This gluten-free pumpkin roll is made with a super moist spiced pumpkin cake rolled up with cream cheese frosting that's the stuff of fall dreams. While it looks impressive, this cake roll is surprisingly easy to make!
Do your baking sheets have a 1-inch curled-up rim around the entire outside? Growing up, this is the only kind of baking pan we used, so we used them for everything from cookies to vegetables. It turns out though that this kind of pan has a special purpose.
True cookie sheets are flat, maybe with just one or two sides slightly lipped to help you grab them. The flatness allows air to circulate around the cookies so they bake evenly.
On the other hand, these curled-up rimmed baking pans like all the ones in my pantry growing up are called jelly roll pans. Aptly named because they're the ideal pan in which to bake a jelly roll cake.
While this isn't specifically a jelly roll cake, this is a roll cake. And this gluten-free pumpkin roll cake similarly uses a jelly roll pan. All these years my family only used jelly roll pans, and not once did we ever make a roll cake in them. That is not until earlier this year when I finally baked a gluten-free swiss roll cake.
And now this even easier gluten-free pumpkin roll cake! Super-moist spiced pumpkin cake rolled up with cream cheese frosting that's the stuff of fall dreams.
Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe
If you've never made a cake roll before, this gluten-free pumpkin cake roll recipe is the perfect place to start.
Gluten-free cake has a reputation as being dry or not chewy and pliable. Not this recipe! Due to the pumpkin and egg, the cake is incredibly moist and not prone to over-baking very easily. This makes it very pliable so it's super easy to roll up without cracking.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll
This gluten-free pumpkin cake looks complicated, but actually bakes up super fast and is not as difficult as it looks!
- Whisk the dry ingredients together. Whisk the wet ingredients together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Bake in a lined 10x15 jelly roll pan for 14-16 minutes.
- Turn the warm cake out of the pan, then flip it again so it's right side up.
- Roll the warm cake up and let cool.
- Unroll the cake and slather it with cream cheese frosting.
- Re-roll the cake and chill for 20-30 minutes before slicing.
How do you Roll Cake?
While it seems difficult, as long as you follow these directions with the warm cake, it's really easy to roll a gluten-free pumpkin jelly roll.
Do not let the cake cool. First, use the back of a large baking pan or a large wire rack to flip the cake out of the pan and remove the parchment paper.
Place a clean kitchen linen or a sheet of parchment paper over the cake so the edge of the linen or paper lines up with the short edge of the cake. Use a second pan or wire rack to flip the cake back right-side up. Note: You can put the linen or parchment on top before the first flip and skip the second flip, but I prefer the cake to be rolled so the pan-side rolls on the outside for a cleaner look.
Carefully roll the warm cake in the linen or paper from short edge to short edge. The cake should be rolled up not too tight, but not too loose either. Too tight and the cake will break, too loose and you won't get a nice roll. Placing the final seam on the bottom, let it cool completely.
Once cool, carefully and slowly unroll the cake most of the way, leaving the last couple inches slightly curled up so it doesn't break. Slather frosting over the cake.
Reroll the cake without the linen or paper. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic, place the cake on a serving platter seam-side down, and chill for at least 20 minutes to help slice perfect slices. You can also skip the chill and slice it right away, but your slices just won't be as clean/precise looking, though equally delicious.
Why does my pumpkin roll crack?
Eek! Your cake cracked - what happened?! While I've tested this cake many times and it has not cracked for me (it's very forgiving!). That being said, if your cake still cracks a tiny bit while you roll it or unroll it, you can patch it up with frosting.
If it breaks entirely through, salvage it by making trifles with layers of cream cheese frosting. Let's troubleshoot. There are a couple of reasons why your pumpkin roll might crack.
Make sure you're using the correct gluten-free flours. This recipe gets its elasticity from sweet rice flour, which is very different than white rice flour, for example. I've included a list of flour substitutions recommendations below the recipe.
If you overbake the cake, it will be less moist and more brittle, which will make it more prone to cracking. When in doubt, err on the side of slightly underbaking. As soon as the center of the cake springs back when gently touched, remove it from the over.
Rolling too tight
If you roll or unroll the cake too quickly or too tight, your cake will be more prone to cracking. Be sure to work very carefully. When you're unrolling the cake, if it seems like it's going to start cracking. leave that part rolled and just carefully spread frosting into it.
