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    Soft Pumpkin Roll Recipe

    When I tell you this pumpkin roll literally melts in your mouth, I honestly mean it! It is so incredibly soft and moist, wonderfully spiced and is filled with a not-too-sweet cream cheese buttercream. Best part is, it’s easy to make!

    Pumpkin roll recipe

    What is a Pumpkin Roll?

    A pumpkin roll is a delicious dessert made with a thin, tender pumpkin-flavored sponge cake that is filled with a sweet and creamy filling, often made with cream cheese (which is how I choose to make mine). It’s a popular dessert, especially during the fall and holiday season in the United States and is often made for thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Key Ingredients in Pumpkin Roll

    Pumpkin

    First let’s go over the key ingredient in this pumpkin roll recipe – pumpkin!

    This recipe uses canned pumpkin (I use Libby’s canned pumpkin, the same one I use in my popular pumpkin cake recipe), but you can use fresh pumpkin too. When choosing canned pumpkin, you want to make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.

    If you prefer to use fresh pumpkin puree, then the method you use is important, as you want to reduce the amount of excess liquid in your pumpkin. The BBC has a good article on how to prepare pumpkin puree, and you can check out here.

    Spices

    Many pumpkin roll recipes use spices, in particular cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. I’ve decided to use a combination of different spices in this recipe – it really just takes the flavour to a whole new level!

    The spices I use are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves (all the same spices I use in my pumpkin cake recipe).

    If you have pumpkin spice seasoning, then you can use 2 teaspoons of that in replacement of the spices in this recipe if you prefer.

    Other Ingredients

    One other notable ingredient in this cake is cornstarch. If you’ve been a member of my blog for a while now, then you’ve probably already noticed that I use cornstarch in a lot of my cake recipes (like my super popular vanilla cake recipe).

    The main reason I’ve used it for this recipe is because cornstarch doesn’t contain any gluten in it, and so by substituting some of the flour with cornstarch, it’ll give you a softer cake. I can afford to substitute quite a large amount of the all purpose flour (1/4 cup to be precise) with cornstarch in this recipe specifically, because the whipped eggs help to maintain the structure of the cake, so less gluten is needed.

    For more information on why I use cornstarch in my recipes, click here.

    Pumpkin Roll Filling

    The filling for this pumpkin roll is a traditional cream cheese frosting. It’s based on my favourite cream cheese frosting recipe that I use for many cake recipes (like my red velvet cake and spice cake), but is less sweet. This is because the filling for this roll doesn’t need to be as stable, which means you can use less icing sugar.

    How to Make Pumpkin Roll

    This pumpkin roll recipe is relatively easy to make, and comes together in a few quick steps!

    Begin by preheating your oven to 170 °C (340°F) with the fan on/convection mode and line an 18×13 inch (half-sheet) baking tray. You only need to line the tray longways, and I like to lightly grease my pan before lining it so that the parchment paper doesn’t move around.

    Next lay out a clean dry kitchen towel. Dust a 1/3 cup (40g) of icing sugar (also known as powdered sugar) evenly over the towel. You can use your hands to spread out the icing sugar if it feels like the kitchen towel isn’t evenly covered. Set the towel aside for now.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Next is the cake batter. In a bowl sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside for now.

    In a large bowl combine sugar and eggs, and using a hand or stand mixer on a medium high speed, whip that for 4 minutes until it’s thick and fluffy. Then turn your mixer down to the lowest speed, and mix for a further minute to get rid of any large air bubbles and stabilise the batter. Get all the batter off of the attachments and the rest of the mixing will be done by hand.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    To the egg mixture add in the pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla, and using a spatula, gently fold that in until almost combined.

    Add in the presifted dry ingredients from earlier and gently fold that in until just combined. Do not overmix the batter, so only mix until you can’t see anymore pockets of unmixed flour.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Evenly distribute the batter in the prepared pan. I like to use an offset spatula to spread it out. Once done, give the pan a little shake to level out the batter and then drop it lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles. I like to also tap the bottom of the tray a few times.

    Bake for 12 minutes, or until the top of the cake is set, and slowly bounces back when you touch it.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    While the cake is still hot, run a thin knife along the long edges of the cake pan to release the cake, and then immediately invert it onto the prepared kitchen towel (see video for demonstration).

