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Classic Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
Our family’s favorite well spiced Pumpkin Roll!
We love this amazingly light and spongy, well spiced Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling. The pretty swirled cake is festive, not overly sweet and great for holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Our easy Pumpkin Roll makes a stunning presentation and couldn’t be easier to create! The cake batter comes together quickly and bakes in under 15 minutes. The overall hands-on time is less than 30 minutes giving you plenty of opportunities to squeeze this recipe into your holiday menu.
Most of the time listed for this quintessential fall favorite is for cooling and chilling. Make it the night before and chill until needed. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving and enjoy.
Overview of ingredients:
For the pumpkin roll:
- powdered sugar
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- pumpkin spice – if you don’t have pumpkin spice on hand, use a combination of cinnamon and ground cloves. Pumpkin spice is also sold as pumpkin pie spice. You can also make your own DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice.
- room temperature eggs
- granulated sugar
- canned pumpkin puree
For the cream cheese filling:
- cream cheese at room temperature for easy blending
- unsalted butter at room temperature
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- (optional) lemon juice for a nice tangy and bright citrus flavor
Equipment needed to make Pumpkin Roll:
- 10×15-inch jelly roll pan
- parchment paper
- clean, thin kitchen towel
Overview: how to make Pumpkin Roll
1. How to make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Leave extra paper hanging over the sides of the pan. Set aside.
Spread a clean, thin kitchen tea towel out onto the countertop. Sift powdered sugar over the towel. This will be used to roll up the cake.
First whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Next, in a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs using an electric mixer until lightened and thick, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the pumpkin puree and blend on low just until incorporated.
Using a spatula fold in the flour mixture until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter spread evenly.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched or a toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
2. How to roll the pumpkin cake:
Carefully turn the hot cake out (face down) onto the prepared, powdered sugar coated towel. Carefully remove the parchment paper and discard.
Slowly roll the cake up into the towel, starting with a narrow end. Cool completely before filling, about 2 hours.
3. How to make the cream cheese frosting / filling:
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until blended and smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, if using. Beat until blended.
4. How to fill the cake roll:
Gently and slowly unroll the cooled cake. Dollop the filling over the cake then spread evenly leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges.
Re-roll the cake leaving the towel behind. If any part of the cake sticks to the towel while rolling, use a small paring knife or thin spatula to help loosen and pull away.
Seal the cake roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24.
To serve, unwrap the cake and place on a serving platter. Sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake, slice and serve.
What we love about this Pumpkin Roll cake recipe
We love how easy this cake is to make and how pretty it is once rolled and filled.
It’s a simple cake with a perfect combination of flavors.
We’ve made this cake many, many times over the years. Most of the time we use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice but have added up to 2 teaspoons total for extra flavor. If your family is nuts for pumpkin spice everything, 1 1/2 teaspoons may be a great place to start.
The cake is not overly sweet but has plenty of flavor from the pumpkin spice and tangy cream cheese filling.
To brighten the flavor just a little, we add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice to the silky, rich cream cheese filling. Lemon is a terrific flavor that complements many pumpkin and gingerbread recipes.
Make ahead Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
As mentioned above, this cake is best served after it’s had time to chill. It won’t hurt to wait 18 hours or so before serving.
However once dusted with powdered sugar the cake is best eaten within a few hours. Powdered sugar soaks into this moist sponge and disappears leaving the exterior somewhat moist.
This melted sugar does not affect the flavor of the cake. It only makes the exterior somewhat damp. Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days if well sealed in the refrigerator.
For best results dust with powdered sugar right before you’re ready to serve and enjoy!
What’s your favorite holiday pumpkin recipe?
We love our pumpkin desserts and have many tested and perfected recipes you might like to try:
Thanks for PINNING!
Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
- 10×15-inch jelly roll baking pan
For the pumpkin roll:
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar for dusting on towel before rolling up
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour (100g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (add up to 1 additional teaspoon for more spice)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar (222g)
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin puree (165g)
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted (115g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan with parchment paper with extra hanging over sides. Set aside.
- Lay a thin clean kitchen tea towel out flat on a clean kitchen counter. Sift powdered sugar over the towel.
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl combine the eggs and sugar. Using an electric mixer beat until lightened and thick, about 6-8 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until smooth. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and then carefully turn the cake out (face down) onto the prepared sugared towel. Gently peel off the parchment paper and discard. Slowly roll the cake up in the towel, starting with narrow end. Cool to room temperature before filling.
To prepare the filling:
- Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, if using. Mix on low until blended and smooth.
- Gently and slowly unroll the cooled cake. Dollop the cream cheese filling evenly over cake then spread leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Re-roll the cake (without the kitchen towel). Wrap the cake roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
- Unwrap the cake roll and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Use a serrated knife to slice into 1-inch thick pieces. Store leftovers in an airtight container with a lid.
- Substitute 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves for the pumpkin spice
- Pumpkin Roll can be made the day before serving.
- The cake should be served immediately after sprinkling with powdered sugar.
- The surface of the leftover cake may be moist after the powdered sugar soaks into the sponge. The cake is still good to eat for several days. Add fresh powdered sugar to the leftover roll before serving if desired.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Originally published November 2010, updated November 2021