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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

While this is a classic recipe, it was one I've never made on my own before.  It's a really impressive dessert, especially when you serve it to people who aren't familiar with it because it looks much more difficult than it is.  I got lots of "oohs and aahs" when I sliced it at Thanksgiving.  This requires less than 20 minutes of baking time.  Everything else is just waiting on cooling and refrigeration.  Give yourself plenty of time to refrigerate though because this is best served cold.  If you want to make it in advance, you can also freeze it. 

The pumpkin part of the recipe is a very thin pumpkin cake -- you'll want to be careful not to overcook this and use the right size pan.  You want a moist cake that will easily roll up.  You need a thin cotton towel as well, preferably one without much texture like a flour sack dishtowel, otherwise your cake will end up with impressions from your towel and your towel may be more likely to leave little cotton fibers on the cake.  Be liberal with the powdered sugar when you sprinkle it on the towel, it's like flouring a counter to roll out pizza dough, you don't want it to stick.  The original recipe also calls for walnuts but I left those out and added a little ginger and nutmeg to the cake.

For the cream filling, it's essentially a thick cream cheese frosting.  I added some maple syrup and vanilla extract for flavoring to mine.  Don't go overboard with the filling.  It doesn't look like a lot when you make it but there will be plenty.  You want to spread it in a thin even layer over the cake.  Once you roll it up, the filling is so rich and creamy that you don't want it to overpower the cake. 

Pumpkin Roll
Adapted from Libby's

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 T unsalted butter, softened
2 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for towel and dusting)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 10" x 15" jellyroll pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, spray parchment paper as well.  (The parchment paper is just extra insurance that you cake will come out of the pan cleanly.)

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices in a large mixing bowl and whisk to fluff and incorporate.  Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.  Add pumpkin and beat well.  Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  Bake 11-15 minutes, rotating halfway through to insure your oven cooks evenly.  The cake should spring back when lightly touched. 

Prepare kitchen towel by sprinkling with about 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a thin layer.  Loosen cake from pan by running a knife around all edges.  Carefully flip cake onto towel and peel off parchment paper.  Gently roll cake and towel up together and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Let cool completely before assembling.

For filling, beat together cream cheese and butter about 2-3 minutes until smooth.  Add syrup and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, increase speed to medium high and whip until light and fluffy.  Set aside until cake is cooled.

To assemble, carefully unroll cake.  Quickly spread a thin layer of filling evenly over the cake and re-roll cake without the towel.  Wrap cake in a double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. 


  1. I've always wanted to make a pumpkin roll and this one looks great. I think it just takes courage to trust the recipe and I think Libby's is a good source. Congrats!

  2. I love this!! We have it at every family get together. I made one a few weeks ago and put toffee bits over the icing before I rolled it up - delish! Beautiful pic. :o)

  3. @Branny -- that was exactly what I was thinking, I knew it would taste good (it's pumpkin and cream cheese how could it be bad?) but I was intimidated so I figured if I was making it for Thanksgiving there was no pressure since we were having other desserts too. Turned out great though.

    @Diana - The toffee bits make a nice addition, sounds great.

  4. Ohhh gosh, that looks fab! I am definitely not over the pumpkin kick I've been on lately, so I'll have to give that a try!

  5. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I have made this before (years ago) but will make it once again THIS year using YOUR recipe. Happy Holiday Baking to YOU from me!!

  6. That looks so delicious. Your photos could be in a cookbook, even your ingredients look pretty. I've never tried doing a roll of any type, you have great directions.

  7. Is it normal once you flip it on towel that middel is still kinda runny? Will that just go away once cooled ?

    1. It shouldn't be runny. It's generally sort of spongey when it's done.


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