Grandma’s Pumpkin Roll is one of my family’s favorite fall recipes. Sweetened cream cheese filling rolled in a light, and moist pumpkin cake makes this dessert unforgettable.
Before my family and I moved to Florida, we lived near my grandmother. Every year around this time, she made several pumpkin rolls and sent them home with various family members to freeze and enjoy over the holidays. She never ate them because she doesn’t like pumpkin, but everyone else in the family absolutely loved them.
My husband and I always ended up with at least two at our house. He usually ate them both because I wasn’t a big fan of pumpkin either. One year, he talked me into trying a bite and the next time we visited Grandma, I asked for her pumpkin roll recipe. Grandma’s pumpkin roll was so good that I wanted to be able to continue to make them long after she was gone. My grandmother was thrilled to share her recipe with me, and I’m so glad she did.
Throughout the years, I’ve practiced making her pumpkin roll but couldn’t get the technique quite right. The pumpkin cake usually ended up in a big heap of crumbs and was a huge mess. If you’ve read my earlier posts, this year is the year I’m learning to make pumpkin related recipes like Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Classic Pumpkin Bread, and Pumpkin Pie Spice. How could I get by without baking Grandma’s pumpkin roll?
This time, I followed the directions better and used the right materials. Plus, a little experience never hurts. The result was a moist, cream filled, pumpkin roll almost as good as Grandma’s.
Prep and Preheat:
Grease a jelly roll pan or baking sheet with butter. Cover the pan with waxed or parchment paper. Make sure the paper stays in place by pressing down, so it sticks to the butter. Apply more butter or cooking spray to the top of the paper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Make the Cake Batter:
Add the sugar, pumpkin, baking soda, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment, and mix on low until combined. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and use a silicone spatula to smooth it into one even layer.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The cake will rise slightly and should spring back when touched. Do not overbake or the edges will harden.
Cool the Cake:
While the cake is baking, take a large kitchen towel and liberally sprinkle it with powdered sugar. After the cake bakes, remove it from the pan leaving the waxed or parchment paper attached. Flip the cake upside down on the kitchen towel (paper side up, cake side down touching the towel and powdered sugar). Carefully peel off the paper taking care not to tear the cake, then discard the paper. Roll the cake up with the kitchen towel inside. Allow the cake to cool completely while still rolled in the towel. In the meantime, you can make the cream cheese filling.
Make the Filling:
Add the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to combine. If you want to add chopped pecans, remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold them in. Store the filling in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill the cake.
Fill the Cake:
After the cake cools, carefully unroll it, but don’t force it to lay flat. Use a spatula to apply the cream cheese filling to the interior of the cake. Smooth it out so it’s one even layer and covers to all the edges.
Roll the cake back up with the filling on the inside. Cover the pumpkin roll with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to set.
Remove the pumpkin roll from the plastic wrap and dust lightly with powdered sugar. Cut into slices and serve.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tablespoons softened butter
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease the bottoms and side of a jelly roll pan or baking sheet (mine was 10 x 15 inches).
Place waxed or parchment paper in the pan then grease the paper.
Place all the cake batter ingredients sugar through eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix on low speed until combined.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the cooked cake from the oven and place cake side down on a clean kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Carefully remove the paper.
Roll the towel and the cake together and allow the cake to cool.
Use a whisk to combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
Add pecans if using.
Unroll the cooled cake.
Use a spatula to spread the filling over the cake but don't try to make it lay flat. The cake will try to roll at the ends.
After filling the cake, roll the cake back up and wrap it in plastic wrap.
Store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to set.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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