pumpkin roll


lemme see that pumpkin roll!



holiday baking is here! i love this part of the year. hanging with the family and breaking bread. etc. etc.

so far, this pumpkin roll has been my seasonal (and grain free) contribution.

i’ll start by saying that this is DELICIOUS. -i have to call the kettle black, though, and say it is a little ugly.

i guess there really isn’t much you can say about a pumpkin roll’s appearance, accept that it is, in fact, a roll.

i made this less-than-attractive pumpkin roll for an event for the library. it was quite delicious (though i’ll use a little more sweetener next time.) let me quickly explain the extraordinary ugliness of this specific pumpkin roll: i broke it. it shot out of the freezer at me, crumbling under its own weight, rendering it flat. not to fear: it was still wrapped, thus protecting it from ickyness, but not from ugliness.

pumpkin rolls and jelly rolls are not as difficult a task as one might assume. simply put, it is a thin sponge cake baked flat, cooled, rolled, cooled again, unrolled, frosted, and re-rolled.

to ease your mind, i have included a brief list of tips at the bottom of this page.

the use of maple syrup to sweeten the sponge keeps this tasting fall-ish. the cream cheese frosting is sweetened with brown sugar, and thank god for it. the frosting recipe includes enough to frost the inside and out. don’t skimp. a sprinkling of toasted pecans or walnuts atop this would be a real special treat.

or you could keep it simple.

that’s how i roll.

on with the recipe. it serves 12-16.

pumpkin roll

for the sponge:

wet ingredients:

2 15oz. cans pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cups maple syrup

8 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

2 tsp vanilla extract

dry ingredients:

2/3 cup coconut flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice blend


preheat oven to 325f.

prep a 12″x17″ jelly roll pan by spreading butter across the bottom and sides, then sticking parchment paper to it, allowing some paper to hang over the sides slightly.

combine all wet ingredients in a huge bowl. i use the bowl of my kitchen aid stand mixer.

separately, combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, sifting the coconut flour and baking soda & baking powder.

dump dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix well. taste it and add spices or more sweetener if you wish.

dump onto jelly roll pan, spreading batter evenly.

bake for 15 minutes, turn, and bake for another 15 minutes or so. this cake will remain very moist, so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not done.

let it cool at room temp, in the pan, for 30 minutes.

after 30 minutes throw a clean lint-free kitchen towel on top. carefully turn the pan upside down, inverting the sponge onto the towel. gently remove the parchment paper and discard. VERY very carefully and slowly, paying attention to potential cracking, roll the sponge, keeping the towel on the cake to separate the “layers”.

transfer the towel-wrapped roll back to jelly roll pan and stick in the fridge for at least a few hours, even over night. if you are Type A personality and can’t wait, like me, this is where the freezer comes in. you can put this in the freezer for one hour to speed through the cooling process.

time to make the frosting!


16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks), room temp

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp

1 1/4 cup brown sugar


using a mixer (i used my hand mixer), whip cream cheese and butter together until well combined. dump in brown sugar and whip until fluffy. that’s it!

time to put it all together!

remove cooled roll from freezer or refrigerator. place it (still in the towel) onto the surface that you plan to serve it on. gently remove the towel. sponge will unroll slightly. support it so it doesn’t crack. using an icing spatula to reach into the deep crevices of the roll, spread frosting over the entire surface of the sponge. lay it on thick. slowly roll it back up as you frost. use about 3/4 of the frosting for this.

roll it back up.

frost the outside of the roll with the remaining frosting.

~liz’s tips, tricks, and failings:

this can be made a day ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. serve with pretty stuff on top. eat many, many slices, feeling all cool that you made your own pumpkin roll.

1. be sure to use parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. don’t even bother trying this without.

2. be sure to let it cool for the appropriate amount of time, but not too long. you want it just a hair warm when you roll it to hold shape without cracking. you may cheat by cooling it in the freezer, but be sure you clear a spot in the freezer first so you don’t set it on top of that mountain of ice cubes and frozen peas. the roll deserves a flat spot.

