I know, I know – pumpkin cake rolls have been popping up all over food blogs lately, and the last thing everyone wants to see is another pumpkin cake roll that is no different than any others out there. Well, too bad!! I am posting this not because it is a super fantastic, original recipe, but because of the things I learned about making a cake roll.
First of all, for the birthdays at work this month, I decided to go with a pumpkin theme. Seeing that I only had 3 treats to make for the month (4 birthdays, but 2 were on the same day), it wasn’t hard to come up with 3 different pumpkin treats. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin cake roll because I LOVE pumpkin cake roll. I was a little apprehensive, because last month, I tried to make a chocolate cake roll for a birthday at work, and after 4 attempts, I ended up making brownies. Yes, that is correct – 4 cakes in the garbage, and brownies from a box for the birthday treat. (And sadly enough, those very brownies were one of the most popular birthday treats yet – I hope that doesn’t say something about my baking!!) So I was a bit scared the night I made this cake roll, but luckily, things worked out well. I did get this recipe from a cookbook (my trusty Lion House Desserts cookbook), but just out of curiosity, I looked online at the Libby recipe, and the ingredients were pretty much identical. Go figure. The filling was different, but I didn’t end up following the recipe for the filling in my cookbook because I accidentally used 8 oz. of cream cheese instead of 3 oz. Another side note – why do recipes say a “3 oz. box of cream cheese”? I have never seen a 3 oz. box of cream cheese, and always mistakenly use a 8 oz. box, since that is how they come at the grocery store. Oh well, more cream cheese is never a bad thing, is it??
So, what did I learn about making a good cake roll? I talked to my mom who is the queen of cake rolls to get her advice. I learned 2 very important things that will hopefully make all of my cake roll adventures in the future successful.
1 – Doubling the recipe is a recipe for disaster. My mom has probably made hundreds of cake rolls in her life, and she says that she would even she would have a hard time baking them properly when there are 2 in the oven. Only bake 1 sheet pan at a time.
2 – Most important – the type of towel you use to roll your cake can make or break your roll. My mom said that after much trial and error, she discovered that a terry towel does not work. Her preferred material – she has some towels that are made from old flour sacks. These cotton towels work the best. The worst kind of towel – terry cloth.
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A traditional pumpkin cake roll filled with lots of cream cheese filling.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
- Powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- *I had extra filling, probably because I added so much extra cream cheese. But I really liked the flavor of the filling, so I would probably keep it the same next time.
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and grease paper. Set aside. Beat eggs till lemon colored. Gradually add sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt; add to egg-pumpkin mixture. Pour batter into pan; sprinkle with chopped nuts (if using.) Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle powdered sugar on kitchen towel. Turn cake onto towel, and remove wax paper. Roll up cake and towel lengthwise. Cool. Refrigerate or freeze.
For the filling:
- Whip butter and cream cheese together. Beat in 1 cup powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Unroll cake and spread with filling. Roll up again. Wrap in plastic wrap until served.
- adapted from Lion House Desserts