Pumpkin Roll Recipe

assemble. baking pan cream cheese frosting. Filling freezing prep ahead pumpkin cake roll pumpkin roll refrigerate serve

Posted November 3, 2023 by: Admin #Kitchen

Our homemade Pumpkin Roll is an airy fall pumpkin sponge cake around velvety cream cheese filling. It’s an impressive dessert, but don’t be scared away by the presentation! It’s actually so easy to make with our fail-proof jelly roll technique and you can use a regular baking sheet.


This pumpkin cake roll is a lighter crumb cake based on our popular Pumpkin Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting. One bite and you’ll see why our readers can’t get enough pumpkin spice flavor.

Pumpkin Roll Cake served on a blue platter and sliced

We start cranking out pumpkin recipes early and even stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin puree so we can enjoy recipes like Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Waffles year-round. This Pumpkin Roll is a classic and a star among pumpkin recipes. It’s simple to make but it’s a show-stopper for the holidays.


Pumpkin Cake Roll Recipe

Our pumpkin roll is the perfect finish to a Fall gathering and looks great on a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert table because its rolled presentation adds such a fancy touch.

Traditionally, cake rolls are made in jelly roll pans, but when I polled my audience, nearly 80% of you said you would prefer using a standard-sized 13×18 baking sheet because that’s what you have on hand. Therefore, I wrote this for the bigger pan, but you can easily make it in a jelly roll pan for a thicker cake.

Pumpkin roll slice dusted with powdered sugar on a plate



It’s easy to whip up this delicious cake with only a few ingredients that you probably have on hand. It’s the perfect way to bring Fall onto your table.

For the Pumpkin Roll

  • Powdered sugar – prevents the cake from sticking to the rolling tea towel. Dust by hand or use a fine-mesh strainer to sift the sugar over the towel.
  • Flour – all-purpose flour is sifted in this recipe to give the cake an extra light crumb, but enough strength to roll without breaking
  • Baking soda and baking powder – we use both leavenings to give the cake an even rise
  • Spices – Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt create that Fall flavor. Salt brings out the flavor of the ingredients.
  • Eggs – room temperature, to help the cake rise in the oven
  • Sugar – holds moisture and sweetens for a light and moist cake layer
  • Pumpkin Puree – we love Libby’s brand of pumpkin puree which has the richest color and flavor. If using homemade pumpkin puree, drain it well.

Pro Tip

We only use 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree here, so if you’re using store-bought, we suggest you plan to make soft Pumpkin Cookies with the rest of your can.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • Cream Cheese – We prefer full-fat cream cheese and be sure it’s room temperature so it mixes evenly.
  • Butter – unsalted, softened butter
  • Powdered Sugar – sweetens the frosting without being overly sweet
  • Vanilla extract – flavors the filling, so be sure to use real extract or make your own Vanilla Extract for the best taste

Ingredients for Fall cake including flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pie spice, eggs, puree, sugar, vanilla, butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar



We love the simplicity of this pumpkin roll recipe, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try adding chopped walnuts or pecans over the batter before it’s baked, like in Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe. You can also add chopped nuts or raisins on top of the frosting before re-rolling it up.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin rolls are lighter than a traditional cake, so you’ll need to whip the butter and sugar to trap in the air. Add the rest of the ingredients on low speed so as not to deflate the cake. Just follow these easy step-by-step instructions for the perfect pumpkin roll.

Prepare the Pans

  • Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Grease your 13x18x1 rimmed cookie sheet with butter and line with parchment paper. Then grease and flour the parchment. This cake is very thin once baked, so you want to be sure it doesn’t stick. Dust a clean tea towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar dusted over a tea towel with a fine mesh strainer

Make the Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. This helps keep the crumb light.
  • Beat eggs and sugar in a second large mixing bowl with an electric mixer (or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) for 5 minutes until it’s light, fluffy, and thickened. Add the pumpkin puree on low speed then add the flour mixture on low speed, mixing just until incorporated.
  • Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan with an offset spatula. It will be very thin. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until it springs back when touched. Immediately, turn the cake onto the sugared towel and carefully remove the parchment. Roll the cake and towel gently into a log starting at the shortest end. Let cool completely seam-side down on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours.

