One can never have enough pumpkin recipes (at least this "one" can't). I love me some pumpkin! This is a spicy pumpkin cake roll, filled with a vanilla bean filling. (think hostess cupcakes gone Thanksgiving) My dear friend and fellow foodie blogger Danielle first turned me onto this little jewel last year. If memory serves me correctly, she got the original recipe from a food network show and kindly spread the word. The original roll contains a cream cheese type mousse, which is absolutely wonderful as is. In fact, the very first time I made it, the fam went crazy for more. I've had to double the recipe ever since. You can check out Danielle's original recipe for "Pumpkin Mousse Roll" over on bakespace.com.
You may be wondering then, if so wonderful, why did I change it? Well, for one, some discussion came about not to long ago about filling cupcakes with a cream filling. I immediately thought of a recipe for a vanilla cream filling that I had tucked away. But before I shared it with my beeps (bakespace peeps) I thought I'd revisit it and make sure it was worthy. Because it was "pumpkin season" I thought what better way to test it out than on Dani's pumpkin roll. so the pumpkin cake roll I haven't changed at all, I just used a different filling.
Now let me preface this vanilla cream filling recipe by saying, when you read through the ingredients and directions, it's gonna sound a bit scary, maybe even gross. But just trust me, I've tried a LOT of different recipes for "cream filling"; not custard, not cream cheese, not ganache, not icing, but CREAM FILLING. This one is light, fluffy and not too overly sweet. You can use it to fill cakes, cupcakes and well, pumpKin rolls! One more thing, you can substitute the vanilla bean with vanilla extract (*sigh* if you must) by adding in 1 tsp vanilla with the milk/flour mixture after it has thickened. Now, let's get on with it....
Vanilla Bean Cream Filling
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1/2 vanilla bean
½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
You'll only need half a bean, but I used a whole one because I was doubling this recipe. First, split the vanilla bean and scrape seeds (also known as the vanilla bean "caviar") with the back of a pairing knife or butter knife. See that dull point on the middle back of my pairing knife? Thats the side I actually use in order not to shred parts of the pod. I scrape my seeds into a little ingredient dish and set them to the side. Now at this point, some may suggest you throw the pod into your liquid to get the most flavor, but with this recipe that's not necessary. The seeds will be enough flavor. But what you can do, is throw both the scraped side (and the (un)scraped side if you have no other use for it) into your sugar bowl or dish and have wonderful vanilla sugar with your next cup of coffee or tea ;)
In a medium sized sauce pan, whisk together the flour and milk. I usually put my flour in first, then add only enough milk at first to create a paste.Then I continue whisking in the rest of the milk, a little at a time, until all is combined. (look Ma, no lumps) Now, set your heat to medium and add in the vanilla seeds.
Cook in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking continuously to prevent the mixture from scorching and clumping on the bottom. (you're basically making a vanilla gravy or sauce) It will take some time at first, but don't walk away, because as soon as the liquid starts to heats up, it will thicken pretty rapidly. If you are not whisking it, you'll have lumps. It will take a good 10-15 minutes to get it to the right consistency, which will be like a thick custard.
When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), pour into a medium sized bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressing onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely to room temperature. Do NOT put this in the fridge to cool. It will solidify! Just go get busy baking your pumpkin roll (or cupcakes, cake, or whatever you're filling). It will be cooled down by the time you're ready for it.
Once you have your baked items cooled and ready to be filled, and the flour/milk mixture is completely cool, use a stand mixer on high or hand mixer with a medium sized bowl to cream the butter, shortening and sugar together until light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add in the milk/flour mixture and salt. Beat at high speed again for about 7 minutes, until light and fluffy. It will be the consistency of thick whipped cream. Again, do NOT put this into the fridge. Just let it set out until it's time to fill.
Now for the pumpkin cake roll.
1 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Pumpkin
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
3/4 cup All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating well with a paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Add pumpkin and lemon juice, mixing until blended. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to egg mixture, mixing well. Spread batter into greased 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pan AND lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool for 15 minutes only. If I wait any longer it's a bit cumbersome getting it out of the pan, or peeling the paper off. In fact, when I'm doing two of these, I leave one sitting on top of the warm oven with a towel over it so when I'm ready to remove it, it's not too cooled down.
Take a large clean tea towel (flour sack towel) and liberally sprinkle it with powdered sugar. I usually just use a small strainer for this, shaking it over the whole towel. Holding the pan in one hand and on it's long side, gently tip the pan up and the cake over onto the towel (while using the other hand on the cake to support it as it goes over) Sounds scarier than it really is, honest. Immediately but gently, pull off the parchment paper. If you're doing two cakes at once, now is the time to flip out the other. From the 10- inch side (short side), gently roll cake up in towel (yes, towel and all). Set aside to cool.
When log is completely cool, it's time to fill! Gently unroll cake. Evenly spread filling over cake. Starting on the "curled" end (which was the middle when you rolled it up) gently roll the cake back up (hehe, this time without the towel). I usually use the towel to help by lifting it up on the end I'm rolling, then I use my other hand to guide it. Don't worry if your log cracks a little when you first start to roll. By the time you get to the other end, it's all good.
Lightly brush off any excessive powdered sugar with a dry pastry brush or a towel, but don't drive yourself nuts over it, it will "melt" into your log once it chills out in the fridge. Now roll the log onto a piece of doubled up plastic wrap, aiming for that seam side to end up on the bottom.
Cover well with the plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour, this will firm up the cream filling. It's easier to slice the log with a serrated knife while the cream filling is firm, then let it come to room temp before serving. Or, you can go ahead and leave it in a log shape and just do a few slices to drive them crazy. LOL Sprinkle that bad boy with a little powdered sugar, just to give it that "professional" look. Your guests will be impressed!
So the fam taste tested this and I have to admit, a little part of me wanted them to like this one better than the cream cheese filling, only because the vanilla filling IS a bit more trouble. But ya know what? We ALL liked both recipes. I guess it depends on what mood you're in. I can say that the cream cheese mousse will make the cake more moist, like the cake soaks up the cream cheese mousse more and it is VERY rich. Whereas the vanilla filling seems lighter, not as heavy rich, and doesn't soak in, leaving the cake more cake like (but it's still moist) like as in a filled hostess cupcake. (ha, did that make sense?) Guess you'll just have to try them both and see which one you like best!
For more of my Cali-Gal Danielle's recipes, head on over to her blog, "Cooking for My Peace of Mind". If you're feeling low and need a laugh, check out her other blog too, "Public Transportation- Cheap Entertainment" The chick is hysterical. Dani, thanks for yet another great recipe, the late night chats, and all the laughs. I love you man!