November 30, 2011

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake

 


Wow!  Do I ever feel behind this Christmas season, or what?  Let's see ... my tree is half-lit.  I experienced the age-old problem of burned out light strands while attempting to get the tree decorated this past weekend.  After stops at two stores earlier this week, I still had no lights ... they were sold out of white lights.  Really?  Sold out??  Two stores??? So the next day, I stopped at the drug store close to my house and picked up a few sets of lights.  Got them home and started to put them on the tree ... and can you guess? ... Yep, I had bought the wrong kind!  So, today I finally have come home with new lights.  Haven't put them on the tree yet, but I'm at least moving in the right direction.

Christmas shopping ... until today I hadn't completed one person yet.  Nope - not a one.  I used to be the "have-my-Christmas-shopping-done-by-July" type.  Not quite sure what's happened to me, but that has certainly changed!  I'm happy to report, though, after a whirl-wind afternoon of shopping, I'm able to check off five (and a 1/2) people on my list.  Progress!

Christmas cards ... haven't even thought about them.  Well, until right now to type this.

Baking? ... behind on that, too.

Oh well.  I will get all my Christmas preparation done.  I always do.  And to quote a friend, "I'm too blessed to stress!"  That's right! ... Life is good.  I am super blessed with great things in life.  Too blessed to stress.  Love that saying.


So what does all this have to do with creamy, dreamy Pumpkin Cheesecake?  Absolutely nothing.  Well, other than the fact that I am blessed to have been given this fabulous recipe by a friend of mine at my bridal shower seven years ago.  Each guest at the shower brought a favorite recipe to give to me, which the shower hostesses then slyly collected and placed in a monogrammed recipe box.  So sweet.  I think that is one of the most wonderful, touching, and cherished gifts I've ever received.

So no matter how crazy holiday preparation gets, remember ...  "Too blessed to stress!"  And if you do get stressed, you can always eat cheesecake.  It helps. 



Pumpkin Cheesecake
Source:  A friend
Ingredients
Crust:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. butter, melted

Cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can 100% pure pumpkin
2/3 c. evaporated milk
2 T. cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping:
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Directions
Prepare the Crust:
1.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan lined with parchment paper.

2.  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Do not let it brown.

Prepare the Cheesecake:
3.  Make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature (this is important!).  Beat cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, pumpkin, and evaporated milk.  Add cornstarch, 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Beat well.

4.  Pour into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.  The edge should be set and the middle still moves slightly.

Prepare the Topping:
5.  Combine sour cream, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and vanilla.  Spread over cheesecake.  Bake for 5 minutes more.  Refrigerate cheesecake over night.

Enjoy!


This post is linked with These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence, Friday Food hosted by Mom Trends, Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes.

November 26, 2011

Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts


I'm back from a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with my family!  I ate way too much food, relaxed watching movies with my Dad, shopped and shared wine with my Mom, watched a "Chopped" marathon on the Food Network (I love that show!), and just generally had a low-key and relaxing weekend.  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too!

And now it's time to turn an eye toward Christmas.

About two weeks ago I started planning out Christmastime lessons for my classroom.  I can't believe Christmas is almost here already.  And I absolutely could not believe I had my 'December' folder out at school.  Truly, where is time going?  (As my hubby likes to say, "Life is like a roll of toilet paper ... the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes."  Nice, huh?)  Well, Christmas is almost here.  I've got my tree up ... it's not decorated yet, but the tree itself is up.  That's a start.  Hopefully, hubby will help me get the lights on it tomorrow.  And  I've started my holiday baking ... yay!  That's one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.

So, in honor of the start of the Christmas season, I decided to share this recipe for Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts.  These are delicious.  And would be perfect as little gifts or as nibbles at a holiday party.  And you know what else?  They're easy!!  Oh, how I love a recipe that's both delicious and easy! 


You start by simply tossing a combination of nuts with vanilla-laced egg white ... I used a mix of whole almonds, walnuts, and pecans.  Then sprinkle on a sugar-and-spice mixture, get everything good and coated, ...
Sugar-and-spice goodness

... and spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.

"Is it time for the sauna??"

Bake 'em up, and they'll develop a fabulously tasty sugar-and-spice flaky coating.  Soooooo good.

See the flaky sugar-and-spice coating?

