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Classic Pumpkin Roll

Cinnamon and cloves add the spice to this pumpkin sheet cake, topped with cream cheese frosting and rolled into a festive log.


Fall is finally in the air and I’m in the mood for pumpkin. Have you been getting some cooler weather in your neck of the woods too? I’m in Georgia and boy has it been a hot summer. The last few days, it’s gotten down to the 50s at night and up in the 70s during the day. Just heavenly!

This Classic Pumpkin Roll isn’t an original recipe but has been in my recipe box for years, waiting for me to make it. The first time I tried this cake was back in 2010 when I went to an after work-out brunch hosted by my Jazzercise instructor, Cathy. She invited everyone to come over after our Saturday morning class and bring a dish to share.

One of the ladies brought this delicious cake. I asked her for the recipe and she said she got it on the back of the can of Libby’s pumpkin. Really? So I went home and looked on my can and sure enough, there it was. It only took me 5 years to actually try the recipe. And I’m so glad I did! Why did I wait so long!


I’m always hesitant to make any kind of “roll” cake because I think it’s going to be difficult and time consuming. It’s really not. As long as you grease your pan well, cover with parchment, grease again and dust with flour, the cake comes out easily. Then you immediately turn it out onto a kitchen towel that’s been dusted with powdered sugar and roll that baby up until it cools. Not that bad!

Plus, the batter came together rather quickly and what I was surprised about was that there is no oil or butter in the cake. Yet it comes out so moist and tasty!


The first thing you do before mixing up the batter is prepare the pan. Grease it generously. I used Crisco shortening. Add parchment paper. Then grease the paper and dust with flour. I used this little strainer but you could also just sprinkle it with your fingers.

Here is the pan I used. It’s called a Half Sheet Pan (size 13″ x 18″). Click below to order the pan on Amazon (affiliate):


Next, beat up the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow.


Combine the dry ingredients in a small bow, then add to the egg mixture, along with the pumpkin. Stir together until smooth.


Pour batter into your prepared pan.


Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You will use that after it bakes. Bake the cake for just 13-15 minutes at 375°F. As soon as it comes out, turn out onto the prepared towel, then roll up the cake with the towel. Let it cool.

I used a Flour Sack Towel to roll the cake. Click below to order a set of Flour Sack Towels from Amazon (affiliate):


For the filling, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Once combined, turn up speed to medium high and beat for about a minute. Spread onto cooled cake (after you unroll it, of course).


Roll up the cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.


This cake is so moist and tender. The filling is so sweet and creamy. It reminds me a little of carrot cake. It’s so good, y’all!


Fall officially starts in about 5 days which is the perfect reason to whip up this Classic Pumpkin Roll. What are you waiting for, go bake!

Classic Pumpkin Roll

Yield: 10 servings


  • For the cake
  • 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (115g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (225g) granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup (175g) canned pumpkin
  • For the filling
  • 1 package (8oz/227g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (125g) powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (84g) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • More powdered sugar for garnish, if desired


  1. For cake: Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 13x18-inch half sheet pan; line with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with the 3-4 tablespoons of powdered sugar.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in larger mixer bowl until thick and pale yellow in color. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. 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.
  4. For filling: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
  5. (Recipe adapted from Libby's brand pumpkin.)


43 Responses to Classic Pumpkin Roll

  1. julie says:

    this recipe was horrible I had to throw it out because it was so bland and the filling so thick it turned my stomach

  2. Christine says:

    Can you use a paper towel in place of the kitchen towel? (I have the really thick, almost fabric like Viva paper towels)

    • Adria Childs says:

      I make this all the time during the holidays. You can not use paper towel because the heat and moisture from cake will cause it to disintegrate. You want to look for flour sack towel. It’s a very thin cotton cloth and they usually come in bundles. I also find it helpful to leave a little space around the edges…which means I don’t spread the batter all the way to the sides of the cookie sheet. I always plan on making an extra one because it never fails that one will get stuck on the parchment paper lol. Have fun!

  3. Vicky says:

    I’m sorry to say, but your recipe will not print out to make for me. thanks, it sounded real good!! Vicky

  4. Bert says:

    I think, Julie should learn how to cook.It is a excellent recipe and it taste great.

