Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe yields a fluffy, airy, and tender cake filled with a deliciously tangy cream cheese filling. Pumpkin cake roll is easier than you think and will become your favorite pumpkin dessert. A beautiful treat for Thanksgiving and the holiday season!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more
Pumpkin roll with cream cheese
Libby’s pumpkin roll is such a classic dessert this time of year. It’s made with a tender and airy chiffon cake base and filled with an even lighter cream cheese mixture.
Pumpkin spice roll makes such a beautiful presentation on your Thanksgiving dessert table. Not to mention it’s the perfect treat for sharing with your loved ones, which is what the holidays are all about.
Making pumpkin roulade may seem intimidating, but the recipe is fairly straightforward – especially with all the baking tips and tricks I’ve laid out for you in this post.
Want more Libby’s pumpkin recipes? For more delicious ways to enjoy pumpkin, check out Libby’s pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin muffins.
What is Libby’s pumpkin roll?
Libby’s pumpkin roll is a rolled-up pumpkin chiffon cake that is stuffed with a cream cheese filling. For serving, the cake roll is dusted with powdered sugar and cut into slices.
It’s very popular in fall and for Thanksgiving because the dessert looks beautiful, tastes delicious, and will feed a crowd.
Let’s dive into it! I can’t wait for you to share the joy of slicing into this beautiful cake roll and biting on this pumpkin deliciousness.
Ingredients for a pumpkin roll
This pumpkin cake roll recipe has a lengthy ingredient list, but most of them are basic baking ingredients you probably already have on hand. Please refer to the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- All-purpose flour works great here and helps the pumpkin roll turn soft and tender.
- Baking powder gives a rise and ensures the cake isn’t too dense.
- Cinnamon is a classic pairing with pumpkin and adds a rich, warm note.
- Cloves taste a little sweet and a bit floral. They really bring the wow factor to this cake roll.
- Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the other flavors.
- Eggs: Use large eggs at room temperature so that they mix into the batter smoothly.
- Granulated sugar sweetens the batter.
- Canned pumpkin puree: I highly recommend using Libby’s because they produce the most consistent pumpkin puree that isn’t overly wet.
- Powdered sugar: I recommend dusting your kitchen towel with powdered sugar to prevent the pumpkin cake roll from sticking.
Pumpkin roll filling
- Cream cheese is the main component of the filling. Make sure to bring it to room temperature.
- Powdered sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Butter: Again, set the butter out on the counter to soften.
- Vanilla extract adds a sweet note to the filling.
- Pumpkin roll pan: The recipe calls for a 15 in x 10 in / 38 cm x 25 cm jelly roll pan to bake the cake.
- Parchment paper: Next, you need a big piece of parchment paper to line the pan.
- Mixer + mixing bowls: A handheld mixer or a whisk and 2 large mixing bowls will work.
- Measuring cups or kitchen scales to measure ingredients.
- Fine-mesh sieve to sift the dry ingredients prevents lumps in the batter.
- Rubber spatula to gently fold the ingredients and spread the cake batter.
- Off-set spatula to fill the cake roll.
- Kitchen towel to roll the fluffy pumpkin roll recipe. Your towel should be slightly larger than the cake pan.
How to make Libby’s pumpkin roll
Don’t let these steps fool you. Pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling may seem daunting, but it’s a dessert that anyone can make. I’ve broken the recipe down with step-by-step pictures:
#1: Prepare for baking
- Preheat oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4.
- Line pan. Line a 15 in x 10 in / 38 cm x 25.4 cm jelly roll pan with parchment (baking) paper. Make sure the parchment paper covers the sides of the baking pan.
- Dust towel. Place a kitchen towel that’s slightly larger than the pan on your work surface and dust with powdered sugar.
#2: Mix batter + bake
- Combine dry ingredients. Sift the all-purpose flour, baking powder, spices, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Beat wet ingredients. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy, for 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in the pumpkin puree.
- Mix batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Be careful not to overmix or deflate the batter.
- Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
#3: Roll up cake
- Invert cake onto a kitchen towel. After you remove the cake from the oven, quickly flip it onto the dusted kitchen towel.
- Remove parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper. Work slowly to not tear the pumpkin roulade.
- Roll up. While the cake is still hot, roll up the cake tightly with the kitchen towel starting with the short side of the cake. Do this very gently and slowly.
- Cool. Let the rolled-up cake cool completely with the seam down.
#4: Whip up filling
- Make filling. Once the pumpkin cake has fully cooled, mix the filling. Place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined and smooth.
#5: Assemble cake roll
- Fill cake. Unroll the cake carefully, paying attention to areas where it might stick. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake. Then roll it back up (without the parchment paper).
