Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and visions of pumpkins are swirling around in my head. Questions, really … Should I make a classic pumpkin pie for this year’s feast or something new and exciting? When I found the recipe for Pumpkin Roll, I decided on the latter.
I’ve made the Orange Chai-Spiced Cake Roll already, so I know how impressive yet easy these cake rolls are. This year’s Thanksgiving dinner is with my in-laws, many of whom are amazing pie bakers, so the other nice thing about this is I’m not in direct competition with any other dessert. They can show off their amazing pies, and I can get a little attention for my creativity. Everyone wins, and that is something to be thankful for.
Start this recipe by preparing your pan. You definitely need a 15- x 10-inch pan – often called a “jelly roll” pan. The right size pan means your cake will be the right thickness for the roll. Prepare the pan by lightly greasing it, cutting and placing a piece of parchment in the pan, and then lightly greasing the parchment. I like to crease the parchment into the edges of pan with my fingernail; this helps ensure the batter gets into the corners.
Remember to heat the oven to 350° F. Next, lay out a clean cotton kitchen towel and sprinkle it with powdered sugar, covering an area at least 15 inches x 10 inches – this is where your cake is going to cool.
Now, make the cake batter. Start by beating the eggs. They will look very yellow at first …
… and after a couple minutes on high speed they’ll be light and foamy.
Add the sugar, and then the pumpkin.
Add the dry ingredients all at once. I put my flour, baking soda and spices in a small bowl and whisked them together before adding to the egg mixture in the mixing bowl.
Be sure to mix on the lowest setting so you don’t get a face full of flour! Your batter is now finished – amazing – and smells like pumpkin and spice. Nice!
Next, pour the batter onto the prepared pan and spread it out evenly with a spatula, being sure to get batter into all the corners.
Bake the cake for about 13 to 15 minutes. The cake is done when you can touch it lightly with your finger and it springs back.
The next step is a fun one. Simply set your pan next to your sugared towel and carefully flip the pan over. Then lift the pan.
Now, simply peel the paper off the cake. Start with a corner, loosen across the short side, and then slowly pull, letting the cake separate from the parchment. I’m always amazed at how easy this is – ever since the first time I made a jelly roll in 7th grade Home Economics!
I love the golden brown color of this cake. To cool the cake, roll it in the towel, first wrapping over one end of the towel …
… and then rolling it snugly into its blanket. Roll it closely but carefully – it’s a light, thin cake so you don’t want to compress it.
All rolled up and ready to cool while we make the delicious cream cheese filling!
To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. The mixture will be very thick.
Add the powdered sugar and ginger and, again, mix until creamy. Remember to start slow with the mixer!
When the cake is completely cool, carefully unroll it.
Then, pile the frosting into the center …
… and, using a frosting spatula or knife, spread it out from the center to within ½ inch of the edges.
It’s time to roll the cake back up again. Easy as the first time, again taking care to roll it snugly but not so hard you squish the cake.
Voila! Your pumpkin cake roll has been assembled.
Gently pick it up by getting both your hands under it and lifting it onto a big sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap it up and set it in the fridge for at least an hour. Mine was in the fridge overnight.
When you’re ready to serve, simply unwrap the roll, and trim the ends with a bread knife to show off the spiral of frosting. This also gives you a chance to taste your creation first. Quite a nice perk!
For a pretty touch, sprinkle with powdered sugar by tapping out sugar through a small strainer.
You could add some cranberries or a fall decoration, but when I served this I just went with the beauty of simplicity.
This Pumpkin Roll is quite a marvel. I love how everyone is so amazed by it, because in reality I find it so much easier to make than a standard cake. The cream cheese filling is so smooth and delicious, and the pumpkin cake is incredibly moist. Try it for Thanksgiving, or anytime, and let me know what you think!
Check back in a few days when Amanda makes a new holiday cookie with chai spices.
Liz is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.