Pumpkin Roll Cake is pretty much everything you love about fall flavors in one sweet bite! This classic pumpkin cake is loaded with seasonal spices and filled with a simple cream cheese filling. Don’t be intimidated by the technique, it’s really manageable and the result is stunning. If you follow a few simple steps, you will end up with a beautiful cake roll that will pop off of any dessert buffet.
I’ve been making this cake all fall and it’s been a huge hit! The cake is truly beautiful with lovely little cream cheese swirls against that perfect pumpkin orange color. It’s really more impressive and delicious than it is labor intensive. Follow these easy steps and you will have a gorgeous, show piece of a cake for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet!
The first step is to prepare a jelly-roll pan. A jelly-roll pan is basically a smaller version of a sheet pan. I give my jelly-roll pan a light spray and then put parchment paper in the pan. I spray the pan because it helps the parchment paper adhere to the pan and not slide around when I’m pouring the cake batter into the pan. I then give the parchment paper a light spray so that the paper releases easily from the cake after baking.
Spread the batter evenly into the jelly-roll pan.
This cake comes together quickly! Mine baked for about 12 minutes. It’s finished when you touch the cake and it springs back. You can see where I tested this cake and it wasn’t ready. OOPS!
Work quickly at this point. You can see how easy the parchment paper makes it to lift the cake out of the pan. In addition, I run a knife between the parchment paper and the sides of the cake to begin the process of peeling off the parchment paper. Then I turn the cake onto a thin kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Once the cake is on the powdered sugar towel, very carefully (and slowly) peel the parchment paper off of the cake.
Here comes the fun part! Roll the cake from one narrow end to the other. Once cake is rolled in the towel, set it seam side down on a wire rack to cool. This gives the cake a little “muscle memory” and helps it keep it shape after it’s filled with that perfect cream cheese filling! Once the cake has cooled, unroll cake and spread cream cheese filling evenly on the cake and roll it back up. Always keep the seam side down. Place in refrigerator to set.
TA-DA! When you are ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar and slice with a serrated knife.
You can find a jelly-roll pan here.
You can find a serrated knife here.
Pro-tip: I use an off set spatula to spread things evenly. You can find an off-set spatula here.
- FOR CAKE:
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on clean kitchen towel)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup 100% pure pumpkin
- FOR FILLING:
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- OPTIONAL FINISH:
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare jelly-roll pan; lightly spray pan. Place parchment paper on base of pan with excess going up the sides. Spray lightly again.
- Sprinkle clean, thin kitchen towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt in small bowl. Sift flour mixture.
- Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixing bowl until combined. Mix in pumpkin. Fold in flour mixture until just combined.
- Spread evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.
- When done, immediately take out of oven and carefully run small knife around edge to release cake from sides of parchment paper.
- Turn cake out onto prepared kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.
- Carefully peel off parchment paper.
- Starting at narrow end, roll cake and towel together. Place cake, seam side down on wire rack to cool.
- While cake cools, beat cream cheese, 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in mixing bowl until smooth.
- Once cake is cool, carefully unroll cake.
- Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour.
- For clean cake ends, use serrated knife to cut ½ inch off each end of cake.
- Dust with powdered sugar before serving.