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Pumpkin Cake Roll | www.tasteandtellblog.com
I know, I know – pumpkin cake rolls have been popping up all over food blogs lately, and the last thing everyone wants to see is another pumpkin cake roll that is no different than any others out there. Well, too bad!! I am posting this not because it is a super fantastic, original recipe, but because of the things I learned about making a cake roll.

First of all, for the birthdays at work this month, I decided to go with a pumpkin theme. Seeing that I only had 3 treats to make for the month (4 birthdays, but 2 were on the same day), it wasn’t hard to come up with 3 different pumpkin treats. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin cake roll because I LOVE pumpkin cake roll. I was a little apprehensive, because last month, I tried to make a chocolate cake roll for a birthday at work, and after 4 attempts, I ended up making brownies. Yes, that is correct – 4 cakes in the garbage, and brownies from a box for the birthday treat. (And sadly enough, those very brownies were one of the most popular birthday treats yet – I hope that doesn’t say something about my baking!!) So I was a bit scared the night I made this cake roll, but luckily, things worked out well. I did get this recipe from a cookbook (my trusty Lion House Desserts cookbook), but just out of curiosity, I looked online at the Libby recipe, and the ingredients were pretty much identical. Go figure. The filling was different, but I didn’t end up following the recipe for the filling in my cookbook because I accidentally used 8 oz. of cream cheese instead of 3 oz. Another side note – why do recipes say a “3 oz. box of cream cheese”? I have never seen a 3 oz. box of cream cheese, and always mistakenly use a 8 oz. box, since that is how they come at the grocery store. Oh well, more cream cheese is never a bad thing, is it??

So, what did I learn about making a good cake roll? I talked to my mom who is the queen of cake rolls to get her advice. I learned 2 very important things that will hopefully make all of my cake roll adventures in the future successful.

1 – Doubling the recipe is a recipe for disaster. My mom has probably made hundreds of cake rolls in her life, and she says that she would even she would have a hard time baking them properly when there are 2 in the oven. Only bake 1 sheet pan at a time.

2 – Most important – the type of towel you use to roll your cake can make or break your roll. My mom said that after much trial and error, she discovered that a terry towel does not work. Her preferred material – she has some towels that are made from old flour sacks. These cotton towels work the best. The worst kind of towel – terry cloth.

Pumpkin Cake Roll
Prep time
Cook time
A traditional pumpkin cake roll filled with lots of cream cheese filling.
Serves: 12 servings
For Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup canned or cooked pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped nuts, optional
  • Powdered sugar
For Filling:*
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • *I had extra filling, probably because I added so much extra cream cheese. But I really liked the flavor of the filling, so I would probably keep it the same next time.
For the Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and grease paper. Set aside. Beat eggs till lemon colored. Gradually add sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt; add to egg-pumpkin mixture. Pour batter into pan; sprinkle with chopped nuts (if using.) Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar on kitchen towel. Turn cake onto towel, and remove wax paper. Roll up cake and towel lengthwise. Cool. Refrigerate or freeze.
For the filling:
  1. Whip butter and cream cheese together. Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Unroll cake and spread with filling. Roll up again. Wrap in plastic wrap until served.
  2. ----------------
  3. adapted from Lion House Desserts

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20 Responses to Pumpkin Cake Roll

  1. Maryann@FindingLaDolceVita says:

    Very seasonal. I still have to do something with my pumpkin…hmmm

    • Beth Ann says:


      My mother’s alternative to a cream cheese filling–use ice cream by opening up the whole 1/2 gallon box, cutting thin slabs and laying them on the cake, then rolling the cake, wrapping in foil and freezing until nearly ready to serve. She made the cake chocolate or made a vanilla cake with jelly filling. Of course her jelly was also homemade.

      Yes, she used a flour sack dishcloth too.

      I love making cake rolls partly for all the memories, partly for the continued delight and surprise from those who’ve not been served a cake roll before, and mostly because I love to eat them too!

