Friday, March 27, 2015


There is a trait that tends to run in my bloodline.  It may be a member of the OCD family.  It causes one to think that if a little bit of something is good, then a lot of it would be better. I'm not saying that this applies to individual ingredients.  If the recipe works, don't fool with proportions.  But quantity of the final product, that's another matter.  When you know a lot of people, and you love a lot of people, then it's natural you would want to share your bounty with them. Right?
I think once, decades ago, I made a single pumpkin roll.  Libby had brought this recipe, or something like it, home from her job at TWA. Someone had made it for a work party.  Each time I made the recipe, I adjusted the process until it became sort of second nature to me.  And each time I made it I increased the number I made, the logic being that as long as the mess was out I might as well make more. Last time I made this I made eight rolls.  
I estimate I get roughly 16 slices per roll.  It presents really well, and people love it.  It's the perfect shower treat, or party food for large gatherings, especially in the fall or winter. It's a great dessert for a church dinner. I make some with nuts, and some without. See, you can do things like that when you're making a bunch of them. 
There is no fat in the cake, so I like to think of it like a diet recipe and you can have two slices.  I've seen a variety of Pumpkin Roll recipes and I swear this is the easiest and most simple. And best tasting.
So here's how I do it.  
Let's say you're making three rolls, one for your household, one for the neighbors, and one to take to the work Christmas party. 

First, preheat your ovens to 375
Next, line three large cookie sheets with waxed paper. Be sure the paper comes up over the ends of the pan.  Press the paper into the short edges of the pan with your fingernail. 
Next, open the cream cheese and let it come to room temperature on the counter top.  Do the same with the butter. Room temp eggs are better as well, but not necessary.
The cake portion mixes easily and cooks up quickly, in roughly 15 minutes. The easiest way to mix up multiples of this recipe is to put a mixing bowl out for each roll you plan to make.  They do not have to be big bowls, a 2 Qt mixing bowl works well.   Put three bowls on your counter, and measure each ingredient into each bowl.  You can just dump everything in, the order doesn't matter much.  
A variety of mixing bowls line up on my counter.
Mix each one with a hand mixer or a whisk.

Next, pour each batter batch into the cookie sheets. Spread evenly over waxed paper.  I hit the bottom of the cookie sheet with my hand to try to get the batter to spread evenly.  The layer of batter will be thin.

Meanwhile, back at the counter, while the cake is cooking, lay three kitchen towels out right next to each other.  With a sieve sprinkle an even layer of powdered sugar over each towel. It should look like a nice even covering of snow on those towels.

When the cake is done, let is cool in the pan for around three minutes.  Use a sharp knife to separate the non-paper covered edges from the pan.  Now…hmmm, how to explain this….  Lay one of the long edges of the cookie sheet at the long edge of one of the sugar covered towels.  Lift the cookie sheet up and let the cake flip upside down onto the towel, so the waxed paper is on top.  

Remove the waxed paper. From that same long edge, roll the towel into the cake, just to sort of convince the cake it wants to be round.  Then unroll it and let it cool.  Repeat with the other cakes as they finish cooking. Because the cake cooks quickly, this shouldn't take more than an hour, and this is for three rolls.
The cake will cool quickly because it is so thin.
Frost each cake with equal portions of the frosting. Multiply portions according to the number of cakes you make (in this case X3)
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts (optional).
Roll the cake into itself, nice and tight.  If you don't roll it tightly it will fall into itself and look like a layer cake gone awry.
I like to present my pumpkins rolls with the slices already cut.  I line them up on my antique French bakery boards, used over a century ago to bake rolls and french bread in large ovens in France.
 But they look good on any platter.  They also look very festive uncut on a platter, with powdered sugar sprinkled on top, like a snow dusted log.

My family gets the rough ends that I cut off these logs.  They hover around the kitchen island waiting for me to trim the rolls.  Right this moment, as I am typing this, I am having an incredibly strong craving, and I swear I can smell the cinnamon and pumpkin coming from my kitchen.

Now you have a bunch of lovely people who do not doubt your affection for them because you have shared this tasty yumminess with them.  So worth it!

By the way, you might say this is not worth the mess it creates.  To this I say, HUMBUG! Just gather up those sugary towels and throw them in the washing machine.  They come out good as new. 

Pumpkin Roll
This recipe uses an extra large cookie sheet or sheet cake pan.


beat together...

4 eggs

1 1/3 t. baking soda

1 1/3 c. sugar

scant 1 c. canned pumpkin (not pie mix) 
(Scant means a little less than) a large can of pumpkin will make three rolls.

1 c. flour         

1 1/3 t. cinnamon

Line pan with waxed paper, with a few inches excess paper at each end. Press paper into edges of pan.  Pour batter into pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on a cotton dishtowel which has been laid out on the counter.  Remove cooked cake from oven and let sit for a minute or two.  Run a knife down the edges to free the cake from the pan.  Then flip cake, with waxed paper attached, onto the sugared towel.  Remove waxed paper, and gently roll cake into a long roll (make it a long thin roll, not a short fat one) with towel rolled into it.  Let sit, then unroll so it doesn’t steam in the towel and become rubbery.  When cool, spread frosting on it, sprinkle with nuts, then without the towel, roll the frosted cake tightly into itself. Roll it tightly.

Sprinkle top lightly with sifted powdered sugar to look like snow on a log. Or cut into slices and layer it onto a long platter. Makes about 16 one inch slices.


8 oz. cream cheese

2T. soft butter; 

1 1/3 c. powdered sugar; 

1 t. vanilla…beat well with mixer. (per roll)

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts, (per roll)

Merlyn and I were featured in this
Utah Celebrity and Local Heroes Cookbook with this recipe.


  1. Aha!!! There it is!

    The pièce de résistance!

    The Queen Mum of all desserts! 

  2. There is virtually nothing any Eskeltone worth his real red salt wouldn't do for this exquisite delicacy!

  3. You should have your own cooking show. Coris wonderful Ppkinbtolls is unmatched. Others can make the recipe, but you are the master.