Step-by-step directions on making a Fall cake with cinnamon


Pro Tip

The secret of how to roll a pumpkin roll is simple: roll the cake up immediately while hot and pliable (watch the video tutorial above to see my technique). Then, let it cool completely rolled up and it will keep its form. If the cake is unrolled before cooling, the cake could crack or be gummy and the icing could melt.

Step by step directions on how to roll a pumpkin roll

Make the Filling & Assemble

  • Beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl on low speed to combine. Then, beat on high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
  • Unroll the cooled cake carefully. Spread the filling evenly over the surface and carefully re-roll the cake without including the towel. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

Step-by-step instructions for making a pumpkin roll cake


Common Questions

Why did my pumpkin roll crack?

To prevent cracks, roll the cake when hot and unroll when completely cooled. The cake texture is also important so follow the steps to whip eggs and sugar, sift dry ingredients, and gently mix them in. Also, don’t overbake to ensure the cake is airy and malleable.

Can I make this in a jelly roll pan instead?

Sure! I don’t love the idea of buying specialty pans when you can use something you already have just as well, so I wrote this for a 13×18, however, it can easily be adjusted for a jelly roll pan if that is your preferred pan – you’ll just have a thicker cake layer.

What is the secret to rolling a pumpkin roll?

The secret to a perfect jelly roll cake is to roll the cake in a thin tea towel dusted with powdered sugar immediately after baking. Then, allow it to cool completely before unrolling and filling.

What towel is best for pumpkin rolls?

A thin tea towel or flour sack towel without much texture is best for cake rolls so the cake can cool without trapping heat or steam.


Can I use parchment or cheesecloth instead of a tea towel?

I find that parchment is harder to remove once cooled, and doesn’t allow the cake to cool as quickly, often making it gummy or sticky. You can use cheesecloth, but a tea towel is my go-to.

How to Serve a Pumpkin Roll

For the best presentation, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes after rolling. Then, remove the plastic, dust it with powdered sugar, and slice each end to make it a uniform log. Refrigerating makes it much easier to get a clean cut.

A spiral slice of pumpkin cake roll


Creating this delightful pumpkin roll recipe in advance is a breeze. Simply follow these steps: bake the roll, wrap it in a tea towel, allow it to cool completely, then seal it in airtight plastic wrap. Store it in the refrigerator for one or two days until you’re ready to fill and serve it.

  • To Refrigerate: Wrap the filled pumpkin roll in plastic and store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Wrap the finished cake roll in plastic wrap and foil, then place it in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  • To serve: Thaw it in the fridge overnight and dust it with powdered sugar before serving.

A slice of pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling with a bite taken out

You’ll adore the light and airy autumn-spiced pumpkin cake roll with its creamy filling. It’s the perfect way to conclude a festive fall gathering, so give this simple pumpkin roll recipe a try today.

Prep Ahead

  • Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F. Grease a 13x18x1* rimmed cookie sheet with butter and line it with a large sheet of parchment paper that extends up the sides of the pan. Also, grease and flour the parchment paper. On a clean, flat kitchen towel, generously sprinkle 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

Make the Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt. Set it aside.
  • In a second large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 5 minutes until the mixture becomes light in color, fluffy, and thickened. Add the pumpkin puree and continue mixing on low speed until it’s fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, with no streaks of flour remaining. Scrape down the bowl and fold a few times with a spatula to ensure even mixing.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Note: a dark-colored pan will bake faster. Immediately turn the cake onto the prepared towel, then peel back the parchment paper. Starting with the short end of the cake, gently roll the warm cake and the towel into a log. Place it seam-side down and let it cool completely on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the Filling

  • In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until combined. Then, increase the speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture becomes fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Assemble the Pumpkin Roll

  • Unroll the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the cream cheese frosting over the surface. Carefully re-roll the cake, using the towel to maintain a tight roll. If desired, trim the ends for a more attractive presentation and dust the top and sides of the cake with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.

Best Baking Pan: *This recipe fits a 13×18” baking sheet. If using a standard-size jelly roll pan, you’ll get a thicker cake that will need a longer baking time.

To prepare the cake ahead: once you have filled and re-rolled the cake roll, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, unwrap, transfer to a serving platter, and dust with powdered sugar.

NEXT: Beet Pasta also known as “Barbie pasta

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