December 05, 2010

How to wow people without much effort: Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Booo, I'm home with fever on a Sunday! To cheer myself up, I thought I'd share my Thanksgiving dessert.

As usual, when we organize or get invited to dinners my friends expect me to be the one bringing dessert. Thanksgiving dinner is not any different. Except for the fact that I feel the pressure of making something Thanksgiving-traditional to please hosts or guests. The problem is: I do not particularly like to eat or make some of the most traditional desserts, such as pumpkin pies, or pies in general.

So this year I decided to go for a roll! Rolls speak of holidays and I have been enjoying making rolls lately. Pumpkin roll was a perfect fit for Thanksgiving mood. You guys already know, however, that I am not used to bake with pumpkin. In Italy we use pumpkin a lot in savory dishes but not in desserts. The only other time I used pumpkin for a dessert for a couple of weeks ago, when I make pumpkin whoopie pies with Carla.

So, despite having a foolproof recipe for rolls (remember my latest post about the Nutella roll?) I used a well-established recipe to make this one. I did not really know how and how much pumpkin to incorporate in the sponge cake and I could not fail this dessert, or 12 people would have been disappointed.

I used a recipe from Diana’s dessert. Six ingredients, five minutes of preparation time, and just a little longer of oven time. That’s all it took to make a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. The roll was moist and soft but at the same time perfectly holding together. The cream cheese filling, as we all know, is the perfect complement for the pumpkin flavor (which, by the way, was not overwhelming, so even a no-pumpkin-in-desserts person like me will love it!). Despite the food coma of the Thanksgiving dinner my roll was the only dessert that was finished. Not only my friends loved it. They were totally wowed by it. They looked at me as if I were a master pastry chef (which, sadly, I am not!). It felt good to be praised but, above all, to see happy faces. Isn’t this, after all, the beauty of baking? I don’t think there is a biggest reward than seeing the smile on your friends’ face while they are licking their fingers.

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

For the sponge cake
300 gr (10.65 oz or 1 1/2 cups) white sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup canned 100% pumpkin
145 gr (5.05 oz or 1 cup and 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour
7 gr (1 1/2 tsp) baking soda
2 gr (1/2 tsp) salt

For the filling
128 gr (4.5 oz or 1 cup) confectioners' sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
25 gr (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
250 gr (8 oz or 1 cup) package cream cheese, softened

For the sponge cake:

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and prepare a 10” x 15” jellyroll pan with sides greased and pan lined with parchment paper.

Beat the first three ingredients together for three minutes, add the next three ingredients. Mix well. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 13-15 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute.

Sprinkle a (lightly) dampened tea towel with confectioners' sugar, put the cake on top of the sugar and peel off the parchment paper and roll the cake up. Let it cool in refrigerator.

For the filling and assembling:

Beat all the ingredients together and mix well. Unroll the cooled cake. Spread with the filling. Roll the cake back up and refrigerate.

Before serving, bring the roll to room temperature and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Have a sweet day!


  1. Sara
    I hope your feeling better...I don't like fevers...sigh...but its our bodies way of fighting off infections. I absolutely love pumpkin roll, but its been so long since I had one....with my fear of cake rolls I have never made one....Now I'm going to have to give it a try, since I can't have a piece of your beautiful cake roll!

  2. What a lovely dessert! I'm sorry you aren't feeling well :( I saw your tweet- I'm on and off twitter so just shoot me an email and we'll talk cookies :) Great cake roll though- I definitely failed the first time I tried one of these!

  3. oh yum- this is one of my all time favourite desserts

  4. Oooh, I would be so happy to see one of these on my Thanksgiving table! The cream cheese filling with the pumpkin cake sounds amazing! Beautiful!