3. once you have it rolled up in a towel to cool and hold it’s shape, don’t drop it on the floor. be careful when you open the freezer door: it will come flying out at you and onto the floor at 10:00pm when there is less than no time to make a new pumpkin roll.

4. if you do drop the pumpkin roll onto the floor and it is still wrapped in a towel protecting it from cat hair and other floor germs, you may glue the cake back together with frosting. no biggie. it’ll make a fun story.

5. adorn pumpkin roll with seasonal decoration, such as silk leaves, acorns, sticks, etc. the addition of these items will elevate it’s beauty-queen status only slightly, but every effort is noticed.



16 thoughts on “pumpkin roll

  1. Thank you so much! I thought I had to say goodbye to pumpkin roll since I am no longer eating any grains….or sugar either, but I will make some exceptions–that be for sure!

  2. I make a chocolate Yule log every year for Christmas, and since being gluten free have made it with Bob’s Red Mill allpurpose flour. Since avoiding grains, this looks like a good recipe to change it with. Does it have a cakey texture? This looks a little too dense for the cake like texture my relatives like.

    • meagan-
      i wouldn’t call it dense, but it was moist. luckily, the moisture wasn’t “eggy”, it was just because pumpkin lends such moisture. if you want to subtract one egg from the batter, that will likely allow the coconut flour to make this a little more “cakey”. let me know if you try!

      also, i was thinking of making a buche de noel using half of this chocolate cake recipe. if you decide to try this, tell us how it works!

  3. kat-
    we should make cookies. like, linzers. with jam and ganache.
    and ginger snaps. with ginger chunks.
    probably other coconut flour things, but mostly sweet, sweet cookies.

  4. Pingback: gluten free, grain-free chicken nuggets, almond butter squares, Eat the cookie, adopt a gluten-free blogger | SDC

  5. This looks amazing! Thank you for the recipe. I want to try this using honey. I think honey is a little sweeter isn’t it? Should I use less like 1 or 1-1/4 cup. If I use less do you think I should cut back on eggs or oil and keep the flour the same? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I love coconut flour but only successfully made muffins/cupcakes with it. My one attempt at cake was a failure. Hope I can get this one to look and taste as great as yours does.

    • julie- i would go with 1 1/4 cup of honey. honey has less of a distinct flavor than maple, so you want to use enough that it is a little sweet, at least. yes, it is just a little sweeter, though! i wouldn’t change anything else. it should be just fine as is, since it is such a subtle change you are making! make the batter as normal, with your substitution, then be sure to use your own judgment, if the batter is a little thin, then yes, add about 1/4 cup almond flour to thicken it. coconut flour is tricky, that’s why i suggest you play with the almond flour instead of coconut flour! it is such a great ingredient, but tough to master!
      this will turn out great! let me know how you like it!

  6. When you say “turn” do you just mean the pan to get an even cook, or to turn the cake over?
    I only ask because in quite a few coconut flour things I bake I do have to turn it over.

    • desiree-
      great question! rotate the pan after the first minutes of baking. i should have been more clear!
      let us know how you like it!!!

      • Thanks – i’m so excited to have this.. pumpkin rolls.. pie.. etc anything pumpkin is my favorite. I don’t like eating the regular “gluten free” baked goods because they are just more empty carbs upon empty carbs.. Thanks for finding a way to do it with coconut flour ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This looks very yummy!! I’ve been looking for a half way healthy pumpkin roll. I was wondering though if you had any ideas on what could be used instead of the brown sugar? I don’t use it and would prefer something more natural. Also do you think tofutti cream cheese would work? Thanks for the great recipe! Looking forward to trying it.

    • casandra-
      i think that coconut sugar would probably work in place of brown sugar, but haven’t tried it! let me know how the substitution works!
      also, i think that tofutti cream cheese would be fine to substitute., no problem!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s