Surprise Cooking Adventure: OMG Pumpkin Spice Cake Swiss Roll Crumble Blah

Yes. Many of you have dreamed of this moment for so long, the moment where I bring you an impromptu Cooking Adventure. I had thought that maybe my cooking and baking skills had surpassed the early years of stupid screw ups in the kitchen. Since moving into the new house and having much more time and space to be creative in cooking, I’ve had very few run ins that have mandated a blog post to explain what the hell happened while trying to make something delicious. Today though…today’s result was so ugly, I couldn’t help but share.

With the evenings dipping into cooler temperatures here in Maine, I’ve had a huge hankering for everything autumnal. That includes baking pumpkin, squash, apple, and pecan creations, snuggling in blankets, wearing chunky sweaters and plaid shirts, and dreaming up decorations for eventual Halloween celebrations.

I decided before the weekend had even started that I was going to either make a pumpkin swiss roll or a pecan pie. Both are among my favorite fall dessert items and my sweet tooth would have been happy with either. On Monday, I opted for the pumpkin swiss roll idea. After returning home from grocery shopping, I turned on Spotify, unpacked ingredients and looked up a recipe. I pulled this one from Tasty. Now, disclaimer: this is a perfectly fine recipe…if one follows the directions. I clearly did not. I thought I was better than this.

I started out with measuring out my flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spices, and salt into a large bowl. I discovered during this that I didn’t have as much cinnamon as I would have liked and likely used too many of the other spices (nutmeg, ginger, and ground cloves) because I stuck to the recommended measurements instead of going lighter on them. It was also during this time that I tripped over the cat who proceeded to mewl angrily at me (even though he was standing under me). I also stubbed my toe on my own heel. Let it be known that I’m a danger to myself even when kitchen utensils aren’t in the mix. I put on shoes and continued.

After dry ingredients were mixed, I threw all my wet ingredients in a separate bowl (eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and vanilla) and mixed the hell out of those. Then, I blended the two in the large bowl until everything looked beautiful. I poured the batter onto a lined baking tray, evened everything out with a rubber spatula and hucked it in the oven for thirteen minutes.

It was about this time that I started to get ahead of myself, assuming that everything was going to plan and that one more element might not hurt to try. I decided that instead of a regular cream cheese filling, I wanted to flavor it with chai. My only problem was that at the store, I’d picked up a giant container of heavy cream anticipating that I’d be making whipped cream as the filling. The recipe instead called for cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. Not wanting to have wasted the money, I decided to put the heavy cream on the stove on low heat and threw a few chai tea bags into it to help infuse it with flavor.

Around this time, the oven began smoking like crazy, coming up out of the back left burner. The stench of smoke immediately made me check the oven. The pan that I put the cake into was the cause, though I wasn’t sure why. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure that its because I used waxed paper instead of parchment paper. So…yeah.

Did I bother to do anything about it? Nope. I let it just sit in there, completely oblivious and continued assembling the ingredients for the filling. Soon enough, the oven blared angrily at me to turn it off. I removed the pan and quickly lifted the cake on the waxed paper out and set it face down on a dish cloth on a cutting board. I peeled the paper off, and set about rolling up the cake in the dish towel.

Now, I have made Swiss rolls before. The first time, I actually filmed my first cooking adventure on it and well…it didn’t turn out so great. The second time, I made this very same recipe (minus the chai whipped cream) for Thanksgiving one year and even though it cracked, it looked hella good. (Yes, I just said “hella”. Don’t judge me.) I should have known by now that you have to wait for the cake to completely cool before you unroll it. To make a long story short: I didn’t.

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But as I set the rolled up cake aside and concentrated on my whipped filling, I had bigger, badder things to worry about. In a small bowl, I threw in one block of cream cheese, about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and then my warm chai-ish heavy cream. Then, I tried to mix them all together with a hand-mixer. Cue the unholy hot spray of cream as it flew all over the place. I ended up having to use my arm as a guard around the top of the bowl just to keep everything from flying out. Eventually, the carnage stopped and my ingredients began to meld together. Did I get stiff peaks? Not quite. Should I have kept mixing? Probably. Instead, I opted to stop before I made a bigger mess than I already had.

Because I was already impatient, I decided to unroll the cake. BIG MISTAKE. It unrolled just fine and I sighed with relief as I glopped on the chai whipped creamishness and started spreading it around. I knew in my heart that the filling didn’t have enough substance. The more I spooned on, the more I realized that it was just going to either soak into the cake or ooze out the sides when I rolled it back up. Too late now.

At this point, I knew I was screwed, but I was pretty sure it was going to taste great even if it looked like a train wreck. I started trying to roll the cake back up. Not only was it way too hot and immediately started cracking, it stuck horrifically to the dish towel and after several attempts of me carefully trying to peel it off, I went into a full on rage where the room turned red and Down With the Sickness began tearing through my head like a bullet.

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I basically ripped the cake from its towel host until it was free, chai whip spilling out both sides all over the towel, and hoisted it onto the pan to throw into the fridge.

The remaining eighty bazillion gallons of whipped topping ended up in an old pasta jar for later use. I’m sure it could go on ice cream or pancakes or…something.

All in all, the cake tastes like autumn and was the perfect compliment to the end of our weekend. I’m hoping that next time I try to tackle this, I remember the cardinal rule of letting the cake f-ing cool down. Also, I don’t need to make things more complicated for myself while baking. I should just follow the recipe.

Until next time,

KSilva

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