Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

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With the onset of fall many families have their own go to favorites that remind them of the season. For some it may be caramel apples, others pecan pie, but for me nothing screams fall like Pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is usually my go to dessert this time of year, especially for Thanksgiving dessert but after many years of the same slice of pie and a dollop of cool whip you start to want to branch out a bit, keeping the similar flavors of pumpkin pie but transformed into a new dessert. I stumbled on a pumpkin roll recipe and I won’t lie it looked a bit daunting. Even in culinary school I remember making a similar sponge cake and having to quickly roll it while it was fresh out of the oven and still on fire just to ensure an easy roll later. I let these thoughts fend me off for a little while and was tempted to make some cupcakes instead. That was until I ran into a quaint little jar of Sparkling Pumpkin Cider while at the market and for some odd reason or another it inspired me to give the pumpkin roll a try. I imagined paring up the elegant roll with a glass of cider in a champagne glass and from that moment on I was sold to the idea of taking this recipe on.

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I must admit I was quite surprised at its overall simplicity. I had a lot of concern over how the end result would be but as long as you follow the directions you really run into no problems at all. I have honestly had more problems with cookies that appear much simpler than this. Not to mention this type of cake is by far the easiest you will ever make and the most divine on the taste buds. Instead of having to cut and trim layers the cake batter is simply spread into a sheet pan prepared with greased parchment paper that makes removing it from the pan and rolling it a breeze. By rolling the cake while it was still warm, the cake was able to cool and be trained into the shape necessary to prevent it from cracking or breaking after spreading the filling in place.

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I allowed the cream cheese to soften at room temperature to ensure a smooth frosting and easier spread onto the cake. Make sure the cake is completely cooled before trying to spread the frosting on and then gently re-roll it into a tight cylinder. To get the glamorous look that will make every holiday table shine, all you need is a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and some spiced pecans. If you can’t find spiced pecans, regular pecans you find in the baking aisle can be toasted and then top the cake as shown. The roll can be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic or sealed in an airtight container for up to three days.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Roll

 

Pumpkin Roll Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Cake Flour; sifted
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting; ingredients and formula below
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Spiced or Toasted Pecans

 

Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting:

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 8 oz. (1 pkg.) Cream Cheese; softened; cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

Formula:

  1. For the Pumpkin Roll: Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Heat oven to 350°. Line an 18 by 13 inch rimmed sheet pan with greased parchment paper. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow in color, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low speed until incorporated. Gently fold in the flour mixture until combined. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Give the pan a gentle tap to expel air bubbles and even out the batter. Bake the cake until it is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Immediately after removing the cake from the oven, run a knife around the edges of the sheet pan to loosen the cake. Turn the cake out onto a clean sheet of parchment paper dusted with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off the parchment paper attached to the cake while baking and discard. Beginning from the short end, roll the cake with the fresh piece of parchment into a log and allow it to cool seam side down, about 1 hour.
  2. For the Fluffy Cheesecake Frosting: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time, making sure to beat thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly blended and no lumps remain. Before assembling the cake, be sure the mixture is at room temperature for easiest spreading.
  3. To assemble the roll, gently unroll the cake and spread the cheesecake frosting evenly, leaving a 1 inch border around all the edges to prevent the frosting from leaking out the ends when you roll it. Gently re-roll the cake snugly around the filling, leaving the parchment paper behind as you roll. Wrap the finished roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate until filling is well set and chilled, at least one hour and up to 2 days. When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap, dust with confectioners’ sugar and top with pecans.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  & STAGING

 

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Maple Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s Friday!!! Time to wind down from the long week and what better way than to enjoy another fall favorite flavor. Besides Caramel, another favorite flavor of fall for myself is Pumpkin. I always looked forward to Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving as a kid and to this day I still crave it this time of year. But now that I am an adult, I like to experiment with the flavors I have always loved and deconstruct old favorites into new products. Today’s post is the result of a deconstructed Pumpkin Praline Pie translated into a cupcake.

The beauty of these cupcakes are they have the wonderful flavors of a Pumpkin Praline pie but are far easier to transport than the traditional pie and are easy for kids to swipe and run away with before you even knew they were in the kitchen. The base of the cupcake is rich in pumpkin flavor and accented by a great blend of spices. For the Pumpkin Pie Spice I chose a blend that contained China Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, Ginger, Mace, and Cloves. You can use any brand of Pumpkin Pie Spice but I really enjoy what this particular blend brings to the cupcakes and how it accurately brightens the pumpkin flavor without overpowering it. I would have the base flavor no other way.

To bring the Praline flavor to the cupcake without overshadowing the pumpkin flavor, which must always be the star of the show, I chose a very light and airy whipped topping like frosting called Chantilly Cream. I chose this not only to be a light and delicate way to introduce the praline flavor, but also keeping in mind that this is a deconstructed version of a pumpkin pie and how do most people top their pumpkin pies… with Cool Whip.

To make Chantilly Cream you simply whip cold heavy cream to stiff peaks then add any flavors you are wishing to achieve. For my flavoring, I chose Maple Syrup because it gives a nutty caramel flavor much like what is found in a Pumpkin Praline Pie.  Now I know I often give short cut time saver tips but I really don’t suggest you ever use Cool Whip as a substitute to making Chantilly Cream yourself because there is no comparison to the homemade variety and since it is so simple and takes only a few minutes the stuff you buy prepared really doesn’t save much time and costs far more than standard cream and imparts a processed flavor which can overshadow your flavor additions and even the cake base itself. So no cheating with this one.

To round out the final flavors of the traditional Pumpkin Praline Pie and add an elegant finishing touch to the look of the cupcakes, I toasted and chopped a few pecans and garnished the Maple Chantilly Cream. After a slight traumatic incident involving a spooked cat, cut toe, and suicidal cupcake I had to clean off the floor, I was finally able to enjoy this fall masterpiece that had scented up my kitchen all morning. Let me tell you… the moist, tender pumpkin cake slathered with the light maple cream and crunchy pecan garnish was… truly…. delicious!!!

Maple Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (7.5 oz.) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (8.75 oz.) Sugar
  • 8 tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted & cooled
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 (15 oz.) can Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Pecans, toasted & chopped

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350°. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and grease liners with cooking spray (You can use Halloween or Fall themed liners for added effect). Mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, butter, and eggs on medium-high until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Reduce the speed to low and add the pumpkin, mixing until incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 30 seconds. A few small streaks of flour may remain which is okay.
  3. Place the batter in a measuring cup for easing pouring and fill each cupcake liner ¾ full. Bake about 12-15 minutes. Let cupcakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool completely on the wire rack.
  4. Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, use a stand mixer or hand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and beat the cream and maple syrup together on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. If you are old school you can also use a whisk and whip the cream by hand for the same results minus a sore arm 😉
  5. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the Maple Chantilly Cream and pipe in a circular motion on the top of the cooled cupcakes. Finish cupcakes with a sprinkle of pecans. Serve. Store any leftovers in refrigerator up to three days.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY

 

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