Alternatives to Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin is plentiful this time of year, but I don’t think I’ve ever served traditional pumpkin pie. My favorite alternatives—pumpkin cheesecake with a praline sauce or frozen pumpkin pie, which is essentially pumpkin ice cream in a graham cracker crust. When the cans of pumpkin come out for those desserts, I’m bound to also make pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but did you ever think to make them with butterscotch chips? Neither did I. Our personal pumpkin favorite may be Pumpkin Cake Roll, which is the ultimate “cream cheese-frosting delivery device.”

Pumpkin Cake Roll

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon salt

I cup nuts (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
6-8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs on high speed for five minutes in an electric mixer. Gradually beat in 1 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time over the five minutes. When finished, fold in canned pumpkin and lemon juice with a rubber scraper.

Mix flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Sift and fold into egg and pumpkin mixture, a little at a time.

Prepare a large jelly roll pan. Grease and flour the bottom, line with waxed paper, and lightly grease the top of the waxed paper. Spread the cake batter carefully and evenly over the wax paper-lined jelly roll pan. Top with chopped nuts, if desired. Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle a clean flour sack towel with powdered sugar. Turn out the still warm cake out onto the towel. Roll the towel and the cake together, starting from the short end. Allow the cake to cool at least 20 minutes in the towel but no longer than 30-40 minutes.

Beat the butter and the cream cheese in a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium speed until smooth.

Unroll the towel and cake. Spread the cream cheese filling over the whole cake, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch edge. Roll the cake without the towel, carefully lifting the cake off the towel as you go.

Transfer the cake roll to a serving dish and chill for at least one hour. Slice in 1-1 1/2 inch slices and serve.


  1. It looks awesome! And I’m with you on the cream cheese frosting. 🙂

  2. Sarah
    Nov 7, 2008

    Oh yummy! I’ve been looking for a good recipe for this… I love (LOVE) Pumpkin Rolls. You make it look much simpler than I’ve ever thought it would be. I think I’ll have to try it out. Have you ever tried it with a pumpkin you baked instead of from the can? Does that make a big difference?

  3. Rachel
    Nov 7, 2008

    Wow! That looks amazing!

    BTW, how’s your husband doing? We’ve been praying for you!

  4. An Ordinary Mom
    Nov 8, 2008

    I have had this before and it is utterly divine! Thanks for posting such detailed instructions … and the pictures are perfect!

  5. Minna Dyer
    Nov 9, 2008

    Do you mind if I link to your recipe? I was going to post a “Reason for the Season” about delicious pumpkin recipes in the next few days.
    I love pumpkins!

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