Pumpkin Roll

Starbucks may have busted out their winter drinks already, but I’m still hanging onto my pumpkin spice lattes for a few more weeks. Likewise, Christmas cookie roundups and holiday baking is already popping up around the blogosphere, but the fall spices still have my heart. Am I the only one who can’t get enough of that lingering scent after baking something pumpkiny…?

When I first saw this recipe, I knew I wanted to try it simply because I’d never made any roll-type dessert before. I didn’t have a jelly roll pan either, so I improvised with my rimmed cookie sheet and it turned out perfectly! The towel-rolling procedure was intimidating and I was terrified that I’d end up with a cracked ugly mess, but once you do it, it’s really not that hard. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you grease the corners and edges of your pan really well.
  • The towel should be damp but not wet enough that you can squeeze any water out.
  • Sprinkling with powdered sugar helps prevent cracking, so don’t skip this step.
  • Flip the cake over onto the towel right at the edge of the towel closest to you so you don’t have excess towel hanging around.
  • Score the cake horizontally about an inch from the edge closest to you, taking care not to cut all the way through. This makes it easier to start the roll.
  • Roll as tightly as possible without cracking the cake.
  • If you still don’t get it, Youtube ‘how to make a pumpkin roll’ and some helpful video tutorials should pop up!

It was perfect for Thanksgiving dessert, but I’m sure you can find an excuse to make this cake roll for the winter holidays, too. The other day, I saw mini jelly rolls at the grocery store, so next time I’m definitely going to try making mini versions of these!

Recipe: Pumpkin Roll


For the cake:

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the filling:

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 15 x10-inch jelly-roll pan (or rimmed cookie sheet), line with wax paper, and grease the paper. Sprinkle a clean, damp cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts if using them.
  3. Bake the sheet for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off the parchment and roll the cake up in the towel, starting with narrow end. Let cool for 1-2 hours or until the roll is no longer warm to the touch.


  1. Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake – don’t worry if there are some cracks, they’ll be on the inside of the roll. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over cake and reroll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Quick notes

Pumpkin rolls freeze well.

Number of servings (yield): 1 15-in. pumpkin roll

Adapted from Very Best Baking

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