Pumpkin Roll Cake

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This easy Pumpkin Cake Roll is made with tender pumpkin cake and a heavenly cream cheese filling. Plus my mess-free method for making this roll is super simple!

Looking for more pumpkin recipes? For more great ways to enjoy pumpkin, check out my Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting or my Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cake Roll collage

An Easy Pumpkin Roll Cake Recipe

Pumpkin Cake Rolls are such a classic at this time of year. The tender pumpkin cake with the cream cheese filling – what’s not to love? Not to mention that it’s a fairly simple dessert to put together, makes a great presentation and is perfect for sharing, which is what the holidays are all about.

The only problem with cake rolls is that cracking is scary and does happen. And ALL THE MESS. After testing lots of Pumpkin Cake Rolls and various methods, I’m excited to share my tips for making a cake roll without a towel and all the mess. Plus, my tips for a beautiful and crack-free cake roll.

slices of pumpkin cake rollpumpkin cake roll with powdered sugar being sprinkled on top

How to Make a Pumpkin Cake Roll

So to start, let’s talk about how to make a Pumpkin Cake Roll. The actual baking of it is actually super easy and quick and this recipe is particularly simple and tasty.

Ingredients for a Pumpkin Roll:

  • Flour
  • Baking powder and baking soda – I really prefer the texture you get from using both in this particular case. The baking powder helps things hold together well, while the baking soda adds to a tender texture.
  • Spices – Don’t skimp on what makes pumpkin flavored things so good – the spices! There’s plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in here to make sure your pumpkin roll doesn’t lack for flavor.
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Pumpkin Puree – This is actual canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Vanilla Extract

Making the Pumpkin Roll Cake

To get started, you’ll need a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan.

This next part is BIG – line your pan with parchment paper. Not just a little bit, but parchment that rises up above the sides of the pan. You’ll use the parchment paper later to roll your cake roll. NO TOWEL REQUIRED! Instead of flipping out a cake onto a towel, just lift the cake out of the pan and roll it into the paper it’s already sitting in. EASY PEASY!

Not only does that prevent all the crazy powdered sugar mess, it also keeps you from having to destroy a kitchen towel and wash it later. Big win!

Ok, so back to the baking part.

Once your pan is set up, you’ll combine your dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Next, add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until they’re combined. You don’t want to over mix here – you could end up with a tough cake.

Spread the batter evenly in your parchment-lined pan and that’s it! It’s ready to bake and only bakes for about 15 minutes. Once it’s baked, it’s time for the real fun to begin.

overhead slices of cake roll

how to make a pumpkin cake roll photo collage

How to Roll Your Pumpkin Cake & Prevent Cracking

When your cake comes out of the oven, you’re going to go ahead and roll it while hot, starting at one of the shorter ends. Rolling it while it’s hot helps it to “form” to the shape you need it in. Rolling it while cool will lead to cracks. The moisture that sets in during the cooling process also adds to the texture of the cake and helps as you un-roll it so that it doesn’t crack.

You also want to be very careful and gentle while unrolling the cake roll. Work slowly and use an offset spatula or something to help keep the cake pressed down onto the counter as it unrolls. It if sticks to the paper and lifts up, that’s when cracks can happen.

After rolling your pumpkin roll, you’ll let it cool before filling it so that the filling doesn’t melt after it’s added.

The final step is to add the cream cheese filling and refrigerate it for an hour or so to firm up before serving. You can serve it with a little powdered sugar dusted on top, if you like, and you’re done! Such a super simple, yet delicious dessert!

taking a bite out of cakecake roll on a tray with slices cut

Does a Pumpkin Roll need to be refrigerated?

Because of the cream cheese filling in the cake roll, this should be refrigerated. I’d recommend refrigerating it for at least an hour after filling it so that the filling can set and firm up.

How Long does a Pumpkin Roll last?

A Pumpkin Cake Roll should be good if kept well wrapped in the fridge for 2-3 days. It can also be frozen (again, well wrapped) for 1-2 months. When you’re ready to use it, just thaw it in the fridge overnight.

More Great Pumpkin Recipes

Cheesecake Swirl Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Cupcakes
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Pumpkin Layer Cake
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer Cake

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Pumpkin Cake Roll recipe
Recipe

Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy Pumpkin Cake Roll is made with tender pumpkin cake and a heavenly cream cheese filling. Plus my mess-free method for making this roll is super simple!