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  9. bonnie f says:

    Ive used this recipe 4 years it is by far delicious I actually make 30 at a time 4 friends who said it is the best and cant wait for me 2 make at thanksgiving time that lady evidently cant bake or her taste buds are shot. Thanks

  10. Jane says:

    Can I make this ahead of time and freeze it for one week or so?>

  11. Darlene says:

    How do you get you roll to not be moist and crack? Mine always sticks to the towel and often cracks when I roll it up after spreading the filling on it.

    • Make sure you generously sprinkle the towel with powdered sugar before placing the baked cake. That way, the cake won’t stick.

    • Adria Childs says:

      That happens to me sometimes too. Make sure it’s not too under-baked. You can kind of pull the towel away before you spread the filing and start to roll. The most helpful thing to me though is to lift the cake when you roll it. If you push down on it when you’re rolling it will almost always crack. You have to kind of lift it up and over the filing. I hope that helps!

  12. Maud Wilkerson says:

    I it cook u 4 me to have im in it crack im sorry to say. Pumpkin there is now but cook next is? soupy mushy taste bud this good! teeth? Anyone else have problem this with>?
    Thank you much!

    p.s. Don’t forget ingredietn! 😀

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  14. Ms Linda says:

    I have made these for years and lost my recipe but I found yours and it’s the same one I have used for years thank you so much for this recipe it is Delicious!!! Ms. Linda

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  16. Phyllis says:

    I also make at least 60 of these delicious pumpkin rolls each year! I do use paper towels, but let cake cool before placing paper towel with powdered sugar over top then I roll them and let them cool completely before unrolling and spreading with delicious cream cheese and rerolling them. Wrap them tighly with saran wrap and yes they can be frozen!! Sorry Julie did not like them. Something must have gone wrong as I recieve tons of compliments on these delicous pumpkin rolls!!

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  18. LO says:

    Can waxed paper be used instead of parchment paper? Or are the two the same, just different names?

    • Amanda says:

      Waxed paper has a tendency tobsmoke in the oven when baked because of the waxy film. It also loses a bit of its structure and absorbs the moisture which makes it harder to deal with so I would stick to parchment!

    • Kristine says:

      Yes you can use wax paper, the actual recipe from Libby’s pumpkin says to use wax paper.

    • You can use wax paper, if you wish. Wax paper and parchment paper are two different things though.

  19. Allexis Stirman says:

    I made this for my family last week and they all loved it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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  21. Kristine says:

    Interesting that for the filling you add in the sugar & vanilla after beating the butter and cream cheese. I follow the Libby’s recipe that says to mix all 4 ingredients all at the same time, always works well for me.

  22. Linda says:

    How do you keep the powder sugar to stay. Ice on finished product

  23. Yvonne Putt says:

    Always great reviews!! When made not 1 piece is left!! I had a problem with towel sticking- I was under baking it, so please follow the time on cake bake time! Soo extremely GREAT Pumpkin Roll!!

  24. Mary says:

    I had an issue with getting the cake on the towel. When I tried to flip it onto the towel it separated from the parchment paper and folded on itself :-/. Thoughts?

    • Hi Mary, I don’t know for sure, but maybe you just have to flip it quickly. I used Reynolds brand parchment. Maybe you could spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray next time.

  25. Sally says:

    I have been making this recipe for at least 20 years and never had one that wasn’t devoured as soon as I put it out. I have used parchment paper, paper towels, tea towels, and most lately, pieces of old sheets that I cut to fit which I like best bc they are nice and thin and don’t absorb as much powdered sugar. It doesn’t really matter if the cake cracks when you roll it up, it still tastes good but lifting as you roll was a very good suggestion to keep it from doing so. The only variation I do sometimes is add an additional 3 or 4 oz of cream cheese and maybe 3/4 C of powdered sugar to my filling bc we love it very thick. I also may sprinkle chopped toasted pecans or walnuts to a couple since I always make at least 3 or 4 of these at one time.

  26. Nancy says:

    I’ve made this recipe for years.I just roll it in chopped walnuts…it’s wonderful. Thanks for posting it…Will make it again soon…good dessert in any season!