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Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

|| byKat|1 Comment

This gorgeous gluten free pumpkin roll tastes like a soft, fluffy cloud of sweet pumpkin spice goodness. With a moist, tender pumpkin sponge and a luscious vanilla cream cheese filling, it’s the perfect fall dessert that you’ll want to make over and over again. It’s also incredibly easy to make and, even though it’s gluten free, it rolls like an absolute dream without any cracking whatsoever. 

Gluten free pumpkin roll, with several slices already cut, on a sheet of white parchment paper.

This is, quite possibly, one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made.

And I’m fully aware that that’s not a thought commonly associated with any sort of Swiss roll or cake roll (especially not a gluten free one!) but in the case of this gluten free pumpkin roll, it’s 100% true.

It’s SO EASY to make it’s honestly ridiculous. And while there is a long-ish waiting period while you let the sponge cool to room temperature (about an hour or so), it is also really quick to make – because the time you’ll actually spend actively making this pumpkin roll is no more than about 45 minutes.

And it’s so good!! It’s like a soft, fluffy cloud of sweet pumpkin spice goodness. Everything about this gluten free pumpkin roll is simply perfect, and I seriously can’t wait for you to try it.

A piece of gluten free pumpkin roll on a small white dessert plate.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this amazing pumpkin roll – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Here’s why you’ll love this gluten free pumpkin roll

  • The soft, fluffy and perfectly moist gluten free pumpkin sponge. This is honestly so good I could eat it all on its own and be more than happy. It’s packed full of pumpkin puree and all those wonderful warming fall spices, like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. And it’s so soft and fluffy!
  • The rich, silky cream cheese filling. While most cream cheese frostings and fillings use butter to get a spreadable texture that isn’t too loose, I like to use a mix of heavy/double cream and cream cheese in mine. This gives a filling that’s deliciously fluffy and much lighter than if you used butter. You also don’t need to use as much icing sugar, which results in a filling that isn’t as sweet. Instead, the flavours of cream cheese and vanilla really shine through beautifully.
  • It’s simply gorgeous. Despite its simplicity (there’s no glaze or any other elaborate decorations, just a dusting of powdered/icing sugar on top), this is still very much an autumnal showstopper. The contrast between the vibrant orange of the sponge and the off-white creaminess of the filling is simply stunning. 
  • You can’t possibly tell that it’s gluten free! I know I say this for pretty much every single one of my gluten free recipes, but it’s 100% true. This will be a hit with everyone, including non-gluten-free folks.
  • It rolls like an absolute dream, without any cracking whatsoever. That’s right, even though this pumpkin roll is gluten free, YOU ABSOLUTELY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT CRACKING!! (And yes, this definitely deserves the all-caps.) Instead, the sponge rolls beautifully – thanks to a few very useful tricks that I’ll explain in more detail below.

Gluten free pumpkin roll on a sheet of white parchment paper, with a white and green tea set in the background.

How to make the gluten free pumpkin roll

This gluten free pumpkin roll recipe follows my usual method for preparing Swiss rolls:

  1. Prepare the gluten free pumpkin sponge batter by whipping the eggs and sugar together until they’re thick and fluffy (the ribbon stage), add the vanilla and pumpkin puree, and then finally add the dry ingredients. The final batter will be smooth and fairly fluffy in texture.
  2. Transfer the batter to a lined rimmed baking sheet and smooth it out into an even layer.
  3. Bake until golden on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The sponge requires only a short time in the oven: it’s perfectly baked after about 12-14 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC.
  4. Cover the hot sponge with a sheet of aluminium foil and cool to room temperature. This step is crucial if you want your sponge to roll without cracking, and I’ll explain more about it in the next section below.
  5. Fill the cooled sponge with the cream cheese filling. Make sure to spread the filling out into an even layer all the way to the edges.
  6. Roll it up until you get a beautiful, crack-free pumpkin roll.
  7. Dust with powdered/icing sugar as a finishing touch.
  8. Slice and serve!

