This Pumpkin Roll features moist, perfectly spiced pumpkin cake and a sweet luscious cream cheese filling – it’s got a wow factor when served but actually quite easy to make, and perfect for any holiday table!
The Best Pumpkin Roll Recipe
Move over pumpkin pie, this pumpkin roll cake is about to become the star of the Thanksgiving dessert table!
This classic pumpkin dessert is made with a super moist spiced pumpkin cake that’s topped with an irresistible tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting, rolled into a log, and sliced. The end result is a show-stopping slice of pumpkin cake swirled with creamy filling.
Many people think that pumpkin roll cake is difficult to make and while I’ll admit that there are some things you’ll want to be aware of, it’s actually not hard at all. I’ve included all of the best tips and video below to help you as well.
Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting
Here are a few reasons this pumpkin roll recipe will become a fall staple in your recipe box.
- Easier than you think. Pumpkin roll has a reputation for being difficult to make but if you follow the recipe, all of the tips, and video below, I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it actually is.
- Incredible pumpkin flavor. This pumpkin cake roll is made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, giving all the flavors of a classic pumpkin pie in a moist cake filled with cream cheese frosting.
- A Thanksgiving favorite. Pumpkin roll cake is almost as popular at Thanksgiving as pumpkin pie. You may want to make two as it will disappear quickly.
This pumpkin roll recipe is made with pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and a handful of pantry staples.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- All-purpose flour – Use the spoon and level technique to measure it properly as too much flour can affect the success of your pumpkin roll.
- Cornstarch – This helps provide a more tender crumb to the baked cake.
- Baking powder – Gives the cake lift as it bakes in the oven.
- Salt – Balances out the sweet flavors.
- Eggs – Provides structure to the cake batter.
- Pumpkin pie spice – You can grab some at the store or use my homemade pumpkin pie spice recipe.
- Sugars – You’ll need both granulated sugar and light brown sugar in the cake for best flavor.
- Pumpkin puree – Make sure to use canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling is already seasoned and sweetened.
- Vanilla extract – Used in both the cake and the frosting for flavor.
- Powdered sugar – Used to dust the towel when rolling the cake and to sweeten the filling.
- Cream cheese – The base of the frosting. Soften to room temperature before using.
- Unsalted butter – Since salt is added to the cake, it’s best to use unsalted butter in the frosting.
How to Make Pumpkin Roll Cake
It does take a few hours to make this pumpkin roll cake, due to cooling and chill time, but the hands-on part is likely easier than you think.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions, and don’t miss the video below.)
- Prepare the pan. Line your 10×15 jelly roll pan with parchment paper, making sure it extends over all sides.
- Make the cake roll batter. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, both sugars, and vanilla until thick and frothy. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, stirring to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Bake. Transfer the batter to the jelly roll pan, spreading it evenly into all four corners. Bake at 350F for 13 to 15 minutes.
- Roll. Place a clean kitchen towel on the countertop and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Immediately transfer the baked cake to the kitchen towel, gently peeling off the parchment paper. Fold one end of the towel over the short end of the cake and roll gently. Set aside to cool for 2 hours.
- Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, along with the vanilla extract, until the frosting reaches a creamy, fluffy texture.
- Assemble the cake roll. Carefully unroll the cake from the towel. Evenly spread the cream cheese frosting, leaving a one-inch gap on all sides. Gently roll the cake up again, without the towel this time. Place on a platter, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends.
- Chill. Chill the pumpkin roll in the fridge for at least an hour. Unwrap from the plastic, slice, and enjoy!
Tips for The Perfect Pumpkin Roll
Here are a few tips to help you perfect this pumpkin roll recipe.
- Be sure to beat the eggs fully. To achieve a fluffy, sponge-like cake texture, ensure that you beat the eggs for a complete 4-5 minutes.
- What pan should I use for pumpkin roll? For perfect results, use a jelly roll pan with dimensions of 10×15 inches. Avoid using a larger or smaller pan, as it may lead to uneven thickness.
- Roll the cake while it’s hot. Immediately roll the baked cake in a kitchen towel to maintain its shape and prevent any cracking while it cools. If you wait until it cools, it will break.
- Don’t skip the refrigeration step. It helps in obtaining clean slices and prevents the cake roll from cracking. Remember to trim off the ends before serving.
- A few small cracks are common in the roll cake. You can either use excess cream cheese frosting or powdered sugar dusting to conceal the cracks.
- For cleaner slices, wipe the knife between each cut. Don’t worry about the edges appearing flawless; you can trim the log before serving and enjoy the scrumptious end pieces as a treat.
- Add in some toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired. These can add some texture and additional flavor to the pumpkin roll.
Video: Pumpkin Roll
- Storing leftovers. This Pumpkin Roll cake with cream cheese frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days tightly wrapped in an airtight container.
- Can I Freeze Pumpkin Roll? Yes, you can freeze this pumpkin roll cake. Wrap the slices in plastic and then place them in freezer-safe ziploc pouches. Freeze for up to 3 months and thaw in the fridge.
More Pumpkin Desserts:
FOR THE CAKE
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs , at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- powdered sugar (for dusting the towel)
FOR THE FROSTING
- 4 ounces cream cheese , softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a jelly roll pan measuring 10×15 inches and line it with parchment paper, ensuring that the paper extends beyond all four sides. Set the prepared pan aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Give the dry ingredients a good whisk and set them aside.
- In a larger mixing bowl, add the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the ingredients until the mixture becomes thick and frothy, around 5 minutes.
- Add the pumpkin puree into the egg mixture and mix it until you achieve a smooth consistency.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stirring as you go to ensure everything is well combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly and making sure it reaches all four corners.
- Bake the batter in the oven for approximately 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, place a clean kitchen towel on the countertop and evenly sprinkle powdered sugar over it.
- Once the cake is done baking, immediately transfer it to the prepared kitchen towel while it's still hot. Very gently peel off the parchment paper from the cake.Take one end of the towel and fold it over the short end of the cake. Roll the cake gently with the towel. (Refer to the pictures and video for visual aid, if needed.) Set it aside to cool at room temperature for about 2 hours.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Take a large mixing bowl and beat the softened cream cheese and butter together using an electric hand mixer until the mixture becomes smooth and fluffy. This should take around 8 minutes.Gradually add in the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time, along with the vanilla extract, continuing to mix until the frosting is well combined and reaches a creamy texture.
- Carefully and slowly unroll the cake from the towel and evenly spread the prepared cream cheese frosting over the cake, leaving about a one-inch gap between the longest side and the open end of the cake.
- Gently roll the cake again, this time without the towel. Place the cake on a platter and wrap it compactly in plastic wrap, twisting the ends. Let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Remove the cake from the plastic wrap, let it soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes, then slice, serve, and enjoy!