    Roll up the cake in the kitchen towel while it’s still warm, and allow it come to room temperature, which should take about an hour or so.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    Once the cake is cool, prepare the cream cheese filling. In a bowl combine the unsalted butter and icing sugar, and using a hand or stand mixer on the lowest speed, mix until everything is combined, and then turn up the speed to a medium/high and whip for 2 minutes until it’s lighter in colour.

    pumpkin roll recipe

     

    Next add in the cold cream cheese and vanilla extract or essence, and mix until everything is just combined and smooth. Avoid overmixing.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Assembly

    Unroll the cake and then evenly spread out an even layer of the cream cheese frosting, leaving a small section at the end of the cake roll unfrosted (about 1 inch). This will ensure that none of the frosting seeps out the end of the roll.

    Begin rolling the cake by lifting the kitchen towel. Make an initial tight roll using the help of your hands, and then continue to lift the kitchen towel and let it do the rest of the rolling for you (see video demonstration). Don’t worry if some of the skin of your roll sticks to the kitchen towel.

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Once rolled, cover the cake in plastic wrap, ensuring the entire cake is covered (including the bottom).

    pumpkin roll recipe

    Place in the fridge to firm up for atleast an hour. Once ready, unwrap the roll, slice the edges off so that you have a nice clean cut on each edge and sprinkle with more powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!

    pumpkin roll recipe

    How to Store a Pumpkin Roll

    Place the pumpkin roll in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. The cream cheese filling is perishable, and refrigeration helps maintain its freshness. You can keep it in the fridge for about a week.

    Commonly Asked Questions

    How do you keep pumpkin rolls from breaking?

    Keeping a pumpkin roll from breaking can be challenging, but with some careful techniques and handling, you can prevent or minimize cracks. Here are some tips to help you avoid breaking when making a pumpkin roll:

    Use Correct Ingredient Quantities: The first step is to make sure you’re using the right quantities of the ingredients listed. Baking is a science, and when it comes to roll cakes, you need to create a soft enough sponge that will roll, but still firm enough to hold it’s shape. This key to achieving this is in the ingredients and techniques used. As always, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided for accuracy 🙂

    Don’t Overbake: Avoid overbaking the pumpkin sponge cake. It should be just set and springy to the touch. Overbaking can lead to a dry and brittle cake that is more likely to crack when rolled.

    Roll While Warm: After baking, roll the cake while it’s still warm. Gently lift the kitchen towel with the cake and roll it into a log shape. Rolling while warm helps the cake remember its shape and prevents cracks.

    Let It Cool: Allow the cake to cool in its rolled-up shape. This helps set the roll and makes it easier to unroll, fill, and re-roll without cracking.

    Be Gentle When Re-Rolling: When it’s time to fill and re-roll the cake, be gentle and patient. Don’t rush the process. Use the kitchen towel to help lift and guide the cake while rolling. Avoid pressing too hard, as this can cause cracking.

    Chill Before Serving: Refrigerate the pumpkin roll for atleast an hour. Chilling helps the flavors meld and firms up the filling, making it easier to slice without cracking.

    Why is my pumpkin roll sticking?

    There’s a few reasons why this can happen (it happens to me sometimes too!).

    If the pumpkin roll is sticking to the kitchen towel that you’ve rolled the cake in, then it could be because there wasn’t enough powdered sugar on the towel.

    Moisture is another important factor. If your pumpkin roll sticks to the plastic wrap that you use to store it in while it’s cooling in the fridge, it could be due to the humidity levels of your fridge being too high.

    Pumpkin roll recipe

    Soft Pumpkin Roll Recipe

    When I tell you this pumpkin roll literally melts in your mouth, I honestly mean it! It is so incredible soft and moist, wonderfully spiced and is filled with a not-too-sweet cream cheese buttercream. Best part is, it's easy to make!
    5 from 4 votes
    Print Pin Rate Watch Video
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 12 minutes
    Cooling Time: 1 hour
    Total Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
    Servings: 10 slices

    IMPORTANT: For accuracy, I would recommend using the gram measurements provided as those are the exact quantities I use. Cup measurements are given as estimates (based on US cup measurements) to make it easier for those who do not have a scale.