Dusting the top of the pumpkin roll with powdered sugar.

How to prevent your gluten free pumpkin roll from cracking when you roll it

There are two things that will help you to prevent your gluten free pumpkin roll from cracking: xanthan gum and the correct rolling method.

If you compare this recipe to my other non-Swiss-roll cake recipes, you’ll notice that it contains a slightly larger amount of xanthan gum. That’s because xanthan gum acts as a gluten replacement and it gives gluten free bakes some elasticity. When it comes to this pumpkin roll and other Swiss rolls, you need the sponge to be more elastic and pliable than when making, for example, a layer cake. So, you need to use a bit more xanthan gum. (You can read more about the role of xanthan gum in gluten free baking here!)

The rolling method is equally important. I’ve found the one from Stella Parks (Serious Eats) to be the most reliable – it gives incredibly consistent results, prevents cracking with a super high success rate, and it’s also incredibly straightforward. This is the one that I use in all my Swiss roll recipes, and it works equally great for this gluten free pumpkin roll.

The traditional method of rolling Swiss rolls and roulades asks you to roll up the hot sponge into a clean dish towel, allow it to cool while rolled-up, then unroll it, spread on the filling, and roll it up again. This is A LOT of rolling and unrolling – and it all puts A LOT of stress on what is a very delicate sponge, especially if it’s gluten free.

So, it’s really no surprise that pumpkin rolls and Swiss rolls tend to crack all over the place if you use that method.

Stella’s method (you can read about it in more detail here!) is very straightforward: cover the hot sponge, straight out of the oven, with a sheet of aluminium foil and allow it to cool to room temperature or lukewarm. Covering the sponge with aluminium foil traps the moisture within the sponge, making it much more pliable and flexible – and therefore less likely to crack.

Note that this doesn’t make the sponge too soggy or stodgy, it’s still wonderfully soft and fluffy with a gorgeous crumb!

Gluten free pumpkin roll, with several slices already cut, on a sheet of white parchment paper.

Then, once the sponge has cooled to room temperature, loosen the sponge from the edges of the rimmed baking sheet, spread the cream cheese filling on top in an even layer, and (using the parchment/baking paper underneath to help you) roll up the sponge until you get a gorgeous, crack-free pumpkin roll.

Make sure to keep the roll fairly tight from the very beginning, otherwise you’ll be left with an empty hole in the centre of your pumpkin roll.

If I go into a bit more detail about the whole rolling up process, here’s how to do it step by step (note that you want to get a 10-inch/25cm long pumpkin roll, starting out with a 10×15-inch/25x38cm sponge):

  1. Turn the sponge so that one of the shorter edges is closest to you.
  2. Using the parchment/baking paper underneath (the one that lines the baking sheet) to help you, lift the edge of the sponge closest to you and gently fold it over itself to start the roll.
  3. Gently lift the parchment paper to continue the roll all the way to the end (so that the sponge rolls away from you) – the parchment paper should easily peel away from the sponge as you roll it. You really don’t have to do much here, other than lift the parchment paper and let gravity do its thing.

It really is *that* easy – and the result will be the most perfect roll.

The pumpkin roll immediately after rolling it up, before the ends of the roll are trimmed.

Storing the pumpkin roll

As the pumpkin roll contains dairy (heavy/double cream and cream cheese) in the filling, it’s best stored in the fridge. It keeps really well in a closed container or wrapped in plastic wrap/cling film in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Of course, whether it will actually last that long… that’s a whole other story.

I really hope you’ll love this gorgeous gluten free pumpkin roll as much as I do. It’s just the most delightful, cosy fall dessert – all soft and fluffy and overflowing with spices and pumpkin goodness. 

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Gluten free pumpkin roll on a sheet of white parchment paper, with a white and green tea set in the background.

