Pumpkin Roll

My Nana was an amazing baker and was always up for involving me in her kitchen. She’d perch me atop a bar stool and side by side, I’d take in her talent and mimic her techniques the best that I could. Despite my young age she undoubtedly had a tremendous amount of confidence in me. She never questioned my ability to use a knife or remove baked goods from a piping hot oven. I was her sous chef and during our bake-a-thons, I was treated like an adult – not a 7 year old kid with a permed mullet and retainer.

There is no question that I inherited my whirlwind styling of baking from her. We would tear up her kitchen and dig our way out hours later. But she also instilled a fearlessness with food that I will forever be grateful for. How many second graders do you know that can whip out a perfect pumpkin roll with little to no guidance?

As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving was pretty much synonymous with Pumpkin Rolls. We would set aside a weekend and systematically crank out about 30 Pumpkin Rolls that Nana would give away as holiday gifts to friends, family and fellow church members.

To this day, those Pumpkin Roll filled days are some of my fondest childhood memories. Nana often baked and cooked from memory, so I don’t have her exact Pumpkin Roll recipe, but I do remember her “doctoring up” the Libby’s recipe with secret ingredients, which I am pretty certain was pumpkin pie spice, so that’s pretty much what I’ve done for years with delicious results.

I hope you’ll join Katie and I in this week’s holiday recipe exchange sponsored by Chicago Metallic. We can’t wait to browse through your holiday baked goods! Be sure to head over to Good Life Eats and check out Katie’s recipe for Mini Cranberry-Walnut Tarts.

Pumpkin Roll

Yield: 10 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes


For the Cake

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s)

For the Filling

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle a clean tea towel with powdered sugar. Set pan and towel aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until thick.
  4. Add in pumpkin and mix to combine.
  5. Stir in flour mixture.
  6. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.
  8. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
  9. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  10. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel.
  11. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake.
  12. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.


  • Store prepared Pumpkin Roll in refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and then foil and store in freezer for up to one month. Remove frozen Pumpkin Roll to room temperature one hour before serving.
My Baking Addiction slightly adapted from Libby's.