This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Roll Cake is an easy but impressive fall dessert recipe. Take it up a notch from your basic gluten free pumpkin roll recipe with the unexpectedly irresistible combination of pumpkin and chocolate. Light and fluffy mousse is rolled up in a flourless chocolate cake, then slathered with rich ganache for a sweet treat that is sure to win rave reviews.
Originally published on September 28, 2015. Updated with video on September 27, 2017.
Pumpkin season is here again and everyone is excited!
I know everyone is going crazy for the big orange gourd right now. But I have to tell you, the weather hasn’t even really started to cool off here in Maryland. And my pumpkin cravings usually don’t kick in until well into October anyway. But if pumpkin is what you want, pumpkin is what you are going to get!
In the past week, I’ve been sampling Nutella Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Spice Latte Overnight Oats for breakfast. I’ve been snacking on gluten free pumpkin snack cake and Pumpkin Black Bean Hummus. And enjoying a scoop or three of Nutella Swirl No-Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream.
Heck, we even had Pumpkin Cauliflower Pumpkin Alfredo for dinner. The things I do for all of you! I may need to take a pumpkin sabbatical, at least for a week or two. Maybe with some Cheddar Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup to balance it all out.
However, digging into this new take on the classic pumpkin roll really wasn’t taking one for the team. I was happy to do it. Even if you are pumpkin-ed out, I guarantee you’ll love this decadent treat…
Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Cake Roll Recipe
This pumpkin cheesecake roll is kind of like a classic pumpkin cake roll – if you put your thing down, flip it and reverse it. A simple flourless chocolate cake roll recipe is filled with a fluffy pumpkin cheesecake mousse (toss in a few mini chocolate chips if you like). Slather it all in Nutella ganache or chocolate ganache and you have one of the best gluten free chocolate desserts I’ve ever had with the added bonus of pumpkin. You totally have to make it for your friends and family.
The pumpkin cheesecake filling is creamy and dreamy, the flourless cake is chocolaty goodness. And the ganache is the perfect rich, well, for lack of a better term, icing on the cake. I am so ready to make another one of these and just sit down with it and a fork. Just watch and see how easy it is to make this showstopper dessert!
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
For the chocolate sponge cake
- eggs – these will be separated. It is best to separate your eggs while they are cold, but the whites will whip better if you let them come to room temperature
- granulated sugar
- unsweetened cocoa powder – I usually just use regular Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
- cold coffee – you can use leftover from what you brewed for breakfast.
- vanilla extract
For the pumpkin cheesecake filling
- heavy whipping cream – keep this in the refrigerator so it is very cold when you are ready to use it
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- cream cheese – at room temperature
- canned pumpkin – pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
- pumpkin pie spice – homemade or a storebought spice blend
- mini chocolate chips – these are optional, but give a nice bit of texture, and, of course, more chocolate
For the chocolate ganache
- heavy whipping cream
- semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Nutella – this is optional and your choice which version of ganache you’d like to make
Key equipment and supplies you’ll need:
- Baking sheet – also known as a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan, it is 12×17 inches with a short rim.
- Parchment paper – important to keep the cake from sticking.
- Electric mixer – I like to have one with both beaters and a whisk attachment so that I don’t have to use my large stand mixer just to whip the cream for the mousse.
- Several bowls
- Small spatulas – for spreading the cake batter, mousse, and ganache
Directions overview – scroll to the recipe card for the full set of instructions
Keep scrolling for the full recipe, but here is an overview of the main steps and the optimal order so you can see how to make this cake easily.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your sheet pan by spraying with cooking spray, lining with parchment paper, spraying again, and dusting with cocoa powder.
- Make the egg yolk and sugar mixture, then beat the egg whites. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, spread on prepared pan, and bake until it slowly springs back when lightly touched.
- While the cake is baking, sprinkle cocoa powder over a clean kitchen towel. Invert the cake onto the prepared kitchen towel, remove the parchment paper, roll it up and cool completely.
- While the cake is baking and cooling, prepare the pumpkin cheesecake mousse by making the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture and folding into whipped cream.
- Also make the ganache by heating heavy cream and pouring over chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Add Nutella, if desired. Keep both in the refrigerator.
- Carefully unroll the cake in the towel, spread the pumpkin cheesecake mousse over the top of the cake, and roll up.
- Place seam side down and frost the cake with the ganache.
- Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before slicing.
Brianne’s pro recipe tips
Preparing the pan
- Parchment paper in the sheet pan and dusting with cocoa powder is essential to getting the cake out in one piece so you can roll it easily.
Preparing the cake
- Be sure to beat your egg yolks and sugar long enough to become thick and pale yellow. Do not rush this step.
- To ensure you can whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, use a clean bowl and beaters. Any traces of grease or fat will deflate the egg white, so I often wipe my bowl and beaters with a paper towel dipped in a bit of white vinegar.
