This beautiful Pumpkin Cake Roll has a salted caramel cream cheese filling and is the perfect homemade gift for giving at Christmas. You’ll find this to be one of the most decadent desserts during the holidays and is a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table as well. Your family and friends will rave about how delicious this beauty is when sliced and served.
A Yearly Holiday Gift Tradition – Baking Pumpkin Cake Rolls
I love making gifts to give away at Christmas time, especially those originating from my kitchen. A tradition that I began probably 30 years ago (and continued every year since) is baking these Pumpkin Cake Rolls and delivering them to our friends and clients around the city.
I have an original Pumpkin Cake Roll recipe from an Oklahoma State University Extension Center cookbook, published date 1983. I worked at this extension center back in 1982 shortly out of high school. An interesting little tidbit – I actually typed out, copied and assembled this cookbook back then. Ladies from across our county submitted their favorite recipes and to this day, it is still one of the most cherished cookbooks in my recipe arsenal.
Why I love this Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cake Roll:
It’s pumpkin! How can you not LOVE that? When September rolls around, I find myself, like everyone else in the world, craving pumpkin in whatever form I can get it. And this recipe satisfies that hunger hankering.
Salted caramel is added to the cream cheese filling for a new twist on an old classic. When you think a dessert just can’t get any better, well, add salted caramel sauce to it.
This cake roll is my favorite gift for Christmas. I’ve made as many as 40 in one year. Once you get a system going, you can really crank them out. I have people commenting about how amazing the cake roll is, months after they received them.
A Pumpkin Cake Roll freezes beautifully. It makes having plenty on hand a cinch. People always tend to drop by unexpectedly around the holidays. It’s so easy to pull one of these out of the freezer, let thaw for a few minutes and serve a delicious holiday treat to your guests. Also, you will have something to give in case someone stops by with a gift to wish you a Merry Christmas.
Mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ones
The baking powder, spices, and salt need to be well combined with the flour for consistency throughout the batter. Using a whisk works well to accomplish this.
Beat the eggs for a full five minutes
Beating the eggs for this amount of time adds a good amount of air into the cake batter and gives it a light and fluffy finished product. Don’t skimp on this process. Believe me, I’ve tried on a few occasions when I was short on time. It always resulted in a flat dense cake.
Once the eggs are fully frothy from beating, gradually sprinkle in the sugar while using the hand mixer. Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice before combining it with the flour mixture.
If you are making more than one cake roll, don’t double or triple the cake batter recipe. When I’ve made a number of them for gifts, in trying to save time I tried to whip of several batches at once. I was never happy with the results.
Fold the wet and dry mixtures together
Overmixing the flour into the wet ingredients tends to produce a dense and gummy cake. Folding is a gentle way of combining the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients. It takes a light hand at this stage. No beating or overworking.
Start with dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Add the pumpkin mixture into the well and gently fold by running a rubber spatula through the mixture and across the bottom of the bowl and turning it up over the top. Rotate the bowl slightly and continue this process until everything is combined and you no longer see any flour mixture.
The best way to grease the baking sheet
I’ve tried this recipe a few different ways over the years. Originally I greased and floured the pan but I didn’t like the flour coating it left. Then I went through a stage where I just sprayed Pam on the baking sheet. Sometimes it fell out of the pan with no problem but other times there would be sections that stuck to the pan. What a waste of an entire batch.
I finally, one day, ended up lining the baking sheet with foil and spraying the foil with Pam. I’ve never had an issue since with the cake sticking to the foil after finding this technique. Just so you know, I do spray the foil prettily heavily with Pam Spray both on the bottom and sides of the baking sheet.
Use a 11×17 inch cookie sheet. It seems to be the best size. Believe it or not, I had used the same cookie sheet for 30 years until this year. I finally broke down and purchased a new pan. It made me sad to have to part with it, but it had seen its better days.
Pecans or Walnuts for a Pumpkin Cake Roll
Pecans or walnuts both complement this cake. I usually look to see which one is less expensive at the time. I like to have some coarse pieces mixed in with the finely chopped nuts. The original recipe calls for one cup, but I’ve always used a heaping cup over the top of the batter before it goes in the oven.
The chopped nuts add a nice texture and crunch to the cake. You can make this pumpkin cake roll without nuts if your family prefers it that way.
Baking the Pumpkin Cake Roll
The batches that I just finished baking took exactly 14 minutes each in a 350° F oven. Every oven is different though. I would suggest checking it at around 10 minutes and going from there. It is done when you gently press the cake with your finger and it feels springy and pillowy. You don’t want the edges to be overdone and crispy.
Flip the large baking sheet without breaking the cake
A dishtowel works great for rolling up the cake so that it will cool. Generously sprinkle it with powdered sugar so that the cake does not stick to the dishtowel.