  5. I'm always chosen to make the dessert at parties and potlucks too :) This is a great go-to recipe for the next one. I love pumpkin and cream cheese and it looks beautiful! Hope you are feeling better soon :)

  6. ohh boy...sorry to hear about the fever, i also had a yucky cold last week. and that roll cake looks very delicious and a perfect treat to lift up the feverish mood. =)

  7. Hope you feel better soon. Fevers are nasty busy. Can't believe you had the energy to post. Bravo! Beautiful roll. Easy to see why it was finished.

  8. You are the roll queen. Looks so good. And the cream cheese frosting - yumm! Hope you feel better soon...

  9. Oh, I hope you sent to sleep early! I think that rest and sleep are the best remedies for when you are sick. And also this pumpkin roll ;) I recently got a jelly roll pan so I can make roll cakes but I haven't worked up the nerve to make one yet. I just feel like there's so much that can go wrong!

  10. Every year my mom's good friend makes pumpkin roll and I CRAVE it. Hopefully you will be feeling better soon so you can enjoy your amazing pumpkin roll! Hugs. <3

  11. You know, I never thought I might think that a baked good with pumpkin would look good to me again thanks to PFB (grrr!) but this looks lovely. Perhaps in a few months when I can face it again, I will bake this. Love the look and as long as I am careful with how much spice I put in it, I am sure I would love the flavour. Feel better!

  12. Thank you guys! I feel a bit better today.
    @The Chef: If I can do a roll, you sure can do, you just need the right recipe and some practice. You should make it with your girls, it's a lot of fun and everybody can come out with a different filling.
    @Evan: I failed my first one, but as I said, it's a matter of the right recipe. Also make sure you do not underbake it and you do not wet the towel too much or it will make it too humid and will fall apart
    @Amanda: I always crave for rolls but I'm with @Mardi: I'm not a pumpkin fan so I had to find a recipe that did not taste pumpkin too much. Mardi, I guess it will take you some time to get over your pumpkin overdose from the competition :)

  13. Sorry you've been under the weather! This is a lovely cake roll! I just love all that filling oozing out!

  14. this looks very pretty... hope you're feeling better.. and thanks for sharing this.

  15. It looks so nice! I've never made a roll... well, if you don't count the one that I made about 25 years ago that broke into pieces as I rolled it. I think I'm due for another go!!!
    Hope you are feeling better...

  16. I hope you feel better soon! I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie either. I'd much rather eat your delicious and gorgeous looking pumpkin roll! YUM!

  17. Booo to being sick on a Sunday...hope you're feeling better! I love your variations on's making me want to be creative with them myself!

  18. @Kim: don't give up! I made a roll that did not come out well a long time ago. i got discouraged until I found a good recipe. They are fun!
    @Liana: I don't know why I haven't made a roll in such a long time. They are apt to infinite much fun!

  19. This is a beautiful pumpkin creation. I do read comments around the blogosphere and can tell you have a lot of influence out there. So I hope you are not giving up entirely on PFB2010, there are still those involved who have worked hard and deserve support.

  20. @Greg: I do have a lot of influence? haha that sounds like a strong statement but be sure, I've not given up on pfb2010. In fact, I read every single post, line by line....I know, it might not seem so because I don't constantly tweet about "i voted for..." but I do :)

  21. Hope you are feeling better. Who doesn't love a dessert roulade. With pumpkin and cream cheese - it doesn't get much better. Have filed this one away to make in the future.

  22. Sara, I hope you're feeling better by now. And when you're back to feeling 100%, will you make this for me? I love "rolled" desserts and this looks divine with the cream cheese filling.

    I hope we can make the holiday cookie swap happen with the other bay area bloggers. :-)

  23. @Lisa; thanks! And I love that you call it roulade! That's how I know it too, with the French name...I was wondering if people would have understood me had I called it pumpkin roulade. I guess you would have :)
    @Jean: I'll make you one of this if you make me one of your delicious pasta dishes :) I hope we get to get together during the Xmas break. I need to be more bossy and send another email :)

  24. Sorry that you are not feeling well...hope you are feeling much better now.
    I love this filling and these are so pretty for the Holidays :)


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