Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

The idea of making a roulade seemed, at first glance, somewhat intimidating.  There was the rolling, then unrolling, and finally, the re-rolling.  The instructions seemed intricate and the cake seemed delicate.  Visions of a cake suddenly collapsing and crumbling under its own weight flashed before me, wiping away my mixing and baking efforts in a moment.

But then I stopped, and remembered that this was not the first time that I faced what seemed to be an insurmountable cooking hurdle.  There had, after all, been many intimidating cooking projects before this one.  I had made flan, caramelizing sugar.  I had made oat bread, coaxing the yeast.  I had made spanakopita, defeating phyllo dough.   As I looked back on these successful projects, I knew then, that I could make this roulade.

The first time making this recipe, Caitlin and I worked together, with Caitlin gently handling the rolling tasks with aplomb.  The rolling was a success, to say nothing of the dessert.  The candied ginger delivering a sudden kick to balance the sweet and moist sensation of the pumpkin.   The next time, I tried the rolling myself – with equal success, both in the rolling and tasting departments.  Indeed, between the beautiful appearance and the wonderful taste, our friends and family were clamoring for us to make this dessert just one more time.  It really was that good.

With the Fall upon us, and the pumpkins in bloom, I thought back on this delicious roulade.

Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

Recipe from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics.

DOWN TIME: 1 hour
COOK TIME: 12 minutes
YIELD: Serves 8 to 12

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting

12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup to 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar (see note below)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, finely diced
Pinch kosher salt


1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.

2.  In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine.  In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs and granulated sugar until the eggs are a light yellow and thickened.  Add the pumpkin, then slowly mix in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.  Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.

3.  While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel.  Peel away the parchment paper.  With a light touch – but don’t be overly sensitive or worried – roll the warm cake and the towel together starting at the short end of the cake, so that the towel forms a spiral within the rolled cake. Allow the wrapped cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

4.  Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar*, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.

*The original recipe calls for 1 cup of Confectioners’ sugar.  Start with a ½ cup.  If you feel the filing is not sweet enough, you can always add more.

5. To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath.  Spread the cake evenly with the filling.  Reroll the cake in a spiral, without the towel.  Trim the ends of the cake to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve sliced.


3 responses to “Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream

  1. Looks delicious!

  2. This is one of my all-time favorite recipes — so good!

  3. it is a classic! I feel like we made this recipe like three times in three weeks!

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