You don’t have to make pumpkin spice cake as well as Ina Garten does for it to be delicious — I have never made an Ina Garten recipe that failed to satisfy.
Since the publication of “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics” (Clarkson Potter, 2008), I’ve been making this amazing dessert. It’s a beautiful Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream. Think of an orange version of buche de noel: a pumpkin spice cake filled with a mascarpone cream flavored with crystallized ginger.
Garten, a Food Network icon, wrote that she is always looking for an alternative to the expected pumpkin pie for the holidays. That’s how she came to go the rolled dessert route.
This spice cake sets the house ablaze with the season’s best spicy aromas, and the buttercream was just perfect with the addition of the ginger to the sweet mascarpone.
Of course, mine isn’t as perfect as hers. But it’s just as delicious. And perfection is over-rated anyway.
Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream
For the cake:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
¾ cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (more for dusting)
For the filling:
12 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 ¼ confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ cup minced crystallized ginger
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 13-inch by 18-inch by 1-inch pan. Line it 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. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add pumpkin then slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula.
3. Pour into the prepared sheet and spread evenly. Bake the cake for about 10 minutes until the top springs back when gently touched.
4. While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar evenly over it. This prevents the cake from sticking. As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the towel. Peel away the parchment. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (do not press), starting with the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in crystallized ginger and a pinch of salt.
6. To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Re-roll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a neat edge. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve sliced.
To make in advance: Wrap the filled cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
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