Pumpkin Chestnut Roulade



by Chef Dennis Wasko
with comments by Chef Laura Frankel

Dennis: I have only made this fantastic cake a few times, but it has already become a family favorite.  The combination of delicately spiced pumpkin cake with festive, silky chestnut filling works perfectly together.  This cake is so moist, it is almost like eating a holiday pudding.

Laura: Pudding-shmudding, I love this cake. It is versatile and delish. I wish you would make a double batch and then I could eat it for breakfast, in the car, on my way to work!

Dennis: Do you really eat breakfast, let alone cake, in the car? This is not something you would ever let me do, what is with that? The cake is great and can be baked into muffins, a loaf or layers. It is healthy and I suppose if you want to eat it for breakfast then this is a good cake for that, though I am still not sure you would let me do it.

Laura: pumpkin is a FRUIT and the cake counts as part of my fruit servings J

Dennis: HA! I don’t think so dear, but eat up.


2  3/4 cups sugar
4 whole large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Line a standard jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.

Whip eggs and sugar together until light, fluffy, and forms a ribbon.  Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and mix to combine.

Fold in dry ingredients making sure they are well blended and no lumps of flour remain.

Spread in prepared jelly-roll pan and bake in center of oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until center of cake springs back when pressed.

Run a thin knife along the sides of the cake to loosen from the pan and slide cake and parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cooling rack.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then begin to roll the cake from one of the short sides until completely rolled and seam is on the bottom.  Cool completely.  Be sure that cake remains attached to the parchment paper as this will allow you to unroll the cake when cooled.

Chestnut Filling:
Dennis: The humble chestnut is sadly overlooked in American desserts.  Not only is it deliciously versatile, but it is also extremely good for you.  Rich in vitamins and minerals, the chestnut is a near perfect treat.

Laura: Like I said, perfect for breakfast! This filling is like French comfort food. Can you make it as a filling for éclairs? I am sure you can figure it out-so get in the kitchen Pastry Boy and make me some éclairs! I like the addition of liquor-we can just drink this and skip the dinner! Just kidding!

Dennis: Yes, this would make a sublime filling for éclairs.

Laura: Nu?


2 cups almond milk or rice milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
5 ounces unsweetened chestnut puree. Hero Brand makes a kosher chestnut puree which should be available online.*
1/4 cup rum, bourbon, or water


Place almond milk, salt, and vanilla bean seeds into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cornstarch.  Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is pale and stiff.

Add half of the infused almond milk and whisk to blend.  Transfer egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining almond milk.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil while whisking constantly.  Cook for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together chestnut puree and rum, bourbon, or water.  Remove egg mixture from heat, add chestnut puree, and whisk to combine.  Pass chestnut crème through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps.

Pour mixture into a wide, shallow bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool.

Chocolate Glaze:
Dennis:  This simple chocolate glaze is the perfect finish for this cake; the orange roulade cake coated in shimmering dark chocolate results in an elegant, eye-catching presentation. This glaze is very versatile and can be used to finish a multitude of desserts.

Laura: I think you need to mention that good chocolate is the only way to go and cheap chocolate is not going to work.

Dennis: Sorry Cheffy, I almost forgot… Yes, be sure that you use a good quality chocolate for this glaze.  The final product will only be as good as what you put into it.  I like to use a Belgian chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.  This will give you a rich, seductively dark glaze that is just sweet enough without being cloying.


1/4 cup water
2/3 cup golden syrup or organic corn syrup
6 ounces best quality dark chocolate, chopped

Heat the water and syrup until simmering, DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Allow the mixture to stand until chocolate has melted. Whisk until smooth.  Allow to cool while assembling the cake.  If glaze becomes too firm, gently heat over simmering water.  Glaze should be pourable, but not too thin.

To Assemble Cake:

Carefully unroll the cooled pumpkin sponge on a flat wok surface, parchment side down.

Spread an even layer of cooled chestnut filling over the cake.  You should use all of the filling.

Begin rolling filled cake from the same end as initially rolled, only this time as you roll begin to carefully peel away the parchment paper so that it does not become part of the cake.  The pumpkin sponge is a bit sticky, so you may need to coax the cake away from the parchment using an offset spatula.  Continue rolling cake to the end being sure that seam is on the bottom.  It is normal for some of the filling to be squeezed out of the roll.

Carefully transfer rolled cake to a clean piece of parchment paper that is large enough to roll the cake in.  Roll cake in parchment and then tightly roll cake in plastic wrap.  Be sure ends are tightly sealed.  Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours.  Make sure seam-side is down.

To finish cake, remove from refrigerator, carefully unwrap and place seam-side down on a cooling rack set over a parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan.

Liberally pour half of the chocolate glaze over the length of the cake (you do not need to glaze the ends) making sure that the cake is evenly coated with the glaze and that there are no bare spots anywhere.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then repeat glazing process with remaining glaze.

Allow to sit for 20 minutes and carefully trim the ends to achieve a clean, even look.  Transfer to a large, flat serving plate and refrigerate.  Remove cake from refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving.


*If you cannot find kosher chestnut puree, you can make your own as follows:
5.2 ounces peeled, roasted chestnuts, I use Gefen Brand (Laura here: it is amazing that you can find this stuff now-not long ago, it did not exist kosher. If we do not use it, the demand will decrease and they will not longer make it. So, chestnuts for everyone!)

1 1/4 cups almond milk or water
Pinch fine sea salt

Combine chestnuts, almond milk, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, until chestnuts are very soft and all but about 1/2 cup of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, reserving chestnuts and cooking liquid separately. Process chestnuts in a food processor until very smooth, adding reserved cooking liquid (and additional liquid if needed), 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is the consistency of a thick spread. Pass through a large-mesh sieve.

Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipes: Desserts, Cake, Pumpkin, Chestnut, Parve, Kosher

Print   Email