A fantastic alternative to the usual pumpkin pie, your family and friends will really appreciate this festive twist on the usual pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving. It’s a little tricky but forgiving, and the result is stunning and, most importantly, totally delicious.
I know a lot of people roll their eyes when Pumpkin Spice season comes around, but I have to admit that I love it. I love the flavor of pumpkin and I love, love, love all the warming spices that pair with pumpkin like ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
And I would love pumpkin pie if it liked me a little more. But as someone who can’t tolerate lactose, pumpkin pie was always a double-edged sword growing up. Enjoy it now, pay for it later.
It’s easy now, though, to make a dairy-free pumpkin pie. But why not try something new and amazing?
This Pumpkin Roll is sure to wow your holiday guests (or at least your spouse and kids). It’s delicious and filling. It looks beautiful with its pretty swirl. It can be made ahead of time and just chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. And, the best part? It’s completely Sugar Free as well as Gluten Free and Dairy Free.
The trickiest part is rolling the cake to make that gorgeous swirl. My advice? Take your time, don’t rush it, and in the end, don’t worry about it. You’re filling the swirl with frosting, so you can cover up any cracks, and unless you’re presenting this on a baking show, nobody’s going to notice.
Give it a try and spice up your holiday table. I hope that you’ll let me know how it turned out for you in the comments below.
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- Gluten Free
- Completely Sugar Free
- Dairy Free
- Healthy Pumpkin
- Festive alternative for fall desserts
Ingredients for Pumpkin Roll:
- canned pumpkin
- Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- vanilla extract
- fresh lemon juice
- liquid stevia
- eggs + egg yolk
- Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- almond flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- kosher salt
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Notes on Ingredients:
Canned pumpkin – Fresh pumpkin is amazing, but for baking, canned is usually better because it doesn’t have as much liquid. Please make sure you use only 1 cup (not 1 can) of pumpkin. Otherwise, the cake will be too wet.
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks – This shortening is vegan and low cholesterol. It’s also not very greasy, so it works well especially in this kind of cake where we want to be careful not to make it too oily but also not too dry.
Vanilla extract – Even with all of the spices in this Pumpkin Roll, we still need our trusty vanilla extract to highlight all of the other flavors and to bring a certain depth to the table.
Fresh lemon juice – Lemon juice is an acid and therefore gives the cake a tiny bit of lift. It also helps to brighten the pumpkin flavor.
Liquid stevia – This is the only sweetener in this Pumpkin Roll. I always use liquid stevia, never powdered.
Eggs + egg yolk – This combination of eggs and extra egg yolks helps to create binding and structure in the cake as well as adding the perfect tenderness.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour – My favorite Gluten Free blend.
Almond flour – Adding almond flour to the Gluten Free flour blend lends a natural nutty sweetness and also more tenderness. I have found that adding almond flour makes cakes softer and more tender.
Cinnamon – A must for anything pumpkin.
Allspice – This spice is not used enough in most baking in my opinion. I love the smell of allspice, and I think it goes perfectly with pumpkin. Allspice is a spice that originates in Central America, and it’s got a complexity to it that is downright heady.
Ginger – Adding ginger gives this pumpkin roll just a hint of gingerbread flavor. It gives a little kick to all the other softer, mellower warming spices.
Nutmeg – Nutmeg is a must for holiday baking and complements cinnamon so well. I feel like nutmeg imparts that “bakery smell” to baked goods.
Cloves – Cloves can be overwhelming in large amounts, but just a little spices up pumpkin so beautifully.
Baking powder – The leavener.
Baking soda – Baking powder’s partner in crime.
Salt – Here for the flavor, as always.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting – Please use my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting recipe to fill the Pumpkin Roll. Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect here, since the slight tanginess of the cream cheese balances out the sweetness of all the pumpkin spice flavors.
How to Make Pumpkin Roll From Scratch
Make the Cake
Make the cake first. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. This Pumpkin Roll is just a variation on the standard jelly roll, so you really need to use a jelly roll pan to get the right size and thickness for the cake.