Scale

Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • 3/4 cup (98g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (207g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (155g) pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 oz (226g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (28g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Make sure the parchment paper sticks up at least an inch above the sides of the pan on all sides. You’ll use the parchment paper later to lift the cake out of the pan and roll it up.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract together until well combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together just until combined. Do not over mix.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
6. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on the counter.
8. While the cake is hot, use the parchment paper the cake was baked in and start at the shorter end of the cake to slowly roll the cake up. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
9. When the cake has cooled and is ready to be filled, make the filling. Add the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and mix until well combined and smooth.
10. Unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it.
11. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper.
12. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
13. When ready to serve, dust the top of the cake roll with powdered sugar. Cut into slices.
14. Cake roll is best when served chilled and stored well covered in the fridge. Best if eaten with 3 days.


Keywords: pumpkin cake roll, pumpkin roll, thanksgiving dessert, how to make a pumpkin roll cake, best pumpkin roll cake, easy pumpkin roll cake

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Recipe rating

27 Comments
  1. Denise Yeager

    This was my first attempt at making a pumpkin cake roll. I found your recipe very easy to make! Your helpful hints and pictures assisted a lot. The cake unrolled and rolled up perfectly. The only change I made was I used gluten free flour and added an additional 1/4 tsp. Baking soda and powder as my daughter in-law is gluten intolerant.

    We won’t taste it until tomorrow at our Thanksgiving feast but if it tastes as good as it looks we are in for a real treat!

    Keep coming up with these great recipes, I love them ♥️

  2. Jennifer

    Another delicious recipe! 4 of your recipes are part of our Thanksgiving feast! I am thankful that generous and talented people like you help make my world brighter by sharing your love of baking!

  3. Debbie

    Hi Lindsay, I make a pumpkin roll every year for the holidays. I always use the waxed paper, powdered sugar, towel method and although messy, it comes out great. Made this for a dinner yesterday and tried using your method to avoid the mess. Made two separate pumpkin rolls and both cracked. I followed your instructions to a tee including using an offset spatula to unroll. The cake still tasted great and no one knew the filling showing was due to a crack, but I did. So back to the old messy method for me. 

  4. Ellen Manalo

    Hi Lindsay! I always wanted to make cake roll but I don’t own a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan because my oven cannot accommodate a pan bigger than 9×13 cookie sheet. Do you think I can use that instead of 15×10 inch? Thanks in advance for replying and warm regard from the Philippines!

    1. Lindsay

      The only thing is that you might want to reduce the batter and I’m not really sure how much to say since I haven’t tried it. If you add all of the cake batter to a smaller pan, it’s going to be thicker and will likely give you trouble. It could overflow pan or just be too thick to roll well.

    2. Peyton

      Hi! I thought I would chime in here; I’ve been making pumpkin rolls on cookie sheets since I was in middle school and it’s always worked well enough for me. I’ve always just put an even layer of batter on the pan and baked according to the directions and they’ve always come out fine. I think it does come out a little thick, but as long as you roll tightly you should still get a pretty spiral. One day I’ll invest in a jelly roll pan, but cookie sheets do an okay job for now. Hopefully this helps (:

  5. Debbie

    Lindsay, could you use a pumpkin spice mix if so how much would you add? Thanks for the recipes all your recipes are wonderful. I like this parchment paper method with the towel method the tops of the cakes seem to get a damp funky texture that I don’t like. Hopefully, the parchment paper will not do that. I love the pumpkin rolls but stop making them because of the texture on top of the cake.

    1. Lindsay

      I assume you are referring to the spices. That would be fine. I would probably add 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons.

      As for the damp funky texture, that’s more than likely just part of the roll itself. When the cake is rolled up hot like that and cools, the trapped heat turns into moisture and is what I think you’re referring to as far as giving it that damp top. The moisture actually helps with being able to roll and unroll the cake so it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  6. Kim

    Do you spray the pan and parchment paper with cooking spray? When I was younger the sweet elderly ladies at my church would get together and make these for the Holidays, I never got to join them and have always wished I had taken the time to have spent a day with them making Pumpkin Cake Rolls, and with your recipe and pictures I am going to attempt one for Thanksgiving!! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12