This pumpkin roll recipe with the best cream cheese filling is a favorite you’ll make year after year. It’s easy to freeze and serve with my tips for how to roll a pumpkin roll successfully every time.
Does the world needed yet another pumpkin roll recipe? This recipe proves the answer is YES.
This is one recipe that made me fall in love with pumpkin-flavored everything. The first of course being the classic pumpkin pie. I mean, what 8-year-old doesn’t love pumpkin pie? The third are my light as a pillow pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Fall wouldn’t be the same without them.
My mom always made this pumpkin roll recipe to welcome in fall and it was a popular neighbor gift for the holidays. As soon as we could smell the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin wafting from the oven, we knew the leaves would soon begin falling from the trees.
Today I’m sharing an important tip for baking it in the pan, the easy way for how to roll a pumpkin roll, and the how to make this pumpkin roll with or without nuts.
Looks like the world DOES need another pumpkin roll recipe.
What’s in This Recipe?
The individual components of this pumpkin cream cheese roll are easy to prepare. It’s assembling the pumpkin roll that takes a little practice, but with my tips there’s no reason to fret, you can do it. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy pumpkin roll recipe:
- Granulated sugar
- Pumpkin puree
- Lemon juice
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Chopped nuts
- Powdered sugar
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll
Assembling the pumpkin roll can be a bit finicky, but with a few tricks up your sleeve you should have no trouble creating this tubular stunner.
First, prepare your baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper. Don’t skip the parchment paper! It will make transferring this thin sheet cake a whole lot easier to manage. I like parchment paper like this that’s pre-cut so I don’t have to leave anything to guess work.
Then, whisk together the pumpkin roll cake batter and spread it in a thin, even layer over the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired.
TIP: Once the cake is baked, transfer the sheet cake while still warm to a light flour sack kitchen towel (one without any nap) generously sprinkled with powdered sugar to cool completely while rolled. The key here is you don’t want the cake to stick to the towel but you do want the cake to cool into that tubular shape when you roll it into itself. The towel will act like the cream cheese filling at this stage.
Once the cake has cooled, gently unroll it and spread with the best part of this dessert: the cream cheese frosting. I use an offset spatula to make it smooth. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools.
Roll the pumpkin cream cheese roll back up again and chill until ready to serve.
How to Store a Pumpkin Roll
This pumpkin roll cake should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. I recommend waiting to slice the cake until you’re ready to eat it, as the edges tend to dry out over time in the fridge.
Can I Freeze a Pumpkin Roll?
Yes, this pumpkin cream cheese roll freezes well. Once you’ve assembled and chilled your cake, slice it and wrap each slice in plastic wrap. Place on a baking tray to freeze, then store the slices in a freezer bag once they’ve hardened.
When you’re ready to eat the frozen pumpkin roll cake slices, place them in your fridge to thaw.
Can I Use Sweet Potato Instead of Pumpkin?
I’m not sure. I’ve only ever made this pumpkin roll with canned pumpkin puree, so I can’t speak to how using cooked, mashed sweet potato would affect the texture of this cake. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!
What Type of Nuts Should I Use?
I recommend using chopped walnuts or pecans for this pumpkin roll recipe. Peanuts and cashews are too strongly flavored and don’t pair well with the spiced pumpkin cream cheese roll.
A BIG TIP for Making This Dessert
There’s a trick to baking the pumpkin roll that I forgot about until my mother in law remade this recipe. It’s one that didn’t need to be addressed when my mom made the recipe for us a kids. See, my mom uses really flat baking sheets with no sides to them. The kind you could find in pretty much any grocery store. I, however, use these high-side baking pans.
TIP: The secret to a successful pumpkin roll is when spreading the batter, leave a gap between the batter and the edge of the baking sheet so that as it bakes, the expanding cake doesn’t touch and glue to the sides of the pan. This will make it so much easier to lift from the pan.
You can make this recipe with or without nuts as I did for this post. If you like nuts, you’ll want to sprinkle them on top of the batter before baking and lay the nut side of the cooked cake onto the powder sugared towel as described below.
More Pumpkin Desserts You Have to Make
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mascarpone Pumpkin Mousse Cups
- Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce
- Pumpkin Tiramisu
The Best Pumpkin Roll Recipe
This pumpkin roll recipe is a favorite you'll make year after year. It's easy to freeze and serve, or perfect for holiday neighbor gifts.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 small lemon juiced
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped nuts optional
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-8 ounce package cream cheese (brick-style) softened
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs for 5 minutes, then gradually add sugar. Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice until well blended.
In a medium size bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Fold into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Take care not to over mix the batter so it stays light.
Spread the mixture onto a 10x15-inch baking sheet or jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper, leaving a 1/2 inch space from the sides of the pan. Top the pumpkin mixture with the chopped nuts if desired.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, generously sift powdered sugar on a clean, fine napped dish cloth or flour sack. After removing the pumpkin cake from the oven, immediately invert onto the powdered sugar covered dish cloth. Sprinkle with more powdered sugar and roll the cake up in the dish towel. Allow to cool completely.
Unroll the cake. Mix the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. Roll up again and chill. Slice into pieces and serve or freeze.
More Easy Cake Recipes You’ll Love
- German Chocolate Cake
- Confetti Cake with Buttercream Frosting
- Vanilla and Chocolate Marbled Bundt Cake
- Devil’s Food Bundt Cake with Chocolate Espresso Ganache
- Grilled Strawberry Shortcakes with Balsamic Vinegar
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