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The Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe

The classic pumpkin roll is like the Holy Holiday Grail. Some of us can do it, and some feel like they’re always searching for its secrets. Well here’s my secret: whether your a master or not it doesn’t matter. And making it perfect doesn’t matter. It just tastes so good, you’ll be working your own kind of magic. 

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The classic pumpkin roll takes finesse to get it just right. Learn all the tips for this fall showstopper here.

Let’s start out by discussing what not to do.

  1. Do not take this thing seriously. It’s rolled up cake. If you crack it, who cares? (I say this because I cracked two this weekend and pieced them together on a prayer and went with it.) If you get too committed to the baking cause, a pumpkin roll will threaten to take your soul.
  2. Do not over bake this. The center will look a little wet when you get it out of the oven–don’t doubt me. Just take it out and go with it. If you cook it too long it will fall apart when you roll it. Then, you’ll need to go back to #1 again.
  3. Do not fail to grease and flour your pan. It will stick. You’ll be mad. And we’ll have to, well, visit #1 again.

Seriously though, the joy of a pumpkin roll is palpable. Put one on a holiday table and people start going “Oh man! I love these things!” And it will disappear no matter what. Follow the classic pumpkin roll recipe I have listed here to the baking minute, then roll your up cake while it’s still very warm into a clean dish towel and let it cool completely.

Make your frosting, unroll the cake (gently) and spread it with the cream cheese filling. Roll it back up without the towel (because that would just be stupid and gross) and wrap it in plastic wrap. Chill it overnight so it can get all soft and gooey and it’s ready to eat.



The classic pumpkin roll takes finesse to get it just right. Learn all the tips for this fall showstopper here.

The classic pumpkin roll takes finesse to get it just right. Learn all the tips for this fall showstopper here.

The Classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe

This classic pumpkin roll recipe is simple: a spiced sheet cake and a simple cream cheese filling.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • For the filling:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 8- ounce package cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until lighter in color, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the sugar and beat to combine.
  • Add the pumpkin and lemon juice and beat to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add to the wet ingredients and beat until just mixed.
  • Pour into a well-greased jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with sides (about 11x15 inches or so).
  • Bake 15 minutes, OR until a toothpick in the thickest section comes out clean. Don't over bake it.
  • Turn the hot cake out onto a clean kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar and roll it all up--towel and all.
  • Let the cake sit until completely cool. This may take a couple of hours.
  • In the mean time, beat the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla together to make the filling and set aside.
  • When the cake is cool, unroll the towel and spread the inside of the cake with the filling, up to about a 1/2 inch from the sides.
  • Re-roll the cake without the towel and wrap in plastic wrap. Allow to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.


Calories: 369kcal

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