Moist, spiced cake with rolled layers of cream cheese icing – pumpkin roll cake is a must try recipe for your Thanksgiving season!
My mom has made this classic pumpkin roll ever since I can remember. In fact, I pulled this recipe outta my Longaberger recipe box to share it with you.
But first, I had to quiz my mom on all things pumpkin cake. She’s my Yoda and I am here Jeti.
Or something like that.
Recipe for pumpkin cake roll
Typical cake ingredients are combined with real canned pumpkin puree. This is the pure pumpkin variety, not pumpkin pie filling.
Add some warm, autumn spices like cinnamon, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg. Feeling cozy yet?
Then slather some cream cheese icing over the wholllllle thing and roll it into a pretty, scrumptious package topped with a dusting of powdered sugar.
How to make a pumpkin roll
Let’s be honest, many of us are intimidated by the term “jelly roll”. It involves the word technique. Sounds fussy, but don’t worry, my friends. I have a fix for that.
Have you ever gone camping? Or were you a Girl Scout?
I’m raising both my hands!!
Okay, so you know how to roll a sleeping bag, right? Then you can do this! Let’s walk this through together…
Step 1: Make the cake
Nothing earth shattering here. Just making a typical cake. Now, grease your 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with some cooking spray. Top the greased pan with a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper.
Spray that too. The one thing we want to avoid is the cake sticking to the pan. We need it to turn out easily.
Step 2: Bake the cake
Pour the prepared cake batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Be sure to spread the batter all the way to the four corners and then make sure the cake batter is evenly distributed throughout the pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
Step 3: Get ready to roll!
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes.
Now, this is when it starts to get a little wacky and you’ll thinking, “she wants me to do WHAT?”. But trust me, Mom won’t steer us wrong.
Get a clean dish towel and lay it on the counter. Generously sprinkle it with more powdered sugar. Turn the still warm, but slightly cooled cake carefully out onto the towel.
Start rolling the towel away from you with the cake rolling up into the towel. You’ll end up with a fat, towel and cake roll, so you know which way to roll (as opposed to rolling lengthwise which would give you a long, skinny roll).
Still with me?
Now, let the cake cool completely. Rolling the cake while it’s warm will keep it from cracking and it’ll also have some memory in it to remember how to roll back up.
It’s kind of like setting your hair in curlers and letting them cool.
Sort of. Camping, hair rollers….yeeesh!
Step 4: Make the icing and then unroll the cooled cake
Make your icing and set aside. Unroll the cooled cake, which will lay back ON the dish towel. If there are hardened edges, you may wish to carefully cut those off with a serrated knife. Generously ice the entire cake, taking care to cover the corners, or edges, too.
Re-roll the cake (think sleeping bag technique, here) while gently making it tightly rolled. The icing will act like a glue for you as you roll. Place onto a serving dish and refrigerate (covered loosely with plastic wrap until ready to serve).
If desired, dust with additional powdered sugar before slicing to serve.
If you’re a visual person, here’s a great video of how to make a jelly roll.
Tips for pumpkin cake rolls
Pumpkin roll cake will keep for several days stored in the refrigerator. You may wish to dust it with extra powdered sugar before serving.
A jelly roll pan is similar to a cookie baking sheet, except it has low sides to keep the batter in place. It is shorter in stature than a traditional cake pan.
Pumpkin puree can be used for pumpkin spiced pancakes, muffins, smoothies, as a ravioli filling and more.
Note: I may use referral or affiliate links for the products I love.
If you’re looking for more fall inspired recipes, I’ve got you covered!
- Pumpkin Spice Pancake Recipe
- Mini Pumpkin Pies Recipe
- Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce
- Butternut Squash Casserole with Pecans and Bacon
- Easy Pumpkin Pie Bars
Made with love,
Pumpkin Roll Cake
TO MAKE THE CAKE
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon juice
TO MAKE THE ICING
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 oz low-fat cream cheese room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
TO MAKE THE CAKE
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Beat eggs and sugar. Add dry ingredients. Stir just to blend. Add pumpkin (solid pack), spices, vanilla, and lemon juice.
- Prepare 10" x 15" jelly roll pan. Use cooking spray and a layer of parchment paper or waxed paper, also sprayed with cooking spray.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Make sure to spread into the corners, otherwise they'll be done first and be "crispy".
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
- Cool 5 minute in the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Turn out on towel sprinkled generously with powdered sugar on it.
- Roll cake in towel, jelly roll style. Let cool completely.
TO MAKE ICING
- To make icing, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Unroll cake and spread onto inside of cake. Reroll cake without towel.
- Refrigerate until chilled. Cut into slices to serve.