Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Filling

I waffled about what I wanted my first pumpkin dessert of the season to be. Bread? Cupcakes? Muffins? Maybe I should just go traditional and make pie. I was starting to lean toward pumpkin bread when I asked Dan to pick something from a list. He hemmed and hawed, blaming his indecision on the fact that he wasn't really that into pumpkin. I showed him some pictures of things I could bake and he picked cupcakes. Why? Because they looked like carrot cake. Helpful Dan, helpful.

Then I remembered. Back when I was cooking from Ina Garten's Back to Basics, there was a pumpkin cake that I always wanted to bake but never really had the occasion to. Plus it seemed sort of complicated. You had to bake cake, then roll it up in a towel? Then UNroll it? What the ...? That's just a recipe for disaster. But now, I felt more confident. I could do this! AND, I liked that my first pumpkin dessert would be something a little different, that I hadn't already seen blogged about this season.

Once it was finished (and I had nibbled on the end pieces I cut off to get those nice even edges), I cut it in half to share with the neighbors on either side of us. Our neighbors to the left were home so dropping their half off was easy, but the neighbors to the right were still at work. I waited until after five and then put the cake in a plastic bag with a little ice pack and tied it to their front door. I anxiously waited for them to get home and find their little package. But 45 minutes later no one had arrived.

Even though it was cool out, I started to worry that the filling would get too warm and the cake would sort of collapse. By now, Dan was home and pushed me to just go get the bag and bring it back later. I scurried over and untied it, expecting them to pull up any second so we could have an awkward exchange as to why I was loitering around their front door with a mysterious plastic bag. Thankfully they didn't appear and I headed back over to our house. Walking in the door I saw Dan finishing off the slice I had saved for him.

"You know you don't have to give it to them..."

And that's how Dan stole our neighbor's cake.

Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Filling
Yield: 8 servings


For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the Filling:
12 oz Italian mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger
Pinch kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet (13x18x1). Line with parchment paper and grease paper lightly. Trim away any overhanging parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine eggs and granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and thickened.
4. Turn the mixer off and add pumpkin. Mix on low and scrape the bottom of the bowl to be sure the pumpkin is incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake the cake for 10-12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.
6. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface. Sift the entire 1/4 cup powdered sugar evenly over the towel to prevent the cake from sticking to it. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel.

7. Peel away the parchment paper carefully.

Starting at the short end of the cake, gently roll the warm cake and the towel together.

The towel will end up rolled inside and covering the outside of the cake.
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

8. To make the filling, place the mascarpone, powdered sugar, and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger and salt.
9. To assemble, carefully unroll the cooled cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the filling evenly over the cake. Reroll the cake in a spiral, using the towel as a guide. End so the seam is on the bottom and remove the towel. Using a serrated knife, trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with powdered sugar and slice to serve.

Recipe from Ina Garten's Back to Basics


  1. Pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving? --Alex

  2. why don't I have neighbors like you!


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