Perfect Pumpkin Roll

This dessert just speaks fall, doesn’t it? A good pumpkin roll is one of my very favorite pumpkin-flavored treats. I love them. Love them. Looooove them. I don’t know if there is a more beautiful combination than moist, spiced pumpkin cake rolled with a filling of soft, sweet cream cheese.

I’m having trouble concentrating just thinking about it.

My Aunt Marilyn sent me this recipe – she got it from a friend who had made pumpkin rolls her specialty and had perfected this recipe. I can attest that this recipe is a keeper. I definitely don’t have the need to shop around for another pumpkin roll recipe. This was simply divine. And what a perfect treat to share with neighbors/friends/family this fall season!

P.S. Off to the right you’ll notice I’ve updated my “Favorites” sidebar with some classic, fall favorites. Enjoy!

P.P.S. I’ve also added two new labels: Freezable Meals and Take-In Meals. I get quite a few emails asking about both of those topics so I figured I’d start ordering them in a central location. I don’t know about you, but when I need to take a meal in to someone, I’m always racking my brain for “the one.”

Perfect Pumpkin Roll

Perfect Pumpkin Roll

Perfect Pumpkin Roll


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup mashed (canned) pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Filling:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan. Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.
  2. Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Once mixed, pour mixture over the waxed paper. Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.
  3. Lay a large dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture – a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel. When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top. Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool. While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake. Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving.

Recipe Source: Aunt Marilyn

108 Responses to Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

  1. Queen B. says:

    oooooooooooooooo my gosh…………
    g o r g e o u s !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. megan says:

    How is it possible that I want to make every single one of your recipes? haha I can’t get caught up! I just made the broccoli cheese soup and wow – great! Can’t wait to try this – my husband loves pumpkin rolls and I’ve never made one before. Thanks for another great idea!

  3. Kali says:

    how’s the taste compared to your pumpkin bars?

  4. Gina says:

    My recipe box is overflowing with your delicious recipes! Guess I better go and make room for another one!

  5. grace says:

    i’ve personally never attempted a cake roll, but you’ve done it masterfully! truly, it couldn’t look more perfect, and although pumpkin desserts aren’t my favorite, i’d give this a go. far be it from me to turn down that much cream cheese frosting. 🙂

  6. Lynda says:

    This is a perfect pumpkin roll and your photo is beatiful. I’m going to this for sure!

  7. Amanda says:

    I love pumpkin roll! I can’t wait to make this one.

  8. RecipeGirl says:

    I have always, always wanted to make a roll of some sort. The pumpkin roll looks yummy! Great job w/ it 🙂

  9. Kitty says:

    Love me some pumpkin roll!

  10. Splendid Things says:

    I have always been intimidated by cake rolls and thus have never tried to make one. Too afraid of them falling apart in the rolling up stage. However, this one looks too yummy to pass up. I plan on trying this during the holiday season. Thanks so much for all your great recipes! I spent about an hour on your site last night writing recipes down for my recipe file.

  11. Sallie My Sister's Kitchen says:

    Looks beautiful! I love pumpkin as you know. I’m thinking I better try a chocolate one soon

  12. Valerie says:

    It does look perfect, especially with your super cute wrapping.

  13. Elaine R. says:

    When it calls for “mashed pumpkin”, you mean pumpkin from a can, right?

  14. Leslie says:

    Beautiful pumpkin roll..I love the raffia you wrapped around it…very fall

  15. Melanie says:

    Elaine R. – yes, it does mean canned pumpkin – I’ve added that to the recipe to avoid confusion.

  16. Melanie says:

    Splendid Things – I promise a cake roll isn’t hard. I was so intimidated by them, too, and couldn’t believe they were this easy. Let me know if you try it! I’m glad that you have found some recipes you like – I hope they work out for you!

