Pumpkin Roll

with bourbon cream cheese frosting

I am freezing. I am so cold. I can’t feel my fingers and my heater is a freaking joke. I’ll be honest. I didn’t even go outside yesterday. The high was 29 degrees so I made the executive decision to stay home and find a reason to have the oven on all day. Today is slightly better with a high of 31, but that does not mean that I am excited about having to go outside. I do have a reason to wander around the Union Square Greenmarket (and consequently their seasonal holiday market) this morning, though. I usually breeze past it on my way to work, but I was going through my Thanksgiving check-list and when my Fresh Direct groceries arrived, I realized I still needed more things. For example, I thought I ordered two pounds of beets when what was delivered to me were two singular beets. Also, Fresh Direct doesn’t sell Jimmy Dean sausage, so I’ll have to find a regular grocery store that has more than just free range organic almonds and the blood of one thousand stalks of wheatgrass to pick up enough to make my stuffing. I have my scarves, gloves, hats, and sweaters to keep my warm all the while, too. Except my face. My face will freeze. I have images of my glasses shattering from the cold. We all love New York, right guys? It’s totally worth it. Let’s all keep telling ourselves that. I want to go back to Mexico, please.

Pumpkin Roll

As I mentioned before, my friend Othello came to visit last weekend. We had a great time wandering around, and the bonus of his visits are that I always get a few new pretty pictures of myself, hah. We’re all a little vain, okay? We all like having nice photos of ourselves! Don’t deny it. Anyway, Othello is a very talented photographer, so after gorging ourselves on an innumerable amount of food, we walked around the more industrial portion (at this point, it’s really just a few blocks) of Williamsburg and took some photos. Othello has an awesome tilt-shift lens that is now the object of my desire. I’m going to save up all of my allowance to buy it, too – you’ll see. Anyway, thanks for the bad ass photos, dude! If you’re getting married or engaged or have any reason to get some professional photos taken and you live in the Southwest, definitely give Othello a call. Obviously he is amazing.

Pumpkin Roll

This pumpkin roll was one of the the things that I made yesterday while trying to avoid the cold weather outside. I had accidentally bought too much cream cheese a week or so ago, and I figured that I wanted to make something with it before it was too late. I didn’t want to go too crazy, though. I didn’t want to decorate anything or spend too much time frosting or piping or anything like that. I had never made a cake roll before, but this seemed like the best way for me to use up the cream cheese and make at least one more festive dessert for Thanksgiving. The cake is really good, I’ll admit to eating the ends that I cut off to make it look pretty, and the cream cheese frosting is right up my alley. You don’t have to do this, but adding bourbon and a little bitters to the mixture makes for a delicious old-fashioned-esque frosting that I think you’ll love as much as I did. Otherwise you can leave out the booze and just make a regular cream cheese frosting. It’s just as good, with the added bonus of being kid friendly. I think that once this cake is sliced, it looks a lot more impressive than the amount of work that actually goes into it, and what’s better than that?

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin RollMake your batter, spread it on your baking sheet and bake until set.

Pumpkin RollPrepare your kitchen towel while the cake bakes. I recommend using a towel that your mom gave you that says Canada on it because the cake will probably taste better that way.

Pumpkin RollInvert the cake onto the towel, roll it up and allow it to cool.

Pumpkin RollSpread your frosting onto the cake, then roll it back up again and chill before slicing and serving.

Pumpkin RollBon appétit!

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
Festive pumpkin cake rolled around bourbon cream cheese icing.
For the Cake:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
For the Frosting:
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) regular cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 dashes bitters (I used baked apple bitters, but angostura works well, too)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, butter the paper well, and set aside. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt. Use a wooden spoon to beat in the pumpkin puree, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Spread the batter onto your prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until set and lightly browned.
  2. While the cake bakes, get a kitchen clean towel and dust it with 2-3 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar. When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Using oven mitts, invert the pan onto your prepared kitchen towel so that the cake is placed on the towel parchment side up. Leave the parchment on the cake, and gently use the towel to roll the cake up into a cylinder. Set the cake aside to cool completely.
  3. While the cake cools, make your frosting. Beat together the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the bourbon, vanilla and bitters and beat until well combined. Taste and adjust as desired by adding more bourbon, vanilla, bitters or sugar.
  4. When the cake has cooled, carefully unroll the cake and remove the parchment paper. Spread the frosting over the cake, then gently (but firmly) roll the cake back into a log. To make it easier, I used the towel to help guide the cake along and keep it from sticking to my hands too much. Place the cake on a plate or wrap in parchment, place it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up, then sprinkle with a little extra confectioners' sugar, slice and serve. This cake can be made a day ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to eat.


10 Responses

  1. That frosting looks especially awesome! Yum!!

  2. You are so photogenic! I looks like you guys had a ball.
    Love this cake, you sponge is so evenly crumbed and that filling looks so creamy! The splash of bourbon is a nice addition

  3. soho says:

    that caroll is awesome and your pics are really cool too!! you’re pretty on them:)

  4. Baked apple bitters? YES please where do I procure those for myself? This cake looks awesome… is it really that easy to make without it cracking? You make it look effortless anyway….

    • Sydney says:

      1. I got mine from Whisk in Brooklyn, but I’m sure you can find it online or at fancy liquor stores. I will say that it cost me about $20 but I’ve had it for over a year, so it was worth it! Secondly, I say to do this gently, but I certainly wasn’t THAT gently and it turned out fine. You just have to have quick hands. :)

  5. Anthony says:

    I love the shot of you (don’t know the exact name for the effect) “blended” with the leaves. Very creative.. I’m not a baker, but I’m passing this recipe to a friend with instructions to make it for me. :)

  6. Gorgeous photo double whammy! Love that cake, and the Sydney shots!!

  7. Sara Wobker says:

    beautiful, delicious cake. i just made it with apple cider moonshine rather than the bourbon. question – can you give more details on your technique for rolling it as tight as you do? i did the towel, and perhaps i over frosted, but my roll is not as tight and lovely. it tastes fantastic regardless. :)

  8. I am hating the cold weather and intend on staying home as much as possible until it’s nice out again. And yay for adding Bourbon to dessert!

  9. I really like the double exposure portrait you have on this page so very inspiring.

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