How to slice gluten-free pumpkin roll
Part of the beauty of a cake roll is perfect swirled slices. To get clean slices, chill the cake roll for 20-30 minutes to firm up the frosting just a bit. Use a sharp knife, wiping it off between each slice.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll
Beyond just looking impressive, I'd argue that roll cake serves an even better purpose. It creates the perfect cake to frosting ratio in every single bite!
You've all seen those people who rip the bottom off a cupcake and stick it on top to make a frosting sandwich, right? They're onto something - this gluten-free pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling is the perfect cake for them. Equal frosting in every bite.
Spiced pumpkin cake is arguably one of my top favorite cakes (see gluten-free pumpkin cake and gluten-free pumpkin bars). Not just for the cake, but also for the quintessential pairing of cream cheese frosting.
With a thin cake rolled up with frosting, each bite has tangy cream cheese frosting against spiced pumpkin cake.
How do you Store Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll?
To keep this gluten-free pumpkin roll cake freshest, store any leftovers on the serving platter covered in plastic wrap for up to 5 days. Slice off pieces to serve.
I personally recommend letting it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes before serving so the frosting will soften a bit, though it also tastes good directly from the fridge!
More Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes
Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipe that I make on repeat all fall long.
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bars
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting
- Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake
- Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie
- Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Bread Pudding
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Pumpkin Tapioca Pudding
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- Hazelnut Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancakes
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll
- 41g (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) gluten-free oat flour
- 40g (¼ cup) sweet rice flour (different from "white rice flour" or "brown rice flour")
- 28g (3 tablespoons) teff flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ⅔ cup (162g) canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- ¾ cup (154g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (50g) dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup (4oz) butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups (170g) powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Brush a non-stick 10x15 jelly roll pan with oil and line it with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oat flour, sweet rice flour, teff flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, sugars, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until completely smooth.
- Pour into prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the batter over the pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until it gently springs back when pressed. Err on the side of not overbaking, as an overbaked cake is more prone to breaking when you try to roll it
- When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately dust the top with powdered sugar. Place a clean sheet of parchment paper and the flat side of a large baking sheet or large baking rack over the top and flip the cake out of the pan. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the pan. Dust again with powdered sugar. Place a clean kitchen towel over the top so the edge lines up with the short edge of the cake (alternatively: you can use a clean sheet of parchment paper). Put another large baking sheet (the back of the one you baked it in will work!) or a wire rack over top and flip the cake again to turn it right side up. Very carefully, roll the cake up in the kitchen towel (or parchment paper) from short end to short end. Let cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down, for 1-2 hours while you prepare the frosting. (You can speed this up by placing it in the fridge for 30 minutes, but if you do, make sure your cake is brought to room temperature before unrolling).
- Meanwhile, prepare your cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a medium mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese over medium speed, until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the butter and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides. With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and beat on medium-low speed until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the frosting, or it will become too soft which will make it hard to slice your pumpkin roll.
- Once the cake is at room temperature, carefully and slowly unroll the cake. If the cake cracks a tiny bit while you're unrolling it, don't be too concerned, you can patch it up with frosting! Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting in an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border on the long sides and a 1-inch border unfrosted on the short end (the frosting will spread to fill as you roll. Carefully re-roll the cake. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for 20-30 minutes to slightly firm up the frosting before slicing. If chilling longer, I recommend letting it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes before serving so the frosting will soften a bit, though it also tastes good directly from the fridge!
- When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and transfer to your serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar. Slice into ¾ to 1-inch thick slices and serve! Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Gluten-Free Oat Flour Substitution: Oat flour helps create fluffiness and retain moisture in the cake.
- Option: grind up gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or blender, then sift out any big pieces. Make sure to measure this by weight as homemade gluten-free oat flour is less finely ground so the volume per weight will be different.
- Sub in by weight: All-purpose gluten-free flour.
Sweet Rice Flour Substitution: Sweet rice flour is the most difficult flour to substitute in gluten-free baking and I don’t recommend it. It’s the magic weapon for gluten-free baking as its stickiness helps to bind your baked goods together. In the case of this pumpkin roll, it adds the chewiness. Note: this is different than white rice flour or brown rice flour.
- Sub in by weight: All-purpose gluten-free flour or tapioca flour. (Note: I have not tested gluten-free cake with tapioca flour in place of sweet rice flour, but it is what I would try first if you can’t eat or get sweet rice flour.)
Teff Flour Substitution: Teff flour is such a warm flavorful flour that’s the perfect pairing for fall pumpkin. It bakes up soft and fluffy with rich toffee notes that accentuate the dark brown sugar.