Over this past weekend, I was organizing a menu for this week. I do that on Saturdays—pick a cookbook from the collection, choose a week's worth of recipes from it, make a grocery list based on the recipes and do the shopping. It may seem tedious for a Saturday morning, but if I do that all at once, I don't have to worry about dinner through the week. I just look at the menu and get to work. I know the ingredients will be in the kitchen, so no worries.
For this week, I chose Ina Garten's Back to Basics book. It's filled with great recipes using basic ingredients. I chose five recipes and then found myself in the dessert section where I stopped at Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Cream. Anyone else would call it Pumpkin Cake of Pumpkin Roll, but I guess my culinary hero Ina wanted it to sound a little more highfalutin (did you know that's how this word is spelled, for real?). Given my previous failure with a pumpkin cake, I had to make this one as a form of redemption. Plus, anything with mascarpone gets my vote.
The cake was a success—visually, it looks like your favorite fall comfort food only not smushy—and it tastes great and is easy to make. Most pumpkin rolls are made with cream cheese, but the mascarpone has a smoother flavor and finer texture, and I think it works very well. It might even be worthy of a word like "roulade."
Here's the recipe:
For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
For the filling:
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
Pinch kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the paper.
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 granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.
While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of confectioners' sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press!) starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, confectioners' sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.
To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Reroll 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 and serve sliced. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.