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Pumpkin Roll

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This classic pumpkin roll recipe features an irresistible pumpkin spice sponge cake with a tangy cream cheese filling. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Front view of a classic pumpkin roll

The Best Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Pumpkin roll is one of my favorite holiday desserts. The sweet spiced pumpkin cake and the tangy filling are just the perfect combination of flavors.

One day I had some extra cream cheese frosting laying around my kitchen. I also had some fat free Greek yogurt in my refrigerator and my wheels started turning; what would happened if I mixed the two? Well, all I can say is it was fabulous! I let a few others taste it to see what they thought, and they all agreed.

So when I had all these requests to make over a pumpkin roll, I knew this would be my filling! I added some crushed walnuts to the filling and it was delicious! You can, of course make it without the nuts if you wish.

If your like me and love pumpkin, you’ll probably also love these pumpkin recipes for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pumpkin Banana Bread, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin No-Bake Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Pecan Banana Bread.

Overhead view of a sliced pumpkin roll

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Roll Cake

  • Easier than you think. Pumpkin roll has a reputation for being difficult to make but if you follow the tips in this post, you’ll see that it’s not difficult at all.
  • Perfect pumpkin flavor. The cake portion of this pumpkin roll cake is made with pumpkin puree and a blend of spices for that classic pumpkin spice flavor. It pairs perfectly with the tangy cream cheese filling.
  • Ideal for making ahead. Pumpkin roll stores well in the fridge for several days and it’s actually best a day or two after it’s made, which makes it perfect for the holidays as you can cross it off your list days in advance. It freezes well too!

What You’ll Need

Here’s an overview of what you’ll need for this pumpkin roll recipe. Scroll down to the recipe card below for measurements.

  • To make the base of the cake: Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, vanilla, and granulated sugar make the cake batter.
  • Spices: Pumpkin pie spice, all spice and ground cinnamon give the cake the classic pumpkin spice flavor.
  • Canned pumpkin: To make this easy, using store-bought canned pumpkin puree is perfectly fine.  But you can also make your pumpkin puree from scratch, if you wish.
  • For the cream cheese filling: Light cream cheese, Greek yogurt, powdered sugar, walnuts (optional) and vanilla combine to make a sweet but lightly tangy filling.

How To Make Pumpkin Roll

Here’s an overview of how to make pumpkin roll cake. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Prepare the pan: Spray a pan with non-stick spray, line with parchment paper, spray with more non-stick spray, and lightly flour.
  • Make the cake batter. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 minutes until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. Fold in the sifted flour mixture with a spatula.
  • Bake. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes.
  • Roll. Sprinkle a clean dish towel with confectioners’ sugar. Immediately invert the cake onto the towel, remove the parchment paper, and sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar. Roll the cake with a towel and place on a wire rack to cool.
  • Make the filling. Beat the cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy then beat in the sugar. Fold in the walnuts. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Assemble. Unroll the cake, spread the filling evenly on top, and re-roll. Transfer to the serving platter, cover, and chill for at least a few hours. Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Powdered sugar being sprinkled on a pumpkin roll

Helpful Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the best pumpkin roll recipe.

  • Beat the eggs enough. This is key to giving the pumpkin roll shape. When you raise the beaters, the batter should fall back to the bowl in slow ribbons.
  • Roll the cake immediately. Do not let the cake cool before inverting it on the towel and rolling it. If it cools, it is more likely to crack when you roll it.
  • Use LIGHT cream cheese. Do not use fat free cream cheese. It is too thin and will not give the texture needed for this recipe.
  • Chill before slicing. You CAN serve your pumpkin roll cake immediately but chilling it overnight (or at least for several hours), makes it much easier to slice.

How to Store Pumpkin Roll

As noted above, pumpkin rolls are actually best when made in advance. Here’s how to store them:

  • Fridge: To refrigerate your pumpkin roll, wrap it up tight in plastic wrap without the powdered sugar.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days
  • Freezer: You can also freeze your pumpkin roll for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before serving.

More Pumpkin Recipes

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Pumpkin Roll

4.74 from 23 votes
This classic pumpkin roll recipe features an irresistible pumpkin spice sponge cake with a tangy cream cheese filling. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This classic pumpkin roll recipe is made lighter than traditional recipes with a delicious pumpkin spiced sponge cake and a light cream cheese filling.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield: 13 servings
Serving Size: 3 /4″ slice


For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • non-stick spray, I used Smart Balance
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, to sprinkle on towel

For the filling:

  • 6 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature (NOT fat free)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 oz fat free Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar, optional for topping


Pumpkin Roll:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and place oven rack in the center of the oven.  Spray a 15 x 10 inch baking pan with non-stick spray, line it with parchment paper, then spray a little more non-stick spray and lightly flour the parchment paper.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, and salt into a large bowl.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together in your electric mixer or hand mixer. Beat on high speed for five minutes, or until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.)
  • Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold in the sifted flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading the cake batter with a spatula or knife.
  • Bake about 13 – 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake, when lightly pressed, springs back.
  • Sprinkle a clean dish towel with confectioners’ sugar.
  • Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven invert the pumpkin roll onto the clean dish towel. Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and sprinkle lightly with confectioners sugar; roll the pumpkin roll up with the towel, while it is still hot and pliable. Place on a wire rack to cool.


  • Beat the cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth; fold in the walnuts.
  • Refrigerate at least one hour.

To Assemble:

  • Unroll the pumpkin roll, spread with the filling, and re-roll. Transfer to your serving platter; cover and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. (You can serve this cake immediately but chilling it overnight sets the filling and makes it easier to slice.)
  • Just before serving, lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Last Step:

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Adapted from Joy of Baking


Serving: 3 /4″ slice, Calories: 198 kcal, Carbohydrates: 42.5 g, Protein: 5 g, Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Cholesterol: 42 mg, Sodium: 134 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 21 g