Autumn baking,  Baking Recipes,  My favourite things,  Simple cakes

The perfect first cake roll experience

If I had known beforehand how easy and fun these are to make, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now telling you how this is my first time making a cake roll. I guess there is something about cake rolls that unnerved me. I’m not sure if it’s because I question my abilities to be gentle enough to make them look as good as the ones in the pictures, but I often find myself imagining how heartbreaking it would be to ruin such a piece of edible art.

What I forgot to think about is how cake rolls are great examples of how bakers play with cake and icing flavour combinations. And now that I’ve realized it, I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out. Whenever I see cake rolls, I really love the way the colour of the cake always contrasts against the filling. I love the way they form this lovely swirling pattern, hypnotizing anyone who dares look into having a slice.

Cake rolls are great for impromptu desserts. Not only are they actually quick to make, the wow factor they give off makes them appear as though quite some time was spent in the kitchen with some sort of secret weapon just to make them. Well actually, they’re right to a certain extent. A secret weapon is indeed used, and it’s called a towel.

Oh Baking, the wonders you reveal to me everyday.

To make a cake roll, all you need to do is prepare your cake in a large jelly roll pan. Out of the oven, you plop your cake on to a sugar-dusted towel and then just roll it securely with the towel inside the cake where your filling will be soon enough. Let it cool like that on your cooling rack so that the cake will “remember” this shape. This is the time you make your frosting and then just wait for the cake to cool completely before unroll it, spreading the filling, and rerolling it minus the towel this time. And voila! You have a dessert that is both impressive and in this case, utterly delicious!

This pumpkin roll is packed with pumpkin flavour and spices, but only to the degree that makes it divine. Pumpkin and cream cheese are a match made in heaven, so needless to say this cake roll was pretty much the bomb! The cake is super moist and flavourful, contrasting and complementing nicely the tangy-savoury cream cheese. I love the play of textures as well, of how the moist cake smoothly marries itself into the thick icing with every bite. This is definitely a lovely way to enjoy everyone’s favourite autumnal cake and frosting combination.

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Pumpkin and cream cheese are a match made in heaven, so needless to say this cake roll was pretty much the bomb! This pumpkin roll is packed with pumpkin flavour and spices, but only to the degree that makes it divine.

one 15-inch roll cake
Servings 10


For the cake

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, to sprinkle on towel
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


To make the cake

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Grease a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan and line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a towel with powdered sugar.
  • 2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in small bowl.
  • 3. Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture.
  • 4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts, if using. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.
  • 5. Once baked, immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper.
  • 6. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

To make the filling

  • 7. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel.

To assemble

  • 8. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.


Adapted from All
I recently got into listing down recipes from my cookbooks that I plan to make for 2014. Each time I encountered a cake roll, it automatically gets jotted down. That’s how much I enjoyed making these. I foresee many cake roll projects in the future, so much so that there will soon be a towel marked ‘For cake rolls only‘ in my kitchen cabinet.

Try them out and I can assure you you’ll be addicted not only to eating them, but to making them as well! 😉

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