Introduction: How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Autumn is here, and that means the season for pumpkin. Pumpkin Pie, Carving pumpkins, and pumpkin bread are common place during this time of year. One pumpkin recipe that some people avoid because of its difficulty is the pumpkin roll. It is tricky, but not impossible! Follow these steps and you can create this delicious fall treat for family and friends.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients and Kitchen Tools

Make sure you have all these items before beginning your pumpkin roll journey:

Prep: 45 min
Cook: 13 min
Cool: 60 min

Cake Ingredients
-1/4 cup of powdered sugar
-3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3 large eggs
-1 cup granulated sugar
-2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Filling Ingredients
-1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
-6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Materials & Kitchen Tools
-Cookie sheet with sides (also known as a jelly roll pan)
-Cheese cloth or flour sack cloth (the size of the jelly roll pan or larger)
-Wax Paper
-Cooking spray
-Access to oven and refrigerator
-Measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls and spoons, etc.

Other Preparatory Steps:
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees
-Ensure that cream cheese and butter have been sufficiently softened

Step 2: Prepare Pan and Flour Sack Cloth

One of the difficult parts of making a pumpkin roll is the actual "rolling" part. If you think about rolling a cake up, you would most likely imagine it cracking and breaking. The pumpkin roll is the most flexible right after it comes out of the oven. So it is important to roll the cake as quickly as possible. There are 2 steps you should take to ensure that the pumpkin roll stays in tact and looks nice in the end. 

First: Line the jelly roll pan with wax paper, the bottoms and sides included. You may need to tape the corners and two pieces of wax paper together to fill the entire pan. Make it as smooth as possible. Spray the wax paper with cooking spray.

Second: Spread out the flour sack cloth on a clean, large surface. Sprinkle the towel with powdered sugar. When the cake comes out of the oven, you will immediately be flipping the cake upside-down onto the towel. The powered sugar is going to work as a kind of "anti-sticking" agent to keep the cake from sticking to the cloth, so apply liberally. 

Step 3: Create the Cake

Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. This includes the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. 

Beat together the eggs in sugar in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed and thick. Add the pumpkin, beat until mixed, and then stir in the flour mixture. 

Pour the cake batter into the pre-prepared wax-lined jelly-roll pan and use a rubber spatula to evenly distribute the batter across the pan. 

Bake the cake for 13-15 minutes. When the cake is done, it will spring back when you touch the top of it with your finger. You can also stick a toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean, it also means its done.

Remove cake from oven and IMMEDIATELY move on to step 4. 

Step 4: Roll the Cake

Immediately after removing cake from oven, flip upside-down onto cloth. Be careful doing this, the pan is very hot, and usually powdered sugar will fly everywhere. 

Lift the pan off the cake. Gently peel the wax paper off of the cake. Occasionally there will be little rips or tears, but this is going to be the "inside" of the pumpkin roll so don't worry TOO much about it. 

Sprinkle powdered sugar on the "inside"  of the pumpkin roll, so that the outside of the flour sack cloth also does not stick to the inside of the pumpkin roll.

Slowly begin rolling the pumpkin roll into a tight spiral. Avoid as much space as you can between the roll layers. When you complete the roll, wrap the remaining cloth around until the cloth is gone. place the pumpkin roll in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. This will prevent the roll from cooling in a "straight" position. It will become hardened in a naturally rolled shape.

Step 5: Create the Filling

For this step, it is especially important that your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, or slightly above. Otherwise, you will get a lumpy filling for your pumpkin roll.

Beat all filling ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.

Mixture should be thick and not runny, but also not lumpy.

Step 6: Add Filling to Cake Roll

Remove pumpkin roll from refrigerator and carefully unroll onto a flat surface.

Spread cream cheese filling evenly on "inside" surface of pumpkin roll.

Step 7: Roll the Cake in Its Final Form

You are now going to roll the pumpkin roll in its final form. Begin rolling pumpkin roll from the same place you started rolling it the first time. Carefully peel the cloth off of the pumpkin roll as you go, so that when you are done, you have the pumpkin roll with its filling sitting atop the flour sack cloth. 

Wrap the entire roll in plastic wrap, sealing tightly on both sides so that no air gets inside.

Place pumpkin roll in refrigerator for at least one hour, with the edge of the rolled cake on the bottom. This part will become slightly flat as the rest of the pumpkin roll rests upon it, pressing it down into the flat surface.

Step 8: Finish and Serve Cake

After an hour, you can take the pumpkin roll out of the refrigerator, unwrap the roll from the plastic wrap, and put it on a large plate to slice and serve. The edge of the roll should again be placed on the bottom. 

Sprinkle the roll with powdered sugar to make it look nice, slice, serve, eat, and enjoy!