Pumpkin roll – a classic pumpkin roll recipe with fluffy pumpkin cake and luscious cream cheese filling. This one is even better than Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe!
You knew fall had officially arrived when you came home from school and mom had made a pumpkin roll!
I was used to my mom’s recipe but as I got older, I tried a few friends’ pumpkin roll recipes and upon asking for the recipe was told it was Libby’s Pumpkin Roll recipe.
Who is this Libby?
Why is everyone using her recipe?
It was a great recipe, but then I started to experiment and discovered a new recipe that was Better Than Libby’s Pumpkin Roll recipe.
I got others to try our delicious pumpkin roll recipe and then it came out…
“Hey try this recipe! It might even be better than Libby’s Pumpkin Roll recipe!”
Friend: “Wait, you do know Libby is the can and not a person, right?”
BEST. MOMENT. EVER.
How to Make a Pumpkin Roll
Ok, I know you’re thinking…cake rolls are too hard, they never work, they always crack or stick. We are going to walk you through every step on your way to the perfect pumpkin roll.
Make the Pumpkin Cake Batter
Our first step is making the fluffy, tender pumpkin cake.
Preheat oven to 375° F and line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper. You will want to leave an extra inch of parchment sticking up on both of the longer (15 inch) sides of the pan so that it is super easy to lift the cake out the pan after it is done baking.
Grab a bowl and add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg) and whisk them together until they are combined.
- Now move to a stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, add the eggs and sugar and whisk them for 1 minute until they are blended and thick. Add the vanilla and pumpkin puree and whisk again until everything just comes together.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour mixture. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Pour the batter into your prepared jelly roll pan and spread the batter evenly into the pan. Be sure it is evenly spread. This will be critical to successfully rolling your cake after it is baked. It should be quite thin.
Bake and Roll the Pumpkin Cake
Bake the cake for 13-15 minutes. The cake should spring back when you touch it.
While the cake is baking, sprinkle a large kitchen towel with powdered sugar. When the cake is done baking and using two hot pads, flip the cake onto the powdered sugar towel using those two longer edges of the parchment paper if needed. Now carefully remove the parchment paper from the bake of the cake.
Ok, it is time to roll! Don’t get scared! While the cake is still piping hot (this is crucial to get it to roll without cracking), start at one of the short ends (10 inch end), gently and slowly roll the cake with the towel all the way into a tight roll.
Place the rolled cake onto a wire cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Don’t cool the cake on the counter top! It needs air circulating all around it so that steam doesn’t develop which will make the cake get soggy.
Make the Cream Cheese Filling
While the cake is cooling, you can start working on the cream cheese filling.
In a bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Be sure the butter and cream cheese are both softened to room temperature. The filling will be lumpy if they are too cool. Then mix in the marshmallow fluff until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the butter and cream cheese mixture and mix until smooth. You can add more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin for your liking.
Now you are ready to assemble the cake roll!
Make the Cake Roll
It is go time! Take your rolled cake that has cooled completely to room temperature and move it to a flat surface. Carefully unroll it until it is flat (one end will be curled up a bit, but that is fine!). Spread the cream cheese filling evenly all over the cake leaving a 3/4 inch border on all sides.
Now re-roll the cake in the same direction as it was rolled before. As you roll it, carefully peel the cake from the towel until the towel can be completely removed. Tightly wrap the cake roll in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to cool. You will want to refrigerate it for at least an hour before serving so it can set up properly (see the FAQ section below for making the pumpkin roll ahead of time and how to store it).
After the cooling time in the refrigerator, unwrap the pumpkin roll and slice and serve. The end pieces will be a little less pretty, but they still taste great!
Can Pumpkin Roll Be Left Out?
A pumpkin roll holds up best when it is just coming out of the refrigerator. If it sits out too long, the filling gets warm and the roll starts to become loose. After the cutting the slices I need to serve, I like to wrap the remaining pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
Can Cream Cheese Sit Out Overnight?
No, it is not wise to leave cream cheese sitting out overnight. When cream cheese is left at room temperature for more than two hours, harmful bacteria can start to form which can cause food poisoning.
How to Keep a Pumpkin Roll from Cracking?
To keep a pumpkin roll from cracking when you roll it, be sure the cake is not over-baked and roll the cake when it’s hot.
What Do I Do with My Leftover Pumpkin Puree?
It was always a pet peeve of mine when I made pumpkin desserts and a recipe would call for maybe a cup of pumpkin, and then I would have a bunch leftover. What do I do with that? Well, have no fear, we have several ways to use it up!
If you want something other than a baked pumpkin dessert, our Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip, Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Milkshake, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars, or our Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pie Pancakes are all great options! For more baked pumpkin desserts, see the list below.
What Can You Substitute For Cream Cheese?
