Pumpkin Roll

My family showed up for a party this afternoon, but no one was there.  Hmmmm.  Did I write down the wrong date?  Time?  Location?  Did they cancel and not tell us?  Not quite sure what happened, but there was one positive result:  we didn't have to share the pumpkin roll with anyone else!  In fact, I think I'm headed to the fridge once I've posted this for a late snack....
There are quite a few variations you can try for this recipe.  If you like nuts, sprinkle some chopped toasted pecans over the frosting before you re-roll the cake.  If you want a bigger roll, double the recipe, butt the short ends together and roll the two cakes together.  If you want a little lighter texture to your filling, fold in some whipped cream to the finished frosting before spreading it.  Nothing equals fall like some great pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin Roll
3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 C pumpkin  puree
3 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 C powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment, wax paper or a silpat liner.  Spray along the edges of pan with non-stick spray.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for the cake.  Add the pumpkin, eggs and lemon juice.  Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated.  Pour into prepared pan and evenly distribute.  Bake for 15 minutes.
3.  While cake is baking, generously dust a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar.  To make frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth then add the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Beat well.
4.  As soon as cake is baked, run a knife along the edges of the pan then invert cake onto the dusted kitchen towel.  Remove pan liner from the cake, then roll up the cake beginning with one of the short ends.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
5.  Unroll the cake and frost with the frosting.  Reroll, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge.  Cake is best if it can sit overnight in the fridge.

Ho-Ho Cake

This is how I found my two year old a couple days ago.  Is it possible for the whole regression thing to happen before the new baby is actually born?!?!  I am very, very nervous about how he will deal with not being the baby anymore.  I'm expecting the worst!
Today, I had the chance to squeeze in one last catering job before the baby is born and I sure enjoyed my day in the kitchen cooking and baking.  I know it will be awhile before I get the opportunity to do it again.
For dessert, my client chose Ho-Ho cake.  Can you ever go wrong with chocolate cake, layered with vanilla cream and topped in chocolate?  This was a favorite of mine when I was a kid.  The original recipe calls for a boxed cake mix, but I use my favorite from scratch recipe instead.  The easier version is baked in a 9x13 pan, then topped with the cream filling, then the chocolate.  To make it a bit "showier", I bake it in a 1/2 sheet pan, cut it into thirds and layer it as shown.

Ho-Ho Cake

1 recipe of your favorite chocolate cake (here's mine)

Cream Filling:
5 T flour
1 1/4 C milk
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 C vegetable shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 C granulated sugar

Chocolate Topping:
1 egg
3 C powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 C semi sweet chocolate chips
hot water

1.  Bake cake according to directions in either two rounds, one 9x13 or one 1/2 sheet pan.  Allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.
2.  While cake is baking, whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly, whisking continually.  Allow this mixture to come to room temperature before adding to the next step.
3.  In your stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and shortening until smooth.  Gradually add the sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat on high for 15 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides every five minutes.  Add the cooled milk mixture to the bowl and beat until combined completely.
4.  Spread the cream filling between the layers of your cake, or over the top of the 9x13 cake.  Put cake in the fridge to help the cream filling firm up.
5.  For chocolate  topping, mix together the egg and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Put butter and chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl and heat on high for one minute.  Stir together until smooth.  Add chocolate to the powdered sugar mixture and mix until smooth.  Add enough hot water to make the chocolate spreadable to frost your cake.  I store my cake in the fridge and take it out a little before serving.

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

False labor stinks.  It gets your hopes all up only to result in nothing....well, except being miserable from not sleeping all night due to contractions.

My past week has been large daily doses of false labor which means I'm grumpy, tired and very uncomfortable.....and I'm not even due for another two weeks!
I spent last Monday in the kitchen baking like a mad woman because I thought for sure this little girl was coming and I wanted to put some more goodies in the freezer for my family.  I made 3 1/2 dozen of these muffins but only about 2 dozen made it to the freezer because everyone loved them so much.

Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins
(makes 12)
1 1/2 C flour
1 C oats (whole oats if you like more texture, quick oats if you don't)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb canola oil
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 C mashed banana, about 2 medium
6 Tb peanut butter (crunchy if you like texture, smooth if you don't)
1 C buttermilk

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 12 muffin tins with papers.
2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oatmeal, baking powder baking soda and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, banana, peanut butter and buttermilk until smooth.  The peanut butter will be a bit hard to incorporate, but be sure it is!
3.  Pour wet mixture into flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula just until flour is incorporated.  Do not overmix!
4.  Fill muffin tins with the batter.  The tins will be very full, but they don't rise all that much so it is ok.  Bake for 20 minutes until the top of a muffin springs back with lightly pressed.  Remove muffins from the pan and allow to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.  I find the flavors and texture improve if they sit overnight before serving.


In May, I planted 14 roma tomato plants that I started from seed in January.  The night I planted them in the garden a huge wind storm came to town and broke 7 of those plants.  I was really upset at the time, but I am sooooo grateful now!  

My surviving seven produced more tomatoes than any other year and I was literally up to my elbows in tomatoes.  Over the past month, I put up 20 quarts of salsa, 8 quarts of marinara sauce and 10 quarts of whole tomatoes.  There are actually still quite a lot of green tomatoes on my plants but fall has completely skipped Minnesota and we are in the 40's already.  Too cold for ripening!

I wish I could post my salsa recipe for you because it really is outstanding, but I don't have one.  It is one of those products that I do completely by taste as I go.  It is very dependent on the sweetness of the tomatoes, the heat in the jalapeno and anaheim chilis, and the type of onion used.  Feel free to come on over next summer when I make it again and I'll give you some individual lessons :-)