You know that Friends episode where Rachel attempts to make an English Trifle, but ends up including half a Shepherd’s Pie (ultimately layering whipped cream and beef), because the pages of the cookbook were stuck together? I’m sad to say I had two somewhat similar moments while making this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Jelly Roll.
First, because the cookbook separates out the different flavor options for the jelly roll, and because my mind was jumping between the recipe, my plans for the week, and wondering when John Legend’s next album comes out, I totally forgot to add the pumpkin ingredients until the end, when the whole delicate batter was already prepared. I dumped them in anyway and hoped for the best. The cake turned out…ok…but when I attempted to turn it out of the pan it completely fell apart!
I don’t know if you’ve also had that moment where your recipe has failed, you think about the time and money spent, observe the enormous pile of dishes, and you try simultaneously to restrain your laugh/sobs and also deny yourself from drowning your sorrows in the leftover batter?
I nearly had the moment – ok, I totally had that moment and I wallowed in it – but then, I turned around and made the whole thing again. Because, perseverance produces character, character produces hope, and hope produces successful jelly rolls. (Please note the picture above is from the first attempt, which is why it is tragically falling apart. But I wanted to show you what it looks like wrapped in a towel…)
This recipe is actually very simple, it just takes focus and careful handling of the different components, especially the eggs. And, it is DELICIOUS. It has just the right amount of pumpkin flavor, and your kitchen will smell like a spicy autumn paradise. The cream cheese frosting melts in your mouth and has just the right proportion of butter and cream cheese. I hope you can give it a try!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Jelly Roll
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1989 edition)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Sifted powdered sugar
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Approx 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and vanilla on high spead for about five minutes, or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add in the 1/3 cup sugar. Add in the canned pumpkin.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add in the 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold in the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle the flour mixture on top, and fold in JUST until combined.
Grease and flour a 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Be sure and do this thoroughly or the cake will stick! Spread the batter evenly into the pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when you touch it. Be sure to bake long enough – you want to avoid a sticky cake.
While the cake is baking and cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Combine cream cheese, softened butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and combine thoroughly. Keep adding powdered sugar until frosting reaches the desired consistency.
When the cake is done baking, immediately loosen the edges and turn it (very carefully) upside down onto a towel dusted generously with powdered sugar. Roll the cake up with the towel (starting from one of the short sides) and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Unroll cake, and remove towel if possible. Spread with cream cheese frosting, and roll it back up. Dust with additional powdered sugar, slice up and serve!