A Locavore Christmas: Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

I love the kitchen partner’s face when he’s excited about something I’ve baked.

Earlier this week I made a holiday pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling in preparation for this post. Every few minutes during the prep he’d come back in the kitchen to dip his finger in the batter for a quick taste. “Wow. That’s really good.”…2 minutes and another dip into the bowl later…”What’s all in this?”

He went away for a while and then came back to open the oven door just a crack. “Is it done yet?”…10 minutes later…”How long until you can put the frosting on?”…30 minutes later…”How about now? Can I try it?”

Anything pumpkin already makes the top of his list. Then wrap it with lightly sweetened vanilla cream cheese frosting and roll it in walnuts. He could hardly contain himself.

I finished it around 9:30 pm. Way too late to take any photos. When I told him he’d have to wait until tomorrow when I could get shots in natural light, his face glowered back at me like I’d given him the world’s longest time out. He kindly reminded me I was sending him to bed with an empty tummy. I kindly reminded him he ate half the pot of beef stroganoff 3 hours earlier for dinner and I thought he’d survive just fine.

The next afternoon he didn’t even take his coat off when he got home from work. Straight to the refrigerator with a fork in hand. Apparently the pumpkin roll couldn’t wait any longer.

If you’ve got a pumpkin lover at your house, make sure the add this to your holiday baking. Just plan to have a taste-tester with you in the kitchen and to serve it as soon as it’s finished!

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling 

Adapted from the The St. Paul Farmers Market Cookbook


For the Roll:
3 eggs
1 C. sugar
2/3 C. pumpkin puree
3/4 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. walnuts, finely chopped

For the Filling:
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Prepare a jelly roll pan (15″ x 10 1/2″ x 1″) with non-cooking spray. Place a sheet of waxed paper on the sprayed surface and press firmly into corners and edges to create a clean edge. Spray the waxed paper with non-cooking spray. This double spray will help the cake easily come out of the pan while still hot.

2. Beat eggs and sugar on high with an electric mixer until thick and well-combined. Add pumpkin and mix on medium-low until blended. Turn off mixer and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to bowl all at once. Turn mixer on low and mix until just combined. Batter will be runny. Pour into waxed jelly roll pan. Evenly coat batter with chopped walnuts ensuring the nuts are spread up to the edges of the pan.

3. Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean soft dish towel large enough to cover the cake surface. Lightly dust the towel with a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and set aside. When cake is finished, remove from oven and immediately turn over onto the towel. If cake edges seem to stick, loosen with a knife to prevent breakage.

4. Beginning with the 10″ side, roll the towel and cake together. If the cake is allowed to cool without being rolled it will not roll together later. The towel prevents the cake from sticking to itself while it cools. Place the roll seam side down onto a baking rack until completely cooled. This may take an hour or more.

5. When the roll has cooled to the touch, whip cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl on high until smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. On a clean surface, unroll towel and cake slowly being careful to avoid cracking or breaking the cake. Spread frosting in an even layer over cake. Re-roll, leaving the seam side down on the plate to prevent unfurling.

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