Divulging Secrets

October 12, 2007 at 1:33 pm 38 comments

Baking Pumpkin gets cozy with an Italian Zucchini 

I’m gonna be honest with you.  I’m hesitant to share this recipe.  See, it’s my trademark baked good, the recipe which I’ve closely guarded when asked to share it – repeatedly, with great passion and perhaps the hint of an addict’s desperation in their eyes(?) – by many friends.  The reality though is that the recipe came from my sister-in-law, who originally jotted it down from the back of a can of Libby’s pumpkin.  No locked vault to crack here afterall!  But what I’ve really been guarding is my technique and adaptations.   C’mon, a girl’s got a right to keep one ace in the hole!  Besides, I have an evil plan to take over the world with this pumpkin roll, hooking the masses on its warm spices and creamy filling, before making sweeping demands (for self-cleaning toilets in *all* public restrooms and bike lanes as wide as car lanes throughout the city) when begged for more. 

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!  Stop dialing 911!!! 

Pumpkin Halves Ready to Bake for Puree

Oh wait, you don’t believe my plan can work?  You haven’t tasted my pumpkin roll yet!   Oddly enough, I don’t usually bake and puree my own pumpkin though.  Libby’s has always stood by me, providing all the canned 100% pumpkin goodness I need.  But, now that I’m embracing the “fresh is best” mantra more and more, I had to give making my own pumpkin puree a try.  I was more than a bit curious to know if it would substantially enhance the final results.  Shall I tell you now or wait until the end like a good mystery novel? 

Baked Pumpkin

I’m an instant gratification kind of girl so I’ll tell you now.  It made a difference, but I honestly can’t really vouch for it being “better”.  It was neither better nor worse, just a different texture and color to the cake.  The flavor, as always, was more reliant on the spices than it was on the pumpkin so there was no notable change in that department.  In the end, canned and fresh pumpkin seems to be equals in this recipe.  What tips the balance in favor of fresh though is that it’s still worthwhile to make yourself several batches of puree from locally bought pumpkins so you can freeze it and continue to support local farmers as you bake up pumpkin rolls, pies, and cookies all through the upcoming holidays.    Good lord, I just mentioned the holidays!  Then again, it is mid-October.  Have you started your gift lists yet….?  Ha!

Use a spoon to scoop out pumpkin flesh Pumpkin flesh before blenderThe resulting puree Pumpkin puree joins the batter

Anyway, back to the pumpkin roll and, more importantly, making pumpkin puree.  As with any winter squash, you have several options for cooking up the pumpkin prior to processing it.  I chose to bake it this time around, but I think next time I might just go head and peel it first before steaming it.  Baking takes a long time and limits the amount you can cook to 2 or 3 pumpkins (or however many fit in your oven at once).  For my next large batch, I think I can probably get 5 or 6 pumpkins-worth of cubes in my big steaming pot.  

Rolled up Pumpkin Roll

Now, about my adaptations and tricks for getting the very best out of this recipe… Oh wow!  Would you look at the time??  Gee golly, I guess I’ll just have to tell you later.  I really must be going now…

Baked cake Turn cake out onto sugar dusted kitchen towel and remove waxed paperRoll warm cake up in the towel Unroll cooled cake and spread with cream cheese filling before rolling up again

Snicker and grin…I can’t help my snarky-self sometimes!  Okay, here’s what it all comes down to:

1)  freshly ground nutmeg (I’ve harked on this before for good reason!)   
2)  extra cinnamon
3)  room temperature eggs
4)  I can’t prove it, but the rolls I make with “egg beaters/no shells” type eggs always seem to come out better than those made with “real” eggs.  This also makes it healthier (less fat and cholesterol), but it also detracts from the “fresh is best” mantra, so pick your poison.   

Adapted from Libby’s Pumpkin

3 lb+ pumpkin (baking variety, not decorative)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. (heaping) cinnamon
1/2 t. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)

8 oz. block of reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 T. butter or margarine, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 c. confectioners’ sugar

To begin, bake the pumpkin to make puree. To do this, preheat the oven to 350 F and cut the pumpkin in half, top to bottom.  Scoop out the seeds with a sturdy spoon – if desired, save the seeds for munching or salads by toasting them in the oven separately.  Once seeds are removed, place pumpkin halves face down in a large baking dish, along with 1 cup of water.  Bake for approximately 90 minutes or until pumpkin flesh is very soft. 

