Pumpkin Walnut Cake Roll

  • Serves: Makes one cake roll
  • Views: 11818

Recipe by Sarah Phillips © 2008 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com

Cake and photos by odetteganda, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips 

Cake and photos by odetteganda © Sarah PhillipsCraftyBaking.com

This makes a perfect recipe to serve at Thanksgiving time, especially because it is made with pumpkin puree and flavored with ginger, two holiday flavors. The roulade or cake roll is filled with Gingered Cream Cheese Filling, and garnished with Spiked Whipped Cream just before serving. The recipe can be made ahead: bake and fill the roulade up to 2 days before you need it, cover it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

ODETTE, Premium Member, Says: "It's wonderful! The aroma of the cake wonderfully filled my kitchen while baking. For somebody who does not like ginger, I loved this cake! The cake was very soft, fluffy and tasty! The cream cheese filling is a perfect compliment to the very flavorful cake."

2 medium sized (200g) ginger roots
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water

1. Peel ginger root and slice thinly.

2. Place ginger slices in a saucepan and add water until all of them are submerged. Cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.

3. Remove saucepan from heat. Drain the cooked ginger and remove any remaining liquid in the saucepan.
Measure the cooked ginger, which should equal about 1/2 cup and measure same amount of sugar. I added 1/2 cup sugar.
Return back the cooked ginger in the saucepan, add sugar and 3 tablespoons of water.

4. Let mixture boil and dry over medium heat.

5. Transfer crystallized ginger to a plate. Chop finely for use in the recipe. Measure the amount needed.

For long term storage, dry the ginger.
Place the crystallized ginger pieces on a parchment paper lined pan. Place the pan in a preheated 200 degrees F until the slices are almost dry but still chewy. Allow them to cool.
Store the crystallized ginger in an airtight container for up to two months.


1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup canned solid pack pumpkin; *ODETTE SAYS: I could not find canned solid pack pumpkin where I live in Israel so I made homemade. Recipe below.
1 teaspoon lemon juice

3/4 cup all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely chopped walnuts; chop and then, measure
Powdered sugar, for sifting

*NOTES: Homemade Pumpkin Puree / see also Homemade Pumpkin or Hubbard Squash Puree
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Clean the outside of a sugar, sweet or cheese pumpkin in running water, remove seeds and cut pumpkin into large squares.
ODETTE SAYS: 400g of pumpkins yields 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree.

2. Place pumpkin pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet with the rind facing up.

3. Bake for an hour or until the pumpkin softens. Using a fork, remove the rind.

4. Place the baked pumpkin flesh in a medium bowl and beat until smooth with a hand stick blender.
ODETTE SAYS: Food processor or a regular blender can be used.

5. Transfer the pumpkin puree to a fine mesh strainer suspended over a medium bowl to drain excess liquid.
Refrigerate while in a strainer over a bowl for 24 hours. Use in place of canned solid pack pumpkin in a recipe.

Bake the Cake:
1. Position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a 10- X 15-inch jelly roll pan.

Line the bottom and sides of the pan. To do, cut a 12 X 16-inch piece of parchment paper.
SARAH SAYS: Do NOT use waxed paper because it causes excess condensation to form on the bottom of the cake. Use parchment paper instead.
At each of the four corners, cut a diagonal slash about 2 inches long. Fit the paper into the pan, folding the cut ends over each other at the slashed to form neat corners.

Lightly grease the pan with shortening and flour the paper, tapping out the excess flour.
Or, spray the pan VERY LIGHTLY with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: For butter-type cake rolls, such as this one, it is necessary to prepare the parchment paper properly.

2. In a large bowl combine the sugar and eggs.

Using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat the sugar and eggs until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.

Continue mixing on high speed for another 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture forms a thick ribbon that falls back on itself when the beaters are lifted about 2 inches from the bowl. It must be stiff enough to support the weight of the dry ingredients.

3. Stir in the pumpkin.

Then, the lemon juice.

3. Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium-size mixing bowl.
ODETTE SAYS: I like to sift together the flour and dry ingredients onto a piece of waxed paper.

4. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Here's what the batter should look like.

5. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, being sure to reach into the corners.

6. Sprinkle the batter evenly with the walnuts.

ODETTE SAYS: I chopped nuts into smaller pieces.

7. Bake until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Take out the cake from the oven.

Immediately sift powdered sugar over the top of the cake, covering it entirely.

Roll the Cake:
Roll the unfilled cake immediately after baking while it is still hot from the oven.
1. When the cake is done baking, immediately loosen the edges with a small metal spatula or sharp knife. Make sure you go all around the cake. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!!

