Have you ever tried making a pumpkin roll? It's actually a really fun and easy dessert that will impress everyone at Thanksgiving. You'll enjoy every bite of this moist cake with its beautiful cream cheese filling.
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What is pumpkin roll?
It's a moist pumpkin cake that's rolled up, filled with cream cheese icing, and dusted with icing sugar. It's a popular dessert in the United States during fall and at Thanksgiving.
What size of jelly roll pan do you use?
Most people use a 10x15-inch pan. However, I used a 9x13-inch pan for this recipe with great results. I baked a little bit of the extra batter in a separate pan to avoid over-filling the pan.
How to Roll It
Are you scared to do this step? Don't be! It's not as hard as it sounds if you follow the tips below.
- Dust a sheet of parchment paper with icing sugar.
- Flip the hot cake onto the sugared parchment.
- Peel off the baked-on parchment from the bottom.
- Roll it up from one of the short ends. Go slowly and gently.
- Cool it completely on a wire rack in its rolled-up state before unrolling and filling with the cream cheese icing.
Why is my pumpkin roll sticky?
It does tend to get sticky on the outside, probably from the condensation as the cake cools. It also gets sticky when it's in the fridge. Just before serving, dust it with more icing sugar, and you won't notice the stickiness.
Why did it crack?
There are two main reasons why pumpkin rolls crack. Make sure to follow the tips below to prevent it.
- The cake was too cold. It's important to roll it up while it's still hot from the oven and to let it cool in the rolled-up state. Otherwise, it won't be flexible, and will crack when rolled.
- The cake was overbaked. A dried-out sponge will be brittle, and crack much more easily. Make sure to bake it just long enough for a toothpick inserted into the middle to come out clean (about 12-15 minutes at 350 F).
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes, you can make it ahead of time. Make it up to 3-5 days in advance, and store tightly covered in the fridge until you're ready to serve. You can also freeze it for up to 2-3 months.
How long does it last in the fridge?
It should keep very well in the fridge for 3-5 days. Make sure it's tightly covered with plastic wrap to keep out other food odors.
Can it be left at room temperature?
No, pumpkin roll can't be left out of the fridge. The cream cheese filling can spoil if it is not refrigerated. Keep it at room temperature for no more than 2 hours at a time.
Can it be frozen?
Yes, it can! Here's how to do it.
- Bake and roll up the cake with the icing.
- Freeze in a zip-top freezer bag for 2-3 months. (Feel free to pre-slice, but keep in mind that it won't stay fresh for as long.)
- Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
How to Make
Gather the ingredients.
Butter a 9x13-inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices until blended.
Whisk together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth.
Dump the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until well blended.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Immediately flip the hot cake onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with icing sugar. Peel the paper off of the bottom and roll it up tightly in the sugared parchment. Let it cool completely in its rolled-up state, roughly 2 hours.
While it is cooling, make the cream cheese filling. You'll need cream cheese, butter, and icing sugar.
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl.
Beat the icing until it's smooth and fluffy.
Once the cake is fully cooled, gently unroll it.
Spread the cream cheese icing on top.
Tightly and gently roll it up from the short side.
Place on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up the filling.
Trim off the end pieces with a serrated knife to neaten the presentation, then eat them as a snack.
Dust with icing sugar.
Slice and enjoy!
- Be careful not to overbake. It's done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Use parchment paper to roll it up instead of a kitchen towel. There's less risk of sticking, and it's easier to clean up.
- Roll up the cake when it's hot to prevent it from cracking. Let it cool when it's rolled up.
- Let the cake cool before unrolling and spreading the cream cheese filling inside.
- Chill before slicing. It's much easier to slice when the icing has firmed up in the fridge.
- Wilton 9x13-Inch Cookie Sheets: these pans are the perfect size for pumpkin rolls.
- Parchment Paper: no more messy towels! Use this paper to roll up your cake instead.
- Set of 4 Strainers: these durable stainless steel sieves make it quick and easy to sift sugar.
- Hamilton Beach Electric Mixer: this convenient, affordable mixer makes smooth, fluffy icings.
- Pumpkin Puree: can't find pumpkin puree at your grocery store? Buy it online instead.
Other Sweet Pumpkin Treats
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Learn how to make pumpkin roll, an easy Thanksgiving dessert, completely from scratch! The pumpkin cake is moist with a smooth cream cheese filling. Family and friends will be impressed with this elegant, classic dessert this fall.
For the Pumpkin Cake
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (90g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree (164g)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Icing
- 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (226g)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened (28g)
- 1 ¼ cups icing sugar, sifted (150g)
Making the Cake (30 min + 12 min baking + 2 hrs cooling)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x13-inch cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl until blended.
- Whisk together the sugar, pumpkin puree, room-temperature eggs, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until smooth.
- Dump the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until all the ingredients are well combined. No lumps of flour should remain.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan, making sure to get the batter into the corners of the pan. Try to get the surface level.
- Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake, or it will crack when it's rolled up.
- While the cake is baking, cut a piece of parchment paper that's just a bit larger than the pan. Dust it well with icing sugar.
- As soon as it comes out of the oven, flip it out onto the sugared parchment paper and peel off the paper from its bottom. Carefully roll up the cake, using the sugared parchment paper to help.
- Place the rolled-up cake on a wire cooling rack and let it cool completely, about 2 hours. Do not unroll until it's completely cooled.
Making the Cream Cheese Icing (5 min)
- Beat the softened cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Sift the icing sugar into the cream cheese mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
- If the icing is too soft, add additional icing sugar. If it's too firm, add a little milk to thin it. Make sure that the icing is fairly stiff, but still spreadable.
Rolling (10 min + 1 hr chilling)
- Gently unroll the pumpkin cake. Spread the cream cheese icing on top, leaving a ½ inch border of cake around the edges to give the icing room to spread as it is rolled. You may have a little extra icing.
- Start at the curled-up end, slowly and tightly rolling the cake. Use the parchment paper to smooth the log. Be careful not to squeeze too hard, or the icing will ooze out of the ends.
- Place on a cookie sheet or serving plate and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This allows the icing to firm up, making it much easier to slice.
- Trim off the ends to neaten up the appearance. (Feel free to eat these!) Serve in 1-inch slices. Refrigerate any leftovers.
- Be careful not to overbake. Take it out when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Use parchment paper instead of a kitchen towel to roll up the cake. There's less risk of sticking, and it's easier to clean up.
- Roll up the cake when it's hot to prevent it from cracking later, then let it cool while it's rolled up.
- Roll the cake as tight as you can. This will ensure a beautiful presentation when it is sliced.
- Chill before slicing for a cleaner cut.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Category: Cake
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: how to roll a pumpkin roll, easy pumpkin roll, pumpkin roll no towel