Serve up a bowl and enjoy!  I've made two batches already, and shared with friends.  I am a huge chai fan ... so I think I see a few more batches in my near future.  Yum!

A bowl of yummy nibbles


Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts
Source:  Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients
1 T. vanilla extract
1 egg white
3 c. nuts (I used 1 c. each whole almonds, pecan halves, & walnut halves)
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom


Directions
1.  Combine vanilla extract and egg white in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy.  Stir in nuts.

2.  Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over nuts, tossing to coat.

3.  Place nut mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Turn off oven.

4.  Toss nuts, breaking pieces apart.  Return pan to oven, and leave pan in oven for an additional 10 minutes (with the oven still turned off).

5.  Cool to room temperature.  Store nuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Enjoy!




This post is linked with Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Market Yourself Monday hosted by Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, The Cure for the Common Monday hosted by Lines Across My Face, Savvy Homemade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Crazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for Crust, Tea Party Tuesday hosted by Sweetology, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of Blogs, Tasty Tuesday hosted by Naptime Creations, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Friday Food hosted by Mom Trends, Mingle Monday hosted by Add a Pinch, A Themed Baker's Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary, Holly Bloggy Christmas Recipe Party hosted by Chef in Training, Christmas in July, Iron Chef Mom.

November 21, 2011

Cranberries & Brie on Lemon Thins ~ a great leftovers idea



One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  I know ... many people loathe leftovers.  Not me.  I love them! 

For days after Thanksgiving day, my Mom, Dad, and I eat solely on leftovers.  (Hey, the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving feast did last for three days, ya know!)  For each meal, Mom and I take all the leftovers out of the refrigerator, sprawl them across the counter, and each of us serves up whatever we're in the mood for.  I don't know why, but I just think these kind of meals are fun.  Sometimes we serve ourselves the leftovers 'straight up' ... and sometimes we get creative, seeing what new combinations and concoctions we can come up with.

Like Cranberries & Brie on Lemon Thins.  This is a great idea for leftover cranberry sauce.  Just spoon some of your leftover cranberries over a chunk of brie (this particular photo has my Cabernet Cranberry Sauce) and serve it with Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins.  I found my cookie thins at Trader Joe's, but you can find other brands at the 'regular' grocery store.


While any cracker would work for this, the sweet lemony flavor of the Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins with the tart cranberry and creamy brie are an amazingly wonderful combination.  These cookie thins also come in a gingerbread flavor, which I'd like to try with the cranberries, too.  Wonder if it would be as good?  I'll have to find out!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I wish you a very blessed and fabulous day with your families.  Oh, and remember to wear stretchy pants!



This post is linked with This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking, Savvy Homemade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, Market Yourself Monday hosted by Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Crazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for Crust, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, 'Tis the Season Linky Party Series.

November 18, 2011

Cabernet Cranberry Sauce


Don't think you like cranberry sauce?  Give this Cabernet Cranberry Sauce a try!  With cranberries simmered in Cabernet Sauvignon, and accented with cinnamon and tangerine zest, it may just change your mind.



Cranberry sauce.  To me, it always seemed like one of those things that was on the Thanksgiving table just because it's supposed to be there.  I'd take a tiny dollop ... pretty much because I thought I had to.  Then I found this recipe for cabernet cranberry sauce.  And that's when my entire view of this cranberry stand-by changed.


This cranberry sauce, I could gobble up by the spoonful (no pun intended!).  There's something about the combination of bold, rich Cabernet with tart cranberry and cinnamon that ... well ... just works.  Now, admittedly, I am a wine lover.  So that could have something to do with why I love this cabernet cranberry sauce so much.  How could a wine lover go wrong with a wine-based sauce?  But that aside, even if you're not a wine lover, I think you'd find this cabernet cranberry sauce to be a cut above the 'standard' fare.

Okay, so where's my spoon??  I need to dig in!  I sure hope I don't eat it all before Thursday.




Cabernet Cranberry Sauce
Source:  Adapted from Southern Living magazine

Ingredients
  • 1 (12 oz.) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. Cabernet Sauvignon*
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 to 2 tsp. tangerine zest
Directions
  1. Bring sugar and wine to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until cranberry skins have popped.
  3. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Cool slightly. Serve warm or chill at least 2 hours. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.