2. Place a large piece of parchment paper and then, a smooth kitchen towel on top of the hot, loosened cake.

3. Place another sheet pan on top of the towel to support the cake when you flip it over.

4. Grip the sheet pan that the cake is in with your fingers and place your thumbs on the ends of the top sheet pan at the same time. Turn them over simultaneously onto your work surface. The cake is now upside-down. Remove the top cake pan and set aside. While holding one end of the towel, slide the bottom sheet pan out from under the towel and set aside.

5. Carefully peel off the parchment paper that was once at the bottom of the cake, now called the unsmooth side. The smooth side of the cake, or what was once the top, should be facing down.

6. Place a clean piece of parchment paper on the unsmooth side of the cake.

7. Roll the cake up tightly, towel and all. The smooth side of the cake will be on the side on top (under the towel) as you roll.
To do: Start rolling at the long end. Fold the edge of the towel onto the top of the cake and gently begin rolling the cake under.
Question: What is the long end? I am so confused?
SARAH SAYS: Here's how I think of it. When you look at a rug on the floor, the narrow ends are usually the ones with the fringe on it. The long ends are the sides of the rug.

8. Cool the rolled cake completely in a wire cake rack.

2 1/4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature; Preferably Philadelphia Brand
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger; recipe above

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted; measure and then sift
2% or whole milk

Ginger Cream Cheese Filling:
1. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until combined. Beat in the crystallized ginger until combined.

2. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar on low speed until smooth. Adjust consistency by beating in a few teaspoons of with milk or more powdered sugar. You want a spreadable consistency.

3. The final filling! If using within two hours to fill cake, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place in the kitchen. Otherwise, refrigerate until needed.

Cream cheese filling is perishable. It can be made ahead and refrigerated for a couple of days. Stir or rebeat on low before using.

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons dark rum or brandy, optional
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, for garnish, recipe above

Spiked Whipped Cream:
1. In a chilled medium bowl, combine the cream, powdered sugar, optional rum, and vanilla.

2. Using a hand-held electric mixer set at high speed, beat for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Whipped cream is perishable. Immediately place, covered, in the refrigerator. It will keep for 2 days. If it has deflated, add a few tablespoons cream, and rebeat, if necessary.

Fill the Cake:
1. Unroll the cooled pumpkin cake and discard the top piece of parchment paper. The unsmooth side of the cake or the original bottom, should be facing up. The smooth side should face down.
Spread half of the cream cheese filling over the cake. If the cream cheese filling is too stiff from being cold from the refrigerator, let warm at room temperature for about 1/2 hour before using.

2. Cover the unsmooth side of the cake evenly with all of the filling, avoiding about 1/4-inch at the edges.

Sprinkle the filling evenly with chopped crystallized ginger, recipe above.

3. Re-roll the cake the same way the cake was rolled originally when it was unfilled. Do not roll the cake with the parchment paper and the towel inside! Use the parchment paper that lines the kitchen towel to help guide the cake during rolling.

Roll the cake all the way to the end and place seam side down. The filling will be on the inside of the roll.

SARAH SAYS: Notice the cake is being rolled tightly. But, not so much that the cake cracks and the filling squishes out the sides.

Wrap rolled cake in parchment paper. Tuck or tape ends in so the paper won't unravel. Refrigerate until the filing is firm, at least 1 hour.

For longer term storage, wrap the parchment paper covered cake roll in an extra layer of plastic wrap, where it can be stored for up to 2 days.

Decorate the Cake
1. Once the cake has been well-chilled and the filling is firm, take cake out and remove paper wrap.

2. Transfer the roll to a long serving platter.

ODETTE SAYS: I cut my cake in half because I don't have a long serving platter.

3. ODETTE SAYS: I frosted the cake with remainder of the Ginger Cream Cheese Filling and Frosting Recipe. 

Then with the tines of a fork, I created swirls in the cake.

4. Transfer the chilled Spiked Whipped Cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip, such as a Wilton 1M open star tip or Ateco Number 5.
ODETTE SAYS: I used a Wilton 1M open star tip.

Pipe swirls of whipped cream down the center of the cake.

5. Garnish the swirls in the middle with toasted and chopped nuts.
Chill the cake for about an hour before serving. To serve, cut the cake diagonally into thick slices.

The cake must remain refrigerated because cream cheese and whipped cream are perishable. It can stay on the cool side of room temperature for two hours.
Store the cake in the refrigerator for a day or two.