When the cake is done give it about five minutes to cool slightly in the pan. But while it is still warm, flip it “quickly.” Place the long end of the pan on the powdered sugared dishtowel. Place one hand gently on top of the baked cake to guide it to the dishtowel as you flip it. This is the trickiest part of the cake roll, but If you do this quickly it is less lightly to buckle or break on you. Then remove the foil.
Roll the Pumpkin Cake Roll up in a dishtowel to cool
The reason for rolling and cooling the cake in the dishtowel is to train it to become a “roll.” As soon as you have turned it onto the powdered sugar dishtowel, begin rolling from the narrow end and yes, with the towel inside. The warmth of the cake will help mold it into its shape.
An important step to not leave out is to let the cake cool completely in the dishtowel before you unroll it. Once it is cooled, gently unroll it and frost immediately.
If your baked cake cracks when you unroll it
Don’t be frustrated if your cake ends up cracking a little when you unroll it. I’ve had my share of perfectly baked cakes crack on me. So it does happen. But I’ve always been able to correct the mistake with the icing which works like glue in hiding the crack. Or I position the crack on the bottom of the cake roll when I plate it. Either way works. And nobody cares, once they dive into a piece of this lusciousness.
Add Salted Caramel to the Cream Cheese Filling
The original recipe uses a regular cream cheese filling. This year I changed it up a bit and added my salted caramel and, I gotta tell you, it turned out exquisite.
Unlike the cake batter, you can definitely double this filling recipe. I actually multiply it by five when I am making pumpkin rolls for gifts.
Now, back to re-rolling. This time though as a finished frosted Pumpkin Cake Roll. Use the help of the towel as you lift it up all the while rolling the cake. This gives you the ability to consistently roll the full length of the cake and helps prevent any cracks along the way.
Once you have filled and rolled the cake again, make sure and let it chill for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before you slice to serve.
Giving this Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cake Roll as a Christmas Gift
Last year I wrapped the Salted Caramel Pumpkin Roll in gold mylar paper, used a large piece of clear cellophane to draw up around it and tied each of them with a shimmering gold bow. The finished decoration was an actual ornament that could be used on their tree. I threw in a bottle of Homemade Boozy Aged Eggnog. Which you can find the recipe here.
The Package and Its Presentation
Anybody that knows me, has figured out that the actual gift is awesome but, in my opinion, the presentation is what makes the gift so endearing. And although the wrapping will most likely end up in the trash can, I find great joy in bestowing a beautiful package that conceals the Pumpkin Cake Roll itself.
This Fall spiced pumpkin cake is rolled with chopped nuts to give it texture and crunch. It’s filled with a caramel cream cheese recipe which makes it a decadent and totally delicious dessert. I hope you enjoy baking this Salted Caramel Pumpkin Roll as much as I have over the years. Bake extra and give them away as gifts this holiday season. Maybe it will become a tradition for you as well. I pray this Holiday Season is both blessed and enriched with family and friends.
If you love Fall Recipes, please check out these as well:
Salted Caramel Sauce
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Layered Cake
Gingerbread Layered Cake with Eggnog Icing
Caramel Apple Galette
Boozy Aged Eggnog
Pumpkin Spice Vodka Martini
Caramel Apple Hot Toddy
Please consider following me on Pinterest – Lingeralittle.Print
Salted Caramel Pumpkin Roll
This beautiful rolled dessert has a salted caramel cream cheese filling and is the perfect homemade gift for giving at Christmas. You’ll find this to be one of the most decadent desserts during the holidays and is a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table as well.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 10 servings 1x
- Category: Baked Goods
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
- 3 large Eggs
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2/3 cup canned Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 3/4 cup Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg or 3/4 teaspoon fresh Nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 heaping cup of finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)
- Powdered sugar for rolling the cake up
For Salted Caramel Filling
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- 1/4 cup good thick Caramel Sauce and pinch of salt (or recipe found here)
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Foil and grease a 11×17 inch cookie sheet.
- In a medium bowl beat the 3 eggs on high speed of mixer for 5 minutes.
- Gradually add in 1 cup sugar. Stir in 2/3 cup pumpkin and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each ground ginger and nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk these all together.
- Gently fold the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Spread the batter into the greased cookie sheet and top with the finely chopped nuts.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes.
- Turn out on a dish towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar.
- Starting at the narrow end, roll towel and cake together. Let completely cool. Unroll and fill with the salted caramel filling.
Salted Caramel Filling
- In a medium bowl, beat 8 ounces cream cheese and 4 tablespoons butter until fluffy. Add 1/4 cup salted caramel.
- Beat the powdered sugar into the cream cheese mixture one cup at a time until it is fluffy and somewhat firm but not stiff. Add vanilla.
- Spread the filling over the cooled unrolled cake. Roll and chill for a couple of hours.