  17. Melanie says:

    Kali – the taste of the pumpkin cake in both this recipe and the bars is not terribly different. The only real difference you get in the two recipes is that in the pumpkin bars, you get a much higher ratio of cake to frosting and the presentation is a bit lovelier in the pumpkin roll. Both are delicious in my humble opinion. 🙂

  18. Melanie says:

    megan – you make me smile. Thank you for your comment. I’m thrilled you liked the broccoli soup recipe. It is a favorite of mine!

  19. Gillie says:

    We used to make pumpkin rolls often for large gatherings at the church in Pennsylvania where I cooked sometimes. I never took the recipe with me and always regretted it! It looks delicious!

  20. CrystalsCozyKitchen says:

    Delicious! I am going to have to add this to my list of items I want to make!

  21. Cinnamon-Girl says:

    This looks absolutely delicious! Hooray for fall and pumpkin desserts!

  22. me says:

    just made this, and loved it! my husband is begging me to save him a piece….he better get home from work fast or else it will be gone! thanks for all of your awesome and delicious recipes! because of you and your blog my family knows what homemade dinners are! so on behalf of me and my family, i thank you!! 🙂
    keep up the great work!

  23. rookie cookie says:

    I so wish you didn’t live so far away so you could show me how to do this right. I love pumpkin rolls, but the thought of it not working makes me chicken out on making one. Thinking about the whole flippy part makes my hands get all clammy.

  24. Mindy says:

    That is perfect. I LOVE pumpkin. Still a fan of your pumpkin bars, too. 🙂

  25. Sara says:

    Gorgeous! I’m intimidated to try making a roll, but this looks great. Maybe I’ll just live vicariously through you. 🙂

  26. Nicole says:

    YUM! Looks so festive too! I love that you added the freezer tab onto your blog. I’m going to try to make a month’s worth of freezer meals for when I have the baby. I never allow anyone to bring meals (except you) because I just can’t trust that they will be safe for Scott. I’m excited to know I can freeze the sweet and sour meatballs- that’s one of my favorites!

  27. teresa says:

    oh, i remember my mom making this every year and getting so excited! good memories, your is gorgeous!

  28. Deals to Meals says:

    Yum! I just made one last week…although yours sure looks prettier than mine!

  29. Melanie says:

    Desiree – thanks for your comment! I can almost single-handedly devour one of these pumpkin rolls so don’t feel too badly if there isn’t any left when your husband gets home!

  30. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    Oh man. I am totally drooling just looking at the picture!!

  31. Janell says:

    Oh my. I LOOOOVE pumpkin roll, and it has been WAY too long since I had one. This is definitely going on the autumn to-make list. Thanks!

  32. Bunny says:

    I was just thinking about pumpkin roll!! I love your picture !! I’ll try your recipe!

  33. NMOS says:

    Cool recipe. It’s all about pumpkin this time of year.

  34. [email protected] says:

    Who is this Aunt Marilyn? Where did she learn to cook so gloriously!? This peaked my interest and I just spent some time drooling over all her listed recipes! I went to Costco and bought all the ingredients for the pumpkin roll. I’m excited to try this! (sorry, I’m a blog stalker now!)

  35. Anonymous says:

    i came across your blog by accident on monday and just finished making this (the 4th recipe i have made from your blog this week). oh. my. word. thank you melanie and thank you aunt marilyn for the most delish recipe i have ever made.

  36. Melanie says:

    Candace – seriously, I am forever indebted to my Aunt Marilyn. She’s amazing.

    Anonymous – thank you for the comment!! I’ll tell my aunt, too. I’m so glad you liked this pumpkin roll. I have one in the fridge as we speak, ready to be eaten!

  37. Anonymous says:

    We made and loved these pumpkin rolls this week. Suprisingly moist and delicious and who knew how easy it would be to make a pumpkin roll.

  38. Kevin says:

    Pumpkin rolls are such a nice way to enjoy the seasonal pumpkin!

  39. cindy says:

    I love Pumpkin Rolls, haven’t made them in years but that will soon change. Love your blog!

