Pumpkin Cake Roll

One of my favorite fall desserts, the pumpkin roll. Pumpkin spiced caked rolled up with a cream cheese frosting and dusted with powdered sugar. A simple, unfussy desert for Thanksgiving, or any time in the fall. For those who aren’t into pumpkin pie but want something festive and autumn-flavored, this pumpkin cake roll is perfect.

My mom buys these giant heirloom pumpkins every year, several of them, starting at Halloween. They are giant, gorgeous and more importantly, delicious. Well, as far as pumpkin goes. They’re more meaty and fleshy, and their flavor is more pumpkin-y than your standard jack-o-lantern pumpkin. They start out on the front porch as holiday decor and after a week or so they come inside for roasting. Same as a regular pumpkin, the guts and seeds come out and it gets roasted in batches of big chunks on baking sheets. And then all that roasted pumpkin gets turned into pumpkin puree, which then goes into everyyythingggg.

How to make your own pumpkin puree: line your baking sheet, roast (no oil)  pumpkin in chunks in a 375F oven for 20-30 minutes until fall-apart-fork-tender. Cool and blitz in the food processor until very smooth. 

No big deal if you’re not that ambitious, canned pumpkin works just fine. This recipe just comes up a few times in the fall with the goal of working through all that pumpkin.  But all that pumpkin also shows up in pie (duh) custard, flan, waffles, pancakes, bread.. it’s also worth noting that I’ve even added it to fruit smoothies. It adds tons of fiber and makes a very smooth textured smoothie (weird but a good healthy veggie to add).


Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cake Roll
3 eggs
1 c sugar
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

To make pumpkin cake: In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Fold in dry ingredients and spices. Pour onto a lined, greased and floured sheet pan*. Bake for 20 minutes at 375F.
*This cake is thin and can be delicate. Grease and line your sheet pan in this order: grease, line with parchment, grease again and flour. This will make it very easy to remove your cake when it is time to assemble.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (soft)
1 c powdered sugar
4 tbs butter (soft)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

To assemble: Let the cake cool slightly (5 mins or so, cool to the touch but still very warm). Set up a clean dish towel on a flat area and dust with powdered sugar. Flip over the cake pan on to the town and remove pan. Gently peel off parchment from cake. Use the towel to carefully roll up the cake; leave rolled to cool to room temperature.  To frost, unroll the cake and add cream cheese filling in a smooth even layer. Re-roll cake and dust with powdered sugar.

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