- The baking powder along with the spices, salt and flour need to be well combined in order to give consistency throughout the batter. Using a whisk works well to accomplish this.
- Make sure and beat the eggs for the full five minutes. Beating the eggs adds air into the cake batter and gives it a light and fluffy finished product.
- If you are making more than one, don’t double or triple the cake recipe. I thought it would save me time but I wasn’t as happy with the results it gave.
- You can use 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or 3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg has a more potent flavor, so you would use less.
- Overmixing the flour into the wet ingredients tends to produce a dense and gummy cake. Folding is a gentle way of combining the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients.
- To fold, start with dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Add the pumpkin mixture into the well and gently fold by running a rubber spatula through the mixture and across the bottom of the bowl and turning it up over the top. Rotate the bowl slightly and continue this process until everything is combined and you no longer see any flour mixture.
- Use a 11×17 inch cookie sheet. It seems to be the best size. Line it with foil and spray the heck out of it with Pam making sure to get the sides well coated.
- Pecans or walnuts both taste wonderful with this cake. I like to have some coarse pieces mixed in with the finely chopped nuts. The original recipe calls for one cup, but I always used a heaping cup over the top of the batter before it goes in the oven.
- The batches I bake usually take 14 minutes in my 350° F oven. Every oven is different though. I would suggest checking it at around 10 minutes and going from there. It is done when you gently press the cake with your finger and it feels springy and pillowy.
- When the cake is done give it about five minutes to cool slightly in the pan. But while it is still warm, flip it “quickly.” Place the long end of the pan on the powdered sugared dishtowel. Place one hand gently on top of the baked cake to guide it to the dishtowel as you flip it. If you do this quickly it won’t buckle on you. Roll it (with the towel) from the narrow end.
- Make sure and let it cool completely before you unroll it. Then frost immediately and re-roll.
- Don’t be frustrated if your cake ends up cracking a little when you unroll it. I’ve had my share of perfectly baked cakes crack on me. So it does happen. You can correct the mistake with the icing which works like glue in hiding the crack. Or position the crack on the bottom of the cake roll when you plate it.
- The frosting – you can definitely double this recipe. You can actually multiplied it by five if you are making pumpkin rolls for gifts.
- The amount of powdered sugar you add depends on the thickness of the caramel sauce. You are looking for it to be fluffy but somewhat firm and not too stiff.
- This recipe freezes great. Therefore you will always have a gift to pull out in case someone stops by to wish you a Merry Christmas.
- Serving Size: 1/10 Slice of Cake Roll
- Calories: 504
- Sugar: 63 g
- Sodium: 2160 mg
- Fat: 25 g
- Saturated Fat: 10 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 69 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Cholesterol: 96 mg
Keywords: Pumpkin Cake Roll, Pumpkin Roll Cake, Holiday Baking, Best Thanksgiving Desserts, Pumpkin Desserts
This is seriously the go to pumpkin recipe for Christmas. My wife has made them more times than I could ever count for homemade gifts.
Delicious and so festive! Such a perfect gift (for me, lol)! That pic of the bowl of cream filling with salted caramel poured into it is…HEAVEN!!! Love it!
Kristy Murray says
Thanks so much Carrie! And I agree, it is a great gift for “yourself.” The salted caramel added to the icing is definitely heavenly! And the pumpkin roll itself is pretty dangerous. Hope you enjoy.
This is so beautiful, perfect for this time of year. Although I’d enjoy it any time of year, really! I made a roll cake years ago, testing myself with a Buche de Noel, and it worked. But the next time I tried a jelly roll cake it was a complete disaster. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to take one again!
Kristy Murray says
Thank you so much for stopping by Mimi! Oh my … I do love a Buche de Noel. They are just so pretty. But definitely try the pumpkin roll. Sometimes the rolls can be just a little tricky. I’m sure you would do great with it though. Let me know what you think if you do try it.
Becky Sankey says
Kristy: I have just come across your blog and am in process of making this awesome looking pumpkin roll! Already made caramel sauce. Just double checking there is no butter in cake portion? I’ve never made a roll up before so perhaps that is part of process. Your photos are so pretty!!
Kristy Murray says
Hi Becky! Thanks so much for stopping by my site. And you are right, there is no butter in the batter recipe. Let me know if you have any more questions. Can’t wait to hear what you think.
So I know the last comment on this was about a year ago but I’m gunna make this for a Christmas family thing soon and wanted to know if it would be possible to add a pattern on the outside of the roll like other cake rolls sometimes have? If so how would you recommend doing it? Because this recipe is different to others I’ve looked at with patterns?
Kristy Murray says
Hi Alysha, thanks for stopping by and I’m sorry that this reply did not get to you in time for Christmas. My computer went black on me and I was not able to get it in for repairs. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for. I have never tried a pattern on this roll since it has chopped nuts on the outside.