Who needs pie when you can have pumpkin roll?

by Rachel Candelaria on November 19, 2011

Pumpkin roll (c) 2011 Rachel Candelaria

Editor’s note: Diners who frequented the Left Bank in downtown Menlo Park or John Bentley’s Redwood City in the first decade of the 21st century may find the face of Rachel Candelaria (pictured below) a familiar one, as she worked in a variety of capacities at both restaurants. She’s long had an interest in food and photography, showcased on her blog Not Just Sweets, which she describes “as a chronicle of my culinary adventures in the kitchen”. She’s given InMenlo permission to highlight some of her musings and photos from time to time. We begin with her choice for an alternative Thanksgiving dinner dessert.

This was the first year I went to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival. My best friend and I did our due diligence tasting as much food as possible before concluding that the “World Famous Pumpkin Roll” was by far our favorite pumpkin treat.

Rachel CandelariaNo need to wait until the 2012 Pumpkin Festival (or sit in hours of traffic) to indulge in these rolls. They were selling the recipe for $1, by far one of the best purchases I made all year! I made a couple of modifications:I cut the ginger in half and replaced it with ground clove as well as reduced the amount of chopped walnuts.

This roll is so good I think it may replace the traditional pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table this year.

– 3 eggs
– 1 cup sugar
– 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
– 1 teaspoon lemon juice
– 3/4 cup flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
– powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a 15 x 10 x 1 jelly roll pan or baking sheet with wax paper. Grease and flour paper.

Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes; gradually beat in granulated sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and salt. Fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread in prepared pan. Top with finely chopped walnuts.

While the cake is baking, sprinkle powdered sugar onto a thin, cotton dish cloth (I use a flour sack). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately turn the cake out onto cloth and remove the wax paper. Starting at narrow end, roll towel and cake together into a spiral form. Let roll cool on a wire rack, unroll, and fill.

– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 4 tablespoons butter
– 6 oz. cream cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Carefully unroll cake and remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour, or you may freeze up to one month. I find that freezing the cake makes cutting it much easier.

Don’t worry of the cake doesn’t look that pretty when you first put it in the refrigerator or freezer. The cracks in the cake will not be noticeable and the powdered sugar on the outside of the cake will absorb into the cake.

Photo by Rachel Candeleria

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