“For the Love of Pumpkin Week” continues with a fantabulous lil’ dessert that will knock the socks off of anyone. Anyone, I tell you! And I’m gonna clue you in on a little secret – it’s really not that hard to make. Don’t believe me? Well……just do, okay? 🙂 (I mean, it’s not as easy as a cake box cake, but really, for what it is, it’s very doable for anyone.)
Anytime you get something of the cake variety and stuff it with yummy cream cheese frosting it is a winner in my book! I have been making this pumpkin roll in place of pumpkin pie at our Thanksgiving feast for years now. And although a token pumpkin pie always makes its way on the serving table somehow, this pumpkin roll is the first devoured for sure!
I had a friend once tell me that cake rolls are so intimidating. She said every time she tried to one it stuck to the paper, it cracked, etc, etc. Well, I seriously have never had a problem with this one. Maybe slight crackage once, but not enough to spoil it, and it was easily masked with the powdered sugar and chocolate shavings when topped.
I used to throw some chocolate chips into the filling to mix things up – only problem is, sometimes it’s hard to cut through them and they don’t distribute quite as evenly. I suddenly had a stroke of brilliance to do some chocolate shavings this time instead, and it worked out beautifully!
I tell you, I have never had a problem with this cake, but here are a few pointers to help your cake come out well:
Do not overcook! It will make the cake too dry, which may cause cracks and also you might have a hard time removing it from the parchment paper. Be precise with your cooking time. Get to know your oven. If you are cooking on parchment paper, you can trim the edges with a pair of kitchen shears. It straightens out the edges nicely which helps with presentation anyway, and makes it much easier to remove! Alternatively, I think you could probably use a Silpat mat (or other silicon mat), although I have actually never done this. I’ll give it a try next time and see how I like it compared to my parchment paper method.
Act quickly! You want to make sure to roll the cake up initially while still warm so that it cools with a natural curve. That will also help prevent cracks.
Be generous with the powdered sugar dusting on your towel! Another issue that may arise when rolling up a warm/hot cake – it may stick to the towel if not adequately dusted. You know, here’s a little trick I found out as well – well the first time I made this cake, I did not have a kitchen towel that would work with these. You need a flour sack towel – unless you want a little fuzzy love added to the meal. So, alternatively, I used paper towels – just triple overlapped them, and did the same powdered sugar layer. And let me tell you – I actually prefer this over the towel. I actually have had little to no problem with anything ever sticking, where with the towel, that has not always been the case. So give both a try and see what you like best (since you will be making this over and over and over…..)
When adding the filling, lean heavy toward the end where you start rolling. You want to roll tight (but not too tight), and therefore, as you go, it will automatically push some of the filling forward. Do this and you won’t have leftover filling that squishes out that you wish was inside of the roll when you are done.
Last, freeze that baby, and cut it when frozen. Soooo much easier this way! Then you don’t have to try to avoid putting weird pressure on your knife and doing tiny little baby saws to avoid smashing the cake. I actually like eating pumpkin roll frozen, too.
Anything else? I think that’s it. Seriously, if you have any other questions, let me know! More than happy to share my tips on my ultimate favorite pumpkin dessert.
Special tools and supplies to use for this recipe:
Flour sack towel or paper towels
Stracciatella Cream Cheese Pumpkin Roll
For the Cake:
- 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- Powdered sugar for dusting towel
For the Filling:
- 1 ounce package cream cheese 8, softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ounces high quality dark chocolate or more
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar.
Add pumpkin and mix until well combined.
Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Grease a 10" x 15" jelly roll pan.
Line the pan with parchment paper, and then grease and lightly flour the parchment paper.
Pour cake batter over the parchment paper and use a spatula to spread evenly to edges (you do not need do have it all the way to the edges - I usually leave a little space to prevent sticking and help with transfer. You just need to have a generally even rectangular shape).
Bake for 15 minutes or until set. (Cake cooks fast so watch carefully to avoid burning the edges! If the edges do get a little dark, you can use kitchen shears to trim them and still easily remove the cake from the parchment paper.)
While cake is baking, generously sprinkle powdered sugar over a flour sack towel (or triple-layered paper towels), using a sieve or sifter.
Turn hot cake onto the towel. Remove parchment paper. Trim off burnt or crusty edges.
Sprinkle more powdered sugar generously over the hot cake and quickly roll up with towel inside.
Let cake cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Use this time to prepare the filling.)
For the Filling:
Combine cream cheese and butter, and using a hand mixer, whip until fluffy.
Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, to avoid a mess.
With a butcher's knife or a grater, shave your chocolate. (I like having some really fine stuff, and some bigger slivers as well).
Add chocolate to cream cheese frosting, and use a spoon to incorporate.
Assemble the Cake Roll:
Unroll cooled cake and spread the filling mixture on top, leaning heavily towards the end when you will start the roll (the frosting will push forward a little as you go).
Roll-up cake long side with filling on the inside. Don't roll the towel with it this time! Wrap cake in parchment or waxed paper and then aluminum foil.
Chill in freezer for about 30 minutes until set firm. (You can keep in freezer until time to serve or transfer to the fridge if you like it a little softer.)
Remove roll from packaging and place on your serving platter.
Top with a dusting of powdered sugar and left-over chocolate shavings.
Cut about 1/2 inch thick slices and enjoy! (It is easiest to cut while still frozen and I also enjoy eating it frozen!)
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