Pumpkin Roll is a classic fall dessert that is actually much easier to make than you would think! This light and perfectly spiced pumpkin cake is rolled around a thick, sweet, and tangy cream cheese filling for the most delicious pumpkin roll recipe ever!
My family has been making this Pumpkin Roll for years! It is a simple pumpkin dessert that has a beautiful presentation and always impresses.
Why this is the BEST Pumpkin Roll
- Instead of using the Libby's Pumpkin Roll Recipe, this recipe has a few modifications that make this recipe truly the BEST!
- While cake rolls intimidate many people--there is NO reason to fear making this Pumpkin Roll. By following my simple tip to use parchment paper and a kitchen towel--you WILL have a beautiful cake roll that looks professionally made. EASILY!
- This impressive dessert always impresses everyone. It is light, creamy, and full of pumpkin flavor.
Notes on Ingredients
- Canned Pumpkin--Do NOT use canned pumpkin pie filling. It needs to be 100% pumpkin puree.
- Spices--Instead of using a pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, I recommend measuring out the individual spices yourself for the best ratio of each spice.
- Lemon Juice--This is my family's secret ingredient and it makes a world of difference in the batter. The lemon juice really helps the pumpkin flavor to pop.
- Cream Cheese--Be sure to use room temperature cream cheese for a smooth filling. Either full fat or ⅓rd less fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese works for the cream cheese swirl. Do NOT use fat-free cream cheese.
- Jelly Roll Pan--This is a 15.25 x10.25 inch rimmed sheet, which is the exact size you need for this roll cake.
- Parchment Paper--The pumpkin cake is so moist, parchment paper is a must to prevent this cake from sticking to the pan.
- Kitchen Towel--Use a clean linen towel that is at least the size of the jelly roll pan to help roll up the pumpkin cake. This is a HUGE tip to allowing the pumpkin roll to roll up easily without sticking.
- Microplane--Freshly grated nutmeg has so much better flavor than dried nutmeg, so I highly recommend using freshly grated nutmeg.
How to Make Pumpkin Roll
Step One: Prepare Pan
- Grease a jelly-roll pan and then line with parchment paper (this helps the parchment paper stick to the pan).
- Then grease the parchment paper and sprinkle the parchment paper with flour evenly.
- Lay a clean, damp linen towel on the counter and sprinkle evenly with confectioners sugar--this needs to be ready for the cake as soon as it is baked.
Step Two: Prepare Pumpkin Cake
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy, this will take about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in sugar, lemon juice, and beat until thick. Beat in pumpkin.
- Stir in flour mixture.
- Spread evenly into prepared pan, using an offset spatula.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Immediately turn the cake out onto a prepared towel.
- Peel off the parchment paper and gently roll the cake up in the towel, starting with the short end.
- Cool cake completely on the counter.
Step Three: Prepare Cream Cheese Filling
- Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. It is crucial to have the cream cheese at room temperature so it blends up creamy and smooth.
Step Four: Ice the Cake
- Carefully unroll the cake and spread filling over the cake to within 1 inch of the edges.
- Tightly roll up the cake again.
- Cover pumpkin roll with plastic wrap and chill until cold, for at least 1 hour, best after 2-3 hours.
- Remove from the fridge and dust with powdered sugar and slice for serving.
In the refrigerator:
- Pumpkin Roll will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
- I recommend wrapping the leftover cake in plastic wrap and then place in the refrigerator. The plastic wrap helps to keep moisture from collecting on the cake, which would make the cake soggy.
- As the cake sits in the refrigerator, the powdered sugar dusting may absorb into the cake. It will not affect the flavor or consistency of the cake, but you may want to dust with powdered sugar again before serving, for presentation purposes--but totally not necessary!
In the freezer:
- Be sure the pumpkin roll is fully cool before freezing.
- Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap in foil, then place in a freezer-safe bag and place in the freezer. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- To thaw the pumpkin roll, remove from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
- Unwrap the pumpkin roll and dust with powdered sugar to serve.
- Once thawed, the pumpkin roll will last in the refrigerator for 3 days. I do not recommend refreezing.
- Do not be afraid to use a clean kitchen towel to roll out the pumpkin roll. It will wash well and it really is the best way to roll up the pumpkin cake easily.
- Why use a kitchen towel and not parchment paper to roll up the cake? This cake is so moist that as it cools it may stick to the parchment paper slightly and tear off some of the delicate cake when unrolling. By sprinkling a towel with powdered sugar, not only do you add a bit of sweetness to the cake, but you prevent any tearing.
- Be sure to store this pumpkin roll in the refrigerator.
- The best way to prevent the cake roll from cracking is to roll the cake up in the kitchen towel as soon as it comes out of the oven. The hot cake will be pliable and able to roll up without cracking.
- Do NOT forget to have your cream cheese and butter at room temperature so that your filling turns out perfectly creamy!
More Perfect Fall Desserts
- Instant Pot Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread
- Spiced Pumpkin Muffins.
- Easy Apple Crisp Recipe
Did you try this pumpkin roll? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below! I love to hear from you!
Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Butter for greasing pan
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup all purpose flour plus a few teaspoons for preparing sheet pan
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Confectioners/powdered sugar for dusting cake with
- 1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and then sprinkle with flour.
- Lay a clean, damp linen towel on the counter and sprinkle evenly with confectioners sugar.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt into a small bowl.
- Beat eggs until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly add in sugar, lemon juice, and beat until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan, using an offset spatula.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
- Immediately turn the cake out onto the lined towel. Peel off the parchment paper and gently roll the cake up in the towel, starting with the short end. Cool cake completely.
- Mix together powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
- Carefully unroll the cake and spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of the edges. Roll cake up again.
- Cover and chill until cold.
- Remove from fridge and dust with powdered sugar and slice for serving.
- jelly roll pan
- Pumpkin Roll is best served chilled completely.
- This pumpkin roll will last for 3 days refrigerated and for 1 month frozen.