Last night my friend LuAnn came over so I could help her make a successful Pumpkin Cake Roll to take to her family Thanksgiving dinner. She'd made one before, but ended up turning it into a layer cake when it cracked to pieces. Everyone loved it because it was still delicious, but she was hesitant to try it again.
Here's the thing: this cake always cracks, at least for me.The key is to minimize the cracking and try to confine it to the part that's rolled inside and less visible.
Here is where I wish I'd taken a bunch of photos, but I'll try to draw you some word pictures. (That sentence is way too "Simple Jack" for my liking, but it's early in the morning and I'm tired, so I'm leaving it.)
LuAnn had carefully measured all of the cake ingredients and arrived ready to just mix everything together. It wasn't long before we had spicy, pumpkin-y cake batter.
The cake went into the oven and it smelled wonderful. I'd greased and floured the pan within an inch of its life and when the 15 minutes were up, I went to turn it onto the powdered sugar-covered towel.
The cake stuck to the pan. The middle of the cake separated from the edges and crashed into an untidy pile of cake pieces. Crap.
I piled the failed cake into a bowl, figuring it would make an excellent trifle with cream cheese pudding, whipped cream and some spiced rum.
Fortunately I had all the ingredients we needed to make another cake. This time I extra, extra greased and floured the pan. When the cake was finished baking, I took a thin spatula and carefully loosened the edges all the way around. You know, the way I should have the first time around.
The cake came out perfectly. I rolled it in the new powdered sugar-covered towel and we let it cool while we made the filling and further killed time watching "Heroes."
Unrolling time came and - look at my surprise face! - the cake cracked a bit. LuAnn spread the cream cheese filling and I stepped in to roll it back up. It wasn't too bad. There was only one exterior crack and it was low enough that it wasn't terribly obvious. I was happy to consider it a success.
I decided not to make one for myself right now because we're going to have pumpkin pie with Thanksgiving dinner and that's plenty for four people. However, I am looking forward to making trifle with the disaster cake...