Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Roll

5 from 6 votes
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This Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Roll Cake features the unexpectedly irresistible combination of pumpkin and chocolate. Light and fluffy mousse is rolled up in a flourless chocolate cake, then topped with chocolate ganache. This gluten-free dessert is perfect for the holidays!

Flourless chocolate cake roll with pumpkin

Originally published on September 28, 2015. Updated with video on September 27, 2017.

A Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Roll Perfect for Fall

Pumpkin season is here again and everyone is excited!

If you’re looking for a gluten-free dessert that’s everything you love about autumn in a bite, this recipe is for you.

This pumpkin cheesecake roll is kind of like a classic pumpkin cake roll – except the pumpkin is on the inside and the chocolate is on the outside. A simple flourless chocolate cake roll recipe is filled with fluffy pumpkin cheesecake mousse, then coated in chocolate ganache. It’s one of the best gluten-free chocolate desserts I’ve ever had!

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!

What You’ll Need

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
  • salt
  • 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
Eggs, cocoa powder and sugar in bowls

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
Ingredients for pumpkin cheesecake filling in bowls

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

How to Make a Pumpkin Chocolate Roll Cake

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.

Make the Chocolate Cake

The first thing we are going to do is make the chocolate cake. This way it will have time to cool while you make the pumpkin mousse and chocolate ganache. Ready? Here’s how to do it:

Baking tray dusted with cocoa powder

Prep your tools. 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.

Begin making the cake batter. 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.

Beat egg whites and fold into batter. 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.

Cake batter spread into a jelly roll pan

Bake. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. It will slowly spring back when lightly touched.

Prepare for rolling up the cake. While the cake is baking, sprinkle ¼ cup cocoa powder over a clean kitchen towel.

Depan the cake. 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.

Allow to cool. 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.

Make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling

Whip the cream. 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.

Combine the pumpkin and cream cheese, add chocolate. 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.

Make the chocolate ganache:

Place chocolate chips and 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.

Make 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.

Assemble the Cake Roll

Unroll cake and add pumpkin mousse. 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 cake and frost. 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.

A slice of chocolate cake roll with pumpkin mousse

Tips for Success

Although this pumpkin roll recipe is straightforward, it does have a lot of steps. Here are my surefire tips to make sure you’re able to make the best cake roll ever!

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…

slice of pumpkin chocolate cake roll on a playe with whipped cream and the rest of the cake on a serving platter

How to keep gluten free pumpkin roll from cracking?

Make sure you prep your pan well. 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.

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.

Be patient and let it cool. 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 allow it to cool completely. 

Take it slow. When you are ready to fill it, carefully unroll it and remove the towel, spread the filling over the cake, then roll it back up the same way.

A slice of pumpkin chocolate cake roll on a white plate

Key Equipment and Supplies

Brianne Recommends

BAKING SHEET: Also known as a jelly roll pan or half sheet pan, it is 12×17 inches with a short rim. I like the ones from Nordicware

PARCHMENT PAPER: Absolutely essential to a recipe like this 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.

SMALL SPATULA: I like to have an assortment for spreading the cake batter, mousse, and ganache.

A slice of pumpkin chocolate cake roll on a white plate
5 from 6 votes

Flourless Pumpkin Chocolate Cake Roll

This Pumpkin Cheesecake Chocolate Roll Cake features the unexpectedly irresistible combination of pumpkin and chocolate. Light and fluffy mousse is rolled up in a flourless chocolate cake, then topped with chocolate ganache. This gluten-free dessert is perfect for the holidays!
Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 25 mins
chilling time 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs
Servings: 12

Ingredients

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:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips optional

For the chocolate ganache:

For the chocolate hazelnut ganache:

Instructions

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.

Notes

Cake adapted from Simply Gluten Free.
Mousse adapted from  Snixy Kitchen.
Nutrition Facts
Flourless Pumpkin Chocolate Cake Roll
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 399 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 15g75%
Cholesterol 171mg57%
Sodium 126mg5%
Potassium 279mg8%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 1740IU35%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 88mg9%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More of my best gluten free cake recipes

40 Comments
  1. Makeovers + Recipe Round Up | Monday Funday Link Party - That's What {Che} Said...

    […] Pumpkin Pie Spice Nuts: Setting For Four Turkey Tips: Laina Turner Homemade Turkey Gravy: A Mom’s Take Cornbread Stuffing: A Worthy Read Homemade Cranberry Sauce: A Cherished Bliss Italian Seasoned Green Beans: Teaspoon of Goodness Loaded AuGratin Potatoes: HomeMade Interest Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookie Crust: LizVentures Pumpkin Cheesecake Flourless Cake Roll: Cupcakes and Kale Chips […]

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Angela, there are some wonderful low glycemic sugar substitutes available. I like ones that measure cup for cup to regular sugar because they are easier to swap into a recipe. Erythritol is a plant based, low glycemic sugar substitute that measures cup for cup. If you are diabetic, you should probably check with your doctor before using it though.

  2. Monica Labrador

    5 stars
    Delicate white cake with a light and cushy pumpkin cheesecake mousse filling and slathered with cake roll so i am very happy and thanks for sharing

  3. Perfect Fall Recipes | Self Proclaimed Foodie

    […] Pumpkin Cheesecake Flourless Chocolate Cake Roll by Cupcakes & Kale Chips […]

  4. This looks amazingly delicious!
    Thanks for linking up to the Merry Monday link party!
    We hope to see you again next week!
    Kate | TheOrganizedDream.com

  5. Your pumpkin mousse filling looks amazing! Pairing it with chocolate cake and ganache made for a spectacular dessert!
    P.S. Fingers crossed you’ll get some good news about the testing soon. xo

  6. Pumpkin week is what finally got me baking with pumpkin. Although I still have some apple recipes up my sleeves, it was the kick in the pants I needed. I am a horrible food blogger and rarely post seasonal recipes more than 2 weeks before the holiday because I have a hard time getting in the mood so early! But this a cake roll like this I am all in. I love the combo of chocolate and pumpkin.

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