This easy pumpkin roll recipe features a simple trick to prevent sticking and cracks so you get a perfect show-stopping dessert every single time! Try this gorgeous pumpkin cream cheese roll for your next Thanksgiving dinner!
Classic Pumpkin Log Recipe
Every year during the holidays my aunt Tina makes a pumpkin log — we look forward to it all year!
If you’ve not yet tried a pumpkin log cake, it’s kind of like a Swiss Roll cake (my favorite Little Debbie treat), but pumpkin flavored!
Soft, moist pumpkin cake, swirled with luscious cream cheese icing — it’s all at once simple and sublime!
Considering how much I love this dessert, it’s a wonder I’ve never attempted to make it before! I guess I just needed the right recipe to where I knew I could handle it!
What makes this pumpkin roll so easy?
Many classic pumpkin roll recipes have you roll up the cake on a kitchen towel. Honestly, I’ve never tried this method because it just sounded super messy and difficult, and that was enough to scare me away!
The trick here is baking your cake on parchment paper! After you roll up the cake, the parchment paper should peel away cleanly (unlike a towel which is a recipe for sticking!)
I’ve also included more tips later in the post to ensure your cake won’t stick and to troubleshoot if it does. You CAN do this!! And it’s so worth it!!
What You Need to Make our Easy Pumpkin Roll
I’ve provided this quick list of shop-able ingredients for your convenience; disclosure policy here.
- Flour — all purpose
- Baking powder — If you can’t remember when you bought your baking powder or baking soda, buy new ones! Fresher makes a big difference in taste and texture!
- Baking soda — See above!
- Pumpkin pie spice — You can use store bought or make your own, try this recipe from Sugar, Spice and Glitter!
- Ground cinnamon — I like strong cinnamon, use your fav!
- Salt — We used Kosher salt, but you should be ok with regular salt too
- Eggs — We used large eggs
- Vanilla extract — Stick with pure vanilla extract for best flavor if possible (as opposed to imitation flavoring)
- Sugar — White granulated
- Pure pumpkin — Canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree (just make sure there aren’t a bunch of additives and you’re getting real pumpkin).
Pumpkin Roll Filling ingredients
- Cream cheese — You’ll need one (8 oz) block, softened for easier mixing.
- Butter – We used unsalted, since there is salt added to the recipe. If you use salted butter, that’s fine too, but you may want to cut back on added salt.
- Vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
Kitchen Tools Used
How to Make Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F prep your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Whisk in vanilla and pumpkin.
- Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in one bowl and fold together until smooth.
- Spread batter evenly onto the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 13-16 minutes. Cake is done if it springs back when you touch it gently.
- Remove cake from oven and place on counter.
- Roll cake and parchment paper into a log shape and place on wire rack to cool.
For the Cream Cheese Filling
- Beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until smooth.
- When cake is completely cool (even in the middle), unroll on counter.
- Spread the cream cheese filling on cake.
- Roll up the cake, removing the parchment paper as you go.
- Allow to chill in fridge to set, for easier slicing.
Can you freeze pumpkin rolls?
Yes, a pumpkin roll can last up a month or two in the freezer.
Be sure to cool completely before freezing. Simply cover with plastic wrap, taking care to seal completely, and place inside a freezer bag.
If possible, plan ahead so you can defrost overnight in the fridge. If you’re in a time crunch, you can thaw on the counter for an hour or two, then slice. The individual slices will thaw quicker than a whole roll.
Once you’ve frozen and defrosted the cake, I don’t recommend re-freezing.
Why is my pumpkin roll sticky?
There are a few reasons that the outside of your cake might be sticky or “wet” to the touch. Here’s how to avoid that dilemma:
- Roll the cake while it is still warm from the oven. Letting the cake cool before you roll it the first time is one of the most common reasons for cracks or other issues.
- Make sure the cake is completely cooled before frosting. Because we let the cake cool while it’s rolled up, the middle of the cake takes longer to cool. Give it plenty of time and check before frosting. If you try to frost the cake while it’s still warm, the frosting is more likely to stick and tear the cake.
- Do not put cake in fridge while it’s still warm. If you waited to frost the cake until it cooled completely, this won’t be an issue. Placing a still warm cake in the fridge is a recipe for it to turn soggy, as excess moisture from the cake doesn’t get a chance to evaporate as steam.
How do I fix cracks or tears?
If your cake stuck to the paper when you rolled it or cracked during the process, don’t worry! A few creative tricks and no one has to be the wiser!
- If the cake stuck to the plastic/parchment paper: sprinkle with powdered sugar to cover any imperfections. You could also sprinkle with chopped pecans or pipe frosting on top too.
- If the cake cracked slightly: add a layer of frosting to the top of the cake. Not only will this look pretty, but it can hide any little oopsies!
- The cake cracked a LOT or fell apart: don’t despair! It still tastes fantastic, so consider chopping it up and making a trifle instead!
More of our favorite classic fall recipes:
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Pumpkin Spice Muddy Buddies
- Layered Pumpkin Chocolate Cake
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Chocolate Gingersnap Crust
Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe (Printable Copy)
If you like this recipe, please rate it! We’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Best Easy Pumpkin Roll Recipe
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin or pumpkin pureee
Cream Cheese Filling ingredients
- 1 - 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 6 Tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 15x10" cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.
- Whisk the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree into the egg/sugar mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, until well combined and smooth.
- Scoop batter onto the prepared cookie sheet and gently spread until it is evenly distributed.
- Bake for 13-16 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
- As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, immediately pull the parchment paper and cake off the pan and onto your workspace.
- Carefully roll up the cake and parchment paper together into a log and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Filling
- Beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar until smooth.
- When cake is completely cool, gently unroll it onto the counter until it is mostly flat.
- Spread the cream cheese filling on the cake, taking care not to tear the cake.
- Roll the cake back up, peeling away the parchment paper as you roll.
- You can cut and serve immediately, but chilling in the fridge first helps it hold its shape.
- Roll cake immediately after baking (make sure it's cool enough to handle, but still warm).
- Do not put warm cake in the fridge.
- Frost only after cake is completely cool.
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