Friday, December 18, 2009

Thanksgiving in the desert (Part 3: Pumpkin Roll)

I've been making this pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving dessert for several years now. It's a recipe that takes a little extra time and effort, a perhaps a bit of luck. Each year, I worry that the cake part will crack and split or that I'll drop it while delicately transferring it from the counter to the fridge.

But I must say: this year's result was my best so far, and I think it has raised my roll-making confidence.


1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn ground cloves
1/4 tspn salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tblspns butter or margarine, softened
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15X10-inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake into prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper.

Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Carefull unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake.

Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Source: Libby's

My notes

I like me some walnuts, but I think 1 cup is way too many. I usually use about 1/2 cup, and it is plenty.

When you flip the roll over from the pan to the towel, do it swiftly, with confidence. There is no real easy way to do this (and if you know of one, please share), but if you're are too slow or gentle about it, you risk it crumbling off the wax paper or collapsing in the process. If you do it right, some of the powdered sugar will puff up at you from the force of your flip.

My kitchen tends to get a little smoky when I bake this, thanks to some kind of reaction with the wax paper and the heat of the oven. I always worry that it will affect the taste of the roll, but it never does. So I don't know if I leave too much wax paper hanging off the edges or what, but oh well. It doesn't seem to hurt anything, so I don't lose any sleep over it.



to avoid the smoke, have you tried switching to parchment paper? i love the stuffs and keeps clean up easy.

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