      Thanks for your charming introduction that led me to read only your recipe–I bet it’ll be really good!

  2. gigi says:

    I love pumpkin rolls! I have a friend who always requests a pumpkin roll for her birthday. (it’s a week away)Your mom is right those are the best towels for rolls. Your pumpkin roll looks delicious!

  3. Kate says:

    deborah ! honey u’ll be happy to know these are the first pumpkin rollsi’ve seen and they look bloody delicious. I’ve tried to make rolls once with terrible results. These look so perfect , neat and clean. They have great texture and they look moist and the colours are also incticing. All i need to do is pick one now !

  4. Belinda says:

    Well, I have been under the radar the past couple of weeks, and yours is the very first pumpkin roll I’ve seen, Deborah, so…I am enthralled with it, and wow, does it ever look GOOD! Yum!

  5. Kevin says:

    Your pumpkin rolls look great!! I will definitely be trying my hand at making pumpkin rolls with some of the pumpkins that I have.

  6. Beth G. says:

    This is on my list of things to attempt someday! Yours looks gorgeous!! Thanks for the tips :O)

  7. Caroline says:

    well, you are the first pumpkin cake roll I have come across… I have never tried to make them but look forward to it!

  8. Kelly-Jane says:

    I don’t know if the cream cheese or the roll, but this looks so good! You’ve made lovely puddings from this book =)Mmm mmm!

  9. Megan says:

    Ive seen 3oz pkg of creamcheese but not so much lately. And this is the first pumpkin roll I’ve seen also. Every pumpkin roll (which is many) I’ve ever made has been a smashing success. Great Recipe.

  10. eatme_delicious says:

    Your pumpkin roll looks yummy! I’ve never tried pumpkin roll before but I really should because it has 2 things I really love – pumpkin and cream cheese. And no there cannot be too much cream cheese! I’ve seen 4 oz cream cheese bars at the grocery store but never 3 oz. I must remember your tips when I attempt one. 🙂

  11. April says:

    I have never made pumpkin rolls, but have always wanted to try them. You have just inspired me to do so. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Brilynn says:

    I bought a cake roll pan with good intentions of making cake rolls. Then I made one and it wouldn’t roll at all and I haven’t tried again since… I will though, and possibly with something as nice as a pumpkin roll.

  13. Emilie says:

    Oh, it looks sooooo good. I’ve never made a roll. Wait, I did. I made a yule log cake.

    I agree with you on the cream cheese. You either use an 8-oz carton, or 1/2 of a carton.

  14. Ellie says:

    Maybe its because I’ve been absent from the food blogging world for so long, but this is the first pumpkin cake type thing I’ve seen! Great work hon, and that’s a gorgeous photo you’ve got right there 😀 I’ll have to bookmark this for next fall…

  15. Valli says:

    You can never have enough pumpkin recipes and cake rolls this time of year!

  16. Glenna says:

    yes! My sister used to bake one of those every year when she was in high school. I miss it every fall. Hmmm…guess I could call her and request it, eh?

  17. ejm says:

    This is amazing! I would swear that I have never seen or heard of pumpkin rolls until about a week ago when I read about it in SAVEUR magazine and decided we had to have it. I got a “pie” pumpkin for Hallowe’en just so I could try this pumpkin roll!

    Your recipe is very similar to the one in SAVEUR (except it calls for 6 oz of cream cheese). I have already decided that I’m just going to use 8 because that’s the size of the package….

    Many thanks for the tip about what kind of towel to use for rolling the cake, which I plan to make today.


    P.S. Found you via Kalyn’s Blogher post about pumpkin

  18. countrygirlcityliving says:

    Hooray! I found the recipe. Don’t know if you will see this post but thank you for reading my comment and then directing me to this fabulous recipe. Maybe this weekend I will try my hand at a pumpkin cake roll(with some dark chocolate chunks and toasted almonds…yum!) When can we expect you?!

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