Melomakarona Roll

By: Eleni Saltas

Some time after the first pilgrim Thanksgiving and the invention of microwavable pies, someone must’ve lost a pumpkin pie tin and created a pumpkin pie roll. This Christmas I wanted to experiment with a favorite Greek cookie, the melomakarona, and do the same. So voila! I present my version of the iconic Greek Christmas cookie made into a roll, with the outside cake layers infused with honey, cinnamon, and orange zest that you’d find in a melomakarona. Topped with a honey syrup and chopped walnuts, this roll is an elegant treat for Greek pilgrim’s everywhere.

Prep Time:


Total Time:

3-4 hours (w/downtime)


6-8 slices

Good For:



    For the cake:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup orange juice (preferably fresh orange juice so it’s not watered down)
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts (reserve ¼ cup for topping)
  • ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, for towel For the filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugarFor the syrup:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ cup honey

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 15x 10 inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper, allowing some overhang, and lightly grease again for easy removal.

Step 2

For the cake: Using an electric hand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, and applesauce until smooth. Mix in orange juice, orange zest and honey. Add the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder and salt and gently mix in until combined—don’t overmix! Spread batter evenly onto the prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back to touch. Every oven is different so play close attention.

Step 3

While the cake is baking, lay a thin kitchen towel (don’t use a fuzzy towel) or a flour sack (this is what I prefer) onto your counter. Sprinkle with ½ to ¾ cup of confectioners’ sugar. You need this so the cake doesn’t stick to the towel.

Step 4

Once the cake is baked, immediately invert the warm cake onto the towel. Gently peel off the parchment paper. Then, starting with the narrow side of the cake, gently roll the cake up with the towel. Do not tap or press down. Allow the cake to cool completely in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Step 5

For the cream cheese filling: With an electric hand mixer or standing mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add butter, vanilla, honey, and confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Set aside.

Step 6

For the honey syrup topping: In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water and cinnamon stick to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in honey, and set aside to cool.

Step 7

Once the cake is cooled, gently unroll and flatten the cake. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly. Now, gently but tightly reroll the cake (without the towel) and place on a platter or plate and place in the refrigerator again to cool for at least 20 minutes. 

Step 8

When ready, place the roll on a serving platter, drizzle the honey syrup and top with chopped walnuts.*

Recipe Notes

Be sure to read through the instructions thoroughly before starting! I wrote a lot of notes to ensure your success.

*Alternatively, when serving, you can drizzle honey and nuts on individual slices. I’ve found the roll tastes better the next day, so I don’t add the honey until later.