Pumpkin Swiss Roll

We’re sticking with October’s Halloween theme with a light and fluffy pumpkin swiss roll.

Halloween in Southern California

Halloween in Southern California is always characterized by unseasonably hot weather. This means that our carved pumpkins tend to melt (and melt is a cute word for mold), our children sweat through their costumes, and we need Halloween desserts that strike a balance between seasonally appropriate (Halloween) and weather appropriate (f*ing hot). And so, we come to today’s pumpkin swiss roll which, when filled with a light (and very stable) whipped mascarpone frosting, fits the bill on all accounts. We got a little creative with our roll and added some Halloween themed stripes, but that is certainly not necessary. If you like your Halloween more chocolate-y than pumpkin-y, check out our graveyard-theme chocolate dirt cake.

Chiffon Cake > Sponge Cake

Swiss Rolls traditionally are made of a sponge cake, which contains only egg whites, sugar, and a tiny bit of flour. We find sponges very dry, so prefer a chiffon cake for our rolling. Chiffons have a bit of oil, and incorporate the egg yolks. The egg whites are beaten separately and then folded into the rest of the batter. The result is a moist yet fluffy cake that rolls easily.

Recipe Facts

  • Yield: 1 swiss roll; serves 6-8
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Bake time: 14-16 minutes

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Swiss Roll

For the Stripes

  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 8 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • orange and black gel food coloring

For the Cake:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup whole fat milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree

For the Whipped Mascarpone Cream

  • 3/4 cup whipping ream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 oz mascarpone
  • pinch salt

Instructions for the Pumpkin Swiss Roll

Make the Stripes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Stir together the ingredients for the stripe batter.
  3. Separate the batter into 2 small ziploc bags. Add orange gel to one bag, and black gel to the other. Mash together to combine.
  4. Draw diagonal lines on a sheet of parchment (ours were about an inch and a half apart).
  5. Grease a quarter sheet pan (9 1/2 x 13 inch) or jelly roll pan (10 1/2 x 15 1/2 inch). Flip the parchment over so that the pencil side is facing down and adhere to the sheet.
  6. Trim the end off of the orange bag and trace alternating lines.
  7. Trim the end off the black bag and add black lines.
  8. Carefully place the pan in the freezer and let set while you make the cake batter.

Make the Batter

  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift in cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and the first set of cream of tartar and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. Create a well in the center. Inside, add egg yolks, oil, vanilla extract, milk, and pumpkin puree.
  3. Stir to combine, then set aside.
  4. In a clean, dry metal bowl, whip the egg whites on slow speed until frothy, then add the second set of cream of tartar.
  5. Increase the speed to medium, and once the whites have become opaque and the bubble size has tightened up, add the sugar.
  6. Increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form. You’ve now made a meringue!
  7. Gently stir 1/3 of the meringue into the pumpkin batter to loosen it up.
  8. Fold in half the remaining meringue, followed by the second half. Do not stir!
  9. Remove your stripey pan from the freezer and pour the pumpkin batter over the stripes. Gently smooth with a rubber spatula or bench scraper.
  10. Tap the pan on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
  11. Bake 14-16 minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
  12. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing.
  13. Place cooling rack covered with parchment paper over the cake. Flip the cake over (a second rack with a piece of clean parchment paper on top is the easiest way to do this) and gently remove the parchment paper you baked with. Replace it with a clean piece of parchment paper or a dish towel. Flip the cake again so that the stripes are facing down, and place a clean piece of parchment paper or dish towel on top.
  14. Starting at a short end, roll the cake. Let rest while you make the filling.

Make the Whipped Mascarpone Cream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the mascarpone and continue whipping until stiff.

Assemble the Roll

  1. Gently unroll the cake and trim the edges. Trim one of the short ends at a 45 degree angle to make the roll assemble more neatly.
  2. Spread the cream over the top of the cake in an even layer.
  3. Begin rolling at the short side that you didn’t trim to 45 degrees. Roll gently but firmly.
  4. Let rest in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

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