The “cake roll” has been around for a long time. The Swiss roll and the Yule log come to mind as the most classic of rolled desserts. The mesmerizing spiral of cake and sweet, creamy filling are hard to resist.
I don’t roll cake for just any occasion. Its nerve racking and delicate work, but the end result is so impressive that I will set aside my fear and give it a go. Making the actual cake and filling is not the hard part to this project, it’s the mechanics of taking a flat food and turning it into a round food. The key is preparation and parchment paper. I recommend copious amounts of both. Make sure you give this cake the attention it needs to be successful. Don’t be trying to help the kids with homework and baking this cake all at the same time. The batter needs to be just cooked through. Maybe even a smidgeon under-done. A dry cake will crumble into a thousand pieces. You also need to give the cake its initial roll while it’s still warm. Roll the parchment paper up with it, otherwise the cake will stick to itself. After that you can let go of the breath you have been holding and wait for it to cool.
I don’t want to make this sound like an impossible task, it certainly isn’t. The cake is more forgiving than you might expect and most imperfections can and will be hidden by a liberal coating of powdered sugar. Is all this of this anxiety and stress over a cake worth it in the end? You bet your sweet Aunt Fanny it is.
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 5 Tablespoons butter softened
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grease a 10x15 baking pan and line with parchment paper (you want the paper coming all the way up the sides. You are going to have to use it to lift the cake out of the pan) then grease the paper. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer at high speed, beat the eggs for 2-3 minutes until foamy. Gradually add in sugar. Stir in the pumpkin, vanilla and lemon juice.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until everything is combined and moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- The key here is to bake this cake until it is just done. You do not want to overcook this cake or it won’t roll up very well.
- Let the cake cool for 5 minutes then, using the parchment paper as a lift, gently remove the cake from the pan and set on a work surface. You want to then slowly and carefully roll up the cake (keep the paper on. You even want it rolled up inside the cake so it doesn’t stick to itself) from the narrow end. Let the cake cool in a rolled position for another 15 minutes.
- Beat the filling ingredients together until smooth then gently unroll the cake. Do not freak out if it cracks a little. You will “glue” the cracks together with the filling. Spread the filling onto the inside of the unrolled cake in an even layer, then gently roll the cake back up. Wrap the roll snugly in the parchment paper and refrigerate for 2 hours. Dust the cake with powdered sugar, slice and serve!