This pumpkin swiss roll is the fluffy, creamy roll cake of your dreams with a moist and airy pumpkin sponge cake, rolled with a whipped cream cheese filling, and topped with cinnamon spiced macarons.
Swiss rolls are one of my childhood favourite cakes. Because of their mesmerizing swirly appearance, I always thought they were harder to make than they really are. The good news is: they're not that hard and I didn't need any special tools other than my regular baking tray.
This pumpkin roll is so soft and moist, with the perfect cake to cream ratio. I cut myself the thickest slice and went back for seconds (and thirds but shhh...).
What is a swiss roll?
A swiss roll is a cake that is baked as a flat rectangular or square sponge cake and then rolled up with a layer of whipped cream into a log shape. Swiss rolls are also known as jelly rolls, roll cakes, log cakes, or cream rolls. The fillings and flavours differ but they're basically the same idea.
How to make a pumpkin swiss roll
- Make the pumpkin sponge cake: In one bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla, milk, sifted flour, and pumpkin spices. In a separate bowl, whip up egg whites and sugar until it reaches stiff peaks to create a meringue. Fold the meringue into the pumpkin batter in the first bowl until it's airy and fluffy.
- Spread batter into baking sheet and bake: This recipe makes enough batter to fill a regular half-sheet baking tray. It is quite big and the final roll will yield about 10 slices. If you're using a smaller jelly roll pan, you can potentially halve the recipe. As long as your layer of batter is about ½ inch thick, you're good to go. Bake it off and don't overbake.
- Roll it up and let it cool: When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately remove it from the baking tray and roll the cake up with the parchment paper separating the layers. Let the cake cool completely before unrolling it.
- Make the whipped cream cheese filling: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream together until it reaches stiff peaks.
- Assemble your swiss roll: Unroll your cooled cake and spread a generous layer of whipped cream cheese on top. Roll it up again, without the parchment paper this time, and wrap with parchment paper and/or plastic wrap. Chill the swiss roll in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight before cutting into it.
Why you'll love this pumpkin swiss roll
- You don't need any special tools. You can use a dedicated jelly roll pan but any regular baking tray with at least a 1 inch high rim around it will work unless you want to make an extra thick cake.
- It's SO moist, fluffy, and creamy. Everything I look for in a cake.
- Hellooo Fall! This is the perfect cake for the season and it has easily turned into one of my Fall staples.
- It's not too sweet and doesn't feel too heavy. The sugar in the recipe is balanced out by the pumpkin flavour and cream cheese. Because of the airy nature of sponge cake and whipped cream, the cake is light and fluffy and a joy to eat.
Other pumpkin recipes to try
Pumpkin Swiss Roll
Pumpkin Sponge Cake:
- 6 large egg yolks
- 50 g granulated sugar + 100g additional sugar, divided
- 200 g pumpkin puree
- 100 g milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 180 g all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 large egg whites
Whipped Cream Cheese Filling:
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 60 g powdered sugar
- 300 g whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Pumpkin Sponge Cake:
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking tray (with at least a 1 inch high rim) with parchment paper. Cut the parchment to fit the tray on the long sides, leaving a bit of overhang on the short sides so you can lift the cake out of the tray later.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 50g of sugar until creamy. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, milk, and vanilla extract until it's smooth, with no lumps.
- Gently whisk in the flour, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until just combined. The mixture will be quite thick but don't worry! Set this aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer on low speed until it becomes frothy. Turn mixer up to medium-high speed and slowly add in the remaining 100g of sugar, a third at a time, until the meringue reaches stiff peaks and is white and glossy.
- Scoop out a couple dollops of the meringue and plop them into the pumpkin mixture. With a silicone spatula, fold the meringue into the batter until it becomes light and fluffy. Add in the rest of the meringue and keep folding, making sure to scoop the pumpkin batter from the bottom of the bowl. The batter should become airy and lighter in colour, with no streaks of white meringue or dark orange pumpkin left.
- Pour the batter onto the baking tray and push it out into all sides and corners of the tray with an offset spatula. Smooth the top and ensure the batter is evenly distributed.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
- Immediately slide a knife between the cake and the baking tray to loosen. Grab both sides of the parchment and lift the cake out of the pan and set down on the counter. Starting from one short end, roll the cake (with the parchment paper) up loosely and let it cool completely (about 2 hours).
Whipped Cream Cheese Filling:
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar with a hand mixer or stand mixer until fluffy and creamy.
- Add in the vanilla and whipping cream, a third at a time, while beating on medium-high speed. Beat until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
Assembling the swiss roll:
- Unroll the cooled pumpkin sponge cake and gently peel away the parchment paper. Transfer cake to a new sheet of parchment paper.
- Spread a thick layer whipped cream cheese evenly on top of the sheet cake, leaving about 2 inches of empty space on one end to account for the cream squishing out as you roll.
- Start from the end without the empty space and roll up the cake again (without the parchment paper this time). Lay the cake with the free edge underneath so it doesn't unravel. Don't worry about any cream that squished out either end because you'll be cutting off the ends before serving. Wrap the roll with the parchment and then with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before cutting.
- When you're ready to serve, cut off a slice from both ends of the roll to reveal the swirly pattern. Decorate the top with more whipped cream cheese and some macarons, if you prefer.