Pumpkin rolls are one of the most iconic Thanksgiving desserts, next to pumpkin pie, of course! Although we haven’t had one in recent years, I remember a stretch of years during which my aunt would bring at least one (sometimes two) pumpkin rolls to add to the Thanksgiving dessert table. It’s virtually impossible to resist that spongy, moist pumpkin cake rolled up with a thick cream cheese filling. While I’ll always take a little sliver of pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving, truth be told, it’s never been high on my list of dessert favorites. All the whipped cream in the world couldn’t change my mind, so I always loved having an alternate pumpkin dessert to devour. I finally made my first rolled cake earlier this year (Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll), and decided once the holidays rolled around I needed to conquer the classic pumpkin roll. Here we are!
While a rolled cake may look intimidating at first, the truth is, they are one of the simplest cakes you’ll ever make! Mixing the batter is quick and easy, and the cake only bakes for 15 minutes. Unlike a layer cake, there is no slicing cake layers, filling, frosting or decorating. Just a simple cream cheese filling that is slathered onto the cake.
If a pumpkin roll is still on your baking bucket list, definitely give it a go this year – it’s easier than you think and your family will love it!
A classic pumpkin roll recipe with a cream cheese filling.
For the Cake:
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup canned pure pumpkin
For the Filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
- Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; set aside.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar and eggs together until combined and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until no flour is remaining. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. While the cake is in the oven, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto the prepared piece of parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper from the top of the cake and discard. Starting with a short end, carefully roll up the cake with the parchment paper. Place the rolled cake on a wire rack seam-side down and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Make the Filling: Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until completely smooth and light. Add the vanilla extract and mix briefly to combine.
- Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the surface of the cake. Re-roll the cake, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, place the pumpkin roll on a serving platter and dust with powdered sugar. Leftovers should be wrapped in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated.