Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

gluten free pumpkin roll on tray

Pumpkin rolls are in the family of classic Swiss Roll cakes — spongy cakes slathered with luscious cream cheese icing and rolled tightly into a spiraled log that, when sliced, produce the classic swirl design we all know and love, but many of us are afraid to ever try to make for ourselves! This time of year though, don’t you think we all deserve a delicious gluten free Pumpkin Roll?

The fear factor does keep even many experienced bakers from daring to try Swiss Roll recipes, gluten free or not. Hence the reason I decided to add a gluten free Pumpkin Roll recipe to my blog. It can — and should — be done!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

I hope after reading this recipe and seeing the how-to photos that you’ll realize there’s no real magic to making this classic confection after all. And in then end, frosting or a generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar covers any cracks that might develop from over-baking or aggressive rolling, so don’t worry yourself too much over that part of it.

The main thing with any cake is taste anyway, and this one is going to taste spongy and delightful, as long as you use my soft and light gfJules Flour, and not a blend with a lot of rice flour or bean flours in it. As with any Pumpkin Roll, we need to ensure that the cake bends and “remembers” its shape, not cracks and crumbles. That’s why the gluten free flour you use is so important. And of course, we don’t want to taste anything gritty in our cake at all, so using my fine and clean-tasting gfJules Flour will ensure that too.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll ingredients; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll ingredients; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

Swiss Roll Cake Technique

So let’s go over the basic how-tos of making a Swiss Roll Cake.

The technique for any rolled cake like this gluten free Pumpkin Roll or gluten free Yule Log (yep, I have a recipe for that too!) is to bake the cake in a thin layer on a jelly roll pan or a flat pan with low sides. Only bake for the time prescribed so that the cake will not dry out and it will be easy to roll.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll hot out of the oven, rolled gently in tea towel dusted with confectioner's sugar; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll hot out of the oven, rolled gently in tea towel dusted with confectioner’s sugar; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

The cake itself lacks the fat so elemental to most cakes because fat adds tenderness, and tenderness would cause this cake to fall apart when manipulated — i.e. rolled. The pumpkin and eggs lend moisture, so the cake isn’t tough or hard, and there is lift from the baking soda and powder, but the spongy texture is a bit different than many other cakes. In fact, the texture is perfect for what it needs to do here though, and that is to R.O.L.L.

When the cake is done baking, you will immediately flip it onto a clean, lint-free tea towel (or parchment paper) dusted with confectioner’s sugar and roll the cake up onto the towel, as pictured. Do this while the cake is still hot; the spiral does not need to be tight. What you’re doing here is teaching the cake to bend while it’s warm from the oven and the cell structure hasn’t set so it remembers this shape as it cools.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll after cooling, unrolled, then frosted; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll after cooling, unrolled, then frosted; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

Once the cake does cool, unroll it from the towel and slowly spread the frosting gently on the inside roll, then re-roll the cake without the towel. Place on your serving dish and dust the top with more confectioner’s sugar or put more frosting on top in decorative dollops or simply frost the top — however you want to decorate it or not at all. It’s your gluten free Pumpkin Roll!

Refrigerate the roll until serving, particularly if using dairy-based cream cheese for the frosting.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.
Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll made with gfJules Flour; Photograph by: R.Mora Photography.

One note about making this gluten free Pumpkin Roll vegan. It can be done, however, the cake will be more fragile and will be more likely to crack during the rolling and unrolling process. See the recipe notes for the vegan substitutes recommended, but I would suggest making extra frosting for the top to cover the cracks if that presentation will bother you.

Yield: serves 10

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

gluten free pumpkin roll on tray

Pumpkin rolls are in the family of classic Swiss Roll cakes -- spongy cakes slathered with luscious cream cheese icing and rolled tightly into a spiraled log that, when sliced, produce the classic swirl design that we all know and love. This gluten free Pumpkin Roll is no exception to that delicious tradition!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Pumpkin Roll

  • 1 1/4 cups (170 grams) gfJules® Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature*
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (200 grams) pumpkin purée
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting

Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

Making Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

Preheat oven to 375°F .

Lightly oil and line the bottom of a jelly roll pan with parchment paper (10”x15”pan).

Whisk together gfJules Flour, salt, psyllium, leaveners, and spices in a bowl and set aside.

Place eggs and sugar in mixer bowl and combine with whisk attachment. Gradually increase speed to high and allow to whisk for about 3-5 minutes until very thick and pale.

Once eggs are very thick and pale, add pumpkin purée, whisking until combined.

Add half of the flour mixture and fold in with a spatula until mostly combined. Add remaining flour mixture and continue folding until mixture is smooth.

Immediately pour batter into the prepared pan and place in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (not wet) and the cake springs back to a light touch. Be careful not to over-bake the cake as that will make it more difficult to roll.

While the cake is baking, place a clean, lint free towel on your work surface and dust with confectioner's (powdered) sugar.

When the cake is done baking, remove from the oven and immediately invert onto the prepared towel. To roll, grab the narrow end of the cake and roll it up all the way together with the towel. It is important to do this while the cake is still hot. The spiral does not need to be overly tight.

Set the cake aside and allow it to cool to room temperature while rolled up with a towel, about 2 hours.
The cake should ideally not sit too long before unrolling to frost, as it will become more firm and more likely to crack when unrolled.

Once the cake has cooled, slowly and gently unroll and carefully spread frosting all along the inside of the cake as pictured above. Roll the cake up once again, but this time without the towel.

Place on a serving dish and dust the top lightly with powdered sugar. Keep cake in the refrigerator if not served immediately.

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Place cream cheese and shortening in a mixer bowl. Beat with paddle attachment just until combined. If making with vegan cream cheese, keep chilled and make sure not to over-mix as the mixture will begin to break. Dairy cream cheese can be brought to room temperature so it is easier to mix, but vegan cream cheese will become too soft at room temperature.

Add powdered sugar and mix on low speed until starting to incorporate. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract and continue to mix just until combined. 

Place vegan frosting in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before using. Vegan frosting will thicken and set in the fridge. If making frosting with dairy cream cheese, frosting can be used immediately after mixing.

Notes

*To make vegan, omit eggs and use 6 ounces of aquafaba + 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.

Whip the aquafaba until thick and white, then gradually add sugar as the aquafaba mixture gains volume. The remaining steps are the same, but expect the cake will be more likely to crack when rolling and unrolling.

For vegan cream cheese options, check my recommendations in this linked post.

Nutrition Information

Yield

10

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 235Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 86mgSodium 305mgCarbohydrates 32gFiber 0gSugar 31gProtein 3g

Please keep in mind that nutrition information provided is per serving, which may vary. While we have taken care to provide you with the most accurate nutritional values possible, please note that this information may differ significantly depending on the exact ingredients and brands that you choose to use to make this recipe. Additionally, where options are given for ingredients, the resulting calculation may include all ingredient options instead of only one per line, skewing the totals significantly.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment (and maybe even a picture!) below or share a photo on Instagram! Be sure to tag me! @gfJules

I can’t wait to see your gorgeous gluten free pumpkin roll!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe | gfJules

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  1. I made the pumpkin roll for the first time. It didn’t come out great. It was not fluffy and it cracked. The cream cheese filling wasn’t thick like yours. Any advice

    Reply
    • Hi Donna, did you make any substitutions with ingredients like eggs or my gfJules Flour? Do you weigh your flours or measure using measuring cups? Do you use a mixer or mix by hand? And for the cream cheese frosting, what brand of cream cheese did you end up using?
      ~jules

      Reply
  2. Can I use the Pumpkin roll recipe in a 9 x 13 pan to make bars or is there another recipe for pumpkin bars? How long should I bake if I use pumpkin roll recipe? Also what does the psyllium husk powder do?

    Reply
    • Hi Angie, I haven’t tried this recipe as pumpkin bars, but I suppose you could just bake it out as as a thicker cake instead and ice it! The psyllium husk powder is mostly to help with structure for rolling the cake, so it’s not as necessary if you’re not trying to roll the cake. To bake it as a thicker cake, you’ll just have to keep an eye on it and test it with a toothpick to see how much longer you’ll need to bake it; start testing it at 35 minutes, but you’ll likely need longer, all depending on the size and type of pan you use.
      Let me know how it turns out!
      ~jules

      Reply
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