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Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll | With a cream cheese filling, this classic fall treat always gets rave reviews!

Pumpkin Roll Recipe

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This classic Pumpkin Roll Recipe with a heavenly cream cheese filling is the perfect way to usher in pumpkin season! Libbys Pumpkin Roll has been around for decades and is a perfect autumn or Thanksgiving dessert!

Impress your guests by baking up this autumnal Pumpkin Roll Cake. Step by step instructions will guide you through the process.

Old fashioned pumpkin roll on a rectangular serving tray

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll

It was time again for a gathering of my dear college girlfriends. Two years ago, we met up at the Drake in Chicago and shopped, ate, and giggled till we dropped. I stayed up WAY past my 9 PM bedtime. Yes, I’m OLD. In the last two years, we’ve met back for Homecoming and relived our collegiate days, though again we actually went to bed versus staying up all night like back in the day.

Through Facebook, I got requests to bring goodies again to the football tailgate. Something pumpkin and something chocolate topped their list. I had not made this old fashioned pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling in years. In fact, I think my college freshman was in early elementary school, so I had to blow a bit of dust off the recipe to start the process.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll slice and a square ceramic dish


Tips for How to Make a Cake Roll

As in the past, I used the classic Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe with a delectable cream cheese filling as a guide. Only tweaking the recipe slightly, I added ginger and decreased the amount of ground cloves and also eliminated the nuts. It may not be perfect tailgate food as it requires a fork, but it certainly disappeared fast! If you’ve never made a cake roll, it can be kind of daunting. But with a few simple tips and some practice, you’ll be acing this recipe time and time again.

  • Make sure to line your jelly roll pan with  parchment paper. The top must be greased so you can peel it off easily.
  • PRO-Tip: Dust a non-terrycloth towel with powdered sugar. This will be used to help roll up the cake. The powdered sugar will help prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.
  • Immediately after the pumpkin roll comes out of the oven, run a knife or small metal spatula around the perimeter of the cake and flip it out of the pan and onto the prepared towel. Just do it carefully and use your spare hand to guide the cake so it doesn’t flop out of the pan too quickly.
  • Peel off the paper carefully.
  • While the cake is still warm, roll it up from one short side to the other. You will be rolling the towel up with the cake to cool.
  • Let the rolled cake cool on a wire rack.
  • After the cake is cool, unroll, remove the towel, and spread the filling over the surface and reroll sans the towel. Wrap in plastic and chill.
  • To serve, remove the plastic wrap and place the cake on a serving dish. Dust with powdered sugar and slice.
Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll slice reveals a swirl of cream cheese filling on a white ceramic plate

Can You Freeze This Roulade?

Yes, a pumpkin roll recipe freezes well. Just wrap well in plastic and make sure to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving. It will keep about 3 months in the freezer and 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. 

What Kind of Towel Is Used to Roll a Pumpkin Cake?

Do not use a terry cloth towel or a towel with any sort of texture as the cake is bound to stick when it’s unrolled. PRO-Tip: Use a fine weaved, thin kitchen or tea towel instead and make sure to dust it with powdered sugar to help prevent sticking. You can also roll your cake in parchment paper, but I’ve always used a towel.

How Do You Prevent a Cake Roll From Cracking?

The most common cause of a cake roll cracking is when it’s rolled when it’s cooled off too much. PRO-Tip: The cake needs to be rolled right when it comes out of the oven, when it’s most pliable. Turn it out onto a towel well dusted with powdered sugar, roll it, then let the cake cool in the towel on a cooling rack.

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love:

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Roll - With a cream cheese filling, this classic fall treat always gets rave reviews!

The Recipe: Pumpkin Roll

A classic Pumpkin Roll slightly adapted from Libby's

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 10 servings



  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Powdered sugar, to garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Grease 15 x10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax or parchment paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin kitchen towel with the ¼ cup of powdered sugar.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the top of cake pops back when gently pressed with a finger. Immediately loosen and turn the cake out onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off the paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Beat cream cheese, remaining powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread filling over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 318Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 4g


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Soroity sisters at the Airliner Bar for Homecoming
At The Airliner, one of our old haunts…if those walls could talk!!!
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52 comments on “Pumpkin Roll Recipe”

  1. Sounds like you had a fun weekend. I am looking forward to pumpkin season but I am waiting for the weather to cool more. We had record heat in California this past weekend.

  2. I love that you go to bed at 9:00, Liz. If I went to bed at that time, I would be wide awake at 12:30 am. Then it would go downhill from there. This pumpkin roll looks gorgeous!! Your tailgating friends must have been happy that they put in the request. 🙂

  3. Sounds like you had a blast…staying up past 9 pm 🙂 Love this roll, got to but it on my fall dessert lists to make. Very retro but really hits the spot.

  4. What a great post Liz – I’ve not made a pumpkin roll for a few years. Yours looks perfect. Sounds like a delightful gathering with your friends at the Drake. Cheers to fall!

  5. It’s fun revisiting recipes you haven’t made for awhile, isn’t it? And this one is SO worth making! Looks gorgeous, and I’ll bet the flavor is heavenly. This should become a yearly tradition! Good stuff — thanks.

  6. Liz this roll looks like coming from a pro! Fantastic!

  7. Oh my God, it’s pumpkin spice season again. So soon! This sounds like a good place to start.

  8. Looks like you had a great time!! And you’re not old, I go to bed at 9pm most nights too 😉 This looks so delish, that filling has me swooning!

  9. Oh yesss child! This is a must-try this fall. Looks so perfect for breakfast or dessert!

  10. Oh wow Liz – that is a beautiful roll. You make it sound so easy. I have never tried making a “jelly” roll dessert. Pumpkin and cream cheese is such a fantastic combo – I might just have to give this a try. So awesome that you still get together with your college girlfriends – sounds like such a blast even if the nights are shorter now.

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