Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll Cake
A cream cheese pumpkin roll is a swiss roll made from a thin pumpkin cake and filled with cream cheese frosting. A must-have on every fall table!
A cream cheese pumpkin roll is a type of swiss roll that is made from a thin, moist pumpkin cake that is then rolled up with cream cheese frosting. The cake is spiced with pumpkin pie spice and is dusted with powdered sugar before serving.
Libby’s pumpkin roll is perhaps the most famous version of this iconic Fall dessert. Many have a tradition of serving it around the holidays
The key points to keep in mind to make your pumpkin roll successful:
- Make sure your watch the cake closely and pull it out of the oven as soon as it is set in the middle. It is a thin cake and will cook quickly.
- Have your towel ready to go as soon as the cake comes out of the oven so you can quickly roll it up.
- Flip the cake onto the towel while it is still hot so that it will easily roll without cracking.
- Let the cake cool completely before filling.
Type of Pan
Swiss rolls are traditionally made in a jelly roll pan that is 15 by 10-inches in size. This is not a common size pan that most people keep in their kitchen. Therefore, I developed this recipe to fit a traditional rimmed half sheet pan.
Preventing Your Pumpkin Roll From Cracking
Pumpkin rolls can crack if the cake is overcooked. Because the batter is spread into such a thin layer before baking, this cake cooks very quickly. Watch it closely and pull it from the oven as soon as the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean.
It is also important to roll the cake layer in a towel while it is still hot. If you let it cool too long before you roll it this can also lead to cracking.
Storing the Cake
Pumpkin roll does need to be spored in the refrigerator due to the cream cheese icing. It can also get quite sticky if left out of the refrigerator too long.
The cake does naturally get a bit sticky anyway, which is why you should hold off on dusting it with powdered sugar until right before serving. If you dust it too early, the powdered sugar will be absorbed into the moisture of the cake.
For the Pumpkin Cake
- 250 grams (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (*see note for substitution)
- powdered sugar for dusting the towel
For the Frosting
- 225 grams (8 ounces) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 28 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 360 grams - 480 grams (3-4 cups) powdered sugar
- large pinch salt
- Ingredients: About 30 minutes before making the cake take the eggs, cream cheese, and butter out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature.
- Oven: Position an oven rack to the center position and preheat to 375°F/190°C.
- Pan: Grease an 18 x 13-inch (46 x 33 cm) rimmed half sheet pan and line with parchment paper so the grease holds the paper in place.
- Towel: Lay a big thin cotton dish towel (I like to use flour sack towels) on a worksurface and dust liberally with powdered sugar. This is what the cake will be rolled up in when it comes out of the oven.
For the Cake:
- Beat Eggs: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and granulated sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes until they have thickened and increased in volume.
- Add Pumpkin: Mix in the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Combine: Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and use a silicone spatula to mix until everything is incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread it out as evenly as possible. It will be very thin. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to get out any air bubbles and to help even it out.
- Bake at 375°F/190°C for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Carefully remove the cake with the parchment paper to a cooling rack to make it easier to handle. Invert the cake into the prepared towel. Liberally dust more powdered sugar over the top of the cake so it won't stick to the towel.
- Roll: Starting at the short end, carefully roll the cake up in the towel. Allow to cool fully- at least 1 hour.
- Make Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, add the cream cheese and butter. Mix on medium-low speed until combined and creamy. Add about 360 grams (3 cups) of the powdered sugar and a large pinch of salt. Mix on low speed until it starts to incorporate and then increase to medium-low. Scrape down the bowl and add up to 1 more cup of powdered sugar if desired to thicken and sweeten it up.
- Fill: Carefully unroll the cake and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the entire cake. There is no need to leave any borders.
- Roll the cake back up into a tight roll and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
- To serve, dust powdered sugar over the top and then slice with a serrated knife.
- Store uneaten cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Recipe adapted from Libby's Pumpkin Roll Recipe
*Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute
If you do not have pumpkin pie spice on hand you can substitute it in the recipe with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon clove, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.