called brazo de gitano or “gypsy’s arm.” Nobody seems to know how the cake got this name, though one explanation is that the cake roll is thick like a muscular gypsy’s arm. The scrumptious cream filling is often flavored with sherry, rum, caramel or coffee.


A can of Evaporated Milk with an image of evaporated milk pouring onto a white spatula.
Evaporated Milk

NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

12 oz


  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Peel of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons sweet sherry
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided (to sprinkle on towel and for topping)
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 1/2 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Ground cinnamon powder for dusting


Step 1

Dissolve cornstarch in water in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Add egg yolks; mix well. Add evaporated milk, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, until mixture just comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Strain into small bowl. Discard lemon peel and cinnamon. Stir in sherry. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 375º F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Step 3

Combine flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt in small bowl. Beat eggs in medium mixer bowl until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and lemon zest. Beat for 4 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Stir in flour and salt. Lightly fold in butter. Quickly pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly.

Step 4

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool completely on wire rack. (Otherwise, the cake will be difficult to roll.)

Step 5

Unroll cake, remove towel. Spread filling over cake. Top with pine nuts. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and cinnamon before serving.