More amazing pumpkin desserts

If you’re looking for more incredibly delicious pumpkin desserts, you’re definitely in the right place!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll

This gorgeous gluten free pumpkin roll tastes like a soft, fluffy cloud of sweet pumpkin spice goodness. With a moist, tender pumpkin sponge and a luscious vanilla cream cheese filling, it’s the perfect fall dessert that you’ll want to make over and over again. It’s also incredibly easy to make and, even though it’s gluten free, it rolls like an absolute dream without any cracking whatsoever. 
Print Rate
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook/Bake Time 12 mins
Cool Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 57 mins
Servings 10

Ingredients

Gluten free pumpkin sponge:

  • 3 US large/UK medium eggs, room temperature
  • 150 g (¾ cup) caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 150 g (⅔ cup) canned pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 80 g (⅔ cup) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
  • ¾ tsp xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, reduce the amount to ½ tsp.)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Vanilla cream cheese filling:

  • 155 g (⅔ cup) heavy/double cream, cold from the fridge
  • 60-80 g (½-⅔ cup) powdered/icing sugar, sifted (depending on how sweet you want the filling to be)
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 150 g (⅔ cup) cream cheese, cold from the fridge

You will also need:

  • 1-2 tbsp powdered/icing sugar, for dusting the top of the cake

Instructions

Gluten free pumpkin sponge:

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a 10x15-inch (25x38cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment/baking paper.
  • Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters, whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale, thick, fluffy and about tripled in volume (the ribbon stage). This should take about 5-7 minutes on a high speed setting.
  • Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla, and whisk briefly until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and whisk well for about 15-30 seconds until no flour clumps remain. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to prevent any unmixed patches. The final batter will be smooth and fairly fluffy in texture.
  • Transfer the batter into the lined baking sheet and smooth it out into an even layer. You can tap it a few times on the counter to make it perfectly level and also to get rid of any large trapped air pockets.
  • Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 12-14 minutes or until well risen, golden on top, soft and spongy to the touch, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Immediately out of the oven, cover the baking sheet with a large sheet of aluminium foil. Allow to cool to room temperature or lukewarm – ideally, the temperature of the sponge shouldn't drop below 72ºF (22ºC).
    Tip: Covering the sponge with aluminium foil traps the moisture within the sponge, making it much more pliable and flexible – and therefore less likely to crack when you roll it.

Vanilla cream cheese filling:

  • You can prepare this filling by hand with a large balloon whisk, using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters.
    If using a stand or a hand mixer, whisk the filling on a low speed setting. This gives you better control over the texture/consistency of the filling and it lowers the chances of over-whipping it.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy/double cream and powdered/icing sugar until soft peaks form.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese until it's smooth and looser in texture.
  • Add the cream cheese and vanilla to the whipped cream, and whisk until well combined and soft peaks form.

Assembling the pumpkin roll:

  • Once the sponge is sufficiently cooled, remove the sheet of aluminium foil and loosen the sponge from the edges of the baking sheet with an offset spatula or a thin knife.
    Tip: For the next steps, you can work with the sponge still in the baking sheet, or you can carefully slide it off the baking sheet onto a work surface – either option works well.
  • Spoon dollops of the filling evenly over the sponge, and use a small offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer all the way to the edges.
  • Note that when assembling the pumpkin roll, you want to get a 10-inch/25cm long pumpkin roll, starting out with a 10x15-inch/25x38cm sponge.
    Turn the sponge so that a short edge is closest to you.
    Using the parchment/baking paper underneath (the one that lines the baking sheet) to help you, lift the edge of the sponge closest to you and gently fold it over itself to start the roll.
    Gently lift the parchment paper to continue the roll all the way to the end (so that the sponge rolls away from you) – the parchment paper should easily peel away from the sponge as you roll it. You should get a crack-free 10-inch (25cm) long pumpkin roll.
    Tip: Make sure to keep the roll fairly tight from the very beginning, otherwise you’ll be left with an empty hole in the centre of your pumpkin roll.
  • Dust the pumpkin roll with some powdered/icing sugar before slicing and serving.

Storage:

  • The gluten free pumpkin roll keeps well in a closed container or wrapped in plastic wrap/cling film in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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