This pumpkin roll recipe will quickly become your new favorite treat! It’s a pretty pinwheel-looking dessert made of pumpkin cake and a cream cheese filling.
The moist and indulgent fall dessert is best served chilled and will be a sure hit at your next party.
And while it might seem intimidating to make, it is actually very easy!
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll
The first thing you need to prepare is the pumpkin cake. Here’s how:
- Make the batter. Combine flour, baking soda, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Then add the eggs, pumpkin puree, and lemon juice.
- Pour batter into the baking pan. Spread the mixture evenly into a greased and floured cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
- Into the oven, it goes. Bake the mixture for 15 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While waiting, place a damp linen towel on the counter and dust it with sugar. You’ll need this for rolling the cake, as it prevents the cake from sticking to itself.
- Take the pumpkin cake out of the pan. You must move quickly for this step, so get ready. Once the cake is cooked, run a knife around the pan’s edges to loosen the cake. Turn the pan over onto the damp towel. The cake will be extremely hot, so don’t forget to wear oven mitts!
- Roll the cake. Gently roll the towel lengthwise with the cake inside. Transfer the towel and cake onto a wire rack and let it cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Make sure the seam of the towel is on the bottom to prevent the cake from unrolling.
While you’re waiting for the cake to cool, it’s time to make the cream cheese icing.
- Combine icing ingredients. Blend the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until smooth. Be sure to use room temperature ingredients to avoid a thin icing that oozes out of your roll. If your icing is too thin, you can remedy it by adding more powdered sugar.
- Refrigerate. This will keep your icing fresh. You can freeze it too, especially if it comes out too thin. Take it out only when ready to use it.
Once your cake has cooled to room temperature, it’s time to assemble the roll.
- Unroll the cake. Transfer the cake-in-towel onto a flat surface. Unroll the cake ever so gently, so it won’t break.
- Spread the icing. Use a spatula to spread the cream cheese filling evenly. Leave a border around the sides (about ¾ inches) to prevent icing from spilling out when you roll the cake.
- Roll the cake. Do this right after you spread the icing onto the cake and without the towel this time. A hot cake is more pliable and less prone to cracking.
- Wrap and chill. Wrap the roll tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Cut and serve. Slice the rolls and expose those beautiful swirls. Serve cold and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
- Try this easy cake-rolling technique. Another alternative to the old towel-rolling method is to use parchment paper instead. Roll the pumpkin cake inside the parchment paper you used to bake it on. It’s a lot easier and mess-free!
- Don’t over-bake your cake. Take it out of the oven once the edges start to look dry. The center should still look moist but will spring back when you press on it.
- Make a homemade pumpkin pie spice. No pumpkin pie spice? No problem! You can make one by yourself by combining cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
- Use a large serrated knife. This will ensure nice and clean cuts and prevent flattened slices.
How to Store & Freeze Pumpkin Rolls
Pumpkin rolls can be stored in the refrigerator and freezer, so you can make them ahead of time.
Wrap your pumpkin roll tightly in plastic wrap. If storing in the fridge, it will last for up to 5 days. In the freezer, it will keep well for up to three months.
Before freezing, place the cake in a zip-top bag.
Before serving frozen pumpkin roll, thaw it in the fridge overnight first. I don’t recommend heating it up in the oven or the microwave, because your pumpkin roll might dry out.
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