How to Make the Cutest Swiss Roll Pumpkins

Flipped on their sides, slices of Swiss roll cake become the sweetest little fall dessert — and each guest gets their own!

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Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Photo By: Heather Baird

Petite Pumpkins

If you're one to decorate your home with gourds each autumn (you can never have too many, right?), you're going to love these mini pumpkin cakes. This recipe starts with a classic confectionery construction (a Swiss roll cake), slices it up, and turns the pieces on their sides. A clever inlay decorating technique is key to the pumpkin design — it's easy to do, but makes the cakes look bakery-worthy. Here's how to make them.

Get the Recipe: Swiss Roll Pumpkins

Make the Paste

To create the bright orange "stripes" that will represent the pumpkin's grooves, you start by making a cake decorating paste that will line the outside of the Swiss roll. You'll need unsalted butter, confectioners' sugar, an egg white, all-purpose flour, and orange and red gel food color to get the hue just right. Get the full recipe instructions here.

Check the Consistency

When you've mixed everything together, you will end up with a fairly thick paste — perfect for piping.

Measure the Design

Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit inside a 15-by-10-inch jelly roll pan. Draw horizontal lines onto the paper in 1-inch increments. Flip the paper over so that the side with the drawn lines is touching the pan (and not the cake!). You should be able to see the lines through the paper.

Pipe the Lines

Transfer the orange paste to a disposable piping bag and snip a tiny hole in the end using scissors. Pipe lines of the paste over the lines you've drawn on the parchment. Place the pan in the freezer while you prepare the cake batter.

Make the Cake Batter

A pale orange cake batter completes the Swiss roll's design. To make it, you'll need almond flour, confectioners' sugar, all-purpose flour, eggs, egg whites whipped with sugar and a little orange gel food color. Get the full recipe instructions here.

Lighten Up

When you incorporate the fluffy egg whites into the rest of the cake-batter mixture, fold them in gently so you don't deflate them.

Pour it Over

Remove the jelly roll pan from the freezer and pour the cake batter on top. Smooth the batter gently using an offset spatula.

Bake it Off

Bake the cake at 450 degrees F for just 5 to 7 minutes. You'll know it's done when the cake springs back when pressed in the center.

Turn it Out

This big reveal is so satisfying! Before you flip the cake out of the jelly roll pan, loosen the edges with a small knife. Turn the cake out onto a sheet of parchment and peel away the lined parchment paper on top of the cake.

Roll it Up

Rolling the cake up now (before it gets too cool) helps it set in a rolled shape without breaking, and makes it easier to re-roll later when you're ready to add the filling. Sprinkle a tea towel with about 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Turn the sponge cake onto the tea towel, striped-side down. Roll the cake into the tea towel from a short end of the towel. Fold the ends of the towel under and let the cake rest at room temperature while the pumpkin spice ganache is prepared.

Make the Pumpkin Ganache

In keeping with the pumpkin theme, this cake's filling is a rich pumpkin ganache. To make it, you'll need heavy cream, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, white chocolate and a little orange gel food color to amp up the orange hue. Get the full recipe instructions here.

Melt the Chocolate

Whisk all of the ganache ingredients (except the white chocolate) together in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at 30-second intervals until the mixture is hot and steaming but not boiling (about 1 minute). Immediately add the white chocolate to the steaming mixture and let stand 1 minute. Stir using a whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until set, about 1 1/2 hours. The mixture can also be poured into a shallow 13-by-9-inch baking dish to speed setting.

Fill the Cake

Carefully unroll the cake and remove it from the tea towel. Allow the tightly curled end of the cake to remain curled. Spread the inside of the cake evenly with the chilled pumpkin spice ganache. Then roll the everything up again, jelly-roll style.

Add a Little Syrup

To remove the chalky appearance of any excess confectioners' sugar on the outside of the cake, brush on a simple sugar syrup. Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 30-second intervals until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly. Gently coat the outside of the cake roll with the sugar syrup using a pastry brush — you may not need all of the syrup.

Slice into Mini Cakes

Cut the cake evenly into four pieces using a serrated knife. Can you start to see the pumpkin shape come to life?

Add Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Stand each mini cake upright on a large serving platter (or 4 small plates) so that the stripes are vertical. Break rolled wafer cookies in half and insert them upright into the centers of the cakes to create pumpkin stems.

Finish With Leaves

For the final flourish, whip together some buttercream frosting tinted with green food color (get the full recipe instructions here). Using a piping bag fitted with a leaf tip, pipe leaves next to the wafer stems. And with another piping bag, draw on curling vines. Serve each guest their own adorable pumpkin for a whimsical fall dessert.

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