    Ingredients
     

    Pumpkin Sheet Cake

    • ½ cup (60 g) flour - plain, all purpose
    • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
    • ½ tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon - see note 1 if you want to use pumpkin spice seasoning instead of the listed spices
    • ½ tsp ground ginger powder
    • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    • ¼ tsp all spice
    • tsp ground cloves
    • ¾ cup (150 g) white granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs - room temperature
    • ¾ cup (180 g) pumpkin puree - I use Libby's 100% pure canned pumpkin (room temp). See note 2 for homemade pumpkin puree.
    • 2 tsp unflavoured vegetable oil - I use canola oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
    • cup (40 g) icing sugar - also known as powdered sugar, for dusting on the kitchen towel

    Cream Cheese Frosting/Filling

    • cup (80 g) unsalted butter - room temperature
    • 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar - also known as powdered or confectioners sugar
    • 1 cup (225 g) cream cheese - should be cold, and use a firm/block type if possible
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence/extract

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 170 °C (340°F) with the fan on/convection mode (see note 3 if you don't have a fan function) and line an 18x13 inch (half-sheet) baking tray. You only need to line the tray longways, and I like to lightly grease my pan before lining it so that the baking/parchment paper doesn't move around.
    • Next lay out a clean dry kitchen towel. Dust the 1/3 cup of icing sugar evenly over the towel. You can use your hands to spread out the icing sugar if it feels like the kitchen towel isn't evenly covered. Set the towel aside for now.
    • Next is the cake batter. In a bowl sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Using a whisk or fork, mix until well combined. Set aside for now.
    • In a large bowl combine the sugar and eggs, and using a hand or stand mixer on a medium high speed, whip that for 4 minutes until it's thick and fluffy (see note 4). Then turn your mixer down to the lowest speed, and mix for a further minute to get rid of any large air bubbles and stabilise the batter. Get all the batter off of the attachments and the rest of the mixing will be done by hand.
    • Add in the pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla, and using a spatula, gently fold that in until almost combined.
    • Add in the presifted dry ingredients from earlier and gently fold that in until just combined. Do not overmix the batter, so only mix until you can't see anymore pockets of unmixed flour.
    • Evenly distribute the batter in the sheet pan. I like to use an offset spatula to spread it out. Once done, give the pan a little shake to level out the batter and then drop it lightly on the counter to remove any large air bubbles. I like to also tap the bottom of the tray a few times.
    • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the top of the cake is set, and slowly bounces back when you touch it.
    • While the cake is still hot, run a thin knife along the long edges of the cake pan to release the cake, and then immediately invert it onto the prepared kitchen towel (see video for demonstration).
    • Roll up the cake in the kitchen towel while it's still warm, and allow it come to room temperature, which should take about an hour or so.

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    • Once the cake is cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a bowl combine the unsalted butter and icing sugar, and using a hand or stand mixer on the lowest speed, mix until everything is combined, and then turn up the speed to a medium/high and whip for 2 minutes until it's lighter in colour.
    • Next add in the cold cream cheese and vanilla, and mix until everything is just combined and smooth. Avoid overmixing (see note 5).

    Assembly

    • Unroll the cake and then evenly spread out an even layer of the cream cheese frosting, leaving a small section at the end of the cake roll unfrosted (about 1 inch). This will ensure that none of the frosting seeps out the end of the roll.
    • Begin rolling the cake by lifting the kitchen towel. Make an initial tight roll using the help of your hands, and then continue to lift the kitchen towel and let it do the rest of the rolling for you (see video demonstration). Don't worry if some of the skin of your roll sticks to the kitchen towel.
    • Once rolled, cover the cake in cling wrap, ensuring the entire cake is covered (including the bottom).
    • Place in the fridge to firm up for atleast an hour. Once ready, unwrap the roll (see note 6 if the skin comes off), slice the edges off so that you have a nice clean cut on each edge and dust with more icing sugar if desired. Enjoy!