*Note - Use good quality wine.  It makes a difference in this recipe!  Also, I've tried making this with Merlot instead of Cabernet Sauvignon, and didn't like it nearly as well.  If you are a cinnamon lover, consider adding an extra cinnamon stick or a dash of ground cinnamon to the pot when adding the other ingredients.  Personally, I love the cinnamon flavor in this sauce.  I've also been known to add two or three whole cloves, as well.

Enjoy!



This post is linked with Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket FenceFoodie Friday hosted by Designs by GollumSweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Weekend Bloggy Reading hosted by Serenity Now, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking, Savvy Homemade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, A Themed Baker's Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary, Tuesday Tutorials hosted by The Kurtz Corner, Crazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for Crust, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of Blogs, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks.

November 14, 2011

Apple Currant Bread



Oh, fond memories of childhood.  That's what this fabulous fall bread brings back to me.  My Mom used to bake all the time when I was growing up. (Hmmmm ... were you wondering where I got it from??  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, right?)  And this apple currant bread was one of my absolute favorites in her line-up.

Fresh apple.  Sweet currants.  Just a hint of cinnamon.  The crunch of chopped pecans.  Isn't that the perfect blend of fall flavors?  If it's not, well then it's pretty close! 

I hadn't had this bread in years.  And had truly forgotten how much I like it.  Then, while leafing through my family's cookbook, it struck me - "Hey!  I need to make apple currant bread!"  So I did. 

Bake yourself up a loaf of this beautiful bread, slice off a big hunk, and dig in.  You'll be glad you did.



Apple Currant Bread
Source:  My Mom
Ingredients
1/3 c. butter
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
2 T. milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. peeled shredded apple (about 2 medium or 1 very large apple)
1 c. dried currants
1/2 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)


Directions
1.  Cream together butter, sugar, and cinnamon.  Beat in eggs until light and fluffy.  Beat in milk and lemon juice.

2.  Stir together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Fold in shredded apple, currants, and nuts.

3.  Spoon into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (I let mine go for the full hour and I think I slightly over-cooked it.  I suggest starting to check a bit before an hour is up.)

Enjoy!



This post is linked with Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Crazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for Crust, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of Blogs, Tea Party Tuesday hosted by Sweetology, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed With Grace, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum,  Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence, Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, Savvy Homemade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Tasty Tuesday hosted by Naptime Creations, 12 Days of Christmas Goodies hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking, Countdown to 2012 - Best Breads hosted by Finding Joy in My Kitchen, A Themed Baker's Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary.

November 12, 2011

Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin ~ a Thanksgiving favorite at our house



I love to hear what foods are Thanksgiving traditions for different families.  There are so many wonderfully decadent dishes that are staples on our Thanksgiving menus!  For our family, some form of an onion dish has always graced our Thanksgiving table.  And I must say, aside from stuffing (that's my absolute favorite), the onion dish is the one I look forward to most.


In recent years ... say, for the last six years or so ... this Creamed Pearl Onion Gratin has become our traditional Thanksgiving onion dish.  And man, is it delicious!!  I'm so glad my Mom decided to give this recipe a chance on the Thanksgiving menu.  She's made it ever since it's debut.

The only sort of 'troublesome' part of this recipe for us was the peeling of the pearl onions.  See, for us, one 'batch' of this recipe, which calls for 10 ounces of fresh pearl onions, was absolutely not enough.  We had to (at least!) triple the recipe ... which left Mom and I peeling at least 30 ounces of pearl onions on Thanksgiving morning.  Not a real fun job.  Which meant that job usually fell to me.  See, for Thanksgiving dinner, Mom is the head chef.  I'm the sous chef.  You know what that means.  (Sidenote: Though I think Mom is gradually trying to sneakily transfer her Thanksgiving head chef duties to me.  I'm not being real cooperative with that.)

Given the un-fun onion peeling task, I decided it was worth giving this dish a test run using frozen pearl onions.  Yes, peeling the onions is that much of a pain for us that we were willing to consider forgoing fresh onions.  So, last week I did a pre-Thanksgiving trial run with frozen little pearls.

Guess what?  It worked!!  Beautifully.  And soooooo much easier! 

Now, I'm not saying to give up on fresh pearl onions ... they are absolutely delicious.  And if you don't mind peeling little baby onions, or have just tons of help in the kitchen, then go for it!  I'm just saying that, now, we have options.  I love options.


