Pumpkin Rolls

We’ve been spending the last two Thanksgiving with D’s cousin’s family.  Thank goodness for them; otherwise, our Thanksgiving would be pretty lonely.  There are 6 additional cousins all around the same age so its more fun and lively for our girls.  Plus this was the first Thanksgiving without Papa. It would have been harder to not feel the loss keenly.

I was bringing my famous mac and cheese, whipped sweet potatoes, salad and pumpkin bread.  Without the burden of cooking a full meal, I had some time to experiment.  When Cousin L mentioned how pretty the pumpkin rolls looked and she was thinking of buying some at a bakery, I offered to make them.  So bold of me considering I’m still a little afraid of baking, let alone something as unfamiliar as a rolled cake.

I Googled for recipes and the first hit was from Libby’s.  I looked at a few more, but they were all pretty similar so I decided to go with the Libby’s.  Everything is pretty standard apart from the rolling portion of the recipe.  The thin cake cracked a bit as I rolled.  It may have been due to fact that I forgot to sprinkle the kitchen towel with powdered sugar.  The cake turned out okay visually until I started slicing it.

The rolled cake needs to be chilled before slicing!

However, the main problem is the taste.  The cake didn’t taste that great and the filling’s sweetness overpowered the cake.  A friend suggested trying the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and the difference is night and day.  Sally adds more spices and switches some of the granulated sugar with brown sugar and the resulting cake is delicious.  Looks visually more pleasing, too! I love the browner color and the added spices balanced out the sweet filling.

Go to Sally’s for step-by-step instructions.  I think she even has a video posted.  Here are a few of my photos.

Rolled right after baking:


Finished cake:

Pumpkin Roll
From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yield: 12 slices


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For filling
6 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10×15 jelly roll pan with wax paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle a thin cotton kitchen towel liberally with powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking sofa, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until combined. Our the wet ingredient into the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Give the pan a shake to level the batter. Bake for 17 – 18 minutes or until the cake springs back when poked with a finger.

Remove the cake from the oven and invert it onto the prepared kitchen towel. Peel off the wax paper carefully and immediately start slowly rolling the cake up with the towel.

Place the rolled up cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours to cool completely. Remove the cake roll and let it sit on the counters for a few minutes to warm up while you make the frosting.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Slowly and gently unroll the cake and flatten it out. Spread the frosting evenly on top, leaving about 1/2 in border around the cake. Slowly roll the cake back up without the towel in a tight roll. Loosely cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

*Make your own pumpkin pie spice with 1/4 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice.


Barefoot Contessa’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

I’ve never roasted just a turkey breast before and I worried that it would come out dry. Well, the turkey breast came out perfect with this recipe.  I’ve also tried the recipe with whole chicken and the roasted chicken was delicious!


Barefoot Contessa’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast

Prep time: 15 mins    Cook time: 1 3/4 to 2 hours

Serves: 6 – 8


1 whole bone-in turkey breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)


Preheat the over to 325 degrees. Place the turkey skin side up on a rack in the roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice to make a paste.
Loosen the skin on the turkey and apply half the paste directly on the meat. Apply the rest evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or until the meat thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the meatiest part of the breast. Loosely cover the breast with aluminum foil if the skin is browning too much.

When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes at room temperature before slicing.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Taco seasoning

Taco seasoning mix is so easy to make, I can’t believe I didn’t try making it sooner.  I still like to have a few store-bought packets in my spice rack for one of those days when I don’t have even the 5 minutes to make my own.  Otherwise, I use this mix for my turkey tacos and for my bean burritos.

A few notes.  When I looked up the recipe online, I noticed that most recipes call for the same ingredients: chili powder, cumin powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper.  My kids can’t handle heat so I’ve substituted chili powder with paprika.  I leave out the garlic and onion powder and use fresh garlic and onion while cooking.  I, also, like to add salt directly to the meat while cooking to better control the salt content.

Last thing, I increased cumin so that the cumin to paprika proportion is 1:1.  I cook mostly with ground turkey and sometimes I find that ground turkey has a weird aftertaste.  I find the cumin masks the aftertaste.

Play with the proportions of the spices to suit your own individual taste.

Taco Seasoning Mix

Time: 5 mins
Serving Size:  3 to 4


2 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional or substitute with real garlic during cooking)
1 teaspoon onion powder (optional or substitute with real onion during cooking)


Place all the dry ingredients in an airtight container with a lid (i.e. spice jar).  Close the lid and give the mix a few shakes to thoroughly mix the ingredients.  Store in a cool and dry place for unto 6  months. Use 1 – 3 tablespoon according to taste per 1 pound of meat.