This Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling and Sugared Cranberries is perfect from Thanksgiving through Christmas; it’s both festive and so delicious!
When a friend of mine brought a pumpkin roll to my home a couple of years ago for Thanksgiving, I have to admit, I had never had one and it was love at first bite. The combination of a tender pumpkin cake and a cream cheese filling was divine and it made for such a pretty presentation to boot. So I decided to make one this year for Thanksgiving Day when I would be having friends over for dessert (yes, JUST dessert…it was wonderful!). This dessert was more special than pumpkin pie but not as labor intensive as cheesecake; sort of a perfect in between and everyone loved it, even the kids.
My children live on opposite coasts and neither were coming home so a big day in the kitchen was not on my agenda. I was also watching a neighbors dog for the weekend so decided not to leave him alone all day so that I could visit friends and chose instead to spend most of the day decorating my home for Christmas. In the afternoon, I headed to a movie with neighbors on my street and then we finished the day at my home for dessert. It was a fun relaxing day; not always the case on Thanksgiving, am I right? 🙂
Once I decided to make this dessert I discovered that there are a million recipes for pumpkin roll albeit the majority are almost identical, so of course I had to do some modifications to make it mine. First step? I roasted my own pumpkin! Yes…the day before I had roasted pumpkin, pureed it and then simmered it for hours so I had the best pumpkin puree ever.
The other thing I discovered? I could not find my jelly roll pan anywhere. Luckily casualties of my move were few and far between but I finally gave up looking and hurried to get this Wilton Jelly Roll Pan from Amazon. New is actually sort of nice, my old one was pretty ancient!
I made a couple of additions too. Maple syrup and pumpkin? Perfect right? So there’s a bit in the cake and in the cream cheese filling. Speaking of the filling, I thought it seemed a bit heavy after I had mixed the cream cheese, powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla together so I added some whipping cream and beat it for a minute and loved the lighter but still rich result; it was a good call. Last but not least, I added some toasted walnuts to the mix; they’re added to the top of the batter, once the cake is flipped out nuts side down, it gets rolled up and they’re on the outside and make a nice crunchy component. All in all…it was truly decadent and delicious…and that’s before the cranberries!
One of many reasons I’m suggesting you could include THIS pumpkin dessert on your Christmas wish list? Those cranberries. Have you ever made sugared cranberries? They are absolutely addictive. While I’ve seen numerous recipes calling for them to be put into sugared water and left to sit overnight, I didn’t know that the first time I made them and I believe my method is preferable and so much quicker.
I throw them into sugar water in a pan on the stove-top and bring the water to a simmer. Once I hear the first couple of berries pop, I drain off the water, spread out the berries on sugar and roll them to get covered. They will have ample time to cool and dry while your pumpkin roll is being made and chilled in the fridge. One word of caution…I really do bet you can’t eat just one! Those tart little crisp berries were meant to be married to this dessert. They offer a beautiful bit of color and a lovely sweet/tart component that everyone, and I mean little kids too, simple loved with this pumpkin roll.
I was unsure about including this pumpkin dessert as a suggestion for a Christmas holiday dessert so I asked friends on Facebook, “Are you a ‘Pumpkin Only for Thanksgiving’ type?” The answer was a resounding NO; they loved it not just through Christmas but all winter long. So here it is; we think this Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling and Sugared Cranberries would make a terrific addition to your December holiday table too!
I might love sugared cranberries and think they make a holiday cake that much more special…can you tell?
- Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Sugared Cranberries
- White Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream and Sugared Cranberries
- Cranberry Cake with Warm Butter Rum Sauce and Sugared Cranberries
- Pumpkin Roll with Sugared Cranberries (You’re Here!)
Pumpkin Roll with Toasted Walnuts and Sugared Cranberries
For the Sugared Cranberries
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 cup water
For the Cake
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped and lightly toasted
- Powdered sugar
- Sugared cranberries
For the Filling
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
To Make the Sugared Cranberries:
- Combine half of the sugar (1 cup) and 1 cup of water in a medium pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and cook on medium low heat until some of the cranberry skins just start to pop and water starts to turn pink; 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl. Place remaining 1 cup sugar on a cookie sheet and gently put the cranberries on the sugar and roll them until coated. Separate them and let stand in a single layer at room temperature until dry, about 1 hour.
NOTE: Do not refrigerate; putting them in the refrigerator will ruin the hard shell of the sugar. Use immediately.
To Make the Pumpkin Roll:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper and spray again with nonstick spray; set aside.
- In a bowl stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt and nutmeg; set aside.
- In a stand mixer, beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes. Slowly add the sugar on medium speed until combined. Mix in the pumpkin, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Loosen the edges of the cake from pan and turn it out onto a clean kitchen towel sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar. Remove the parchment. Roll the towel and cake into a spiral, starting from a short side, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make the filling by beating the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and maple syrup on medium speed, until smooth, in a stand mixer. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat for about a minute until just fluffy.
- Unroll the cake and remove the towel. Spread the cake with the filling, leaving a 1 inch border without frosting. Roll the cake back up, and trim the ends. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.
To serve, plate and then dust with powdered sugar and garnish with sugared cranberries.