Pumpkin Roll Cake

This easy Pumpkin 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!

Two slices of Pumpkin Roll Cake layered in front of the rest of the Pumpkin Roll Cake on a white platter.

An Easy Pumpkin Roll 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. I’ll also share my tricks for a beautiful and crack-free cake roll!

Before we get to that, though, if you’re looking to add some more pumpkin cake recipes to your recipe box, check out this easy pumpkin cake, this pumpkin pound cake, this pumpkin chocolate chip bundt cake, and this cinnamon streusel pumpkin coffee cake.

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Cake Roll

As you can see from the list above, there are so many ways to make a delectable pumpkin cake. Here’s why I think this pumpkin roll recipe is a winner:

  • Ultra-moist. This pumpkin cake, made with eggs and pumpkin puree, is so moist and tender. Every bite is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!
  • Super sweet. The rich pumpkin flavor in the cake blends PERFECTLY with the sweet cream cheese filling. Words cannot describe how good this pumpkin roll recipe tastes!
  • Crowd-pleaser. Kids and adults alike will be obsessed with this pumpkin cake roll. Frankly, you don’t even really have to wait until fall to make it if you don’t want to!
Seven slices of Pumpkin Roll Cake overlapping each other on a white table top.

Recipe Ingredients

Let’s go over these pumpkin roll ingredients. If you scroll down to the recipe card below, you’ll find the exact ingredients and the full set of directions.

For the Cake Roll

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is all you need for this recipe.
  • Baking Powder & 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 the 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.
  • Salt: To balance out and enhance the sweetness of the other ingredients.
  • Eggs: To bind the ingredients together and to add moisture.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar is my go-to for this recipe.
  • Pumpkin Puree: This is actual canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract is best!

For the Cream Cheese Filling

  • Cream Cheese: Make sure that your cream cheese comes to room temperature before you begin.
  • Salted Butter: This also needs to be at room temperature.
  • Powdered Sugar: Sifting out the lumps beforehand will ensure that the filling comes out smooth.
  • Vanilla Extract: Again, pure vanilla is the way to go.
Side view of a Pumpkin Roll Cake in a white platter and powdered sugar being sprinkled on top.

How to Make a Pumpkin Cake Roll

Now it’s time to talk about how this pumpkin cake roll comes to be. The actual baking of the cake is super easy and quick!

  • Preheat the 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.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
  • Stir together the wet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract together until well combined.
  • Combine the dry and wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold them together just until combined. Do not over-mix.
  • Bake the pumpkin cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Roll the cake. Remove the cake from the oven, immediately lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper, and place it on the counter. 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 it aside to cool completely.
  • Make the cream cheese filling. 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.
  • Fill the cake roll. Unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least an hour to firm up.
  • Serve and enjoy. When ready to serve, dust the top of the cake roll with powdered sugar and cut it into slices.
Overhead view of five slices of Pumpkin Roll Cake spread out on a white table with three pumpkin shaped candies.

How to Roll Your Pumpkin Cake and Prevent Cracking

There are a couple of notes on the rolling technique that I’d like to share so that the process is as straightforward as possible!

  • Roll the cake while it’s still hot. 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 unroll it so that it doesn’t crack.
  • Unroll the cake roll slowly and gently. You 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.

Tips for Success

Okay, you’re almost a complete pumpkin roll expert! There are just a few more general tips to go over:

  • Line your pan with a large sheet of parchment paper. Not just a little bit, but parchment that rises up above the sides of the pan. Then, once the cake has finished baking, instead of flipping it out onto a towel, just lift it out of the pan and roll it into the paper it’s already sitting in. EASY PEASY! Also, not only does this prevent all the crazy powdered sugar mess, it also keeps you from having to destroy a kitchen towel and wash it later. Big win!
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. This could result in pumpkin cake that is tough and dry instead of moist and tender.
  • Let the cake cool before you add the filling. After rolling your pumpkin roll, let it cool before filling it so that the filling doesn’t melt after it’s added.
  • Refrigerate the cake before you serve it. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my pumpkin roll sticky?

As mentioned above, moisture sets in during the cooling process, which will help you unroll the cake roll without it cracking. But, it could also make your pumpkin roll a little sticky. If this happens, just dust it with a little powdered sugar and the problem should be solved.

Why is my pumpkin roll soggy?

This might happen if you put your cake roll in the fridge before it has completely finished cooling. If you wait until it has fully cooled to fill it with the cream cheese, though, you will be sure to avoid this problem!

A slice of Pumpkin Roll Cake with a bite removed on a white plate next to a fork.

Can I Make This Pumpkin Roll Recipe Ahead?

Yes! This pumpkin roll cake can be made a day or so in advance if you like. Follow the directions and then keep the roll refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it up.

How to Store

A pumpkin roll should last for 2-3 days if it is kept well-wrapped in the fridge. It’s best served chilled, so just take it right out of the fridge and enjoy when you’re ready to snack on it again!

Can I Freeze This Pumpkin Roll?

Yes. 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 Pumpkin Dessert Recipes

Want to try out some more easy pumpkin desserts? They’re perfect for fall!

Print
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Two slices of Pumpkin Roll Cake layered in front of the rest of the Pumpkin Roll Cake on a white platter
Recipe

Pumpkin Cake Roll

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

Description

This pumpkin roll is made with moist pumpkin cake and a rich cream cheese filling. It’s a classic fall dessert with easy-to-follow directions!


Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake Roll

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

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (173g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon 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.


Notes

  • To store. A pumpkin roll should last for 2-3 days if it is kept well-wrapped in the fridge. It’s best served chilled, so just take it right out of the fridge and enjoy when you’re ready to snack on it again!
  • To freeze. 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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 394
  • Sugar: 49.3 g
  • Sodium: 293.3 mg
  • Fat: 14.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 61.3 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 106 mg

Keywords: pumpkin cake roll, pumpkin roll, pumpkin roll recipe, libby’s pumpkin roll

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33 Comments
  1. Mary Taves

    Hi
    Loved the recipe-very easy ! I had trouble with the parchment paper sticking to the cake when I tried to unroll it -I used a long knife to separate the cake from the paper and it groped -could be the parchment paper I used too! 
    Also I made it sugar free using Splenda and Swerve confectioners sugar-turned our just fine! 

  2. 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 ♥️

  3. 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!

  4. 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. 

  5. 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 (:

  6. 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.

  7. 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 a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29