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Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This Pumpkin Roll recipe is an easy and impressive dessert all year long. We think this version is the BEST with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves—with a smooth and creamy filling from cream cheese and powdered sugar. 

Slices of pumpkin roll on a plate.

About a dozen years ago, my daughter requested a pumpkin roll for our Thanksgiving menu, in addition to the pumpkin pie that we always have.

Lo and behold, the very next day—not kidding, I swear it was the very next day—our local newspaper ran a pumpkin roll recipe in the food section.

I clipped the recipe from the newspaper, and although I have no idea whose recipe it was, someone’s grandmother I believe, I’ve been making it now for several years and it’s absolutely delicious.

This pumpkin cream cheese roll has more spices than most other pumpkin roll recipes and that’s what makes the flavor outstanding. If you’ve never had one before, give this one a try. Your family will love it!

How to make a pumpkin roll

Step 1. Bring ingredients to room temperature.

First, you’ll need to set out 3 eggs, 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, and 1/4 cup of butter and let them come to room temperature.

Step 2. Prepare pan.

Spray a 15-x-10-x-1 inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray and cover in wax or parchment paper and spray the paper.

Step 3. Sift together dry ingredients.

For the dry ingredients, sift together 3/4 cup cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

Sift this mixture two more times.

Step 4. Mix eggs and sugar.

In another bowl, beat the 3 eggs and 1 cup of granulated sugar on high for about five minutes.

**Cook’s Tip: The eggs should get nice and frothy for the best texture.

Step 5. Fold dry ingredients into wet.

Gently fold the sifted flour and spice mixture into the eggs.

Step 6. Add pumpkin.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup pumpkin and 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Fold the pumpkin into the batter and pour into the lined pan.

**Cook’s Tip: You can sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans over the batter.

Step 7. Bake.

Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes. The pumpkin roll cake should be springy in the center and just slightly brown around the edges.

Step 8. Turn out and roll in a towel.

Turn the pumpkin cake onto a lint-free tea towel immediately and gently remove the paper. Starting with the long side, roll the cake into a jelly roll using the towel.

Keep rolling until it’s completely rolled up inside the towel and then let it cool for about an hour.

**Cook’s Tip: Don’t allow the cake to cool before rolling as that’s what will cause it to crack. I have always turned my cake out immediately and rolled it while still hot and it never cracks. 

How to make cream cheese filling

While the cake is cooling, mix up your filling.

Step 1. Mix cream cheese filling.

Combine the cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter  in a bowl and beat with a mixer until it’s smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in 1 heaping cup of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

**Cook’s Tip: You may also add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped pecans and 2 tablespoons of flaked coconut (I don’t add these things).

How to assemble the pumpkin roll

Step 1. Unroll and spread with cream cheese.

Once the cake is cool, unroll it and spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cake. You can either do this while it’s on the towel or go ahead and transfer to a platter.

Cream cheese filling spread on pumpkin roll cake.

Step 2. Re-roll and store in refrigerator.

Re-roll the pumpkin cream cheese roll (without the towel) and place on a platter, then store it in the refrigerator until about an hour or half an hour before serving.

Sprinkle the top of the pumpkin roll with powdered sugar just before serving.

Overhead view of the whole pumpkin roll on a platter with slices.

Questions

Can you freeze pumpkin rolls?

Yes! This pumpkin roll recipe is a great make-ahead dessert and a wonderful treat to give to friends and family. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days and in the freezer for 2-3 months.

  • To store in the refrigerator, wrap the chilled pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Take out at an hour before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before slicing.
  • To freeze, wrap the chilled pumpkin roll in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, then place in freezer up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature about an hour before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before slicing.

What type of towel should you use?

Don’t use a regular kitchen towel. You want a towel that’s lint-free so no fibers end up on your cake. I typically use flour sack towels, which are inexpensive and sold in most big box stores or online. I love these Auntie Em’s Kitchen vintage flour sack towels.

What type of pan should you use?

I use a non-stick jelly roll pan. Even though you spread parchment or wax paper and grease everything, you don’t want to take a chance on the cake sticking to the pan.

A jelly roll pan is smaller than a half-sheet pan. I like this one from Nordic Ware—it’s excellent quality for a great price.

If you’ve tried this pumpkin roll recipe, please rate the recipe and leave a comment below!

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And please join the Southern Food and Fun Facebook group to get all the Southern Food and Fun recipes.

Closeup of pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling on a platter.

Pumpkin Roll

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This Pumpkin Roll has the best flavor from cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger--and delicious cream cheese filling!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, not pie filling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup heaping powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons flaked coconut (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease and line 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan with parchment or wax paper, then grease the paper.
  2. In large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves. Sift this mixture again two more times.
  3. In medium bowl, beat eggs and granulated sugar on high speed of electric mixer for five minutes. Fold in the flour spice mixture by hand.
  4. In small bowl, combine the pumpkin and lemon juice. Fold into batter. Pour batter into lined pan. Sprinkle pecans on top if using.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly brown around the edges and springy in the middle. Be careful not to overbake!
  6. Turn cake onto tea towel immediately and gently remove wax paper. Starting with the long side, gently roll the cake, using the towel, into a jelly roll. Allow the rolled cake to cool for about an hour.
  7. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until smooth. Slowly beat in powdered sugar and vanilla, and pecans and coconut if using.
  8. Once cake is cool, slowly unroll. Spread the cream cheese filling over the cake and then reroll and place on a platter. Place cake in refrigerator for at least two hours to chill and remove an hour or at least half an hour before serving.
  9. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the pumpkin roll before serving.

Notes

Tips for Making the Best Pumpkin Roll:

  • Use the correct sized pan - jelly roll is smaller than regular baking sheet. Non-stick works best.
  • Use a lint-free towel. 
  • Be sure you use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Turn the cake out immediately onto the towel and roll. Don't allow the cake to cool. This will help prevent cracking. 
  • Store the pumpkin roll in the refrigerator.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • To store in the refrigerator, wrap the chilled pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Take out at an hour before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before slicing. 
  • To freeze, wrap the chilled pumpkin roll in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, then place in freezer up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature about an hour before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before slicing. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 12 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Saturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 175mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Update Notes: This post was originally published November 8, 2011, and on October 20, 2018, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

More tips for making perfect pumpkin rolls in this post from My Baking Addiction.

Here are some other favorite pumpkin desserts:

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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Lucy

Wednesday 9th of November 2011

I've never added the pecans or coconut, but it sure is delicious! Try it :)

Shawn

Wednesday 9th of November 2011

This has me wanting to change one of my Thanksgiving desserts! Love the addition of pecans and coconut :) I am sooo making this soon!

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