Cream Cheese Filling/IcingAllow pumpkin to cool slightly before using the sturdy spoon to scoop out all the pumpkin flesh into a blender.  Process on high speed for 2 or 3 minutes until a smooth puree is formed.  Measure out a heaping 2/3 cups of pumpkin for this recipe and store the rest in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 6 months.  Use puree in pies, cookies, casseroles, etc.

Set the oven temperature for 375 F and prepare a jelly roll pan (or a baking sheet with at least a 1/2 inch “lip” around all sides) by lining it with waxed paper and spraying with nonstick baking spray.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar.  Add pumpkin and mix well.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg before slowly incorporating into the wet ingredients.  Mix well and add chopped pecans if desired. 

Pour batter onto prepared pan and spread out into an even layer to reach all sides of the pan.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until a finger pressed lightly on top does not get covered in cake. Be careful not to over bake as you want the cake to be nice and moist. Spread out a kitchen towel and sprinkle with a little confectioners’ sugar.  Invert the pan/cake onto the towel and carefully remove the waxed paper, working from each corner towards the center.  While the cake is still hot, roll it up in the towel from one narrow end to the other.  Cool for at least 20 minutes. 

To make the filling, mix butter and cream cheese together.  Add the vanilla extract and mix again.  Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, being sure to beat out any lumps.  Once cake is cooled, unroll it from the towel and spread with filling.  Roll up again and wrap in a sheet of wax paper and then in foil.  Chill for at least an hour before slicing and serving.  Roll will keep in the fridge for at least a week and freezes very well for several months. If frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. 

(serves 12)

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
“e” is for dEElicious! 

Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , , , .

A Happy Hello! Beauty in a Jar

38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine  |  October 12, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Well, I can vouch for this recipe, unless you’ve secretly changed some ingredient. But I have to say: you have GOT to be KIDDING me. I am in a complete huff that I have been begging you for *years* for this recipe and now here you are, giving it up to the entire world. Hmph. No pancakes for you, missy.

    I think I even offered to pay you for it once.

    But the huff is only half of me. The other half is giddy with delight at finally having the coveted pumpkin roll recipe. I better hit “print” before you change your mind…

  • 2. Jennie  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Oh dear, don’t be huffy. It’s the blog! It’s gotten the better of me! But see, now you not only have the recipe but helpful instructional photos to boot! I’m not really appeasing you, am I? 🙂

  • 3. Jennie  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    PS – in my defense, I didn’t know this was the recipe from the back of the Libby’s can when I first started making it… someone told me about it much later, probably after you’d asked me for it… I think. 😦

  • 4. Christine  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Tell you what…you make me one as a prototype, since that will be better than “instructional photos.” Or maybe a steady supply of pumpkin rolls. Then I’ll consider being appeased.

  • 5. balladofyoko  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    I’m drooling. That looks absolutely yummy, and I’m a sucker for pumpkin anything, so I may just try this out.

  • 6. Jennie  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Yoko – Dig in! It’s actually a relatively healthy dessert, as desserts go, and it’s pretty darn easy to make.

  • 7. Christine  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Okay, turns out I can’t wait for the prototype. I’m making this tonight.

  • 8. Jennie  |  October 12, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Christine – I expect a full report on your success! And I’ll still make you a steady supply, just to be on your good side.

  • 9. taylor  |  October 12, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Oh, I hate those people that keep secret recipes! I guess you’re in the clear now.

    I’d take ANY public bathroom in the city (hard to find), and more skinny bike lanes. And a pumpkin roll prototype.

  • 10. Jennie  |  October 12, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Taylor – I still have one secret recipe but it might make an appearance on here soon enough. I’m feeling enlivened by the sharing experience. Okay, you can join my world domination and make your very reasonable requests right before I make my less resonable demands. In the meantime, I’ll get on the pumpkin roll prototype. If ever I owed someone one, it’s you. 🙂

  • 11. Abby F  |  October 12, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    I won’t be making this delicious recipe, but I’ll be glad to order 2 dozen
    pumpkin rolls by Fedex. Let me know when you’re set up in the bakery
    biz. Thanks. – Abby F.

  • 12. triadandtroo  |  October 13, 2007 at 5:42 am

    This looks fantastically delicious! I think I’ll be trying this soon! Thanks!

