Happy Fall! I should explain why I haven’t posted in almost 6 months but instead of boring you with excuses of being busy, starting a new job, and visiting China, lets just move on to the good stuff: these tasty Pumpkin Banana Cream Pie Bars with Marshmallow Topping. Sound like a mouthful? It sure is.
Baked Pumpkin Spice Pudding may seem like more of an afterthought than the perfect finish to a Thanksgiving meal. It’s not as sleek as the quintessential Pumpkin pie but it’s just as tasty and easier to make. Who needs that pesky, often soggy pie crust? Make the best of pumpkin pie by simply throwing the ingredients in a casserole dish and baking until set. The result is a pudding with the same spice and flavor of pumpkin pie, minus the crust. Add a dollop of whipped cream and this smooth creamy delight may not only make it on the dessert menu but on the breakfast menu too…and lunch…and afternoon snack.
We can’t seem to get enough pumpkin these days. From pumpkin spice Oreos to pumpkin spice latte burgers (yes, really), there’s more and more of this popular flavor combination every year. And why not? The pairing of this seasonal squash with sugar and comforting cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg can be almost addictive. This is also why many classic recipes are so easily adaptable to a pumpkin spice version. Although Pumpkin may not have been a common ingredient at the height of my grandmother’s career, the spice mix was. My grandmother used these spices in her simple spiced sponge cake recipe, which I used as a base for this pumpkin cake roll.
I often wonder what my grandmother would think of this pumpkin explosion. I’m sure she would have first perfected pumpkin pie and then possibly expanded to pumpkin cookies or bread. She may have stopped at that point or continued on a quest to master the best of the pumpkin recipes. This type of cake roll would have been somewhat abstract for her but I was inspired by the pumpkin craze and decided to merge her chocolate roll/yule log recipe with her spiced sponge cake one. The light whipped mascarpone cream is what differentiates this from other cake roll recipes that often use cream cheese frosting. I have nothing against cream cheese frosting (love it on carrot cake) but those of us who are somehow offended by it may prefer this light whipped cream to help balance the spice of the cake. The rich buttery taste remains but without the sourness often experienced with cream cheese. If you’re not tired of pumpkin yet but don’t want to stray too far from the classic pumpkin desserts, a cake roll could be the sweet finish to end your Thanksgiving meal.
1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sifted corn starch
3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 11 x 16 jelly roll pan or a 9 x 13 pan and line with parchment paper.
Separate eggs. Beat egg whites with salt until they hold soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, sprinkling it in a little at a time. Continue beating until whites are very firm, about 5 minutes in all.
Stir yolks with a fork to break them up. Whisk in pumpkin. Add vanilla. Fold a quarter of the stiffly beaten egg whites thoroughly into egg yolks. Pour egg yolk mixture on top of remaining whites. Sprinkle corn starch, flour, and spices over mixture. Fold all very gently together until no pieces of egg white show. Careful not to over mix.
Pour into prepared pan, spreading batter evenly. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cake is very lightly browned.
While cake sheet cools, make the whipped cream:
Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Continue beating, gradually adding remaining sugar, until the cream holds stiff peaks. Carefully bear in mascarpone cheese until just combined.
To assemble the cake roll:
Place cake on a sheet of wax paper large enough to extend at least 1 inch on all sides and dusted with powdered sugar or a little flour. Spread cake with whipped cream. Lifting one long side of the wax paper, roll pastry inward. Continue to lift wax paper while pastry rolls up, jelly-roll style. Twist wax paper firmly around cake roll to help give it shape. Dust with powdered sugar.