This Pumpkin Swiss Roll is made from a soft sponge cake and is filled with the spices and flavors of fall.
I still remember the first time I had a Pumpkin Swiss Roll. It was fall, the temperature had cooled the manufacturing plant and one of the machine operators brought in a roll made by his wife. The smell was irresistible, and the taste was beyond my expectations. I ate the roll before I could truly savor it because I couldn’t stop eating. It was too good.
I wanted more. And so I thought the next best option would be to make my own! Since then, I have made this recipe several times per year as it is a household favorite! Even though this roll is full of fall flavors, it can be enjoyed any time of year!
For the sponge, there are a lot of different ingredients in very small quantities. What makes the sponge interesting is that it requires the use of three raising agents. I got baking powder, I got baking soda, I got eggs. This sponge needs some seriously love to be able to rise properly!
The only other note of interest is the frosting. Since the pumpkin Is baked into the sponge, the frost needs to offset that strong flavor while still bringing a little sweetness to the party. That’s why cream cheese frosting is a classic combination to go with this sponge!
Prepping the Tools
Before I started cooking, I had a couple of tools than needed to be prepped. One is the pan. Instead of using a cake tin, I used a sheet tray to make a large yet thin cake sponge. For this, I ended up greasing the sheet tray as well as lining it with parchment paper. I really didn’t want the sponge to end up sticking to the tray.
I also had to prep a towel. The towel is used for handling the sponge after it comes out of the oven. But, again, it’s important that the sponge doesn’t stick to the towel. I used powdered sugar to prevent this and sprinkled it all over the towel. Yea… this process is a little bit of a mess…
Making the Sponge
There are two parts to making a sponge. The first is mixing all the dry ingredients. So, in medium bowl, I whisked together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt. I then set this aside and went onto handle the wet ingredients.
The first step is beating the eggs and sugar together. This will make a thick mixture that is still full of air. The it’s time to add in the Pumpkin puree. I was surprised to see that this canned ingredient is available at pretty much any grocery store, all year round.
I tipped the flour mixture into the wet mixture until everything was just incorporated. You should be careful to not overmix the batter! But also, don’t undermix it. We must make it just right. The batter was evenly spread around the baking tray and cooked for about 15 minutes. I tend to cook on the slightly longer side due to the variation in my oven.
Shaping the Sponge
When the sponge is light and springy to the touch, it’s time for it to come out of the oven. I gave it a few seconds to cool down in the baking tray before flipping it over onto the prepared towel. I rolled up the sponge in the towel while it was still warm.
This was how I left the sponge until it was completely cool. I go over why I do this is the lesson section down below! Check it out if you want to know more!!
Making the Frosting
The frosting was surprisingly easy to make. I generally think of those deliciously processed tubs when I think of frosting, and I always thought there was a lot going on to get from raw ingredients to perfection. Yea, I was wrong!
All you have to do is throw all of the ingredients into am mixer and whisk until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. That’s it! Just one step. Seems simple enough to me!
Rollings th Roll
The last step to make this dessert is putting everything together. First, once the sponge is cooled, I unrolled it. Then I spread my frosting as evenly as possible along the inside of the sponge. Generally, the ends will be a little less full than the center just due to the distribution of the sponge.
I then carefully rerolled the sponge (without the towel, I didn’t think the towels flavor would go well with the cake). Then it’s time to wrap the roll in plastic and let it rest in the fridge for about an hour. I like to trim the edges before serving to make the roll look pristine and make that swirl very visible.
This cake was both easier and harder to make than I expected. This was the first cake I ever made a thin sponge on, and I did not know what to expect. It took me a couple of tried to make the sponge correctly, but I finally got there!
I really do love making this cake. It’s simple to make but impactful and visually exciting. It definitely looks more impressive that the amount of effort that is needed.
Rolling While Hot
In part two of the recipe, I roll up the sponge in a towel while it was still hot. Why did I do this? Because as cake’s cool, the gluten strands rest in it and become stiff. This gives the cake it’s shape. People will say that “cake has memory” and it’s true. Cakes typically will stay in the shape that they are cool in. This is why I wanted to shape the cake while hot so it’s “memory” would be a round object over a flat one.
Pumpkin Swiss Roll
- ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
- ¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ⅔ Cup Pumpkin Puree
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 Package Cream Cheese 8-ounce package
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 6 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter softened
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Sprinkle a cotton kitchen towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In a mixer, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Beat in pumpkin.
- Stir in flour mixture until all the ingredients are just incorporated.
- Spread evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
- Immediately looked and turn cake onto the prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper and roll up cake and tower together. Let cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Making the Swiss Roll
- Carefully unroll cake, spread cream cheese frosting over cake. Reroll cake without towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!!