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Soft pumpkin sponge cake and fluffy cream cheese filling all rolled up into a Pumpkin Roll Cake then dusted with powdered sugar! The perfect fall version of my classic Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake (or try my Pistachio Lemon Roll Cake).
Pumpkin Roll Cake Made Easy!
We are officially in Fall baking season, which only means one thing, pumpkin! Today I have a classic Pumpkin Roll Cake filled with sweet cream cheese filling for you all. Traditionally roll cakes can be a bit intimidating to make, I get it, no one wants a giant crack in the middle of their cake. However, you don’t need to be afraid. I’ve broken down this recipe piece-by-piece so that you have the highest chance of success possible. Be sure to read through it all before you start the whole process that way you know what to expect. And in the end, you get pretty amazing results. A light and airy pumpkin sponge cake with the perfect cream cheese swirl in the middle. Dress up the outside with a dusting of powdered sugar and you’ve got a show-stopping dessert.
Pumpkin Sponge Cake Ingredients
Because we are making a sponge cake you aren’t going to find any butter or oil in this recipe. We want to keep things light and airy while still getting that spiced pumpkin flavor. Here’s what you need to make this Pumpkin Roll Cake:
- Flour – this fills out the cake.
- Baking Powder + Baking Soda – two leavening agents to create a soft bouncy texture.
- Salt – to balance and enhance flavors.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg + Cloves – three warm spices to flavor the cake. Replace with pumpkin pie spice in a pinch.
- Sugar – to sweeten.
- Eggs – these are beaten with the sugar to help create that light structure sponge cake is known for.
- Pumpkin Puree – this is plain canned pumpkin, *not* pumpkin pie filling.
For the Cream Cheese Filling
This recipe is based on my Cream Cheese Frosting with a dash of cinnamon, yum!
- Cream Cheese + Butter – both are softened and whipped together for a fluffy texture.
- Powdered Sugar – instead of using a whole pound of this stuff like in my regular frosting recipe, I use just 1 cup. Just enough to sweeten and thicken.
- Vanilla – for flavor. Consider replacing this with maple extract for even more Fall flavor.
- Cinnamon – this is optional but highly recommended. For warmth and pretty flecks in the filling.
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll Cake
Be sure to check out the printable recipe card down below to save this Pumpkin Roll Cake recipe 🙂
Preheat + Prep
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Dust a thin and clean kitchen towel evenly with 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Set aside.
What type of pan should I use?
A roll cake is synonymous with a jelly roll cake so you will want to use a Jelly Roll Pan which is 15 in x 10 in x 1 in. While it may be tempting to use a larger half sheet pan, please don’t! You won’t get good results, meaning, there won’t be enough batter to spread across the pan and it won’t bake evenly and/or will possibly burn. Investing in a jelly roll pan is your best bet for success. This is the one I own and love.
Make Pumpkin Sponge Cake Batter
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until light in color and thick, 3 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, then dry ingredients until just incorporated.
No, That Isn’t a Typo. There is No Oil or Butter in The Cake Recipe
If you have never made a sponge cake before, you might be thinking I missed adding in the butter or oil to my cake recipe. While most of my cakes do start with some kind of fat (hiii chocolate or vanilla cake), sponge cakes are different.
Traditional sponges rely solely on the air whipped into the batter with the eggs (and don’t even have leavening included.) While you will definitely want to take the time to beat the eggs well into the batter, don’t fret too much. You also add in baking soda and baking powder to ensure a light and airy cake.
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and pumpkin sponge springs back when pressed gently. Mine was done right at 13 minutes.
How to Roll a Pumpkin Roll Cake
Immediately out of the oven, loosen the edges of the cake and turn it out onto a powdered sugar-covered dish towel. Gently remove parchment paper from the cake and roll up the cake and towel together starting at one of the narrower ends. Place onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
How do I keep my pumpkin roll from cracking?
There are four tips and tricks you can do to prevent your pumpkin roll cake from cracking!
- Prep your dish towel with an even layer of powdered sugar. I call for 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to be sprinkled evenly across it. Don’t be afraid to use an extra 1-2 tablespoons to ensure there is no sticking.
- Immediately roll the cake when it is hot out of the oven. The longer you wait, the more likely it will crack. I know this seems nearly impossible, but lining the jelly roll pan with parchment paper is key and having good oven mitts to help you negotiate the hot pan is extremely helpful.
- Do not over bake your cake. Every oven works a little differently, so be sure yours is preheated to the correct temperature by using an oven thermometer and start checking for doneness at 10 minutes, just to be sure.
- Unroll and fill once cooled. Try not to let your cake sit on the counter rolled up in the dish towel for a prolonged period of time. This can also cause sticking to the dish towel which can be such a pain to manage. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, unroll, fill and refrigerate right away.
Make Cream Cheese Filling
For the cream cheese filling, beat butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until thick and smooth. Stir in the cinnamon, if desired.
Unroll, Fill, + Reroll
Unroll the cake gently and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll it back up carefully without the dish towel. Wrap the filled pumpkin roll cake in plastic wrap entirely and refrigerate for 2 hours or until ready to serve.
Refrigerate + Serve
Refrigerate 2-4 hours or until filling is set. Unwrap and place onto serving platter. Dust with more powdered sugar, slice into pieces, and serve chilled.
Luckily for you, this pumpkin roll cake is super easy to store to save for later or make ahead of time. Simply follow the instructions as directed then keep roll cake wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Refrigerate for up to 5 days!
Can you freeze Pumpkin Roll Cake?
Yes, you can freeze pumpkin roll cake! Tightly wrap that baby in a couple of layers of plastic wrap then freeze for up to three months. Be sure to thaw in the fridge for one whole day before serving.
More Pumpkin Cakes to Try!
- Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake
- Mini Pumpkin Bundt Cakes
- Nutella Pumpkin Cake
- Pumpkin Layer Cake with Walnuts
The printable recipe card is down below, enjoy 🙂
Pumpkin Roll Cake
- 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
For the Pumpkin Sponge Cake
- Jelly Roll Pan (10×15)
- Parchment Paper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Dust a thin and clean kitchen towel evenly with 4 tablespoons powdered sugar. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until light in color and thick, 3 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, then dry ingredients until just incorporated.
- Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and pumpkin sponge springs back when pressed gently.
- Immediately out of the oven, loosen the edges of the cake and turn out onto powdered sugar covered dish towel. Gently remove parchment paper from cake and roll up cake and towel together starting at one of the narrower ends. Place onto cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the cream cheese filling, beat butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until thick and smooth.
- Unroll cake gently and spread with cream cheese filling. Roll it back up carefully and wrap in plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate 2-4 hours or until filling is set. Unwrap and place onto serving platter. Dust with more powdered sugar, slice into pieces and serve chilled.