This classic Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll is a staple on our family’s Thanksgiving table. I know it looks fancy schmancy, but this roll is surprisingly easy to make, and that cream cheese filling is irresistible!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll: A Family Tradition
Last month, I asked the Mr. if there were any foods or recipes he considered essential for Thanksgiving–the things he had to taste at least once during the holiday season. After a bit of consideration, he named this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll. These cream cheese swirled swiss roll slices have quite a reputation in the Mr.’s family, and for good reason. The recipe comes from his grandmother, who made them every year for Thanksgiving.
It has since been passed down to my father-in-law, who became quite famous for them at the school where he taught as a favorite (as in drop what you are doing and get to the break room NOW). Apparently, his fellow teachers loved them so much, he had to start bringing three Pumpkin Cream Cheese Rolls to the teacher’s lounge to share each year. And that’s not counting the extra that he had to make and leave at home so his family could enjoy this seasonal treat.
The Mr.’s family now lives a plane-ride away, so I’ve decided to take up the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll mantle and continue the tradition in our home. This recipe has earned every bit of its fame. What’s not to love here? Fluffy cinnamon spiked pumpkin cake swirled with sweet cream cheese filling? And all wrapped up in a beautiful swiss jelly roll type package. This is the stuff Autumn dreams are made of.
Getting Started On A Pumpkin Roll:
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll is surprisingly simple to make, but you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you need:
- A rimmed 9 x 13 inch baking sheet
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Parchment Paper
- Your Mixer
- Wax Paper
- Plastic Wrap (saran wrap)
Ingredients In A Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll
- Sugar (granulated AND powdered sugar)
- Canned Pumpkin
- Baking Soda
- Cream Cheese
- Vanilla Extract
The pumpkin cake itself is only 6 ingredients and the batter comes together in about 5 minutes. (See Recipe Card Below for details/instructions)
The cake batter is poured into the baking sheet and baked until puffed and set in the center. I always line the baking sheet with parchment paper and it comes out of the pan in one piece without a problem.
While the pumpkin cake is baking, you can whip up the dreamy cream cheese filling. If you like cheesecake, you’ll want to eat this with a spoon (so maybe consider making extra *wink wink). My mother-in-law told me she tweaked the recipe a bit by increasing the cream cheese filling, since that’s obviously the best part. She’s a woman after my own heart.
How To Roll Up A Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll
I recommend the quick, easy (and messy) way. After the cake is cooled, you can flop it out onto some powdered sugar dusted wax paper, remove the parchment, and spread the cream cheese around. I like to put it almost to the edges, but leave just a tad of space so it doesn’t come squishing out when you try to roll it.
Then all you do is roll! Starting from the short end you roll the cake over the cream cheese. It will likely crack along the way (you can see that mine did), but it still rolls up fine and will taste just as yummy.
Now if you are serving your pumpkin cream cheese roll to royalty, you might want to go the extra mile and watch this training video. This fancy “Roulade” method involves “pre-rolling” your cake with a thin towel when it is hot from the oven so the cake has a “memory” and will return to this PERFECT rolled-shape with no cracking once it’s cooled, and the filling is spread on there. But for the 99% of us, skip this nonsense, and just cool, spread, grab, roll and go…
Make Thanksgiving Dessert Easier
Once it’s rolled up, you’ll want to wrap your pumpkin cream cheese roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least few hours before serving. I honestly think the longer this sets, the better it gets. The flavors really start to meld together the following day.
You can also make a whole bunch of pumpkin rolls ahead of time and freeze them. It’s just one less thing you’ll have to worry about on Thanksgiving day (or any day).
I hope you’ll give these pumpkin cream cheese rolls a try and share them with your friends. Just don’t be surprised if they start demanding them every year, and you suddenly find yourself the designated Pumpkin Roll maker!
Looking for more great holiday desserts? Try Mom’s Custard Pie, these Pumpkin Pie Pops, or this Salted Maple Caramel Apple Tart. Heck, I’ve even got a whole roundup of 15 Drool-Worthy Desserts for Thanksgiving to help you out.
And if it’s Thanksgiving Dinner that’s got your feathers ruffled, try my super simple Oven Roasted Turkey. They’ll gobble it up!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll Recipe
Spiced pumpkin cake and velvety cream cheese filling make this easy and elegant holiday dessert a family favorite.
For the Pumpkin Cake:
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup flour
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
- 12 ounces softened cream cheese
- 3 Tablespoons softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick spray then line it with parchment paper, with an inch or two of overhang on each side. Lightly spray the top of the parchment with cooking spray as well.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, and cinnamon until sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the pumpkin, baking soda, and flour and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture onto the parchment lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched.
- As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cake from the pan. Roll it up with the parchment while the cake is still warm, then place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In the meantime, give your mixer bowl a quick wash, then add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl. Beat on high until the mixture is smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat, slowly raising the speed as the powdered sugar is incorporated. Beat for a good minute or two on high.
- Unroll the cooled cake and spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the cake, leaving about a 1/2 inch on all sides. Starting on the 9 inch side, roll the cake back over the filling (without the parchment paper).
- Wrap the cake in saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve OR double wrap it and freeze. When you're ready to serve, place the cake in the fridge to thaw. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if desired. Cake should be eaten within 4 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 296Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 83mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 4g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.
I would let it thaw overnight or at least 4-6 hours in the fridge. Good luck! I hope you love the rolls!
I can’t wait to make this! Since you said it can be made and frozen ahead of time, I’m considering making it this weekend to serve next week. What is the best way to thaw it and how long would that typically take? Thanks!
Holy crap that looks amazing! Pumpkin and cream cheese are a perfect pairing. Way to go with the rolling – if I tried doing that, I’m sure it would crack into a thousand ugly (but still delicious) pieces 😉
Oh, mine definitely cracked too. Didn’t stop me from scarfing it down! My mom just gave me a tip though. She said if you roll up the cake while it’s still warm (parchment still intact), THEN unroll and fill, it won’t crack. Haven’t tried it yet, but I guess it’s worth a shot!
Oh, we love a pumpkin jelly roll, too! Such a wonderful family tradition!
This is so gorgeous, Courtney. Dishes that look fancy but are actually easy are my favorite kind! I’ve seen pumpkin rolls but never made one. Now I’m going to try it!
That pumpkin cake looks scrumptious, and I love cheesecake so that cream cheese filling is right up my alley!
I love a good pumpkin roll dessert! I always feel like they look so fancy and special!
Such a gorgeous looking roll!! Bet it tastes delicious too!
What a beautiful pumpkin dessert! My family would flip!
LOVE pumpkin rolls! Yours looks amazing! Love that layer of cream cheese filling!
Your story sounds awfully familiar. The first time I tried this roll was at my in-laws house the first year my husband and I were dating. Now it’s a tradition. Extra filling is a must!
Agreed–pumpkin rolls are definitely a holiday staple! I’ve never made my own and am SO excited you’ve posted this, Court. Can’t wait!
Fancy schmancy that is easy to make? Love that!! This cake looks amazing – would love a giant slice right now!
This is so gorgeous!! And tasty, too, I’m sure!!