Learn how to make a classic pumpkin roll with this simple recipe and step-by-step photo tutorial. Be sure to check out the video tutorial at the bottom of the post too!
Hey friends! I’m popping back in to edit this post — three years after it originally aired here on zee blog — because I have two Very Important Pumpkin Roll updates to share with you.
First, we now have a fancy new video tutorial to go along with this recipe now, which I’m very excited about. Because, of all the recipes on this blog, I have received probably the most questions from you all about the “roll” part of this recipe. It’s one of those that’s harder to explain with text and pictures, so I’m happy to say that you can now watch the whole process in about 1 minute in the video at the bottom of this post. Yessss!
Second, I need to let you all know that I have actually completely changed my method for how to make a pumpkin roll since I originally posted this three years ago. The recipe is still the same. But the old use-a-powdered-sugar-covered-towel-to-roll-up-the-cake method always used to weird me out a bit. (<- I mean, I always used clean towels, but still. The potential for towel fuzzies or smell seeping into the take always used to weird me out, and trying to flip the cake was hard, and all of that sugar always made such a mess!) So I did a little experimenting, and as it turns out, you can absolutely — and very easily — roll, unroll, and roll this cake up again using a single simple sheet of parchment paper. Mind = blown. It’s SO much easier and doesn’t make a mess, and the pumpkin roll is as delicious as always.
So if you love pumpkin rolls as much as I do, you’ve gotta try it! ?
Now, with all of these healthier recipes on the site nowadays, I feel the need to disclaim — or maybe I shouldn’t feel the need — that this recipe is for a classic, granulated-sugary, AP-floury, buttery, cream-cheesy, traditional pumpkin roll. That’s right, no healthy shortcuts here. Because on on the one or two occasions a year that I get to eat a pumpkin roll, I want the real deal. So this falls fully in the “indulgent” category of this blog, but I can assure you that I enjoy every single delicious bite. Tradition, baby! 🙂
But now, to break with tradition just a bit, here’s my more “modern” method for how to make a classic pumpkin roll.
Begin by mixing up a simple pumpkin cake batter. You can either do this in a large mixing bowl by hand, or with a stand mixer.
Then lay a piece of parchment on a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet, leaving some extra room on the long (15-inch) sides so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. I like to sprinkle a little bit of water on my baking sheet to help the parchment stick and stay in place while I pour on the batter. Then spread the batter evenly on top of the parchment.
Then get ready. Because as soon as the cake comes out of the oven, run a knife around the short (10-inch) sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Then grab the sides of the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan (careful not to burn yourself), and place it on a flat heat-proof surface. (You may need to use oven mitts since the cake will still be very hot!)
Then very carefully roll the cake — I prefer rolling short end to short end — until it forms a complete roll. Transfer that to a wire rack and let it cool completely to room temperature, seam-side-down so that they cake does not unroll. Then while the cake is cooling, whip up your cream cheese filling. You can either do this by hand or in a stand mixer. Just be sure that your ingredients are room temp so that they’re easy to stir!
Once the cake has cooled, place it back on a flat surface and gently unroll it until the cake is mostly flat again. Then spread the cream cheese filling out evenly on top of the cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border around all sides of the cake so that the filling doesn’t spill out while the cake is being re-rolled.
Then go ahead and roll the cake back up again, carefully peeling off the parchment paper as you roll until it until it is released. Then wrap the finished pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour.
Once the cake has chilled a bit (especially that filling), remove and unwrap it when you’re ready to serve. Then lightly dust the entire roll with powdered sugar, and slice it up! I like to take a small slice off of both ends before serving, just in case the cream cheese didn’t completely fill those edges, to make it extra pretty.
Then voila — your beautiful pumpkin roll will be ready to enjoy!
Time to rock and pumpkin roll! 😉
Yield: About 8-10 servings
A classic pumpkin roll is always a crowd favorite!
Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- optional: powdered sugar (to sprinkle on at the end!)
Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
- 1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To Make The Pumpkin Roll:
Preheat oven to 375? F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt in medium bowl until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar for 1 minute until thick. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin, and whisk until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir together until just combined.
Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra 1-inch of parchment sticking up on both 15-inch sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. (If you’d like the parchment to stick to the bottom of the pan more easily, sprinkle a little bit of water on the pan and then press the parchment paper on top of it. You can also lightly mist the top of the parchment paper with cooking spray for easier cake release afterwards, although it’s not required.)
Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched. Carefully lift the parchment paper and cake out onto a flat (and heat-safe) surface. Then slowly, use your hands to roll the cake — rolling from the short end to the short end — until it is completely rolled up. Transfer the cake roll to a wire rack, and cool until it reaches room temperature.
While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese filling (see below).
When the cake has reached room temperature, transfer the cake roll to a flat surface, and carefully it until it is flat again (or mostly flat, it’s ok if the ends curl up a bit). Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides. Then carefully re-roll the cake, gently peeling away the parchment paper as you roll until you can completely remove and discard it. Tightly wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
Remove and unwrap the pumpkin roll and transfer it to your serving dish. Lightly dust the pumpkin roll on all sides with powdered sugar, if you would like. Then slice* and serve.
If you have leftovers, just re-wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Make The Cream Cheese Filling:
Whisk together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth. If the filling is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a half teaspoon or two of water. (You want a medium consistency so that the filling is easy to spread, but not too warm or thin that it will ooze out of the cake when you’re rolling it up.)
*If you want the cake to be pretty on the very ends, I recommend slicing off about 1/2-inch of the cake on both ends before serving. Then you’ll definitely see those pretty cream cheese swirls!
Recipe slighty adapted from Libby’s. Edited September 2016.