Most recipes have you invert the baked cake onto a large towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Then you’re supposed to roll the cake up in the towel. Honestly, this method has always been a dusty, powdered-sugary MESS for me. Not to mention that you end up with a sticky mess of a rag when it’s done.
Guys, there is such a BETTER and EASIER way! Parchment paper is the trick!
For a MESS-FREE pumpkin roll:
Use Parchment paper! The biggest tip to making an easy, mess-free pumpkin roll is to roll the pumpkin cake up inside the parchment paper that it was baked on. Allow it to cool, rolled up. Then unroll it and spread with cream cheese frosting.
How to make a homemade pumpkin roll:
- First, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving a little overhang on the long edges, so that it’s easier to lift the cake from the pan when it’s done baking.
- Next, spread the cake batter on top of the parchment paper in the pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake it for about 15 minutes.
- When the cake is finished baking, carefully lift the cake from the pan and roll the hot cake up inside the parchment paper. This method is SOO much easier than turning it out onto a towel and praying that it doesn’t crack, or stick to the towel.
- Allow the cake to cool completely, rolled up in the parchment paper, on top of a wire cooling rack. Once it’s cool unroll the pumpkin roll and discard the parchment paper. Spread the cream cheese filling all over the top of the pumpkin roll and roll it back up into a log (without the parchment paper).
- You’ll be left with a beautiful, simple, pumpkin roll and hardly any mess to clean up. #winning
Does a pumpkin roll need to be refrigerated?
How to keep pumpkin roll from cracking:
To make ahead:
Pumpkin roll can be prepared completely and refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time, before serving. OR, you can bake the cake, roll it in the parchment paper to cool. Once cool, refrigerate it (rolled in the parchment paper) for up to one day, before frosting. Once you have fully assembled your pumpkin roll, you can also store it in the refrigerator for a few days!
Can I freeze a pumpkin roll?
Yes, you can freeze a prepared pumpkin roll for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
Consider trying these pumpkin recipes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a jelly roll pan (15 x 10'') with parchment paper, leaving an extra inch of parchment sticking up on both long sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. (You can VERY lightly grease the parchment paper, if you want to, but you don't need to!)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin until smooth.
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl and stir just until combined and no dry streaks remain.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Every oven is different, so watch it closely.
- Immediately lift the payment paper and hot cake out of the pan and onto a flat (heat-safe) surface.
- While the cake is hot, starting at one of the short ends, use your hands to gently and slowly roll the cake (and parchment paper!) all the way up. Allow it to cool completely, on top of a wire cooling rack. (This allows it to cool underneath the roll, and keeps the cake from sweating).
- While the cake roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until it is fluffy and smooth.
- Once the cake roll is cooled completely, unroll it very carefully. Gently smooth the filling in an even layer over the cake.
- Roll up the cake without the parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, before serving.
- Dust the top with powdered sugar, if desired. You could use a duster, spoon, or even your fingers to lightly sprinkle it on top of the roll. Cut into slices and serve.
- Store in the fridge, covered, for up to three days.
- For more pumpkin treats, click here!
Make ahead:Pumpkin roll can be prepared completely and refrigerated for 1-2 days ahead of time, before serving. OR, you can bake the cake, roll it in the parchment paper to cool. Once cool, refrigerate it (rolled in the parchment paper) for up to one day, before frosting. Once you have fully assembled your pumpkin roll, you can also store it in the refrigerator for a few days!
Freeze:Prepared pumpkin roll can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.
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Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.
I originally shared this recipe October 2014. Updated September 2017 and October 2019.
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