In a stand mixer, mix the wet ingredients first - combine the pumpkin, Earth Balance, vanilla, lemon juice, stevia, eggs, and egg yolk. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Now, add the dry ingredients - the Baking Flour, almond flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread and smooth the batter. Make sure you get some batter into all of the corners.
Bake the cake for 20 minutes.
Flip the Cake
Now comes the trickiest part. Before the cake comes out of the oven, get your tools ready for flipping the cake. I like to use two cutting boards and two tea towels.
When you pull the cake out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes just so that it’s not too hot to handle. Then, get ready to flip.
First, place one tea towel on top of the cake while it is still in the pan. Then holding onto the towel and the edge of the pan, flip the pan over so that the cake is bottom-side up on one cutting board.
Now, we’re going to do one more flip. Place the other tea towel on top of the cake (so that it’s on the bottom of the cake, the part that was touching the pan while baking). Place the second cutting board on top of the tea towel. Now you have a big cake sandwich with your cake in the middle and a tea towel on both sides between the cutting boards.
Flip the cake. Remove cutting board and tea towel that ended up on top. Your cake should now look just like it did when it was in the jelly roll pan, except that the jelly roll pan is gone.
Why all the fuss about flipping? I have found that it’s easier to roll the Pumpkin Roll when the top of the cake (the part that was more exposed to the air in the oven) is on top and gets rolled into the center. The top of the cake tends to not be perfectly smooth, and this has two implications. One, when you start rolling, it will crack more easily. Second, the outside of your finished roll will be bumpy and not perfectly smooth.
Roll the Cake
Okay, so now you’ve got your cake right side up. Gently roll the cake up in the tea towel. Start from one end and roll towards the other end gently. Don’t worry if it cracks a little. We’ll fix it later with some frosting. If you’re not sure which way to roll, think about your cake like a piece of notebook paper. Roll from what would be the top or bottom of the paper towards the other end. This is the way to have enough rolled cake to create that gorgeous spiral.
Once the cake is rolled up, just let it sit there rolled up until completely cool, about an hour or more. You don’t want to try spread frosting on a warm cake – it will be a melted mess. So, be patient, and go do something else while you’re waiting for your cake to cool.
For instance, make my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting which is going to be the filling.
Frost the Cake
Once the cake is cool, gently unroll it. Spread the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting all over the surface of it. Then, gently roll the cake up again. And now you have your Pumpkin Roll.
You will probably have some Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting left over. That’s okay. If you have any very noticeable cracks on the top of your roll, you can just spread some extra frosting on top to cover them up. Problem solved.
If the outside of your roll turned out with no cracks, then congratulations! Save your leftover Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for a rainy day.
Put the Pumpkin Roll into the refrigerator and chill until the frosting inside the roll is firm, about 1-2 hours. When you’re ready to serve the Pumpkin Roll, slice off the ends which will not look very neat. Once you have sliced off the messy ends, you should have a beautiful view of your hard-won swirl. Revel in your baking prowess and then dig in. Enjoy!!
More Healthy Fall Desserts:
Pumpkin Roll – Gluten Free Sugar Free
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ½ cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks, melted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 batch of Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, combine the pumpkin, Earth Balance, vanilla, lemon juice, stevia, eggs, and egg yolk. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add the Baking Flour, almond flour, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined and smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Use a rubber spatula to spread and smooth the batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Carefully turn cake out onto a tea towel laid out on a cutting board. Make sure that the bottom of the cake is on the tea towel.
- Gently roll the cake in the towel to create a spiral.
- Allow the cake to cool completely while wrapped in the towel, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make one batch of Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.
- Once the cake is cooled, carefully unroll it. Use a rubber spatula to gently spread the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting evenly across the surface of the cake.
- Roll the cake up again to create a spiral.
- Put the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve so that the frosting firms up and makes the cake easier to slice.
- Before serving, cut off the ends of the cake to make it look neat and to reveal the spiral. Eat and enjoy!