  40. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – thanks for your comment. I’m glad you liked these festive pumpkin rolls!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Pumpkin roll is a favorite of mine. I vary the frosting just a little bit to make it less fattening. Instead of the butter, I add 2 Tbsp. of cool whip and I use the low fat cream cheese. I don’t think it changes the taste at all it just makes the frosting a little fluffier.
    Cousin Stacey

  42. Melanie says:

    Hey Stace – fun to get your comment on here. Thanks for the tips on lightening this up. The idea of a fluffier frosting sounds awesome.

  43. Jenni and Christian says:

    I made this pumpkin roll last night, it was the first time I’d ever made one and it turned out great! I love it!! And it was fairly simple too I was surprised! This is probably the 5th recipe I’ve tried from this blog and I love them all!

  44. Anonymous says:

    Just a thought I roll my cake long ways and cut in half to make 2 rolls then I don’t have to make as many when giving away.

  45. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – thanks for the tip!

  46. Melanie says:

    Jenni and Christian – I’m glad you are liking the recipes that you have tried! And I’m especially glad this pumpkin roll worked for you. It’s easy to think they are hard to make but they really aren’t – and I’m glad you had great success! Thanks for letting me know.

  47. Monica says:

    I am not fond of baking but your recipes are converting me already! I can’t wait to try this one, as well as so many of your other recipes. SO GLAD to have found your blog! Thanks for sharing.

  48. Jennifer says:

    I have been following your blog for some time now, and found many great recipes! I consider myself a very good cook, and have been given the challenge of doing Thanksgiving for my in-laws! That’s enough to make any one climb under a rock! So your thanksgiving posts have been a blessing! My mother-in-law is the perfect hostess, so I’m hoping to wow them this year!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Hi! It is my first time baking. I tried the pumpkin roll. But instead of using a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan, I used the 11 x 15 inch because it is what I have at home. Unfortunately, the cake turned out like rubber T_T.. I think I did something wrong somewhere. Does mixing the ingredients have to come in a special sequence? because I just put it all in. Or is it because of hte wrong size of the pan? Anyway I love your recipe. When they ate eat, they said it tastes great. But I wish I could make it perfect like yours next time.

  50. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – yes, unfortunately, the size of the pan, even if it is off by a couple of inches, can make a cake’s texture turn out rubbery or dry. I’m guessing that is why the result wasn’t that great. I’m sorry! I hope it works out next time you try it.

  51. Melanie says:

    Hey Shell – I wrapped the pumpkin roll in parchment paper and tied it with some natural raffia. It seemed to hold up just fine – I made sure that my parchment paper extended probably 1/4 inch beyond both cut ends of the pumpkin roll so that the ends of the roll weren’t just hanging out in the open. Does that make sense?

  52. Michelle says:

    Melanie – I promise I’ll try this asap. The plating is what I’m wondering about. Is that roll wrapped in just normal paper? Is that how you delivered it to friends and such? It looks so stinking cute, I’m just wondering if it held up well and if the paper got all sticky and gross. Wouldn’t that make your day to get one of those delivered to your house? Thanks for all the great recipes!

  53. Shea Wade says:

    I made this Pumpkin Roll, last night….PERFECTION!! It IS so good! I didnt have a jelly roll pan, so my cake came out not so pretty, but still SO SO good. I’m not usually a big pumpkin fan, I love the smell, not the taste so much, but this was amazing! Thanks for the recipe and your blog! Love it!

  54. Jessica says:

    Hey Mel! I wanted to let you know that trying to find this recipe was a pain in the keester! I tried searching “pumpkin roll” then just “pumpkin” Nothing. Finally I just went in the archives and looked at every post starting in October until I found it. I’m sure it will be worth it but I just wanted to let you know!

  55. lindsay says:

    so sorry to say, but the icing turned out disasterous for me. it was too runny and when i rolled it up, it went out the sides and created a not so pretty picture. i originally had this in mind to give to my neighbor, but presentation wise it was a complete failure so i had to resort to what i had on hand at the time, which was a betty crocker cookie mix. oh, and my kitchen towel was a complete mess – still covered in more than enough powdered sugar and some cake residue.