If you aren’t a cream cheese fan, try making a different frosting for the filling like our maple frosting or a buttercream frosting. Plain Greek yogurt and marscapone just aren’t going to give you the results you want, so it is just better to go with a totally different recipe for the filling.
What is in Pumpkin Pie Spice?
Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of warm spices commonly used in pumpkin desserts. It is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Some blends also include allspice.
Can You Make Puree from Fresh Pumpkin?
Yes, absolutely! I love the post and tutorial from Ree Drummond for making pumpkin puree from scratch. She has great pictures of every single step.
Can a Pumpkin Roll be Made Ahead of Time?
A pumpkin roll is a great dessert to make up to 1-2 days ahead of time. Prepare it completely and store it in the refrigerator covered securely in plastic wrap. When you are ready to serve it, allow it to sit on the counter for a few minutes and then slice and serve.
How to Store (or Freeze) a Pumpkin Roll
If you have leftovers, just re-wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or you can freeze it for up to 3 months. If you freeze it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before serving.
Eat your heart out Libby, wherever you may be! It is time to bust out a classic pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling that will fill your home with the smells of fall and wow your family and friends! Make this Better Than Libby’s Pumpkin Roll Recipe and tag us on social media with your photos!
More Pumpkin Dessert Recipes:
- Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
- The BEST Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Pumpkin Pie Cake
- Marshmallow No Bake Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones
- No-Bake Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Crunch Twists
Pumpkin Roll Recipe
- 3/4 Cup Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 2/3 Cup Can Pumpkin Puree
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- powdered sugar, for the towel
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 4 Tablespoons Butter, softened
- 1/2 Cup Marshmallow Fluff
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra 1-inch of parchment sticking up on both 15-inch sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out of the pan after baking.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl until combined.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk eggs and granulated sugar for 1 minute until thick.
- Add in the vanilla and pumpkin, and whisk until just combined. Pull the bowl off of the mixer.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir together until just combined.
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on a large kitchen towel while the cake bakes.
- Carefully, using two hot pads, flip the cake onto the powdered sugar towel. Peel the parchment off.
- While the cake is hot, starting at one of the short ends, use your hands to gently and slowly roll the cake (and towel!) all the way up into a tight roll. Allow the cake to cool completely, on top of a wire cooling rack. Do not cool on a flat counter or the steam will develop. The cake needs air circulating.
- While the cake cools, make the filling.
- Whisk together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add the marshmallow fluff and mix until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract into the bowl and mix until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin.
- Once the cake has reached room temperature, transfer the cake roll to a flat surface, and carefully unroll it until it is flat again (or mostly flat). Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides. Carefully re-roll the cake, gently peeling away the towel as you roll until you can completely remove and discard it. Tightly wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour to set.
- Unwrap and slice to serve!
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I made this yesterday. The cake part was delicious, the filling was too runny. All of my ingredients were fresh and measured exactly. I added another cup of powdered sugar and refrigerated the filling and still too runny. I pitched it and went with a traditional cream cheese filling. Was very good without the marshmallow fluff.
Hi Annie! I’m so sorry for the frustration! It sounds like maybe the cream cheese and/or butter were too soft. You could try chilling it for 10-15 minutes to firm it up a bit more. It shouldn’t be runny at all.
This was not too hard and very yummy. I was worried about trying a recipe that used only eggs for the raising agent. But beating whole eggs with the sugar made a very sturdy base to fold the dry ingredients into. And of all the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner, this disappeared first! The only trouble I had was with the filling. I added an extra cup of pwd sugar and it was still pretty runny. I had added extra vanilla (we are making our own and it’s not strong enough yet), so maybe that made the difference. The rest of my ingredients were at about 65 degrees, so not hot. I poured the filling on the cake and rolled it up loosely and popped it in the fridge. It made a pretty swirl anyway! I kept the recipe for next year. It’s a keeper.
Hi Pam! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! I going to guess that the extra vanilla is what made your filling so runny. The tiniest bit of liquid goes a long way with powdered sugar.
Hello so I am stuck when you said put the powder sugar and vanilla in a bowl do you mean the bowl that has the cream cheese and fluff ? Sorry
Hi Janice! I’m so sorry for the confusion! It just gets added to the butter and cream cheese mixture. I rephrased the instructions so it’s more clear. Thank you for bringing that to my attention! Enjoy!
Literally the same recipe. Just increased the spices.
I did lots of googling and you’re right, there’s a recipe at walmart that is almost the same (the filling is different, the vanilla, the spices etc.) The other recipes, including the one in my old cookbook are not the same so next time I’ll do more extensive googling, but Mom’s recipe adapted is from her old cookbook and definitely what I’m going to stick with. 🙂 It just is so much better but we all have different tastes. 🙂