Pumpkin Cake Roll is moist, pumpkin genoise cake filled with fresh, sweetened whipped cream, and is reminiscent of pumpkin pie without all the work. It’s classic, delicious, and guaranteed to please!
About a month ago when I asked my Facebook readers if they’d rather see pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cake roll, or pumpkin donuts for my 2nd blog anniversary recipe, they chose cheesecake. I was more than happy to oblige, and made these Mini Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes. The cake roll came in second, and I knew I was going to make it some time down the stretch. It happened a lot sooner than I anticipated, so the pumpkin love continues. 🙂
My store only had huge cans of pumpkin, so when I opened it up to make more cheesecakes a few weeks ago (they were an instant hit here), I had a lot leftover. That led me to make my Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte, and now this cake roll. I still have more pumpkin left, so quite possibly the donuts will happen soon too.
Have you ever had a pumpkin cake roll? I hadn’t, but I knew I’d love it. I’d never made a cake roll before I went to cooking school because I was always intimidated by them. Somehow I just knew my cake would crack when inverting it or rolling it, or something. They’re so easy, and once you’re comfortable with a genoise cake, you’ll realize it’s one of the easiest cakes to make. I mean, it’s literally in the oven in 20 minutes which also makes it one of the quickest cakes to bake up, too. 🙂
I made my German Chocolate Cake Roll for my birthday back in April, and it was so much fun! The cake was moister than most genoise cakes, which made it less apt to give you problems. This pumpkin genoise is incredibly moist because of the pumpkin, so it will not crack on you…I promise. The moistness did pose a somewhat sticky situation for me, but I realized what I did wrong and believe me, I won’t let that happen to you. I was the guinea pig with this recipe, and despite some challenges, it still came out great…I just couldn’t roll it as tightly as I would’ve liked. You’re about to be inundated with tips and step by step instructions, so feel free to skip over them.
So the first thing with a genoise cake is always beating those eggs with the sugar until they’re tripled in volume.
The first photo shows what the mixture looked like before beating, and the middle is what it looked like after. The batter is light and airy, and you know it’s done when you dip the whisk attachment into the batter and “draw” a figure 8 on top and it stays for a few seconds. I beat the pumpkin in about 1/4 cup at a time, as I felt that one big addition might deflate the airiness of the batter. It worked like a charm.
In school, I learned to sift the flour 3 times prior to adding it to the batter, then sifting it in 1/3 at a time and folding as gently as possible, so that’s the technique I used here. The key is folding nice and gently and as little as possible to keep our batter airy. It sounds temperamental, and it is, but it’s still easy! Trust me.
I brushed my rimmed baking sheet with a light coating of melted butter, then lined it with parchment paper, cutting down into the corner of the pan so the parchment fit into the corners nice and snugly. Brush more melted butter over the parchment, and gently pour the batter into the pan. Use a baby offset spatula to gently spread the batter in an even layer without deflating it.
The cake is so thin that it bakes up in only 12-15 minutes. When it springs back, it’s done. Cool it 5 minutes, then comes the “scary” part…time to turn it out. You’ll want to have a kitchen towel on the counter about the size of the cake, with a very generous coating of powdered sugar all over it.
The first photo shows my bread towel, but the problem was, I only had a very light coating of powdered sugar on it. Because of that, my cake stuck to the towel quite a bit. My advice is to make sure that the powdered sugar is thick enough to completely cover the towel so the cake doesn’t come in contact with the towel, and you’ll have no issues.
The best way to turn the cake out is to hold the top sides of the pan with pot holders, holding onto the overlapping parchment and part of the cake, and just turn out in a quick motion. Peel off the parchment, and roll the cake up immediately and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, unroll and trim the edges.
I ate my edges…just sayin’. 🙂
Spread the whipped cream over the cake leaving about a 1/2″ space on the sides, and roll up snugly. If some whipped cream oozes out, you can eat that, too. 😉 Place on a serving plate and chill for about 2 hours. The longer it sits, the better it gets.
If you’ve never made a cake roll, this is a fun and easy place to start as the cake is nice and moist. If it doesn’t make your guests eyes light up, I sincerely don’t know what will — it’s like a big pumpkin Ho-Ho! There was a lot of excitement when I pulled it out of the fridge, and while I thought I’d have plenty of leftovers, I was wrong, because people were getting seconds. This pumpkin cake roll is moist and light, and tastes like pumpkin pie with much less effort. It’s time to try a cake roll! You’ll be so happy you did. 🙂
In the mood for more pumpkin desserts? Here’s a few more for your viewing pleasure:
Baked Pumpkin Pie Donuts by Shared Appetite
Brown Butter Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by American Heritage Cooking
Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes by Carmel Moments
Pumpkin Gingersnaps by Spoonful of Flour
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Oatmeal Cake by Inside BruCrew Life
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (for the pan)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature*
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- large kitchen towel
- powdered sugar, for dusting the kitchen towel
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Position the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Brush half of the butter over a jelly roll pan measuring about 17½" x 12½" x 1"h, and line with parchment paper large enough to provide an overhang over the sides of the pan. Cut a line from the corner of the parchment down into the corner of the pan so the parchment fits snugly. Brush the parchment with the other half of the melted butter and set aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Sift the mixture into onto a sheet of waxed paper, then sift once more and set aside.
- Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk to combine. Beat on medium high speed, about 5-8 minutes, or until the mixture has tripled in volume. Dip the whisk into the batter and draw a figure 8 -- if it holds for a few seconds, it's ready. Stir the vanilla into the pumpkin and add it to the egg mixture in about 4 additions, beating on medium high speed until each addition is incorporated.
- Sift ⅓ of the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and gently fold with a rubber scraper until just incorporated, being careful not to deflate the batter. Sift ⅓ more and fold, repeating until the flour has been incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and gently spread the batter evenly with a baby offset spatula, being careful not to deflate it. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger. Cool 5 minutes on a wire rack.
- Lay a kitchen towel large enough for the cake on the counter. Dust the towel with a generous amount of powdered sugar so that the towel is completely covered. Pick up the cake pan with pot holders, holding it upright from the top with the cake facing away from you, making sure the pot holders are around the top of the cake slightly to keep it in place. Hold the cake at an angle over the sugar dusted kitchen towel, remove your hands and turn the cake out quickly onto the kitchen towel. Remove the parchment paper, and roll the cake in the towel, and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- When the cake has cooled completely, unroll it and trim off the outer edges of the cake with a serrated knife. Set aside.
- Place the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high just until stiff peaks begin to form. Spread onto the cake in an even layer leaving ½" border around the edges. The cream should be spread to about ¼" thickness, as if there's too much it will ooze out of the sides when rolled -- you will have some cream left over. Roll the cake from the short end, tucking it in as you go. Place on a serving dish and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
*Room temperature eggs will increase in volume much faster than cold eggs. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes.
You will more than likely have some whipped cream leftover.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home .
Whipped cream filling by Flavor the Moments.