Banana Cream Cheese Roll: step aside pumpkin, banana's in town

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If you’ve been anywhere on the internet these days, you have probably seen pumpkin spice EVERYTHING wherever you’ve gone. Pumpkin spice lattes have taken over Starbucks ads, pumpkin spice muffins are nearly rolling off the screen, and this meme is everywhere:

The artwork by peasandcrayons is based on artist and blogger Allie Brosch’s hilarious writing over on Hyperbole and a Half. Her over-the-top childhood self portrait has become the icon for how we can take something we like and turn it into a raging tidal wave from which there is no escape. Or IS there?

For years we’ve enjoyed a pumpkin cream cheese roll as part of our fall/Thanksgiving holidays. It’s something I’ve looked forward to year after year, sneaking into the fridge to shave off just enough for a taste, but not enough so anyone would notice a big piece missing. But with pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin doughnuts on the menu, too, I’m ready for a break in the pumpkin action.

Enter our old and dear friend, banana. Texturally pumpkin and banana share a lot of traits, and both have a richness that can stand up to a cream cheese filling. How about if we swap in banana in our favorite holiday roll?

No hyperbole here, this roll is AMAZING! It’s like fresh banana bread with a schmear of cream cheese, only gilded in gold and served by cherubs. The caramel-rum sauce adds an extra touch that really earns this roll a place at the holiday buffet.

Let’s make Banana Cream Cheese Roll.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

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In a small bowl combine:
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Whisk until well combined and lump free, and set aside.

Mash 1 medium banana, about 1/2 cup.

In a stand mixer, whip 2 large egg whites (reserve the yolks) until foamy. Continue to beat as you slowly add in 1/4 cup sugar. Whip until you have stiff, but not dry peaks. Remove from the mixer and set aside with your other ingredients.

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Rinse your mixing bowl and put the two reserved egg yolks into the bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until the eggs lighten and thicken. Keep beating while you gradually add 1/2 cup sugar.

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The egg yolks should fall from your beater or spatula in a thick ribbon, almost like pancake batter. If it runs off like thin liquid, you’ll want to beat it a bit longer.

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Once the yolks are thick, gently stir in the mashed banana, then the flour mixture. Finally, fold in the whipped egg whites. Try to make large, gentle folds to keep the batter as light as possible.

Prepare a parchment-lined jelly roll pan. These pans are smaller than cookie sheets, measuring around 9″ or 10″ by 14″ or 15″. Trim your parchment to fit, and spritz with cooking spray. Pour in the batter and spread to the edges and corners.

Bake the cake for 8 to 12 minutes. The edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the center will spring back when lightly pressed.

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Remove the cake from the pan by lifting the parchment paper. Place the cake on the counter and trim off the edges to make rolling easier. Turn the cake over onto a clean towel well sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off the parchment paper.

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Roll the cake up as though the towel were the filling. Cool the cake, rolled up, for 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to cool on a rack so that the bottom of the cake doesn’t become soggy and stick to the counter.

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While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling. To make the rum syrup, place 1 cup of brown sugar with 1/2 cup of  water in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns syrupy, stirring occasionally.

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Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 to 4 tablespoons of rum. Allow to cool to room temperature.

You can certainly leave the rum out, but it brings amazing flavor to the party. If you prefer rum extract, use about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste.

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To make the cream cheese filling, mix together 1 cup of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is lump free and fluffy.

Add a pinch of salt, plus 1/4 cup of the cooled prepared rum syrup. Whip again until light and soft enough to spread.

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Unroll the towel and cake. Lightly brush the cake with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the rum syrup. Spread the cake with the filling and re-roll. Chill for 20 to 30 minutes. The roll can be frozen at this point, well wrapped, for up to 3 months.

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To serve, place the roll on a long serving platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve slices with an extra drizzle of the rum syrup, if desired. Be sure to refrigerate any leftover cake or syrup.

I know at our house this dessert will make a star appearance as part of our Thanksgiving dessert offerings. Pumpkin pie and Banana Roll on the same day? Yes, please and thank YOU!

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Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Banana Cream Cheese Roll.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Erin in PA

    This sounds delicious! I do love a good jelly roll cake (especially one with cream cheese filling) and this one sounds pretty yummy with the caramel sauce. Thanks for another winning recipe!

    Reply
  2. waikikirie

    Hey MJ….You always seem to come to my rescue! I am going to visit family this weekend and was asked to bring dessert. This looks lovely!!. Could anything else be substituted for the rum? Me, I have no problems but one member of the family celebrated 21 years in AA this year. I ain’t taking NO chances!!!! Maybe another sauce? If I decide to do the pumpkin, is there a sauce you like for that??…xoxoxo

    You have a couple choices here….leave the rum out completely or use 1/4 teaspoon extract of your choice. If you’re not taking any chances….using plain brown sugar syrup may be the best option. Caramel sauce sounds like a nice flavor complement. Happy Baking thoughtful baker – Irene@KAF

    Reply
  3. Katie

    Yum! Banana bread with cream cheese is a favorite breakfast treat – I’ll definitely try this grown up dessert version soon! I bet it’ll be even better than a pumpkin roll :)

    Reply
  4. Kathleen

    I was thinking about making the pumpkin spice cream cheese roll and then saw this…looks wonderful…just have a question. With the pumpkin one the filling uses two 8 oz packages of cream cheese as well as gelatin in the filling, this lovely banana roll only uses 8 oz and no gelatin. I am making the roll the day before serving, with out the gelatin will it keep? Thank you

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      As long as you refrigerate the assembled cake, this recipe works fine as published. Bring the cake closer to room temp (10- 15 minutes) before serving to soften the filling and allow the flavors and texture of the cake to be at their best. Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  5. Bev Brooks

    Thanks for the wonderful time we had there on Wed with you, your Mom and Dad. First time but will not be the last.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      It was such a lovely treat for me too. I’m glad you had fun shopping and definitely let me know when you’ll be in town again. ~ MaryJane

    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Asa,
      Sorry to hear about this. You may need to add a touch more sugar, or chill the filling some before filling the roll. Once the filling chills, it firms up very nicely. ~ MJ

  6. Evonne

    Hi MaryJane,

    love this recipe and am planning to make it for this Sunday. I don’t have rum can I use kahula coffee liquored instead? Please advise.

    Many thanks,
    Evonne

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I think coffee and banana would be okay, or if you have a nice whiskey you could use that instead. ~ MJ

  7. Katherine

    I’d love to make this cake for my Mother’s 65th birthday (her b-day is March 22nd). Do you have the cake batter proportions to make this a two or three layered 8 inch cake? :-)

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Katherine,
      This cake is a bit too light to make a good layer cake, but we have a great banana cake recipe that you can bake in layers. You can then soak the cake with the rum syrup and use the cream cheese filling between the layers. It will be pretty rich, so you might not need any additional icing on the cake. Be sure to let us know if you have any further questions. Give the hotline a ring at 1-855-371-2253. ~ MJ

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