Sally’s Baking Addiction, October Challenge, Pumpkin Roll Cake

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This month Sally challenged us to make a pumpkin roll cake. We had a roll cake challenge back in May. At that time I talked about how my roll cakes always crack and I have to cover it up with icing or flowers or some type of decoration.

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This time I thought I would really challenge myself and put a pattern in my pumpkin sponge cake. I saw this, for the first time, on The Great British Baking Show. Since this was a pumpkin sponge I wanted a pumpkin patch pattern but couldn’t find anything I liked or could put on the cake, so I made my own template using stickers from a craft store. Sally recommends a 10 inch x 15 inch jelly roll pan, so I made my template that size. I cut a paper to the same size and measured to find the exact center. I knew I would be rolling the cake from the short side so made my pattern such that it would repeat in that direction. I also knew that the edges would most likely be trimmed away so I left a good sized border along both sides. I used a pencil to draw in, roughly, where the vines would connect the pumpkins.

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I then layer a parchment paper over the template, securing it with tape, so I would be able to pipe the batter onto the parchment.

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Now I needed to mix up a cake batter that would be denser than the pumpkin sponge so that the pattern would not mix into the cake batter and disappear. I used this mixture:

50g butter, room temperature

50g powdered sugar (or icing sugar)

50g egg whites

50g flour, all purpose

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Using a hand mixer, combine the sugar and butter until smooth, then add the egg whites and finally the flour and stir to make a strong paste. You want this pretty thick, you need to be able to pipe it but still want it to hold a firm shape. I needed two colors, orange and leaf green.

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I used gel food colors and a number 1 piping tip to make the pumpkins

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Another portion was colored green, and using a number 3 tip, I piped the vines.

 

This went into the freezer for, at least 30 minutes, while I prepared the Pumpkin sponge cake as per Sally’s recipe. Once the mixture was ready I had to remove the template from the pan and replace the frozen pattern. Then I spread the pumpkin batter, carefully, over the design.

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Sally’s recipe stated that the baking time would be ~17 minutes, but mine was done in 10 minutes. It is important to not over bake the cake or it will crack when it is rolled (I should know, this is my big problem with roll cakes!). I had to flip my cake twice when it was done. The first time I turned the cake out onto a sheet pan covered with powdered sugar and removed the parchment paper-carefully, so the design would stay intact.

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The prepared pan

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The cake after I removed the paper. It worked!

To my surprise the patten was intact! From here I followed Sally’s instructions and flipped the cake onto a tea towel that had been generously sprinkled with more powdered sugar. Now the pattern side was down and I could roll the cake up, while it was still warm, to allow it to cool in the final shape. I was so busy doing all this while the cake was still warm that I did not get a picture of it this time. Here is what the process looked like from May, when I did the last roll cake.

 

The rolled cake needs to chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator before adding the filling.

The cream cheese icing was also from Sally’s recipe. I did make one small change and added 30g of finely chopped crystallized ginger for some extra flavor and texture.

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The cake is unrolled, the filling spread out leaving a 1/2 inch border, then tightly rolled back up

This was the first time that my cake did not crack! And, the pattern is pretty good. There is some powdered sugar still on the cake, but that does disappear after a little time has passed.

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The cake and filling are delicious! Sally has another winner recipe on her hands!

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I had fun working this out and challenging myself a little bit. It is a great cake for Halloween and I am really looking forward to what Sally comes up with next month!

 

 

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Roda’s “Critter Connection” Challenge, Day 6

This is the last desert critter that I have to post. I admit it has been easy to spot these guys in the hot, bright environment. We have been back in Redmond for two days and I have not seen quite as much wildlife. It is cooler and darker here, I hope I will be able to catch a glimpse of something in the garden!

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Our very first night in our new home in Tucson was rather eventful. The home was vacated by the previous owners about one month before we could get there to take possession. We didn’t consider this to be a problem until we realized that there was also 4 weeks of no pest control and the house was devoid of furniture or movement which usually deters pests. Additionally, we had no beds so we would be sleeping on the floor while we waited for those to arrive. I was taking a shower that evening when I heard my husband shout out “we have a scorpion in the bedroom!” I hopped out fast and saw the little moving critter by the baseboard a few feet from where we were planning on sleeping. My hubby jumped into action and whacked it with his flip flop, killing it instantly! All we had to gather it up with was a paper plate.

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This turned out to be one of three that my husband had to “take care of”, but after that we did not see anymore in the house. Just the tarantulas!

Rhoda’s “Critter Connection” Challenge, Day 5

Every morning we check the pool for dead animals that have fallen in overnight. It is sad but it is not that uncommon for desert critters to accidentally fall in and drown while trying to grab a drink. What is interesting about the grasshoppers is that they tend to float on top of the water with no real plan to get themselves out later. They are also huge!

So, my hubby goes along the side and rescues as many as he can by flicking them onto the patio. This guy immediately tried to fly away and managed to hit the wall and then tried to walk away.

Now that we have left for a month, I wonder how the rest will get out!

Roda’s “Critter Connection” Challenge, Day 4

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The other day we were walking by our gate which leads into the backyard and there appeared to be some grass stuck to the iron work.

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When we brushed it off, it landed on the ground and, to our surprise, began to crawl away! We realized it was a type of stick bug, brilliantly camouflaged for the desert grasses that are everywhere near our property.  A little research lead us to the Walking Stick species most commonly found in the desert.

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I actually think he is pretty cute!