- You’ll want to gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture a little at a time to avoid deflating the egg whites. A large spatula is helpful for this. Add one-third of the whipped whites to the yolk mixture. Cut the side of the spatula down through the middle of the mixture in the bowl, then gently fold it onto itself until you still see a few white streaks. Repeat with two more additions.
- The cake is done when it springs back after being touched lightly. You want to make sure it is still spongy.
Preparing the pumpkin cheesecake mousse
- Be sure the heavy cream is very cold so that it will whip to soft peaks without overbeating.
- The cream cheese needs to be at room temperature so that it will blend nice and smooth with the pumpkin.
- Mini chips in the mousse are optional, but add a nice bit of texture and of course more chocolate.
- You can make the mousse a day ahead and keep it in the fridge if you need time to let your cake cool completely.
Preparing the ganache
- It’s your choice whether you make Nutella ganache or classic chocolate ganache. Both recipes are included in the recipe card below. The nutty flavor in the Nutella ganache adds just a little something that gives a little kick to the chocolaty goodness and complements the pumpkin and pumpkin spice.
- You can make the ganache a day ahead and keep it in the fridge if you need time to let your cake cool completely, but you might need to warm it a bit to make it spreadable.
And now for the most important tip of all…
How to keep gluten free pumpkin roll from cracking?
The first key step is to be sure to follow the instructions for lining the pan with parchment, spraying it with cooking spray, and dusting with cocoa powder. This will ensure you can remove it from the pan easily and in one piece. Then do not overbake the cake. You want it to still be spongy and flexible.
Next is to dust a kitchen towel with cocoa powder. In many cake roll recipes, it will call for you to dust a towel with powdered sugar. In this recipe, you will use cocoa powder since it is a chocolate cake and powdered sugar will leave a white coating on the cake.
I like to use a small sifter to dust an even layer over the towel. It looks like a lot, but it will ensure the cake doesn’t stick to the towel.
After you take the cake out of the oven, let it cool for just a few minutes, then invert it on the towel, remove the cake pan, and peel off the parchment paper. Starting at the short side, roll up the cake and allo it to cool completely.
When you are ready to fill it, carefull unroll it and remove the towel, spread the filling over the cake, then roll it back up the same way.
Some of the best gluten free cake recipes
- Strawberries and Cream Gluten Free Cake
- Gluten Free Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting
- Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Roll
- Gluten Free Apple Cider Donut Cake
- Gluten Free Banana Nutella Cake
More favorite gluten-free pumpkin recipes
- Pumpkin Energy Balls
- Mini No Crust Pumpkin Pie
- Mini Brownie Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse Parfaits
- Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Butter from Love and Confections
Pumpkin Cheesecake Flourless Chocolate Cake Roll
For the chocolate sponge cake:
- 8 large eggs separated
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 7 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder divided (1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp + 1/4 cup)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 Tablespoons brewed coffee, cold – leftover is fine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the pumpkin cheesecake filling:
For the chocolate ganache:
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
For the chocolate hazelnut ganache:
- 1/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
- 2 Tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
For the chocolate sponge cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat a rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with more cooking spray and dust with 1 Tbsp cocoa powder.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and granulated sugar on high speed until thick and pale yellow.
- Add 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, salt, coffee and vanilla, and beat in.
- With clean beaters and a large clean bowl beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks.
- Gently fold about about a quarter of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
- In three additions, fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. It will slowly spring back when lightly touched.
- While the cake is baking, sprinkle ¼ cup cocoa powder over a clean kitchen towel.
- After removing the cake from the oven, cool for a few minutes,and run a knife around the edges of the cake.
- Invert the cake onto the prepared kitchen towel and remove the parchment paper that is now on top of the cake.
- Carefully roll the cake in the kitchen towel and allow to cool completely.
- While the cake is baking and cooling, prepare the pumpkin cheesecake mousse and chocolate ganache or Nutella ganache.
For the pumpkin cheesecake mousse:
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the whipped cream on high speed until it gets frothy and starts to thicken.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, mixing until combined.
- Gently fold in the whipped cream and then the chocolate chips, if using.
For the chocolate ganache:
- Place chocolate chips and ⅔ cup heavy cream in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave for 30-60 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- Chill in the fridge until thick and spreadable.
- May be stored, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving. You might need to warm it slightly to make it spreadable.
For the Nutella ganache:
- Place the Nutella and chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl.
- In a small saucepan on the stove or in the microwave, heat the heavy cream just to a simmer.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and Nutella, and stir until smooth.
- Let cool to room temperature.
Assembling the cake:
- Carefully unroll the cake in the towel.
- Gently spread the pumpkin cheesecake mousse over the top of the cake, spreading to about a half inch from the sides.
- Roll up the cake from short end to short end. Place seam side down.
- Carefully frost the cake with the ganache.
- Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before slicing. Slice off the unfrosted ends, if desired.