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  57. What do I do to freeze the rolls for the holidays that are coming up. Anything special I should know about before freezing?
    This looks tasty and beautiful. Thanks You for the recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Toni – I’ve never frozen these pumpkin rolls so you’ll probably have to test it out to see how it will work (and how the filling fares being frozen). I usually just wrap them well and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freezing might work, but again, I’ve never tried it.

  58. Linda says:

    I just discovered your blog – found a number of recipes I can’t wait to try! Decided to comment here, because I can answer the question about freezing the pumpkin rolls. The first time I had a pumpkin roll was at a Christmas dinner and each family received a FROZEN pumpkin roll and the recipe to take home! Delish! The trick is to double wrap the pumpkin roll. First wrap in either wax paper, parchment paper, or even plastic wrap. Then wrap securely in aluminum foil. Can freeze for a couple of months – if you can resist them that long, lol. Thaw in the fridge overnight or they can be unwrapped, cut into slices, and they thaw quickly at room temperature. You can also just cut off a slice or two and re-wrap the rest…but knowing that makes them even harder to resist!

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  61. Shelly says:

    I’ve made pumpkin rolls for years now, but I make them with vanilla (or butter pecan) ice cream as the filling. The other filling is okay, but I prefer a leeeetle less sweet. Making the cake is the same, but then you just slice off thin slices of slightly softened ice cream, spread on the cake, roll up, wrap in plastic wrap, then foil and freeze. My grandma and I made dozens of these one time about 26 years ago to serve at a ward dinner. I have made them many times since and they’ve always been a hit. I also sometimes serve the slice drizzled with chocolate or caramel syrup and a dollop of whipped cream.

  62. Becky says:

    Hi Melanie & everybody! I’ve been making these pumpkin rolls for years, at least 6 or 8 between every Thanksgiving and Christmas (my Dad has a Thanksgiving birthday, and this is his standard “birthday cake” request). I even have friends who say they hate pumpkin (I know, how could anyone??) but love this cake. After reading the comments, I had some advice for some of the commenters:

    Comment #24 by Rookie Cookie, comment #58 by 13girls1boynana, and comment # 58 by Lindsay:
    Don’t be afraid of the rolling part. One tip I have to share is to clear your dining room table, and put the powdered-sugar-coated-dishtowel (and yes, don’t use a fluffy terrycloth-y towel, use something that’s sort of flat-textured) in the middle of the table. Take your pumpkin cake out of the oven and let it cool for about five minutes, then take it to the table and lay the long side next to the towel, tilted up at an angle (just rest the long edge of the pan at the edge of the towel) . In one quick motion, flip the pan over onto the towel. The powdered sugar will fly out in about a 6-foot radius. ha ha That’s why I do this step on an empty dining room table — wiping down the table is easier than dragging out the vacuum. 🙂 Roll the towel with the cake on it, and put it on a cooling rack for one hour. You want the cake to be warm, not cool, when you unroll it. Make the frosting while you wait (I also use 1.5 cups of powdered sugar so that the icing is a little thicker). At this point, I have a large piece of foil ready, with wax paper on top of the foil, and I move the roll cake to the wax paper. Unroll the cake, spread it with the frosting, leaving about an inch unfrosted on all sides. Roll up the cake (without the towel). Twist the ends of the foil, and put it in the fridge to cool. You can now put the cake rolls in the freezer for up to six months. I put them in the fridge the day before I need them to thaw, and I’ve never had a problem with this. The wax paper keeps the cake from sticking to the foil. Hope this helps!

  63. BSN says:

    Just tried this today for a gathering my SIL was having and it worked GREAT! everyone raved about it! 🙂 thanks for a great recipe!

