• October 4, 2017

    Pumpkin Roll Cake

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    Pumpkin Roll Cake

    This pumpkin roll cake is the most delicious thing I have made in a long time.

    It is beautifully imperfect. The sponge cake is has more moisture than is typical, and so the process of rolling is a bit more finicky. It cracked for me, and I think it will every time. But cracks, in my opinion, are part of the charm of rolled cakes. It would be a great Halloween treat or a delicious departure from pie for Thanksgiving.

    Life has been a bit messy lately. Both my kids are in part-time preschool/daycare now, and they’re alternating getting sick on a weekly basis. There hasn’t been a week since August that I haven’t felt like I was coming down with something.

    I was also pregnant again for a spell. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t planned. But the loss of the sweet little spark that was with me for such a short period of time has been sitting really heavy with me. It’s been a month since it happened and I haven’t fully recovered. I still get teary when I think of it, and my first-trimester fatigue hasn’t fully disappeared.

    The silver lining is that I feel I was given another chance to be a better mom to my little guy, Everett, who just turned two and with whom I’ve spent almost no one-on-one time. I’ve just switched Theo to morning school, instead of afternoons while Everett is napping. In those quiet, early hours, I’ve really gotten to know this sweet, smart, passionate little human, and I’ve hugged him a hundred times a day in the past four weeks.

    He’s spirited (exhausting?), and perpetually in trouble. In spending time with him undistracted by a chatty big brother, I’ve gotten to understand his motivations.


    The relentless, burning curiousity that drives him to do things like fill his play kitchen sink with toilet water and snap my four-hundred-dollar retainer in two. The fine motor skills that haven’t caught up with his quick thought processes, combined with the short temper he undoubtedly acquired from me, that leads him to destroy his train tracks when he can’t get one piece to stick with the next. The biting that needs a nap. The kicking that needs a hug.


    I’m thankful for the conscious slowing down, even if the circumstances triggering it were sad ones. It’s made our relationship less struggle and more snuggle.

    Real life is messy and imperfect.  Like this cracked pumpkin cake coated in sugar. Have a beautiful week, friends.


    Pumpkin Roll Cake

    Delicate, lightly spiced pumpkin sponge cake rolled up with a fluffy cream filling.
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Author: Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD


    • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
    • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • ½ tsp kosher salt
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • ¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
    • 4 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

    For Filling

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tbsp cream cheese room temperature
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


    • Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
    • Add eggs and sugar to stand mixer and beat on high speed until very pale and fluffy, 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in pumpkin, then flour mixture.
    • Line a 13”x18” baking sheet with parchment paper, then butter and flour the paper (it’s a sticky cake!). Spread the batter evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and springy.
    • While cake is baking, dust a clean kitchen towel with 2 tbsp of the confectioners’ sugar. As soon as cake comes out of the oven, carefully invert it onto the towel, then peel off the parchment paper. Gently roll the cake up from the short edge (like you’re making cinnamon buns) and cool completely inside the towel on top of a wire rack.
    • To make filling, beat cream cheese with heavy cream in stand mixer with whisk attachment until medium peaks form. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract.
    • Gently unroll cooled cake. Roll it back up without the towel and gently transfer to a sheet of parchment paper (use a rimless cookie sheet or pizza peel to help you lift it if you’re struggling). Unroll it again gently on the parchment (expect cracks, these are totally fine - the filling will glue it all together). Spread evenly with the cream filling and use the parchment paper to assist in rolling it back up. Cake may be served right away, but two hours in the refrigerator (or 20-30 minutes in the freezer) will make it easier to slice. DEVOUR!
    Tried this recipe?tag @foodess
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    Hi, I'm Jennifer Pallian, BSc, RD. I studied cooking, baking and food chemistry in a university lab, have years of experience as a professional test kitchen recipe developer and providing technical baking support to bakeries and home bakers. Want to know why your bread didn't rise? I've got your back.I now work full-time as a blogger, putting the years of science and baking to work right here. On Foodess, I share the best recipes in my arsenal - tested-till-PERFECT recipes for cozy baking, easy recipes for weeknight meals and delicious globally-inspired comfort food, plus lots of science-based cooking and baking tips. Welcome!

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    Suzanne Redgen

    Hi Jennifer,
    I don’t see where you use the other 2 tblsps of Confectioner’s sugar? I re-read it several times but cant seem to find it. Can you help please?

    Suzanne Redgen

    Hi Jennifer,
    I don’t see where you use the other 2 tblsps of Confectioner’s sugar? I re-read it several times but cant seem to find it. Can you help please?

    Suzanne Redgen

    Hi Jennifer,
    I don’t see where you use the other 2 tblsps of Confectioner’s sugar? I re-read it several times but cant seem to find it. Can you help please?

    Suzanne Redgen

    Hi Jennifer,
    I don’t see where you use the other 2 tblsps of Confectioner’s sugar? I re-read it several times but cant seem to find it. Can you help please?


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