Food & Drink

Fall memories and a friend's awesome pumpkin roll recipe

Friends contribute so much to my life, especially ones who share recipes. Rebecca Cody has the honor of being the first friend I made in Olympia in January 1989. We have since worked together, played together, laughed together and shed tears of both joy and sadness.

We have so many happy memories, especially from back in the days when we worked together on trade shows. One glorious autumn day, we were unwinding from a show in Washington, D.C. We drove through the Virginia countryside, headed for Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains. After awhile we decided to explore the charming towns and villages in the Shenandoah River Valley. The trees were ablaze with color and yards all along the way were decked out for Halloween. The farms often featured bundles of corn stalks, bales of hay, lots of scarecrows, fake tombstones and filmy cheesecloth ghosts flying in the trees. Raucous crows lent authenticity to the scenes.

Every few miles, there would be a charming antique store. We stopped at most of them. Rebecca would spot one and about the time she raised her hand to point and start to say something, I had already put on the turn signal. Every time this happened, we would burst into laughter. It was a case of perfect synchronicity born of deep affection and a shared passion for the kind of shopping that drives men crazy.

Several months ago, Rebecca sent me a recipe for Pumpkin Roll. I saved it for now because it’s perfect for a fall dinner party or a potluck. Best of all, it’s really simple to make. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of rolling the finished cake up in a towel. “It’s impressive because it looks like it would be tricky,” Rebecca said. “But it isn’t, as long as you roll it up while it’s still warm, then unroll it to fill it and roll it back up.”

The worst thing that can happen is that it can crack – mine did because I let it get too cold. But don’t worry. By the time you slice it up and put it on a plate, no one will notice, especially after they have tasted it.

If you haven’t used Saigon cinnamon, give it a try. You can find it at Buck’s Fifth Avenue. All you have to do is sniff regular cinnamon and then the Saigon to be convinced. Because it’s more pungent, Anne Buck suggests using less. However, I say, use more. Like garlic in savory dishes, it’s hard to overdo it.

Karyn Lindberg has called Olympia home since 1988. She is passionate about cooking and entertaining. She believes good recipes are meant to be shared.

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup pumpkin

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup flour


2 tablespoon soft butter

8-ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar

Prepare a rimmed cookie sheet or jellyroll pan (9”x12”) by buttering or spritzing with cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper in the pan. Cut it to fit snug against the 12” side but leave about 2 inches hanging over the short ends. Spray or butter the parchment paper.

Mix the eggs and sugar together and add the other ingredients. Combine well using an electric mixer or whisk. Pour into the prepared pan. It will be about a half-inch thick. Use a spatula so that the batter is distributed evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, spread out a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar as evenly as possible.

As soon as the cake is done, remove it from the oven and immediately turn the pan over onto the towel. Remove the pan and carefully remove the parchment paper. Then, folding the towel over one of the short ends, roll up the cake and towel, making it nice and tight. Leave it on the kitchen counter to cool with the seam side down.

In about an hour, prepare the filling. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly over the surface. Roll the cake again, this time leaving the towel behind. Put it on a pretty plate with the seam side down. Refrigerate until well-chilled. Trim the ends so the spiral shows nicely. Slice and serve. Makes about eight servings.