  • 13. Jennie  |  October 13, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Abby F – don’t tempt me…I’d love to set up a bakery business! It’s crossed my mind a few times. 🙂 You’ll be the first to know if I do!

    Triadandtroo – Thanks! If you try it, let me know how it turns out. 🙂

  • 14. Melissa D. SC  |  October 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    I am going to try as well and will come back and link when I do….how much did you use if you were using the canned pumpkin?

    Please, Please, don’t divulge the last remaining secret recipe, because then the rest of us have to divuldge our and that is just not going to happen….

    Someone once asked me for a recipe and I said sorry, it is a family recipe and it goes down the line to my girls no one else, not side-ways not up, etc. =) Then there are the other family recipes that we share with cousins and such and no one else…and then there are the ones that I post on my blog =) I just need to find a way to list them on the side-bar for easy reference.

    God Bless and thank you for sharing.
    Melissa D. SC

  • 15. Melissa D. SC  |  October 13, 2007 at 2:07 pm


    Is this 2 to 3 cups or 2/3rds of a cup?

    I’m thinking I might be able to get this made really quick here if I an get that part figured out =)

  • 16. Jennie  |  October 13, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Melissa D SC – It’s 2/3rds of a cup of pumpking for both fresh puree and for canned. Please do tell me how it goes! And I agree that you shouldn’t pass out those really important family recipes. But once I found out that this one was really just the recipe off the back of a can, I felt sheepish about keeping it secret any longer. 🙂

  • 17. Christine  |  October 13, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    My pumpkin roll is done! It isn’t quite as pretty as yours, but man, is it tasty. I think I wasn’t careful enough about making an even layer in the pan, and I must have needed a little more confectioners sugar on the towel as it cracked a little. But it is awesome nonetheless.

    The only logical conclusion I can draw is that I’ll be needing to make another one next weekend, “to practice.” That way I’ll be really good at it when the holidays roll around 😉 But I could still use that prototype.

  • 18. Y.  |  October 14, 2007 at 12:39 am

    lol. I have a “secret” recipe from a corporation too. It’s by Jello and is a cake involving raspberries, Jello pudding mix, pound cake, and lots of cool whip/whipped cream. The funny thing is of all the ingredients, people can’t figure out the pudding. At least, you’re equally telling people your recipe. Me, it depends on what mood people catch me in. Sometimes I say it’s a secret, other times I spill the beans. I can’t wait to make this. Thanks for the recipe!

  • 19. Jennie  |  October 14, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Christine – YEAH!! So glad it turned out so tasty! I definitely advise on lots and lots of “practice”! 🙂 Prototype is forthcoming still, by all means.

    Y – That’s too funny about your jello cake. I think my mom made one like that when I was younger and it was delicous! I never would have known about the jello if I hadn’t watched her make it. 🙂 When you make the pumpkin roll, be sure to let me know how you like it!

  • 20. SusanV  |  October 20, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    This looks delicious AND beautiful! Thanks for sharing the recipe (and thanks to BlogHer for pointing me to your blog).

  • 21. Jennie  |  October 20, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    SusanV – Thank YOU for stopping by to check out the blog. 🙂

  • 22. Alicia  |  October 22, 2007 at 10:15 am

    I found this post from blogher and was intrigued, because I too am a recipe hoarder. I have a problem giving my favorite recipes away. Especially to people that I don’t even know that well. I’m so reluctant because
    1. I only have a handful of “great” recipes
    2. I’m known for these recipes and I feel good when I get a smile on a face after delivering my secret concoction
    3. I’ve given out recipes to people at work and at church, only to have them be brought in at the next potluck! Kind of takes the wind out of your sales when someone else brings in the dish you are known for.

    So, I’m still a hoarder. I don’t share the best recipes. Even though they came to me because someone was kinder than I am.

  • 23. Jennie  |  October 22, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Alicia – Welcome! You know my delima exactly then! I always took such pride in my pumpkin rolls…still do but now I am a bit afraid of making the rounds this holiday season to various gatherings with friends and seeing “my” pumpkin roll everywhere! I guess I just have to hope that I’ve got a knack for them like no one else so even with the recipe at their disposal, others won’t be able to top my signature goodie. I totally support your hoarding though…if it weren’t for this blog, the pumpkin roll would have gone with me to my grave! 🙂

  • 24. A Trick for Treats « Straight from the Farm  |  October 23, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    […] Besides, using a pumpkin recipe also meant I could use up the rest of my pumpkin puree from my pumpkin roll and post this fun idea to the blog.  This is a win-win situation if I ever saw […]

  • 25. Lisa  |  October 23, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Hi I was wondering to make the filling is it 4 tablespoons of butter or 4 teaspoons? Is it 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or tablespoon?