    Video

    YouTube video

    Notes

    Note 1. If you have pumpkin spice seasoning, you can use 2 teaspoons of that in replacement of the spices listed in the ingredients list (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves).
    Note 2. If using canned pumpkin, ensure that it's 100% pumpkin (do not use pumpkin pie filling). Although I would recommend using canned pumpkin, fresh pumpkin will work too. You just want to make sure there isn't too much liquid in your homemade pumpkin puree. You can find a great article on how to make homemade pumpkin puree here
    Note 3. In this recipe I use an oven with the fan function turned on. The fan forced function cooks food faster, so if your oven doesn't have a fan option, then you will need to increase the baking temperature to 185°C (365°F) so that the sponge cake bakes at the same rate as mine.
    Note 4. The amount of time it takes to reach the thick fluffy texture that you want may vary depending on the strength and size of your mixer. 
    Note 5. Only mix the frosting until it's smooth. Once it's smooth stop mixing as over-mixing can result in a less stable frosting. This is because of the liquid in the cream cheese breaking down the icing sugar. 
    Note 6. If the skin of your cake roll comes off when unwrapping the cling wrap, this could be due to the humidity levels in your fridge. This usually doesn't happen, but I did notice it happen to me when I placed it into a different fridge than the one I usually use. It's not a big deal and doesn't change the taste at all (some people even like it better this way!). Top with extra icing sugar and you're good to go 🙂
     

    Nutrition

    Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 328mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 3316IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 115mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutritional information are estimates only as they are automatically calculated by a third party application. Actual values may differ based on brands and types of products used.

    Keyword: homemade pumpkin roll, pumkin roll, pumpkin cake roll, pumpkin jelly roll, pumpkin roll, pumpkin roll recipe, pumpkin spice roll
    Tried this recipe?I love hearing from you! Tag me @cakesbymk.nz on instagram so I can see your amazing creations 🙂

     

     

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    12 Comments

    • Iris

      Oh my goodness, I tried this wonderful recipe and when I say it was delicious that’s an understatement. I fallow all your guides step by step and this roll came out so soft, creamy and wow so delicious! Thank you for all your fantastic recipes . May you and your family have a great holiday.

      • Cakes by MK

        Thanks so much for the wonderful feedback Iris! So happy to hear you loved the pumpkin roll 😀 happy holidays!

    • Jess

      5 stars
      Hi I love your recipes and your YouTube channel is super informative!

      If I wanted to make this into a spice cake without the pumpkin what would you suggest to substitute it with, or would I be able to omit it entirely? 🤔

      Thank you for all of the wonderful content you create! 💜

    • Alison

      5 stars
      Hello!

      After watching (for a couple years!), various baking shows where people make Swiss Rolls/Yule Logs, I decided to shake off my intimidation and give a roll cake a try!

      Your recipe was easy to follow, filled with handy tips, and I was completely shocked by how well this came out. WOW.

      Now I have roll cake confidence!

      Thank you so much! 🍁🧡

      • Cakes by MK

        Awesome! So happy to hear you were able to successfully attempt a roll cake with this recipe Alison 😀 appreciate the feedback 🙂

    • Sherlyn Diaz

      5 stars
      I made this recipe two days ago and LOVED IT. It was so easy, basically hard to mess up haha. I am personally picky with cakes because I want them to be super moist and not too sweet. This recipe kept its moisture for days in the fridge and was perfectly balanced with sweetness and flavor. It was so soft, but not soft that it would crumble when cutting slices. My favorite was the cream cheese filling because it didn’t taste like purely powdered sugar like other frostings, instead the cream cheese flavor truly shone through. I did struggle a bit when removing the wax paper from the hot cake, specifically the corners of the cake would stick to the paper and remove part of the cake. Also, I think next time, I will add more pumpkin puree because, for my personal taste, the pumpkin flavor was not as prominent as I feel like it should have been. Also, I LOVE LOVE the simple, yet instructive video. It was super short and only covered the most important instructions and tips. Overall, 5/5 recipe, I cannot recommend it enough and will definitely make again and again.

      • Cakes by MK

        Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Sherlyn! So so happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe 🙂 a tip to help the cake come off the wax paper a little easier is to grease the wax paper or dust it with a little powdered sugar. Also using parchment/baking paper instead may help too as sometimes wax paper can cause sticking 🙂

    • Billye Hardy

      Please send me the Pumpkin roll recipe and instructions and notes. Thank you.

      • Cakes by MK

        Hi Billye! You can find the written recipe on the recipe card at the end of the blog post (above the comments section) 🙂 there should be an option to print the recipe which will then allow you to download the recipe as a pdf and you can save it to your computer. Hope that helps! 🙂

    • Lori Fisher

      Wonderful recipe of the Soft Pumpkin Roll. Love the video

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    About me

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Maryam and I LOVE baking! :) I hope to provide you with the tools (i.e. simple, from-scratch, quality tested recipes), so that you can confidently bake up delicious treats to share with your family and friends!

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