★★★★★

Pumpkin Roll

If you’re looking for an impressive pumpkin dessert that looks as good as it tastes, Pumpkin Roll is the answer! Made with real pumpkin and swirls of cream cheese frosting, this cake is pure pumpkin perfection.

You can never have too many pumpkin desserts! This Pumpkin Roll recipe takes an ordinary pumpkin cake and transforms it into something extra special. Make it ahead of time and store it in the freezer!

Pumpkin roll slices fanned out on parchment paper, with cream cheese frosting.

Perfection Every Time

If you’re new to making roll cakes, don’t be intimidated. This recipe makes it easy to create a beautifully rolled cake; cut it into slices to reveal spirals of creamy frosting.

This Pumpkin Roll cake is super moist and creates crisp clean slices, without cracking or crumbling. You’ll love having this Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe up your sleeve!

Much like my favorite Vanilla Cake Roll, creating these cake rolls ahead of time makes them the perfect dessert for entertaining!

Add it to your list of “must try” desserts this fall, along with Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Coffee Cake.

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make a pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling.

There are two parts to this Pumpkin Roll recipe: pumpkin cake and cream cheese frosting.

  • The biggest thing to note with ingredients for the cake is that you use REAL pure canned pumpkin puree. Not pumpkin pie filling or sweetened pumpkin mix. Sometimes the cans look similar on the shelf, so double check your labels!
  • You’ll also notice this pumpkin cake batter calls for lemon juice. That little bit of acidity goes a long way in enhancing the flavor!
  • For the cream cheese frosting, I recommend real full fat cream cheese as opposed to low or reduced fat versions. Leave it on the counter for a few minutes before making the frosting so it’s easier to work with.
  • Most importantly, or of equal importance, is the size of pan. You will need a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan. This creates the nice, thin cake needed for rolling.

Step by Step Instructions

Step by step instructions to make a pumpkin cake roll.

STEP 1. Make the pumpkin cake

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes with a hand mixer. Gradually beat in sugar, then stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, the fold into the pumpkin mixture. Spread mixture into a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. 

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven.

STEP 2. Roll

Generously sprinkle a clean dish towel or cloth flour bag with powdered sugar. Turn the cake out onto the towel and carefully peel the parchment paper off the top of the cake. Beginning with the short end, roll cake in the towel and leave it rolled up to cool completely.

PRO TIP: I attempted to try just rolling the cake IN the parchment paper, and this DID NOT work. When it cooled and I unrolled the cake, it was cracking everywhere. Stick to rolling in a tea towel with powdered sugar.

Rolling the pumpkin cake roll in a tea towel with powdered sugar.

STEP 3. Make the frosting

Beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

STEP 4. Frost Pumpkin Roll

Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling evenly on top of the cake. Re-roll the cake with your hands–without the towel this time— and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge before slicing.

Re-rolling a pumpkin cake roll filled with cream cheese frosting.

Tips and Tricks

  • For perfect slices without cracking or crumbling, place the roll in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before cutting.
  • Sprinkle each slice with powdered sugar right before serving for an extra pretty presentation. You can also sprinkle with nuts when serving too!
  • Make sure to use the correct size of jelly roll pan. Using one that’s too large will result in a thin cake that cracks very easily.
  • Towel should be a clean towel that has no fibers or patterns. Flour sack towels work best!
  • Don’t skimp on the powdered sugar for the towel! It is what prevents the cake from sticking to the towel when it’s rolled.
Two pumpkin roll slices on a white plate, with remaining cake in background.

Recipe FAQs

How do you store pumpkin roll?

Keep leftover pumpkin roll in the fridge. You can also make this ahead of time Can be made ahead of time and chill for up to 2 days before cutting and serving serving.

Can you make a Pumpkin Roll ahead of time?

Yes. This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Bake and frost according to directions. Roll and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then foil. Thaw in fridge overnight before slicing.

How do you get the cake out of the jelly roll pan?

To flip the cake out of the pan with ease, place towel with powdered sugar over jelly roll pan and place a cooling rack on top of the towel. While holding the cooing rack and towel firmly on top of the jelly roll pan, flip upside down and remove the jelly roll pan. This is a little less messy than turning the cake out onto the towel (powdered sugar flies everywhere!)  But, you still get powdered sugar all over. It’s part of the process!

How do you keep pumpkin roll from cracking?

Cracking happens for a lot of different reasons, but to minimize the chances, roll the cake while it’s hot, right out of the oven. Then let it cool completely before unrolling and filling.

Sliced pumpkin roll on a white serving platter.

How great does this pumpkin roll look? The contrast of dark orange cake with the swirls of white icing is to die for! And the best news of all is that it tastes even better.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

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Yield: 12 servings

Pumpkin Roll

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

If you're looking for an impressive pumpkin dessert that looks as good as it tastes, Pumpkin Roll is the answer! Made with real pumpkin and swirls of cream cheese frosting, this cake is pure pumpkin perfection.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus additional ¼ cup for sprinkling on the towel
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

    1. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes with a hand mixer.  Gradually beat in sugar. 
    2. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.  Set aside.  Stir together remaining ingredients.  Fold dry mixture into pumpkin mixture.  Spread mixture into jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Jelly roll pan should be 15x10x1-inch .
    3. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. 
    4. Turn the cake out onto a dish towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Carefully peel the parchment paper off the cake.  Beginning with the short end, roll cake in the towel and cool completely while rolled.  
    5. While the cake is cooling, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling on the cake.  Re-roll the cake, without the towel, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.
    6. Chill at least 1 hour before serving. 

Notes

  • For nice, crisp slices, place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before cutting.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving for a pretty presentation.
  • Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated 1-2 days before serving.
  • Can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing.
  • Make sure to use the correct size of jelly roll pan.  Using one that’s too large will result in a thin cake that cracks very easily.
  • Towel should be a clean towel that has no fibers or patterns, flour sack towels work best.
  • Don’t skimp on the powdered sugar for the towel!  It is what prevents the cake from sticking to the towel when it’s rolled.
  • Tip for flipping cake out of pan: place towel with powdered sugar over jelly roll pan and place a cooling rack on top of the towel.   While holding the cooing rack and towel firmly on top of the jelly roll pan, flip upside down and remove the jelly roll pan.  This is a little less messy than turning the cake out onto the towel (powdered sugar flies everywhere!)  But, you still get powdered sugar all over.
  • There are lots of different reasons for cracking - but to minimize the chances, roll the cake while it’s hot - right out of the oven and let it cool completely before unrolling and filling.
  • *Recipe adapted from Libby’s recipe here.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 208mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 4g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Don’t miss out on this perfect Pumpkin Roll Cake recipe! With a delicious filling, it’s the perfect fall dessert.

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on September 21, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. One of my favorite fall desserts ever! My friend taught me the trick of eating it frozen – it tastes like ice cream cake. So delicious!

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