So how do you make this creamy cheesey onion yumminess, you say?  Well, I'm so glad you asked!  'Cause I'm all prepared to show you.

Start by making a basic white sauce.  Melt butter in a saucepan and then whisk in some flour until it's thick and smooth.  This will be the thickener, and will produce a nice creamy-textured sauce for the onions.

Base of the white sauce

Next, gradually whisk in half-and-half  and cook until thick.  Then stir in some grated white cheddar cheese.  Being originally from Vermont, I (of course!) use Cabot sharp cheddar.  (Another sidenote:  If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that I firmly stand by Vermont maple syrup and Vermont cheddar cheese from Cabot Creamery!  Prior to these products being readily available in North Carolina, I used to have them shipped to me.  And no, Vermont and Cabot do not pay me to say these things!  Now back to onions ...)

Doesn't that white sauce look gorgeous??  I know, I may get just a tiny bit too excited about food.  Oh well, there are worse things in life.

Voila!  White sauce.

Now add in your pearl onions and stir 'em around 'til they're all beautifully coated in gorgeous-and-creamy white sauce.

Yummy pearl onions coated in white cheddar white sauce

Transfer the onion mixture to a baking dish and top it with additional white cheddar cheese and fresh bread crumbs spiked with fresh thyme.  While I will substitute frozen onions for fresh, I don't recommend skipping fresh bread crumbs and fresh thyme.  I'll stay true to the fresh on those.

Fresh bread crumbs with fresh thyme

Bake it up until the onion mixture is nice and bubbly and the top is golden brown.
Baked and beautiful



Then dig in and enjoy.  Yum.  Our Thanksgiving table just wouldn't be complete without this!

I'd love to hear what you just can't live without on Thanksgiving.  Leave me a comment about your faves!

Yum!



Creamed Onion Gratin
Source:  Adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients
Creamed Onions:
10-12 oz. package fresh pearl onions OR 16 oz. package frozen pearl onions
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 1/4 c. half-and-half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
Dash of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c. (6 oz.) shredded white cheddar cheese, divided  (I use Cabot sharp cheddar)

Crumb Topping:
4 T. butter, melted
1 1/4 c. fresh breadcrumbs (about 3 slices of bread; I use whole wheat)
1 or 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme


Directions
For the Creamed Onions:  
1.  If using fresh onions, peel onions and place in a saucepan; add water to cover.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 6 to 8 minutes or until onions are just tender.  If using frozen onions, thaw; heat in the microwave or simmer on the stovetop for 3 to 4 minutes until onions are just tender.  Drain well.  Set aside.

2.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add half-and-half; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  

3.  Add salt, pepper, ground mustard, and nutmeg.  Add 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese; stir until cheese melts.  Gently stir in drained onions.

4.  Pour onion mixture into a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

For the Crumb Topping:  
5.  Combine breadcrumbs and chopped thyme.  Toss breadcrumbs with the 4 tablespoons of melted butter until crumbs are well coated.  Sprinkle evenly over onion mixture.

6.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until thoroughly heated through and the top is golden.

Enjoy! 


This post is linked with Sharing Sundays hosted by Everyday Sisters, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, Cure for the Common Monday hosted by Lines Across My Face, Savvy Homemade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Market Yourself Monday hosted by Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of Blogs, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted by Blessed with Grace, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence, Favorite Vegetable Recipes hosted by FavDiets, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking.

November 8, 2011

Classic Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling


If you are a frequent reader of The Kitchen is My Playground, you know I'm cooking my way through my family's cookbook ~ slowly, but surely.  Well, this week I tackled a recipe that scared me ~ the classic Pumpkin Cake Roll my Mom used to make when I was growing up.

I'm so happy to say that I can report success with this one!  Because I had concerns.  Alas, I am scared no more.  While this creation is a bit nerve-wracking the first time through, the beautiful and absolutely scrumptious result is worth the tiny bit of wear-and-tear on the nerves.

After my afternoon adventure with this cake, which included three in-process phone calls to my Mom, I can now walk you through its creation step-by-step.  Complete with tips from Mom, of course.


So, how do you create this classic confection, you ask?  Start by lining a jelly roll pan with waxed paper.  MOM TIP #1:  Mom says this is very important.  Do not skip this step.  Or you'll be sad later.
The all-important waxed paper

Then whip up the cake batter, being sure to beat the eggs for the full 5 minutes called for in the recipe.  This incorporates air into the batter and creates a light, springy cake.  You'll like it this way, I promise.

