When it comes to working in the kitchen, over a hot stove or in and out of a hot oven, I strive to be a purist. I’m a big fan and proponent of making things from scratch and knowing exactly what is going into a recipe and not having to wonder what is coming out of a boxed mix or a synthetically enhanced can or jar of something. For this pumpkin cake roll I took somewhat of a departure from that orientation and used a can of pumpkin puree.
Admittedly, I’ve never used a pumpkin from the garden or market for anything other than carving it for Halloween. In fairness, this is probably the second or third time I’ve ever made pumpkin-anything in the kitchen. My previous experience with this fall standard was pumpkin pie, probably my favorite pie in the world.
I suppose that procuring and using the real thing is a goal that I will consider for some future creation. My mom always used pumpkins out of her big garden on our farm; to be sure there were always plenty be picked. I’m still a sucker for convenience in the kitchen, especially when trying something new and unfamiliar to me. The work is a bit less and the risk seems a bit lower as well. This was a fun treat to put together, reminiscent to me of putting together a Buche de Noel (Christmas log), something I did pretty often as a youth helping my chef-sister in some of the kitchens that she oversaw.
Rolling a cake requires some practice and finesse but it also adds an intangible element of fun to the recipe. I have yet to procure pumpkin puree from the real source, as opposed to a user-friendly and convenient can. Rest assured though, it will happen. In the mean time I am spending a little time re-acquainting myself with this old friend. This seasonal recipe is fun, its great looking, and it was a hit among everyone who tried it. Give it a try, it’s a sure bet to please!
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- ⅔ cup canned pumpkin
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Additional confectioners' sugar, optional
- Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add ½ cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within ½ in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Yield: 10 servings.