By America’S Test Kitchen
We wanted to develop a unique variation of the popular pumpkin roll. Cream cheese frosting seemed like a natural filling, but it made our cake too dense to roll. We tweaked the ingredient proportions to lighten the texture.
The batches in which the butter was blended with the sugar before we added the cream cheese were far lighter because the creamed butter aerated the mix, making it the perfect filling.
1 cup cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 Spiced Pecans
For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 F. Grease 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment. Whisk flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt together in bowl; set aside. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until pale yellow and thick, 6 to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin, reduce speed to low, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Fold in flour mixture until combined. Transfer batter to prepared sheet and spread into even layer. Bake until cake is firm and springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Lay clean sheet of parchment on counter and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Immediately run thin knife around edge of baking sheet to loosen cake, then flip hot cake out onto prepared parchment sheet, discarding parchment attached to cake.
Starting from short side, roll cake and bottom parchment snugly into log. Let cake cool, seam side down, for 1 hour.
For the filling: Using clean, dry bowl and paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and mix until no lumps remain, about 30 seconds.
Gently unroll cake. Spread filling evenly over cake, leaving 1-inch border along edges. Reroll cake gently but snugly around filling, leaving parchment behind as you roll.
Wrap cake firmly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Trim ends of cake, transfer cake to platter, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and garnish with Spiced Pecans. Serve. (Cake can be wrapped loosely in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours before serving.)
Pic: Joe Keller/America’s Test Kitchen via AP