My friend Rosie has a word for things that contribute to the end result of something: worthy. This is a dessert that delivers all the traditional flavors and indulgences that you would find in an ultra rich pie, custard or pudding, but somehow feels lighter and oh so satisfying on the palate after so many other flavors have inundated the taste buds: a worthy ending it is to a feast. It happens to make a pretty presentation as well. Another friend, Naomi, brought me a piece of her pumpkin roll one fine November day, which led me to developing this recipe. —Amber Olson
For the Cake:
Butter and flour for the pan
cup of sugar
tsp. orange extract
cup pumpkin puree
TB. light molasses
cup of flour
tsp. baking powder
tsp. ground cinnamon
tsp. ground allspice
tsp. ground ginger
For the filling and the nuts:
TB. unsalted butter
TB. maple syrup
tsp. ground ginger
coin-sized slices of peeled fresh ginger, cut in half
cups walnut or pecan pieces
cups heavy cream
tsp. Grand Marnier, Cognac (or a less expensive brandy or Triple Sec)
TB. finely chopped candied ginger
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10x15x1 inch baking sheet (better known as a jelly roll pan). Line with parchment, keeping a 1" overhang on all sides. Butter and lightly flour the parchment.
Combine eggs, sugar and extract in large bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on medium until light ivory and very fluffy, 5-6 minutes. Whisk the pumpkin and molasses in and blend.
Switch to the flat beater. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices over the mixture. Gently fold in. (Alternatively, you can fold this together by hand.) Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading to the edges. Bake until golden brown, checking at 10 minutes. Cake should spring back when lightly pressed in the center; a cake tester should come out clean. If necessary continue baking an additional 2-4 minutes and recheck.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then gently slide cake with it's parchment out of the pan onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Tent with another piece of parchment or aluminum foil. (I've found it's not necessary to invert and roll up this cake while it's cooling.)
While cake is cooling, make the nuts: Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Combine the butter, maple syrup, water, both gingers and salt in a small pan over low heat and simmer a couple of minutes. Put your choice of nuts in a medium bowl, add the glaze and stir to coat well. Line a baking sheet with foil, spread out the nuts in a single layer and bake 30-40 minutes. Stir them up and spread them out a few times. They'll look almost dry when done. Slide foil out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (You may want to make a double batch of these to have around; they make a great snack!)
When ready to assemble the cake, start the filling: Whip the cream and sugar together to the soft peak stage, either with a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the alcohol and finish the whisking. The mixture shouldn't be too stiff, but spreadable. Remove 3/4 of a cup and reserve. Fold the chopped ginger into the filling remaining in the bowl.
Now put the completely cooled cake on your counter/working area, positioning a long side toward you. It may be necessary to trim up any crisp edges. Spread filling evenly over the cake, up to an inch from the long side away from you. Using the parchment to help, roll up the cake. If it seems to be sticking at all, run an off-set spatula between the cake and paper to dislodge it. Arrange seam side down on a serving platter. If you like, cut the ends on a slight diagonal. Sift some powdered sugar over the roll.
Whip the reserved cream until fairly stiff. Pipe it decoratively down the center of the roll (or any other fancy way you please). Garnish with the Gingered Nuts, placing some in the cream and some surrounding the cake. The ginger slices are especially yummy!
Note: With the explosion of experimentation with heat in our sweets these days, I'll probably try some white pepper in the spice mix to see what happens. Or maybe some ginger juice...