Pumpkin Roll Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 30 min. Bake: 15 min. + freezing
This pumpkin roll recipe pairs a spiced sponge with tangy cream cheese filling. No dessert is more striking than a perfectly executed Swiss roll!

Updated: Jun. 03, 2024

The technique for making a pumpkin Swiss roll cake requires some finesse: The batter is spread into a shallow baking pan, and once the sponge is baked, it’s rolled into a log to help form the shape. Then, after it’s cooled, the sponge is topped with a cream cheese filling and rolled up again. We must say, the result is well worth the effort! This pumpkin roll cake makes a pretty impressive dessert.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Roll

  • Eggs: The eggs are separated into egg yolks and egg whites for this recipe, with each egg part playing a different role. It’s easiest to separate eggs when they’re cold, then let them sit out to come to room temperature.
  • Sugar: Sugar helps to sweeten the pumpkin sponge roll batter for balanced flavor.
  • Canned pumpkin: Like many fall recipes, canned pumpkin is a key ingredient here. It adds moisture, creating a soft texture and providing that beautiful orange color. For the most consistent results, stick with canned pumpkin instead of fresh pumpkin.
  • Cinnamon: Just 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon adds warm fall flavor.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour provides structure for the cake. For the best results, sift or whisk the flour before adding it to the wet ingredients.
  • Cream cheese: The base of the filling for this pumpkin roll recipe is cream cheese whipped with butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. It’s best to soften the cream cheese before mixing the filling.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: The sugar helps thicken the filling and provide structure. Plus, it adds a bit of sweetness!

Directions

Step 1: Prep the pan and preheat the oven

3/4th shot; white textured background; placing waxed paper over baking pan;TMB Studio

Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment or waxed paper. Grease the paper and set the pan aside. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 2: Prep the pumpkin mixture

3/4th shot; white textured background; In a large bowl, beating egg yolks with electric whisker, Gradually adding sugar;TMB Studio

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and the pumpkin, beating on high until the sugar is almost dissolved.

Step 3: Whip and fold in the egg whites

3/4th shot; white textured background; In a small bowl, beating the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth with electric whisker;TMB Studio

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.

3/4th shot; white textured background; in a small bowl mixing pumpkin mixture and cheese cream mixture together with spatula;TMB Studio

Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture.

Step 4: Mix the dry ingredients

3/4th shot; white textured background; combining flour into the mixture with spatula;TMB Studio

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.

Step 5: Bake the pumpkin cake

overhead shot; white textured background; spreading pumpkin mixture into baking dish with the help of spatula;TMB Studio

Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 375° until the cake springs back when lightly touched, 12-15 minutes.

Step 6: Preroll the cake

horizontal shot; Turning cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar;TMB Studio

Cool the cake for 5 minutes. Turn the cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

3/4th shot; Gently peeling off waxed paper over cake;TMB Studio

Gently peel off the paper.

horizontal shot; Rolling up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side;TMB Studio

Roll up the cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

Step 7: Make the filling and assemble the roll

3/4th shot; spreading cream over cake with spreader;TMB Studio

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly to within 1/2 inch of the edges.

Editor’s Tip: Use an offset spatula to spread the filling on the cake.

3/4th shot; white background; Rolling up the cake again without towel;TMB Studio

Roll up the cake again, without the towel.

Cover and freeze the cake until firm. Remove the cake from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar.

3/4 angle shot of Pumpkin Rolls; marble background; knife;TMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Make it pumpkin spice: This recipe calls for cinnamon, which helps to enhance the pumpkin flavor. For even more pumpkin spice flavor, increase the amount of cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and add in 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and ground cloves.
  • Add some chocolate: The filling for this cake roll is a tangy cream cheese-based filling. It’s delicious on its own, but you could switch it up. Consider adding 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to the mixture for a chocolate-pumpkin combination.
  • Drizzle with maple syrup: Love fall flavors? Combine pumpkin and maple! Drizzle the cake roll with your favorite maple syrup right before serving.

How to Store a Pumpkin Roll

Store your leftover cake roll well-wrapped in storage wrap or in an airtight container. Because this pumpkin roll cake is made with cream cheese, it should be stored in the fridge. Keep it there for up to four or five days.

Can you make a pumpkin roll ahead of time?

This pumpkin roll recipe can be made ahead of time, but you’ll want to complete all the steps at the same time. For the best results, make the pumpkin Swiss roll and freeze it until you’re ready to slice and enjoy.

Can you freeze a pumpkin roll?

This cake roll stores well in the freezer for up to three months if wrapped in storage wrap or parchment and then in a layer of aluminum foil. To thaw, leave the pumpkin sponge roll unwrapped in the fridge until it softens.

Pumpkin Roll Tips

3/4 angle shot of Pumpkin Roll served on small fancy plate with fork; wooden background;TMB Studio

How do you keep the pumpkin roll from cracking?

To prevent cracking, roll the cake while it’s still hot out of the oven. The warmth and moisture will help keep the sponge intact. Cracks can also occur if the cake is overbaked, so be sure to keep timing in mind. The cake layer is thin, so remove it from the oven right when it’s done.

How can you make it easier to get the pumpkin cake off the baking pan?

While lining and greasing the baking pan is a crucial step before adding the batter, consider some extra help ahead of time. A silicone mat can make it easier to remove the flat, thin cake from its pan and will also help with the rolling process.

Watch how to Make Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 15 min
Yield 10 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • FILLING:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional confectioners' sugar, optional

Directions

  1. Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with parchment or waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 375° until cake springs back when lightly touched, 12-15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again, without towel. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 287 calories, 12g fat (7g saturated fat), 85mg cholesterol, 268mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

This pumpkin roll recipe is great to keep in the freezer for a quick dessert for my family or unexpected guests, to take to a gathering, or to give as a yummy gift. —Erica Berchtold, Freeport, Illinois