Marking Time with Traditions

posted in: Hoiday, Recipe | 0

One of the things I love about my religion is the ability to both lean on the past, and make stuff up as you go along šŸ™‚ The “Wheel of the Year” is what we call the cycle of holy days that make up the witch’s calendar; celebrated at the solstices, equinoxes, and the midpoints in-between (it comes out to 8 holidays, each about 6 weeks apart). We are coming up on what many would consider the High Holy Day of neo-paganism: Samhain, better known as Halloween.Ā Wheel of the Year

Each holiday has its own energy that is hooked into the cycle of the Earth: Samhain (pronounced saw-wen), for example, is the end of the year because it is the dying time. All of the plants are closed down for winter. The next six weeks will be ones of rest as we sink into the dark, rich compost of Mama Earth, taking time for contemplation and recharging. Samhain and the time leading up to it areĀ also intricately connected to the world of dead, this being the time that the veil between the worlds is traditionally the thinnest, reaching its most intangibleĀ on the night of October 31st.

This year I have been working on creating or continuing specific traditions that we celebrate as a family to mark the Wheel’s turning. Our oldest and most beloved tradition is one that happens every October, as soon as the pumpkins hit the market: baking pumpkin cake rolls! It’s not necessarily a Samhain-specific tradition, but the GrandmothersĀ like a good slice of pumpkin cake role as much as anybody, and October is definitely the month to spoil the ancestors with nummy offerings šŸ˜‰ In fact, for me, it marks our “anniversary”: it was an October many years ago that I beganĀ an intentional ancestor practice and first made them offerings.

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Cake Roll
My daughter and I love this recipe: it always turns out perfectly moist and flavorful- it freezes great (seriously, I always make at least one to keep on hand for when we need a dessert and I have no time) and keeps for a nice long time in the fridge too, rolled up in plastic wrap (if for some reason you don't devour it right away). *tip: I almost always double this recipe! One to eat and one for the freezer; also, if you bake your own pumpkin you'll for sure have more than just one roll's worth of pulp.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
roll
Ingredients
Cake Roll
Cream Cheese Filling
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12-15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
roll
Ingredients
Cake Roll
Cream Cheese Filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a 15"x10" baking pan (or other cookie sheet of closest size) by lining it with parchment paper and greasing it.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl, whisk, and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg yolks on high speed with stand or hand mixer until they are thick and lemon colored.
  4. Slowly, add half of the sugar and the pumpkin mash. Once incorporated, beat on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  5. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in remaining sugar and continue until stiff peaks form.
  6. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites, then fold in dry ingredients. Be gentleā€”you want to keep as much volume as possible!
  7. Spread batter gently into baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes, then turn the cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with powdered sugar. Make sure one end of the towel sticks out beyond the cake. Peel off parchment paper. Sprinkle the cake lightly with powdered sugar.
  9. Roll up cake in the towel starting with the short side that has the extra towel length (fold the towel over the cake, and begin to roll from there). Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. While cake is cooling, make the filling: add all ingredients to the mixer (cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla) and beat until smooth.
  11. Unroll cake, spread filling evenly to 1/2 inch of edges. Roll up. May be frozen up to three months. To serve, slice after thawing. May dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.
Recipe Notes

How to prepare fresh pumpkin

Cut top from pumpkin. Scrape out the membrane and seeds. Cut pumpkin into large pieces and place on a baking sheet. Bake about 45 minutes at 350Ā°F. Let cool until able to handle comfortably. Scrape the soft pulp from rind. Pulse the pulp in a food processor until fully purĆ©ed or pass through a sieve to achieve same result.

Choose a small, sweet variety (a 2 to 4 pound "sugar" or "pie" pumpkin); the larger a pumpkin is the stringier it is! Read more about choosing a pumpkin here!

Share this Recipe

Leave a Reply