Spread the batter into your prepared jelly roll pan, like so ...
Light & airy batter

... and sprinkle evenly with the finely chopped walnuts.

Nuts!

Bake up the cake.  And now comes nerve-wracking part #1 ... turning the cake out of the pan.  This part made me sooooooo nervous.  To get ready for this nail-biter step, spread a towel out on your counter and sprinkle it generously with powdered sugar.  Okay, now take about three deep breaths.

Take your cake out of the oven ... take a few more deep breaths ... and immediately flip your pan over onto your powder-sugared towel.  Say a little prayer that when you lift up the pan, you'll have a cake sitting there neatly separated from the pan.

Now, go ahead -- lift up the pan.  Keep saying your prayer ... cross your fingers ... whatever you do ... until you see ...

And I'm thinking - "Please, oh, please, come out of the pan in one piece!  Please!!"

... THIS!!  Yay!  A cake!  I was so excited that mine came out of the pan in one piece.

Time now to peel off the waxed paper.  I had to do a little coaxing with mine.  I very gently worked on the corners first, loosening them carefully.  Next, I got all the edges loosened ...
Gently coaxing off the waxed paper edges & corners

... and after that, the rest of the waxed paper peeled up really easily.
Peeling away!

Now comes nerve-wracking part #2 ... rolling up the warm cake.  TIP FROM MOM #2:  Roll it up tightly, gently, and slowly.

Towel-and-all, gently roll the cake up into a log, keeping it as tight as you can.  Then set it aside to cool to room temperature.

Rolling ...

And now we're onto nerve-wracking part #3 ... unrolling the cooled cake.

Once your cake is cooled, very gently unroll it.  TIP FROM MOM #3:  Unroll very slowly!!  To quote Mom, "This thing will crack on you." 

And, yep, mine sure did.  See those three or so big cracks?  Moving slowly helps avoid this.  I moved slowly, but still couldn't avoid a few cracks.  I just gently squished the cake back together, and 'glued' the cracks up with cream cheese filling.

... and unrolling

Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the unrolled cake.  And, now, roll it back up!  Just as before, keep it tight and roll slowly.  Oh, and this time, leave the towel out of the cake roll.  :-)
Rolling again!

Success!!  Isn't it gorgeous?
Beautiful success!

Transfer this beauty to a serving platter and chill.  The cake that is.  And you, too.  You deserve a little chillin' after all your hard work.

After the cake has chilled, serve yourself up a big slice and enjoy.  And, WOW, is this ever good!  Totally worth the frayed nerves.  Thanks for the coaching, Mom!


Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling
Source:  My Mom - and I'd bet she got the recipe from Libby's years ago!

Ingredients
Cake:
3 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. pumpkin puree (100% pure pumpkin)
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. finely chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 c. powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 T. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla


Directions
For the Cake:  
1.  Grease a 15x10x1" jellyroll pan; line with waxed paper or parchment paper (this is very important!).  Lightly spray waxed paper with cooking spray.

2.  Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes; then gradually beat in granulated sugar.  Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.

3.  Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Fold into pumpkin mixture.  Spread batter into prepared pan.  Top with finely chopped walnuts. 

4.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.  Immediately turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Carefully remove waxed paper.  Starting at the narrow end of the cake, roll towel and cake up together.  Cool.  Once cool, slowly and gently unroll cake.

For the Cream Cheese Filling:  
5.  Combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla; beat until smooth.  Spread evenly over cooled cake.  

6.  Roll cake back up.  Chill.

Enjoy!

This post is linked with Market Yourself Monday hosted by Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Tasty Tuesday hosted by For the Love of BlogsCrazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for CrustTea Time Tuesday hosted by Sweetology, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, These Chicks Cooked hosed by This Chick Cooks, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, Weekend Bloggy Reading hosted by Serenity Now, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket FenceFreshmen Friday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Friday Favorites hosted by Simply Sweet Home, Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Sweet Indulgences Sunday hosted by A Well-Seasoned Life, Sharing Sundays hosted by Everyday Sisters, Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, This Week's Cravings hosted by Mom's Crazy Cooking, A Themed Baker's Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary.

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