Pumpkin Roll

File this one in the “Recipes I Never Thought I’d Make” category. Not because I don’t like it, or because I couldn’t make it, it’s just that someone else has always made it. 


dramatic pause

pumpkin roll!

Pumpkin roll is one of those holiday traditions in my family. It’s there every year, but this past year was the first time I was asked to make it. Imagine the pressure! (all self-induced, of course.) What if I screwed it up and was responsible for us NOT having pumpkin roll?

OK, it wasn’t THAT bad. Both my mom and my grandma assured me that I could do it. And since I’d seen Karen tackle it earlier in the fall, I felt like it might not be impossible for me. 🙂

I’m happy to report that my first pumpkin roll was a success! It both looked AND tasted like Grandma’s. (Good thing, since I used her recipe!) 

In spite of the multiple steps in this recipe (baking, rolling, unrolling and re-rolling), it’s actually easy to put together. Its one downside (and Kirsten will agree with me on this) is that it doesn’t use an entire can of pumpkin. But have no fear! I have another recipe coming soon that only uses one cup of pumpkin, so you won’t be stuck with leftovers. 🙂

Side note: I know this recipe seems a little out of place in January, but there’s really no reason why it would be. Did you put up pumpkin puree this fall? Or hit up the post-holiday pumpkin sale at your local grocery store? (No? It’s not too late! Go check, because I saw cans of pumpkin for $1 each at Walmart over the weekend.) 

Pumpkin Roll
Yes, the cake is good, but I’ll be honest… I’m here for the filling. 🙂

Pumpkin Roll 

For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground gloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used about half this amount since I’d rather not have my dessert overwhelmed by nuts.) 
splash of vanilla (not in the original recipe, but I love the stuff.)
Powered sugar, for sprinkling the towel and garnishing

For the filling:
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 15″ x 10″ jelly roll pan; line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment paper. (I actually think my jelly roll pan is 11″ x 17″. It worked fine though.) Set pan aside. On a work surface (but not where you’ll be mixing things!) sprinkle a clean, thin cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick. Beat in the pumpkin, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched.

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately loosen the edges of the cake. Invert the cake on to the prepared towel. (He who hesitates is lost here – take a deep breath and give it a quick flip!) Carefully peel off the parchment paper, and then roll up the cake and towel together, starting at the narrow end. Place the roll on a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling. Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. (I used my hand mixer for this part, since the bowl for my stand mixer was dirty…)

When the cake has cooled, carefully unroll it. Remove the towel from the cake and spread the cream cheese filling over the cake. Re-roll the cake. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.*

Cut chilled cake into pieces about an inch thick. If desired, sprinkle slices with powdered sugar before serving.

*Have pumpkin roll, will travel! Want to take this bad boy on the road? Simply wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then foil, and place in the freezer. Bam! Pop the frozen roll in the cooler with an ice pack or two, and you’re good to go for at least eight hours. 🙂 

From my Grandma

Click HERE for a printable version!

5 thoughts on “Pumpkin Roll

  1. Beth your pumpkin roll was delicious and maybe I will ask you to make it again. I guess maybe I won’t be fixing Thanksgiving this year if everything goes as planned. It was better than mine and I know you can make anything. Love you. Grandma

  2. It’s never too late for a pumpkin roll!
    I have 4 little sugar pie pumpkins in the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve and there will be much pumpkin eaten by this family over the rest of the winter.

    As much as I love pumpkin, though, I’m with you–I’m here for the filling, and your/Grandma’s filling sounds perfect.


  3. This recipe has so many things going for it! That cream cheese filling sounds like it would be great with many things but the combination with pumpkin sounds perfect. The best part of this recipe to me is that it is your grandmother’s. Its a recipe that is filled with love and memories (not just cream cheese). Those are the best! I will definately be giving this a try 🙂

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