Pumpkin Roll


Well it looks like Texas finally got the message that autumn is coming. For the past couple days we’ve been enjoying foggy, rainy weather, and temperatures in the mid-80’s (believe me, that’s chilly for this area). All it took was this slight change in climate for the mound of pumpkins sitting outside our grocery store to stop looking ridiculous and out of place, and start looking appealing. A few days ago I dug out all of my pumpkin recipes and tried to figure out what I wanted to make first, and that’s when I found my mom’s Pumpkin Roll recipe. Now, this isn’t actually her recipe, but it’s one that she’s been making since I was a toddler and can be traced back only as far as her friend Roxie. My mom’s copy is handwritten on a yellowing index card that has orange flowers and brown mushrooms decorating the corners (it was the 70’s afterall). Most likely the original recipe came from Betty Crocker or Good Housekeeping, but she made it often and it always marked the beginning of fall for my sister and me, so in my mind it will always be my mom’s pumpkin roll…and now it can be yours, too.

Pumpkin Roll

Makes 1 roll

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • wax paper


Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan (baking sheet with sides), then line bottom with a sheet of wax paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until foamy. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt) until combined. Working in 2-3 incorporations, add dry ingredients to egg mixture, and beat to combine.

Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan, smooth the top with a spatula, then sprinkle walnuts over the top, dividing evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.IMG_1071

While the sheet cake is baking, lay a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface and generously dust with powdered sugar.IMG_1059

As soon as the sheet cake comes out of the oven, invert it onto the kitchen towel, walnut side down, and peel off the wax paper.IMG_1075

Fold one of the long ends of the kitchen towel over the long end of the sheet cake.IMG_1080

Working carefully, start at the long end of the cake and use the towel to roll the cake onto itself into a log.IMG_1088

Allow cake to cool completely before proceeding, about 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and almond extract, beat until smooth and creamy.

One the cake has cooled, carefully unroll the log and evenly spread cream cheese filling over the cake, spreading all the way to the short ends, but stopping ½-inch from the long end.IMG_1098

Re-roll cake as tightly as possible.IMG_1102

Wrap pumpkin roll in tin foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to serve it, unwrap from tin foil, dust with powdered sugar, then slice into 1-inch pieces.IMG_1225


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