  • 26. Jennie  |  October 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Lisa – in my recipes I use capital T to denote tablespoons and lower case t to denote teaspoon. So, it’s 4 tablespoons of butter and a half teaspoon of vanilla.

  • 27. Melissa D. SC  |  October 25, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Ok here is my link http://www.xanga.com/MelissaDSC/623525718/my-first-jellyrollpumpkin.html

    Next, where does one find Fresh ground Nutmeg….if I still lived in CA I am sure I would be able to find that, unfortunately, I am only able to use the stuff in the spice jar….not sure how fresh that is… I have given credit to your blog for the recipe and many many thanks for a recipe that many people liked at small group this past Wednesday!!

    And, for getting me to make my first Jellyrole!!!! Wooooo Whooo,
    It is definitely one to make again.

    I also think I need to get my batter to smooth out a little more, mine seemed to be much thicker than yours…and it did crack a slight bit when I unrolled it from cooling down…Practice, practice, Practice!!!
    Thank you again and many blessings~~~

  • 28. DawnsRecipes  |  October 26, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Every year the whole family meets at my Aunt’s for dessert on Thanksgiving. This year, I’ll be bringing a pumpkin roll! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • 29. Jennie  |  October 26, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Melissa D – Congrats on completely your first pumpkin roll! Glad it turned out for you and that you’ll be making more in the future. As for freshly ground nutmeg, you can buy whole nutmegs in just about any grocery store (McCormick sells them) and then get yourself a microplane or similiar to “grind” it yourself each time you make a recipe. For a picture of me using freshly ground nutmeg, look in this post: https://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/10/03/from-start/
    It’s more grating than grinding but for whatever reason, it’s always called “ground” nutmeg in cookbooks so I’m just following suit. 🙂

  • 30. Jennie  |  October 26, 2007 at 6:52 am

    DawnRecipes – Sounds like a new family tradition might be in the works. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out for you!

  • 31. Y.  |  December 19, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Yay! I finally made it after 2 months of lusting after it. It’s so delicious (and easy). Thanks again for sharing the recipe =)

  • 32. Jennie  |  December 19, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Y. – Yay!!! I’m so happy you tried it and found it easy to boot. 🙂

  • 33. mich  |  November 5, 2008 at 7:41 pm


    I don’t own a jellyroll pan so I’ve been trying different sizes– any suggestions??

  • 34. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies « Straight from the Farm  |  November 19, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    […] 1 C. vegetable shortening 2 C. packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 t. vanilla extract 3 1/2 C. all-purpose flour 1 1/2 t. baking powder 1 1/2 t. baking soda 1 t. salt 2 t. ground cinnamon 1 t. ground ginger 1 t. freshly ground nutmeg 1 1/2 C. pumpkin puree […]

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  • 36. Preserving Pumpkin « Straight from the Farm  |  December 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    […] about any dish can be considered a very healthy one indeed.   This pumpkin puree can be used in pumpkin rolls, pies, smoothies, ice cream, truffles, bread puddings, risotto, soup, sauces… once it’s […]

  • 37. Tina Bittner  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    About the fresh pumpkin, I make at least a dozen a yr. all at once, (very big bowls and pots!), but have always used my halloween pumpkins for it. You will regret peeling it next yr., I clean, cut, and boil it every yr., with the peel. It has a much better color in the end,more vitamins, and to me seems more moist. Your body will thank you, I have peeled it in the beginning, and learned the hard way! I’ve been like you, not sharing the secrets all of these years, except to my two daughters in hopes they would take over the tradition…but it’s still my job! lol I have several more secrets that make it a much easier process, if you make a bunch like I do every yr., I will share them….. ~Tina~

  • 38. Pumpkin Role…repost from my other blog | Rivers Of Water  |  October 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    […] upon my perusal, I come across this recipe for Pumpkin Role.  Well not only did it look good but the story that went along with it had me slightly […]


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