A Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Favorite
Fall may as well be known as "pumpkin spice season," and this simple dessert is a great way to usher it in. The warmth of the cinnamon, ginger and cloves in the cake is perfectly offset by the sweetened cream cheese filling, and the fun roll-up look of the cake makes it a kid favorite. Much of the time required before serving this cake is spent simply letting it sit in the fridge to firm up, so with only about half an hour of total hands-on time, you can easily get this dessert on the table for a weeknight dinner or last-minute potluck.
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 8 to 12
For the cake
- Cooking spray or 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
For the filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To save about 15 minutes of prep time, you can use a boxed pumpkin cake mix as part of this recipe. Simply prepare the mix as directed on the box and spread the batter evenly into your jelly roll pan before baking.
- Heat the oven to 375 F. Prepare a 10-inch-by-15-inch jelly roll pan by coating it with cooking spray or butter and laying waxed paper on top of it, extending a bit past either end of the pan. Grease the waxed paper or coat it with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar and the pumpkin puree.
- Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until completely combined.
- Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly into the prepared jelly roll pan.
- Bake the cake at 375 F for 12 to 16 minutes or until it springs back lightly when touched at the top. While the cake is baking, spread a clean tea towel onto a flat surface and sprinkle it with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
- After removing the cake from the oven, set the towel on top of the cake, with the sugary side facing the cake. Carefully unmold the cake onto the towel while the cake is still warm, and peel the waxed paper off the top. Starting with one narrow end, roll the cake and towel up together like a sheet of cinnamon rolls.
- Let the rolled-up cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the cake is cooling, make the filling. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
- Carefully unroll the cake and remove the towel. Using a spatula, spread the filling evenly over the cake. Roll the cake up again.
- Secure the cake in its roll shape with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
Avoid overbaking or trying to spread a filling that is cold, either of which could crack or tear your cake.