  64. Brandie says:

    I have made this several times over the last few years and it is nothing short of delicious! The only qualm I have about it is that is super sticky on the outside even after putting powdered sugar on the towel. Anyone else have this problem? Is there something I am doing wrong? Just wondering . . . I will definately make this over and over again though, sticky or not.

  65. Mel says:

    Brandie – I’m not sure why it is so sticky! Do you bake it in a greased pan or in a pan lined with parchment? I wonder if using parchment peels off the outer layer and keeps it kind of sticky…however, if you aren’t using parchment then that wouldn’t be the issue.

  66. Sofaia says:

    I bake a lot but have never made a jelly roll before. If I don’t own a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan can I use a baking sheet instead?

    • Mel says:

      Sofaia – a rimmed baking sheet is generally about 11X17 inches so the size is a bit larger than a jelly roll pan. You could put a tin foil partition a few inches up on the large baking sheet to simulate size or just make a thinner jelly roll by baking the batter in a larger pan. Because I’ve never baked it in the larger pan size you might have to play around with baking times and perhaps even one and a halving the recipe to make more batter.

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  70. Lindsey says:

    I made two of these over the weekend to take to a party and they were amazing. Everyone loved them and was so impressed. Thanks for sharing all these amazing recipes. They’re so inspiring to read through!!

  71. Erin says:

    Just finished making these and they turned out wonderfully. The cake is so moist! I’ve failed at making pumpkin rolls a few times before, and this is by far the best recipe. Thanks so much!

  72. Beth says:

    How do you think this would taste if I added some small chocolate chips to the icing?

  73. Sharon says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’ve never attemped a rolled cake before. It turned out perfect and was delicious. It was so quick to make. After I finished rolling up the first one, I baked a second and doubled the frosting. We tested one last night (so yummy) and put the other one in the freezer to take with us when we travel to Arizona for Thanksgiving. I’m certain it will be a big hit.

  74. Peggy says:

    I’ve made pumpkin rolls for years, one Thanksgiving I sold 45 of them at my place of work. I enjoy making them. I think your presentation in your picture is great, what have you wrapped around the roll before tying with the raffia? GREAT JOB

  75. Mel says:

    Peggy – that is parchment paper rolled over the top and tied with raffia.

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  78. Angel says:

    I just have to say…. this recipe was my very first attempt at making pumpkin roll, and omg… it was delicious! My husband (currently deployed in Afghanistan) got the chance to skype with me so I cut a slice for each kid and I sat (drooling) at the computer with them in my background. They sure were enjoying it lol. When hubs finally had to go I cleaned up the kids plates and went to release them into the backyard so I cut myself a slice of and left the rest of the roll on the countertop. Well, I have a beagle, and a beagle’s nose knows what he needs… so while I didn’t think that beagle could reach the countertop, he sure found a way LOL! My first slice was my last slice. But I’m making more tonight HA! It was THAT good!!! And seriously tooo easy!!!! If you mess it up its because you are stressing over it lol!

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  80. Katie says:

    I had never made any kind of cake roll, but with several cans of pumpkin hanging out in my pantry, I searched the internet over for a pumpkin roll recipe to try. I came across yours and since your recipes have never let me down, I gave it a go. I’m sure glad I did! It was so delicious and the instructions were clear enough to produce a beautiful roll first try. I’m making another one later this week, and am considering making a bunch to freeze for random get-togethers with family and friends (or for me to polish off at a later date:) ) Thanks for truly the “perfect pumpkin roll” recipe!

  81. Valerie says:

    So funny my grandmother gave me the same exact recipe literally, and her mother gave it to her. I have been using it for years now. It is a great recipe and is always a hit during the holidays. I actually make and sell mine for people who either do not have time or are too intimidated to try to make it. Love this recipe it is so good !!!

