A friend of mine shared a recipe from Taste of Home for a pumpkin cake roll filled with a cream cheese frosting.  It looked really tasty but I started thinking of ways to maybe give it a little Texas twist.  Two important things came to mind: I love making sweet potato pie and my folks have two large pecan trees in their backyard.  So, starting with those two elements as inspiration, I sort of redesigned this recipe to fit my folks’ and my taste.  The result is this sweet potato pecan cake roll with the same cream cheese frosting inside…though I was tempted to put a little tangerine zest and juice in the icing.  But, maybe I’ll experiment another time with that version.

There are a few steps with this recipe, but the result is well worth it.

I photographed all the steps, but here are some of the key ones.  The full recipe is at the bottom, along with the link to the original recipe that inspired this version.  Big thanks to my buddy Dan for sharing the original.

I started with one good sized sweet potato.  Simply peel and cut into 1″ cubes and simmer in water for 20 minutes until tender.  Then, drain and mash them.  Once cool, measure 3/4 cup for the recipe.  Sprinkle any remainder with a little brown sugar and enjoy.

Mix the egg yolks, sugar and sweet potato until smooth and add in flour mixture and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.  These are from my parent’s two pecan trees in their backyard.  They seem to have a bumper crop most years and there are tons of shelled pecans in the freezer.

The next step is to whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and then very gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar.  It’s critical that you add the sugar in small amounts or you’ll lose the stiffness of the whites.

Once you’ve whipped the egg whites and sugar, gently fold them into the batter mixture.  Take your time, you don’t want to lose the air you’ve created in the whites.

Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes.  No two ovens are exactly alike, so you’ll have to test the doneness of the cake by gently pressing on it.  If it bounces back, then it’s ready to come out of the oven.

To make it easy to roll and unroll the cake, you should liberally dust a clean kitchen towel with confectioners sugar.  Flip the cake onto the towel and gently remove the wax paper that lined the bottom of the baking sheet.  Roll up the cake and let it cool completely before unrolling and icing the inside.

The filling is cream cheese, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla extract.  I almost added tangerine juice and zest to this step, but decided to maybe try that with a future version.  Simply mix these ingredients together until smooth and then get ready to ice the roll.

Unroll the cooled cake and spread the icing to with 1/2″ of all edges.  Then, roll the cake up again, this time without the towel, until you have a completed roll.

Wrap the roll in wax paper and freeze for at least 3 hours.  Then you can slice and serve or leave in the freezer for 2-3 months. But, if you do plan to leave it in the freezer, wrap the roll in plastic wrap first.

When you do slice it up you should have a nice roll of cake filled with your icing.  You can dust the entire roll or each slice with additional confectioners sugar and then sprinkle a few extra pecans as well.  Being liberal with the pecans is really easy when you have multiple jars of them in your freezer!


Sweet Potato Cake Roll with Pecans



1 lg Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
3 lg Eggs, room temperature, separated
1 cu Sugar,
1/2 cu Chopped Pecans
3/4 cu Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt


8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 tbl Butter, softened
1 cu Confectioners Sugar
3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Additional Confections Sugar, optional, for dusting
Additional Pecans, optional, for garnish


Place cubed sweet potato in a medium saucepan. Cover with water by at least 1″ and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain sweet potatoes and allow to cool fully. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher (or place in a large plastic bag and mash with your hands). Measure 3/4 cup of the mixture for the recipe.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 15″ x 10″ x 1″ baking pan with waxed paper (I had to add a collar to my baking pan since the sides weren’t very tall). Spray the wax paper and pan sides with baking spray, or grease with vegetable shortening or butter. Set aside. Beat egg yolks in a large bowl on high speed until thick and creamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and the mashed sweet potatoes. Beat until smooth and the sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the flour mixture with a large spoon until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in very small batches, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Transfer the mixture to your prepared pan. Use a spatula to gently spread the mixture all the way into the corners and then evenly throughout.

Place pan in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Lay a kitchen towel that is larger than your baking pan on a flat surface and generously dust with powdered sugar. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel and carefully peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Set the roll aside and let it cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll the cake and spread filling evenly to within 1/2″ of the edges. Roll up again without the towel. Wrap in wax paper and freeze until firm. Remove from the freezer and let rest for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and slice. Sprinkle a few pecans on each serving plate if desired. You can keep this in the freezer for a few months and simply slice off what you need before letting it rest out of the freezer for 15 minutes. Just keep it tightly wrapped in plastic while in the freezer.

This is an adaptation of a recipe I saw on the Taste Of Home website: