Pumpkin roll cake is a moist, pumpkin cake filled with homemade whipped cream. It’s reminiscent of pumpkin pie, without all the work!

Slice of pumpkin roll cake on a platter

Is there anything more special than a roll cake? They’re incredibly festive and fun, and they always wow the crowd.

This Pumpkin Roll Cake is moist and delicious, with a fresh whipped cream filling. It’s like pumpkin pie in cake form!

I’d always been intimidated to make one before I went to cooking school…somehow I just knew my cake would crack when inverting it or rolling it.

In reality, they’re very easy to make once you get some experience making genoise cakes. It can be a bit tricky at first, but it is easy and it’s literally in the oven in 20 minutes.

This cake is incredibly moist and forgiving thanks to the pumpkin purée, so it will not crack on you. 🙂

Pumpkin spice roll cake on a platter with a slice cut

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • 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!
  • This pumpkin cake roll is moist and light, and tastes like pumpkin pie with much less effort.  
  • The cake batter and pumpkin roll filling are made with basic ingredients you likely have on hand already.

Recipe ingredients

This pumpkin spice roll cake might look fancy, but the ingredients list is actually fairly simple.

Ingredient notes

  • Eggs. 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.
  • Pumpkin puree. You need 100% pure pumpkin puree for this recipe, NOT canned pumpkin pie filling.
  • Pumpkin pie spice. Use your favorite store-bought pumpkin pie spice or make your own.
  • Powdered sugar. You need a decent amount of powdered sugar to help shape the pumpkin swiss roll.
  • Heavy whipping cream. This is the base of the pumpkin roll filling. Cold heavy whipping cream will whip up the best.
A photo collage showing how to make the best pumpkin roll cake

How to make this recipe

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 afterward. The batter is light and airy, and you know it’s done when you dip the whisk attachment into the batter, “draw” a figure 8 with the batter, 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.
A photo collage showing how to make the best pumpkin roll cake
  • 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.
A photo collage showing how to make the best pumpkin roll cake
  • 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 stick.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Pumpkin swiss roll slice on white plate

FAQ’s

How to store a pumpkin roll cake

I recommend storing the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap for best results. It will last up to 3 days in the fridge.

Can this recipe be made in advance?

Yes, the cake needs to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before it can be sliced and served. However, it can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance.

What to serve with this recipe

This easy pumpkin roll is the perfect fall dessert. Try serving it alongside one or more of these classic fall recipes:

Recipe notes

  • Brush both the baking tray and the parchment paper with melted butter to prevent the cake from sticking to it.
  • Add a thick dusting of powdered sugar to your towel to make sure the cake doesn’t stick to it either.
  • Make sure to use pumpkin puree for this recipe rather than pumpkin pie filling (which is pre-sweetened and spiced).

More pumpkin desserts you’ll love:

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Pumpkin roll cake on white plate with pumpkin alongside

Pumpkin Roll Cake

Pumpkin roll cake is a moist, pumpkin cake filled with homemade whipped cream. It's reminiscent of pumpkin pie, without all the work!
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Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted (for the pan)
  • 3 large eggs room temperature*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • [1/2 teaspoon homemade pumpkin pie spice]
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • large kitchen towel
  • powdered sugar for dusting the kitchen towel

For the whipped cream filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

Prepare the cake:

  • Position the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Brush half of the butter over a jelly roll pan measuring about 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" 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 1/3 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 1/3 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.

Assemble the cake:

  • 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 1/2″ border around the edges. The cream should be spread to about 1/4″ 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!

Notes

  • Total time above includes 2 hours for the cake the set in the fridge. The longer the cake sits, the better it is! Store covered with plastic wrap for best results (if you have leftovers).
  • *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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 363kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 103mg, Sodium: 178mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 39g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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