Pumpkin Roll

This best-loved Pumpkin Roll filled with tangy cream cheese frosting is a classic fall favorite, perfect for sharing!

Pumpkin Roll is a classic holiday dessert, just like our favorite Apple Pie, Pecan Pie Cheesecake, and German Chocolate Cake. It’s a Thanksgiving tradition!

Sliced pumpkin roll dusted with powdered sugar and served on a white plate.

Easy pumpkin roll recipe

Pumpkin Roll is a fall dessert that I have been enjoying since I was little. It is completely nostalgic, and completely delicious!

My mom has been making this classic dessert for years, especially at Thanksgiving. The plate is literally gone in minutes, we love them that much!

While rolled cakes look fancy, they are actually quite easy to make. I’ve laid out the steps to make this as simple as possible. Go ahead and give these tasty rolls a try!

How to make a pumpkin roll

PREP. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 11-x-15-x-1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.

WET INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in pumpkin and lemon juice.

DRY INGREDIENTS. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin and egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until well blended.

BAKE. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cake is completely set in the middle.

ROLL. Sprinkle a flour-sack style dish towel generously with powdered sugar, and invert the hot cake onto the towel. Loosely roll up the cake and towel from the short side and let cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling by beating all ingredients together with a hand mixer until smooth.

FILL. Unroll the cake and spread the filling to within ½ inch of the edges. Roll the cake up again, without the towel this time, starting at the short side.

CHILL. Wrap the Pumpkin Roll in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours to blend flavors.

SERVE! To serve, unwrap the pumpkin roll and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Slice in 1-inch slices.

Avoiding Sticky Cake

There are a few methods that can be used to avoid a sticky cake. 

Bake completely. An underbaked cake will have a sticky center that will spell disaster. Bake the cake long enough that the center has completely set and the top of the cake springs back when poked with your finger.

Use a tea towel. One of the reasons that I prefer to use a kitchen towel is so that it can absorb any moisture that parchment paper does not. 

Ample amount of powdered sugar. Another way to help absorb moisture is to dust the tea towel with powdered sugar. 

Cool on a rack. Cooling on a wire rack allows the steam to evaporate from all sides. If placed on the counter, the bottom of the cake will trap some of the steam and the extra moisture can make the cake soggy.

A mixing bowl filled with cream cheese frosting for filling pumpkin roll.

Recipe Tips

Cracked cake. The main reason the sponge cake cracks when rolled is that it is too cool. It is vital to roll the cake when it is still hot.

  • While the cake is still hot, invert it onto a powdered towel and roll starting at the short end.
  • If you have an excess tea towel, flip it over the short side of the cake and roll.
  • A tightly rolled cake will result in more swirls than a loosely rolled cake.

Rolling the pumpkin roll.

  • Parchment paper. This is one of those recipes where parchment paper is not optional. It’s an absolute MUST to bake the cake properly and remove it from the sheet pan smoothly and is perfect for rolling up the cake.
  • Wax paper. Note that wax paper is different from parchment paper and will melt if used for baking. However, some people like to remove the cake from the pan and roll the cake up with wax paper.
  • Kitchen towel. Roll the cake using the parchment paper it was baked on, or invert the cake onto a kitchen towel sprinkled with an ample amount of powdered sugar (to prevent sticking). This is my method of choice. Use a linen towel that is lint-free, a tea towel is perfect.

Clean slices. Use a sharp knife to cut through the Pumpkin Roll Cake, being careful not to press too hard and smash the swirls. Wipe the blade with a clean cloth after each cut. 

Cutting the roll from a frozen state makes for some nice clean slices. Even if you place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, that will help it be easier to slice. Place slices on a platter and allow to thaw.

Add nuts. For a tasty variation, mix chopped pecans or walnuts into the filling.

The side view of a rolled pumpkin roll dusted with powdered sugar.

Storing Info

Make ahead of time. The cream cheese filling can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Pull it out of the fridge when you begin making the pumpkin roll so that it has time to soften and be spreadable.

STORE this Pumpkin Roll in one piece or cut it and store the slices.

  • Entire roll. Wrap the roll tightly with plastic wrap and again with foil. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer for a month.
  • Individual slices. Store Pumpkin Roll slices in an airtight container with sheets of parchment paper or wax paper in between to keep them separated.
Sliced pumpkin roll served on a white plate.

For more Pumpkin Recipes:

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

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This best-loved Pumpkin Roll filled with tangy cream cheese frosting is a classic fall favorite, perfect for sharing!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 227 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

Cake Roll

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Filling

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 11-x-15-x-1-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat in pumpkin and lemon juice.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a small bowl, then add to the pumpkin mixture. Stir until well blended.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cake is completely set in the middle.
  • Sprinkle a flour-sack style dish towel generously with powdered sugar and invert the hot cake onto the towel. Loosely roll up the cake and towel from the short side. Let cool completely.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling by beating all ingredients together with a hand mixer until smooth.
  • Unroll the cake and spread the filling to within ½ inch of the edges. Roll the cake up again, without the towel this time, starting at the short side.
  • Wrap the Pumpkin Roll in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours to blend flavors.
  • To serve, unwrap the pumpkin roll and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. Slice in 1-inch slices.

Video

Notes

Make Ahead: The plastic-wrapped cake roll can be stored in the refrigerator for 1–2 days. You can also freeze the roll after wrapping in plastic; it will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Slicing: Cutting the roll from a frozen state makes for nice clean slices. Even if you aren’t freezing it for longer-term storage, placing it in the freezer for 30–60 minutes will make it easier to slice. Place slices on a platter and allow to thaw before serving.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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