  82. Valerie says:

    I was just about to comment Katie that people should be aware that these rolls are perfect for freezing. I make them in large quantities and put them in the freezer so that on the holidays I do not have to worry about having to bake the night before or the day of I just pull it out of the freezer and let it thaw. Also they are easier to cut when they are frozen because the do not get squished when you are cutting into them

  83. Cyndi L says:

    Wow was this good. I mean really, really , really good. My husband,after eating this, said he would rather have this than pumpkin pie. It was just that good. A real hit in our home. Have made it twice this week. Thanks again for the great recipe.

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  85. April says:

    I followed the directions to a T, and it turned out perfect. And it tasted awesome. Thank you.

  86. dstevens says:

    way is my pumpin roll is so moist

  87. Deb says:

    Um, YUM! But you already knew that 🙂 What really surprised me was how easy this was to do. I always thought it would be tricky to do the rolling and unrolling and re-rolling, but it wasn’t at all and what a fancy looking result. A new holiday tradition is born.

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  90. Emelda says:

    I love pumpkin rolls. Last year a friend of mine have me a recipe. Very similar to this. One difference I remember is that he’s you added lemon juice. Another great hint was I used cheese cloth to roll it up. The cloth was also a little damp, Then sprinkled powder sugar on it before rolling it up. Mine did not stick. Every year my friend would give me a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I couldn’t get enough so I finally asked her for the recipe which had been handed down for years from her family. I was very scared to try and make it. But I figured if I messed it up (cracking while I rolled it) I would just leave it flat and eat it as a bar or layer it and easy it as a cake. It was easy and it did not crack. Directions did call to sprinkle powder sugar on the roll before rolling it to cool. Not sure if yours says that. I would recommend people to try it. Don’t be scared. Was not that hard to make and is so good.

  91. MommyLissa says:

    Just made this, yum! My 1st grade son asked for more, saying “it’s so tasty” and my 4th grade daughter gave a big thumbs up. Hubby & Grandma like it too! Very rare for all to love. Thanks!

  92. susan says:

    I’m getting ready to make a large amount of these for a fundraiser, and came across your site while looking for freezing tips. I notice you don’t use baking powder. Do you know what difference that makes in the cake? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Susan – baking powder helps cakes to rise but this particular recipe doesn’t use or need it. The cake still bakes up fluffy and moist but doesn’t need the baking powder for a really high rise.

  93. Tricia says:

    I have made pumpkin rolls for years using a more complicated recipe, such as folding beaten egg whites into batter, etc. I tried yours & it is just as good but simpler to make. My younger son especially enjoys pumpkin rolls & he could not tell the difference between the two cakes. To prevent cracking, I always frost the rolls while warm. Thanks for a great recipe.

  94. Lynda says:

    I’d like to make this at home before going to Florida for Thanksgiving. How long can this be refrigerated before serving and how should I wrap it? My grandchildren love pumpkin and cheesecake so this will be a hit. BTW, made your “unbelieveable chocolate cake” twice and I’m getting requests to make it! I love how easy it is–everything in the bowl and mix. Thanks

    • Mel says:

      This roll actually freezes great (after it’s been frosted and assembled). I wrap it in plastic wrap a couple times. Once it defrosts/thaws, it still tastes great!

  95. Jill says:

    When do you add the walnuts?

  96. Laura says:

    Hi, I too have been making pumpkin rolls for years…I use the Libby recipe. My pumpkin rolls usually turn out really nice, but as they sit in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap, they get sticky on the outside and actually a little gummy and they don’t have that light airy texture they had when I first made them. I always make sure to cool them several hours in the refrigerator, wrapped in tea towels too, before putting the filling in and rerolling them…so I just can’t figure out how to remedy this problem. Thanks so much in advance for your help

  97. Lauren says:

    I just made this for the second time….a huge hit!!! I just thought I would share that like another commenter, I also didn’t have the proper jelly roll size of a pan. I just have “half sheet” rimmed baking sheets, which are a couple inches bigger. To account for this, I did one and a half of the recipe per pan (if you make two rolls, you can just triple the recipe.) It baked for just a couple more minutes longer, and it came out perfectly!

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