Easter Cherry Explosion Roll

Cream Cheese Cherry Roll - A homemade enriched dough pastry stuffed with cream cheese and cherries. Perfect for big holiday Easter brunch!


Easter Cherry Explosion Roll

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As you can probably tell, I sort of struggled with what I should call this sucker. While the original recipe had a sophisticated name (Yeasted Cheese and Sour Cherry Coffee Cake), I didn’t really think that name did the dish justice. For starters, I don’t really consider it a coffee cake at all. I consider it a pastry roll.

Secondly, the roll kind of exploded in my oven, as you will see. While the resulting explosion was exceptionally delicious, I felt like the name needed to reflect the grandness of the situation.  So I went with Cream Cheese Cherry Roll.  There you have it.

Cream Cheese and Cherry Pastry

Serves 10-12.
Prep Time:
Total Time:
Rated 2.8 out of 5
2.8 out of 5 stars (based on 15 reviews)
Very good33%
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A homemade enriched dough pastry stuffed with cream cheese and cherries. Perfect for big holiday Easter brunch!

Recipe adapted from a Martha recipe.


Enriched Dough:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 envelope)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup warm milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened plus some for bowl
1 large egg + 1 tablespoon milk (for egg wash)
1 1/2 cups cherries

Cream Cheese Filling:

12 ounces cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Simple glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Show Directions

1) Whisk together warm milk and yeast with a small pinch of sugar in a mixing bowl. Let sit for five minutes so the yeast foams. If it doesn’t foam, you need new yeast!

2) Mix in egg and yolk and then add flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt to the milk mixture. Stir until combined.

3) Once the dough is together, switch to dough hook if you’re using a stand mixer and then mix in softened butter. It might look like a mess, but the butter should eventually mix into the dough. If the dough is super-sticky, add a bit more flour. It should be slightly sticky though. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead the butter in by hand.

4) When dough is mixed, remove from mixing bowl and add to a lightly buttered bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours.

5) Meanwhile, make filling mixing together soft cream cheese, powdered sugar, and egg yolk.

6) After dough has risen, roll it out into a large 18 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush edges of dough with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk). Spread cheese filling over the surface of the dough.

7) Distribute cherries over the surface of the dough and roll it into a tight cylinder. Pinch ends of dough and roll it into a curl. Place roll on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

8) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and let dough rise for 30 minutes while the oven preheats.

9) Brush roll with egg wash and cut a few slits in the surface of the roll to let steam escape.

10) Bake dough at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes, rotating pan once half way through. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes until the roll is a nice brown color.

11) Let roll cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing and icing the pieces. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Cream Cheese Cherry Roll

The Enriched Dough

The dough for this Cream Cheese Cherry Roll is one of my favorite doughs to work with because it’s very soft and easy to manage. There will not be any cursing when working with this dough. It rolls easily, rises fantastically, and tastes like you slaved away for hours.

It all starts with a good amount of yeast, warm milk, and a pinch of sugar. Stir that all together and after a few minutes if your yeast is bubbling then you are in good shape.

yeast for Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Bubble bubble.

Stir in the egg, yolk, and sugar, and then add the flour and salt. You should have a dough that is pretty soft and slightly sticky at this point.

If you are working with a stand mixer, you should put on the dough hook to mix the dough now, but you can also just knead the dough by hand in a large bowl.

The kind of weird step about this dough is that once it is mostly mixed you add in 1/2 cup of unsalted butter that has been softened but not melted.

butter - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
This works.

Mix this into the dough using your hands or the dough hook. At first it’ll look like a mistake. The dough will start to kind of separate and your blood pressure my rise a bit. Don’t worry. Eventually, it will come together.

The final dough should be very soft and slightly sticky. If it’s very sticky, feel free to add a bit more flour to it.  Then add the dough to a buttered bowl and let it rise for 90 minutes.

rise - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Ready to rise!

The Filling for Cream Cheese Cherry Roll

While the dough rises, make your cheese filling. This is pretty straightforward. Just stir together the three ingredients in a small bowl.

filling the Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
The basic filling.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. You are shooting for about an 18-inch rectangle.

Again, the dough is super-easy to roll out so this shouldn’t be hard.

Then spread the cheese filling all over the surface of the dough and brush the edges of the dough with egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk).

roll - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Rolled out and cheesed.

Now for the cherries! Just spread them out over the surface of the dough. If you can find fresh, great. I just used frozen though. If you use frozen, make sure to drain them really well.

Cream Cheese Cherry Roll - ready to roll
Plenty of cherries.

Now roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the edges together. You can use your hands to even out the cylinder so it is roughly the same width.

rolled - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Roll it up. Think cinnamon rolls.

Now transfer the cylinder to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and curl it into a spiral shape. Something like this…

curled - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Get it?

Baking the Roll

Once your spiral is made, cover the dough and let it rise for another 30 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then brush the surface of the dough with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top of the roll. This is important to let steam vent from the roll. If you don’t cut some slits in it, it might actually explode.

cut - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Important step to avoid actual explosion.

Bake this sucker at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, turning the sheet once halfway through. Then turn the temperature down to 325 and bake it for another 30 minutes until it is a golden brown color.

Look at this monstrosity!

pretty - Cream Cheese Cherry Roll
Pretty thing.

Let this thing cool for 20 minutes or so and then slice it and ice it. I’m not really sure if there is a correct way to slice this thing. I just sliced it once down the center and then cut it into pieces.

Cream Cheese Cherry Roll from Macheesmo
Sliced and iced!

Whatever you call it, this roll thing turned out fantastic. It’s slightly sweet, but not too sweet. I think if I were to make this again, the only change I might make is to add some lemon zest to the cheese filling to give it some citrus zing.

If you have the time and are looking for a show-stopper baked good, this Cream Cheese Cherry Roll will do the trick!

9 Responses to “Easter Cherry Explosion Roll” Leave a comment

  1. I like the title “Entenmann’s Cherry Danish Loaf Thingy” just for the nostalgia aspect, used to love when my mom brought one home.

  2. Hi Nick!

    Adding butter or shortening after the dough has been kneaded is definitely not a weird step, but usual production practice for mixing brioche, panettone, stollen, babka and other rich dough.

    The reason for it is simple – doughs that have a lot of fat in them have to have a good gluten network (gluten is a protein which makes the dough more stretchy and less liquidy) to support it; however fat seriously hinders the actual development of gluten, because it coats the gluten strands and shortens them (hence the name for shortening, I always thought).

    The solution is mixing the dough as you did – knead it well without fat or with just a fraction of it incorporated until gluten development is satisfactory (the dough has to pass the windowpane test) and then add the fat.

  3. I tought on King Cakes when read the post! It sounds delicious. I know, I know, I am already changing the recipy. I am going to swap the cherries for guava, my favorite… Mmmmmmnnnn!!!!

  4. Hi Nick, great recipe! I’m planning on making this today since I am lucky enough to have the day off from work. I am wondering if there is an advantage to spiraling the finished product prior to baking instead of leaving it as a log. I’m concerned that the slices will look like a mess if I try to cut them from a spiral. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    1. Hey Holly! I don’t think you need to spiral it necessarily, but do cut some slits in it so steam can vent while baking. Good luck!

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