This Pumpkin Roll cake is an easy and beautiful dessert to make in the fall. It’s a pumpkin spice cake rolled with a cream cheese buttercream filling.
Roll cakes were often in the fridge during my childhood, so they have a special nostalgia for me.
My mom would buy them from the store, and they always looked so elaborate and fancy, but they’re actually quite simple to make yourself.
This pumpkin cake is adapted from a recipe that’s fairly old and well-loved around the country, from the back of a Libby’s Pumpkin can. I’ve tweaked it ever so slightly over the years that I’ve made it, but it’s still easy to pull off.
Because the cake is a very thin layer of batter on a sheet pan, it bakes very quickly.
I like doing a classic cream cheese frosting in the center, since it goes so well with the spiced pumpkin flavor, but you could fill it with any sort of frosting or filling.
The main trick to a perfect roll cake is rolling it up in a towel right after baking, to set its shape and prevent cracking.
(And psssst, if you’re looking for a chocolate cake roll, that one is my favorite. It’s not as easy to make as the pumpkin roll, but very doable).
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll:
To start, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground allspice, and ground cloves:
In a separate bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, and pumpkin.
Canned or fresh both work great, but I like the flavor of fresh more when I have it readily available.
Whisk until smooth:
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir until no flour streaks remain, and you have a smooth batter:
Spread into a large rectangle on a silicone mat or parchment lined half sheet tray:
Bake for about 13 minutes until springy when touched:
While the cake is still warm, dust the top with confectioner’s sugar, then place a piece of parchment on top of the cake.
Flip it over, then peel the silicone mat off and roll the cake in the parchment paper:
Just like with any roll cake, this gives the cake “muscle memory” and makes it more likely to hold the roll shape and less likely to crack later on.
While that cools, make the cream cheese filling.
It’s made with room temperature cream cheese and butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla:
Spread the filling evenly over the cake, leaving room at the edges (because as you roll, the filling will spread a little bit):
Roll the cake back up, tightly, and refrigerate for 30 minutes:
Refrigerating is important for firming up the frosting, so you get clean slices.
Trim the ends off, then cut into thick slices:
The full recipe is below, and there’s also a full video below the recipe card if you’d like more guidance.
Can the Pumpkin Roll be frozen? Yes, this cake freezes well. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Can the Pumpkin Roll sit out at room temperature? It’s fine for a few hours, but after that it should be refrigerated or frozen.
How long can it be refrigerated? It will last about one week.
For the cake:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
For the filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 8 tbsp butter softened
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a half sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk to combine the eggs, sugar, and pumpkin.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until no flour streaks remain.
- Spread into a rectangle about 15×10 inches on the sheet pan, then bake for 13 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch.
- While the cake is still warm, sprinkle the top with confectioner’s sugar flip it into a piece of parchment paper. Peel the silicone mat off the cake, then roll the cake up. While it cools, make the filling.
- With a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Unroll the cake, then spread the filling evenly, leaving a border at the edges.
- Roll the cake up and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- When ready to serve, trim the edges off, slice, and serve!