I love seasonal baking, and this easy and delicious Pumpkin Cake Roll is full of holiday flavors. The pumpkin cake is made with amazing spices and pumpkin puree, and then filled with the most amazing cream cheese filling ever. Everybody will love this festive and easy dessert!
Imagine this: light and spongy cake made with aromatic spices and pumpkin flavor, and then filled with amazing cream cheese frosting. Sounds so good, doesn’t it? This is exactly what this pumpkin cake roll tastes like!
The ground spices I used for the pumpkin cake roll are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It’s truly a lovely combination of spices that will make your house smell so cozy! Plus, the cream cheese frosting is to die for.
I’m going to admit, I’ve never been a huge fan of pumpkin…until I decided to give it another try this year, and I can see now why it’s so loved by so many people. So yummy!
You will love this pumpkin cake roll. Let me show you how to make it!
Ingredients You’ll Need
There are 2 parts to making a cake roll: the actual thin layer of cake and the filling. The ingredients are simple, and it’s very likely that you already have most of these in your pantry or fridge. Hey, I’m all about easy desserts!
Below is an overview of each ingredient to give you an idea. And per usual, the specific quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
For the pumpkin cake:
- Flour: All-purpose flour works here.
- Baking soda and baking powder: For the cake to rise a bit and develop a nice golden brown color.
- Salt: To bring out the flavors.
- Eggs: For structure.
- Ground spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
- Pumpkin puree: Canned pumpkin puree works great.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness.
For the cream cheese filling:
- Cream cheese: Softened at room temperature.
- Unsalted butter: Softened at room temperature.
- Powdered sugar: For the frosting. You’ll also need some for dusting the top, if desired.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
So Easy to Make
The key to making an amazing pumpkin cake roll is to be patient! Lots of waiting for the cake to cool down and to firm up here. BUT, this also makes it a great make-ahead recipe!
In fact, it will only get better if you serve it the next day because the refrigeration process will allow the cream cheese frosting to fully set. The cake will still be light and spongy.
Here is an overview of the steps needed to make this pumpkin cake roll:
- Bake the pumpkin cake: The batter should be relatively thin. Line parchment paper on a 10×15 inch sheet pan and spread the batter evenly. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
- Roll the cake and let it cool completely: While it’s still hot, roll it, starting from the short end. This will help the cake “remember” this shape. You can let it cool in the fridge if you want, but let it cool on the counter for a few minutes first.
- Make the cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
- Unroll the cake: Make sure the cake is completely cooled down and then, carefully unroll it.
- Spread the cream cheese: Spread it over the unrolled cake, leaving about a half inch thick border.
- Roll it back: Starting from the short end, roll it back as tightly as you can without squeezing out the filling. As you unroll it, peel off the parchment paper carefully. Scrape out any excess frosting from the other end.
- Refrigerate: Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 1-2 hours or overnight.
- Serve! Dust some confectioner’s sugar over the top.
Detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card below!
Make It Ahead
This pumpkin cake roll is best when served cold, which means it’s a great make-ahead recipe!
I always make it from start to finish the day before. It also keeps really well in the fridge for about 3 days, so you can keep eating it for days. It’s SO good.
Here are some make-ahead tips:
- When making the pumpkin roll cake, don’t spread the frosting over warm cake. Always let it cool completely first.
- Roll it as tightly as you can without squeezing out the filling. The tighter it is, the rounder it will be.
- After adding the filling and rolling it, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. This will help it maintain its shape nicely.
- Dust with powdered sugar on top right before serving.
I’m definitely going to be making this delicious pumpkin cake roll for the holidays. It’s so festive and it always makes my house smell like a bakery. I love everything about it!
I love that it’s one of those recipes that you can make ahead. In fact, it just gets better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight. Make-ahead recipes always make my life easier, especially when I am hosting friends and family.
I like dusting the top with confectioner’s sugar before serving, but if you want to, you can make some extra frosting and add some decorations with it.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. Happy baking!
For festive holiday baking recipes:
Tips for Success
- Pre-roll the cake (the first time, without the frosting) while it’s still hot. This will help the cake “remember” this shape, so that it’s easier to re-roll it later once you add the frosting.
- Never spread the frosting on a warm cake. This may cause the frosting to melt into the cake, thus making it soggy. Always wait until the cake is fully cooled down first.
- The tighter you roll the cake, the rounder it will be. Roll as tightly as you can without squeezing out the filling.
Pumpkin Cake Roll
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin puree
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Confectioner's sugar (to taste)
Make the pumpkin cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make sure you have a 10×15 inch sheet pan or jelly roll pan ready.
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients: In another bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and eggs until evenly combined.
- Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined and no pockets of flour remain. Do not overmix. The batter should be relatively thin.
- Line a 10×15 inch sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spread the batter evenly onto the prepared pan. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or it until it springs back when gently poked.
- Remove the cake from the oven. While still hot, carefully roll the cake starting from the short end. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Note: pre-rolling the cake while still hot will allow it to “remember” this shape, making it easier to roll later once you add the filling. Tip: To expedite the cooling process, put it in the fridge once it has cooled down a bit (you don’t want to put something very hot in the fridge).
Make the frosting and assemble
- After it has cooled down, make the cream cheese frosting: With a mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese with the unsalted butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Then on low speed, mix in the confectioners sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating for another 1-2 minutes or until combined and smooth. Set aside.
- Unroll the cake and evenly spread the cream cheese frosting over it, leaving about a half inch border. Starting from the short end, roll the cake back as tightly as you can without squeezing out the cream cheese. Gently peel off the parchment paper as you roll it. After you're done rolling it, scrape off any excess frosting on the end or edges. Tip: the tighter you roll it, the rounder it will look.
- Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for another 1.5 to 2 hours or overnight. This will allow the frosting to set.
- Dust with some confectioner's sugar to taste before serving. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: can opener, 10×15 inch sheet pan or jelly roll pan, parchment paper sheets, cooling rack, mixer, plastic wrap.
- Make ahead: The entire cake from start to finish can be made ahead. In fact, it’s best when served cold, so feel free to refrigerate it overnight before serving.
- Pre-roll the cake (without the frosting) while it is still hot. Do so carefully. This will help the cake “remember” this shape later on once you re-roll it with the frosting.
- Wait for the cake to cool completely before adding any frosting. If it’s still warm, the frosting will melt and absorb into the cake, making it soggy.
- Dusting with confectioner’s sugar: Top it with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.