Classic pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling is one of my favorite pumpkin spice recipes ever. With a soft pumpkin cake layer and a sweet cream cheese filling, it’s the perfect fall dessert!
These days I call Texas home, but I grew up in a small south-central Ohio town famous for pumpkin. I grew up eating yummy pumpkin treats every year and to this day, they still hold a special place in my heart.
Especially a classic pumpkin roll. It only tops my second favorite, chocolate chip pumpkin bread recipe by a little bit.
Common Problems Making A Pumpkin Roll
My family will tell you that over the years I have perfected making a classic pumpkin roll. So much so that my daughter Emma asks for it as soon as fall is in sight. She asks for my pumpkin roll and my peanut butter meringue pie recipe so you know they’re good recipes.
But, making a pumpkin roll – while it is actually simple to do – does take some practice and skill. There are a lot of great bakers out there who all have the same common problems. Because of that, I want to address those issues really fast so I can help you bake this easy pumpkin roll recipe that turns out the best it possibly could.
How Do You Roll a Pumpkin Roll Without Cracking It?
One of the biggest issues making a classic pumpkin roll is that your cake layer will easily crack and break if you aren’t careful. Since you’re making a rolled cake, it basically ruins the dessert even though it may still taste amazing.
But we both know that when it comes to food, presentation matters.
You can prevent a pumpkin roll from cracking by doing three things.
Use the Correct Baking Pan
First, do not use a regular baking sheet or cake pan. They are too deep and will make a thicker pumpkin cake layer than you can roll.
Instead, use a jelly roll pan like THIS one. A jelly roll pan is thinner than a regular baking sheet or cake pan. You will still get the fluffy cake you want, but it will be thin enough to work with.
Level Your Baking Pan Out
Another reason for a cracked pumpkin roll is an uneven cake layer. Preventing this is pretty simple. Simple gently shake the prepared pan before you put it in the oven a few times.
This will help the batter to even out and prevent an uneven cake.
Cool the Cake for the Right Amount of Time
Finally, do not allow your pumpkin roll to cool all the way before you try to roll it. If you do, it will have dried out quite a bit and become less pliable. When it is still warm, rolling it is easiest and will keep your pumpkin roll from cracking; or worse, breaking.
Basically, you only want to allow it to cool enough using a wire rack that you can handle it. Any cooler and you will likely run into problems rolling it.
What is Pumpkin Roll Filling Made Of?
The best pumpkin roll filling is a cream cheese frosting. It’s incredibly simple to make as it only has four ingredients.
If the cream cheese mixture that is written in the recipe below is not sweet enough for you, add up to a half cup confectioners’ sugar. If it’s too sweet, add a bit of milk to thin it out.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Roll?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze pumpkin roll! To freeze pumpkin roll, bake and roll as directed in the recipe card below. Once you have rolled your pumpkin roll, allow it to cool completely.
Alternatively, you can freeze individual slices the same way. With slices, it’s best to store them in an airtight food storage container so they are not crushed.
Consume frozen pumpkin roll within 90 days for the best flavor.
How to Make a Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe with Cream Cheese Filling
Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe with Cream Cheese Filling
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Bring eggs, butter and cream cheese to room temperature. Grease jelly roll pan, line with parchment paper and grease parchment paper. Set aside. Dust powdered sugar over clean kitchen towel. Set aside. Beat eggs and sugar until light and fully combined.
- Add all cake ingredients except flour and pumpkin. Mix after each addition.
- Add flour and pumpkin. Mix well.
- Pour batter into greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350°F until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or about 10-12 minutes. While cake is baking, dust clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
- Once cake is baked, allow it to very slightly cool. Turn cake onto clean and dusted towel and remove parchment paper.
- Trim edges to even them out.
- Spread cream cheese frosting over one side of the cake making sure to frost end to end.
- Flip one end of towel over the cake. Begin to very slowly roll cake into log. Once your roll is started, remove the towel and finish rolling into a pumpkin roll. Chill 2 hours, then slice and serve.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until a smooth, spreading consistency is reached.
- Once a smooth consistency is reached, taste and adjust flavor using the notes below.
- Nutrition facts are auto calculated and may not be correct. Please use your best judgement.
- One of the most common reasons for a pumpkin roll recipe to fail is a lopsided cake. To prevent that with this pumpkin roll recipe, give the entire jelly roll pan a couple of gentle side to side shakes to help the batter to even out.
- You will need to taste the cream cheese frosting to test the sweetness. Taste it to make sure it’s sweet enough. If not, add a very tiny amount of powdered sugar and whip again. Rinse and repeat. Once it’s sweet enough for your family, set aside until you are ready to use it. Refrigerate if it will be longer than 1 hour. If your cream cheese filling is too sweet, adding a bit of whole or 2% milk will help cut the sweetness. Just be sure not to add too much. If you do, you’ll have a runny filling/frosting.