- Wrap + chill. Unroll the cake carefully, paying attention to areas where it might stick. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, leaving about 1/2 in / 1.2 cm border around the edges. Then roll it back up (without the kitchen towel).
If Libby’s pumpkin roll intimidates you, you aren’t alone! Cake rolls can be tricky, but you can do it! Here are a few tips to avoid cracks and create the perfect cream cheese pumpkin cake roll:
- Roll the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven: You want to roll up the cake immediately after taking it out of the oven. Rolling while the cake is hot helps to shape it into form. Trying to roll up a cool cake will lead to cracks. The moisture released during the cooling process enhances the texture and helps the cake unroll without cracking.
- Cool before filling: The pumpkin spice roll recipe needs cool for 1 to 2 hours before you add the cream cheese filling. The filling would melt if you were to add it to warm cake.
- Unroll gently: You also want to work very slowly and gently as you unroll the cake. Working hastily can cause cracking.
- Leave 1/4 in border: Doing so prevents the filling from spilling from the pumpkin roll.
- Fill, wrap + chill: Wrapping the pumpkin roll tightly with plastic ensures the roll will maintain its shape. The cream cheese filling needs 1 to 2 hours in the fridge to firm up.
It’s best to slice Libby’s pumpkin roll when you’re ready to eat. Remove the pumpkin log cake from the fridge and cut off the ends with a serrated knife. Then slice the cake into 1-in / 2.5 cm slices.
I recommend wiping the knife in between each cut to get nice, clean pieces.
Pumpkin cake roll with cream cheese filling is absolutely delicious as is. Still, you can enjoy it with a side of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.
Storage & make-ahead instructions
How to store Libby’s pumpkin roll
Homemade pumpkin roll should be refrigerated because of the cream cheese filling. Wrap the roll in 2 layers of plastic and put it on a plate. It will last in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I recommend chilling the roll for at least 1 to 2 hours after filling so the cream cheese mixture can set and firm up.
Can you freeze pumpkin Swiss roll?
Yes! You can either freeze the entire pumpkin roll or individual servings. Either way, wrap it tightly in plastic and place it in a freezer bag or a freezer-friendly container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
To defrost, allow the pumpkin log recipe to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Make pumpkin cake roll ahead of time
Thanksgiving is a busy holiday, especially when you’re tasked with preparing the food. Luckily, the components of this roll can be made serval days ahead of time. Here are some tips to help you plan ahead:
- Bake + chill the roll: Bake the pumpkin roll cake recipe 3 to 4 days before you need it. Store the cake rolled up and wrapped in 2 layers of plastic and inside a large freezer bag at room temperature.
- Mix the filling: The cream cheese mixture can be made up to 4 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Before assembling, let the cream cheese warm slightly and give it a quick stir.
- Assemble: You can assemble the roll 1 to 2 days ahead of time. The roll needs to chill anyway, so making it the day before is a great way to save time on Thanksgiving.
- Serve: Dust your pumpkin roll recipe with cream cheese filling with powdered sugar right before serving.
Pumpkin roll filling variations
- Nuts: For some crunch and texture, sprinkle the cake batter with 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans before baking.
- Chocolate chips: For little pops of chocolate throughout the cake, fold 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips into the cake roll batter. I also love butterscotch chips.
- Spiced cream cheese filling: For a slightly spiced filling, stir 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice into the cream cheese mixture.
- Whipped cream or Cool Whip: If you’re not a fan of cream cheese frosting, fill your pumpkin yule log with sweetened whipped cream or cool whip.
- Chocolate filling: Pumpkin and chocolate make great partners. Try filling the cake roll with chocolate cream filling instead of cream cheese. This chocolate cake filling from Savor The Best is a great option.
Reasons to love Libby’s pumpkin roll recipe
- Impressive dessert: Cream cheese pumpkin roll is a showstopper! It’s the perfect Thanksgiving dessert and an excellent treat for the whole holiday season. It looks so beautiful and decadent – your family and guests will be in awe.
- Delicious mix of textures: This pumpkin log literally melts in your mouth. The roll is soft and bouncy, and the filling has an unbelievable cheesecake-like texture. A heavenly dessert combo!
- Full of fall flavors: The roll is flavored with pumpkin and cozy spices, which contrasts beautifully with the sweet, tangy taste of the filling. A pumpkin lover’s dream!
- Great alternative to pumpkin pie: If you’re not a fan of pumpkin pie or want to expand your dessert offerings, this easy pumpkin roll recipe is the answer.
More pumpkin desserts
It’s pumpkin season, and we’re huge fans of all sorts of pumpkin desserts. If you love pumpkin as much as we do, you’ll have to try our other fall-inspired treats!