This Classic Pumpkin Roll is a true holiday classic! The roll (sponge cake) is light and moist with a mild pumpkin flavor. Mascarpone cheese is Italian cream cheese and because it’s lighter than American cream cheese, it compliments the sponge cake. It’s the perfect ending to a special holiday dinner.
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a jelly roll pan by lining it with parchment paper (not wax paper) and lightly greasing the parchment paper with Pam or Baker’s Joy non-stick baking spray. Generously dust a tea towel with confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and set it aside.
Note: A jelly roll pan is smaller than a cookie sheet. I found mine at HomeGoods. Please check the expiration date on all your ingredients. Expired ingredients can ruin a great recipe.
Beat the eggs for about 5 minutes then gradually add the sugar as you continue to beat the eggs until they thicken and become pale yellow. By beating the eggs you are incorporating air into them which helps make the cake light and gives it its sponge quality. Add the pumpkin and fresh lemon juice and mix just until incorporated.
Sift the dry ingredients and gently fold them into the pumpkin egg mixture just until incorporated. Don’t over mix.
I didn’t take a picture of it, but when you pour the batter into the jelly roll, make sure you spread the mixture evenly throughout the pan and all the way to the corners. You want to avoid the dome like bump in the center of the cake so, don’t be afraid to spread the batter out to the edges. Tap the pan on a table to remove any air bubbles and bake at 375°F for 13 – 15 minutes. Mine was perfect at 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for a five minutes prior to inverting it onto the prepared tea towel. Peel away the parchment paper.
Gently roll the cake with the tea towel from the short side, then set the rolled cake on a baking rack until the roll has cooled to room temperature.
Note: It’s important to use a breathable material for this as the steam needs to escape, otherwise, you’ll trap all the steam in and end up with a soggy cake.
While the jelly roll is baking/cooling, make the filling. Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and mix until well blended. Spread it evenly over the jelly roll leaving an inch at the end. Sprinkle the toasted, chopped nuts evenly over the filling and gently roll it up again. As you roll the cake, the unfrosted inch at the end will become the seam. Wrap the jelly roll in plastic wrap and chill it for at least an hour, preferably four hours.
Just prior to serving, remove a very thin slice from each end to reveal a beautiful and even cake. Decorate with a dusting of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and garnish with sugared fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs. Here’s the link to my post on how to make sugared cranberries and rosemary springs. Enjoy!
This is my adapted version of Libby’s Pumpkin Roll recipe on the inside of the label.
Classic Pumpkin Roll
A classic and elegant Thanksgiving dessert. A light and moist pumpkin sponge cake filled with a creamy mascarpone cheese filling and toasted nuts.
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup Libby's canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted on a dry skillet & chopped
- 8 ounces mascarpone cream cheese substitute with American cream cheese
- 1 ¼ cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla paste or extract
Decorating and Garnishes
- ¼ cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
- sugared fresh cranberries
- sugared rosemary sprigs
Preheat oven to 375°F and place rack in the center of the oven. Prepare jelly roll pan by lining it with parchment paper and lightly greasing it with a baking spray like Pam or Baker's Joy.
Generously dust a tea towel with powdered sugar. Set aside.
Making the Sponge Cake
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on high speed for about five minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the eggs are pale yellow and thick. Add pumpkin and lemon juice and mix until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, ground ginger, kosher salt and ground nutmeg. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
Spread the batter evenly onto the prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 375°F for 13-15 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Remove the cake from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting it onto the prepared tea towel. Slowly roll the sponge cake in the tea towel starting with the short end. Place on a baking rack and set aside until the cake has cooled to room temperature.
Making the Filling
In a mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla paste (or extract) until fluffy.
Assembling the Pumpkin Roll
Carefully unroll the cake and remove it from the tea towel. Spread the cream cheese filling starting from the curled edge evenly throughout the roll, leaving a one inch edge at the end of the roll without any filling. Sprinkle with the toasted, chopped nuts (if desired).
Note: to toast nuts in a skillet simply add the nuts to a dry pan and saute over medium heat for a few minutes until the nuts are toasty and fragrant. You need to stir or toss constantly otherwise they will quickly brown on one side.
Gently roll the cake back up and cover in plastic wrap seam side down. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably four hours.
Decorate and Garnish
Unwrap the cake from the plastic wrap and plate it seam side down. Dust with confectioner's (powdered) sugar. Optional: garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs.