‘Tis the season of all things spooky…… and scary…… and well, maybe cute? This Ghostly Gathering on Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls is hardly going to send you running. If anything, I want to scoop them up and take them home to look after…. With their googly, bog-eyed faces, I think they ooze character and almost seem too friendly to eat.
On the other hand….. I’ve tasted them and I tell you…. no amount of cuteness is going to keep these babies from being devoured! Moist, cinnamon and ginger-spiced pumpkin sponge, rolled around rich, decadent cream cheese frosting…… they can masquerade as adorably as they like, there’s no way they can save themselves….
I will be honest, I am not big on some of the traditions of Halloween. The idea that we send our kids out knocking on the doors of strangers, begging for sweets doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not that I am over-protective…. far from it….. but whilst I still keep some treats handy just in case the doorbell should ring, it remains an uncomfortable concept.
There is also the argument that Halloween is an ancient Pagan and therefore non-Christian festival. Now I am not actually religious either, but for those who shun this annual ‘Pagan’ ritual, look a little closer…. Its roots are both Pagan and Christian and over the centuries, it has become inseparably intwined with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day on the 1st November (which has apparently been around since the 7th Century) and All Souls Day on the 2nd. Reading around the subject, the Encyclopaedia of Religion suggests that historically, the Christian church introduced additional ‘connected’ festivals on or close to Pagan dates, to try and divert the attention away from, as well as absorb Pagan customs.
All Saints Day was introduced to commemorate the saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church (with All Hallows evening becoming ‘Halloween’) and later, a second celebration (All Souls Day) was added on November 2nd to commemorate all souls who have died.
The idea that we celebrate our dead is (for me) a really positive thing. We tend to be quite tight-lipped in the UK around our emotions and particularly loss and I am all for a bit of a remembrance party. From parties, picnics, vigils and decorating graves at cemeteries to symbolic dancing, prayer and elaborate face painting, the rituals of All Saints and All Souls day around the world still connect the present with the past….. departed loved ones celebrated for all that they gave and shared with us.
As for the modern US-UK symbolism of Halloween?…… Maybe it’s because I am a child of the 70’s, but I love the browns, oranges and slightly lairy colours that are around at this time of year, and making food which is fun, cute and tasty is always ‘up there’ on my priority list.
Which brings us back to these charmingly delicious Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls. They honestly aren’t that difficult to make and would be perfect sat on any table of Halloween party treats.
I am sharing this Ghostly Gathering with :
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber – celebrating Frighteningly Good Cakes
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins
Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps
Simple and in Season with Feeding Boys
Looking for other ‘free from’ Halloween inspiration? Check out more #FreeFromHalloween recipes from the gang :
Gluten Free Blogger – Pumpkin Spice Gluten Free Swiss Roll
Intolerant Gourmand – Halloween Cookies
Glutarama – Slimey Wagon Wheels
Free From Farmhouse – Easy Halloween Cupcakes
Free From Fairy – Raspberry ‘Blood’ Chocolates
The Peachicks Bakery – Pumpkin Spice Halloween Cookies
Dairy Free Kids – Barm Brack
Eats Amazing – Creepy Crudite Cups
Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – Halloween Meringues
Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls (makes 8 mini rolls + 8 mini cakes) or 1 large (10 inch/25 cm x 15 inch/38 cm) swiss roll)
40g fine brown rice flour
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon all spice powder
3 large eggs – room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
150g pumpkin puree (canned)
icing sugar to dust
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting (quantities are enough to include the frosting ‘ghosts’….. make approx two-third quantity if only making filled roll(s))
200g unsalted butter – softened
150g icing sugar – sifted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
a little milk to loosen (as necessary)
300g cream cheese (Mascarpone/Philadelphia or equivalent)
edible sweet eyes for decoration
- Sponge : Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5 and (for mini rolls) line the base and sides of a swiss roll tin (13 inch/33 cm x 9 inch/23 cm) with baking paper (use paper slightly larger than the tin size and make a short cut diagonally from each corner to allow neat folding to fit the tin). Also get ready a non stick mini-cake tin – either use a silicone mould or line the base of the holes on a metal tin with small rounds of baking paper). If you are making one large pumpkin roll, prepare a 10 inch/25 cm x 15 inch/38 cm tin.
- Weigh, mix together and sift the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, vanilla powder and spices and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and the mixture leaves a trail when the whisk is lifted (takes about 5 minutes at high speed).
- Add and whisk in the pumpkin puree.
- Add the dry ingredients and fold through quickly and lightly until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the top springs back when gently pressed. Keep a close eye, so as not to over-bake.
- Remove from the oven and quickly prepare a large sheet of baking paper, liberally sprinkled with sifted icing sugar.
- Whilst the cake is still hot, carefully flip it out upside-down onto the prepared baking paper. Peel off the baking paper that has protected the cake whilst cooking and carefully score a line with a knife at each short end (about 2 cm from the edge) and a further line to mark the half way point. (Remove the small cakes from their tins and set aside on a wire rack to cool).
- Very carefully, but quickly (the cake needs to still be warm) fold each end of baking paper over the sponge and roll from each end as tightly as possible, folding the baking paper into the roll, so that it forms a layer between the sponge as it rolls. The two rolled ends should meet in the centre at the third score line. Turn the roll over to secure and set aside to cool completely. This process will help to give the sponge a ‘memory’ and help prevent excessive later cracking.
- Filling : Whilst the cake is cooling, make the filling. In a large bowl, beat together the butter with the sifted icing sugar, vanilla and a dash of milk to loosen, until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the cream cheese last of all and gently beat through until smooth and evenly combined. If the mixture feels too stiff, add a dash more milk, but be careful not to over-beat (or the mix may curdle).
- When the sponge is cold, carefully unroll the swiss roll sponge and spread a good, even layer of cream cheese filling across the whole surface (remember you will need plenty left over to pipe ghosts if you are making them). Re-roll from each end and cut the sponges to separate them down the centre score line. Wrap each sponge in baking paper to secure and place in the fridge for an hour to firm up before cutting.
- When ready to cut into mini rolls, remove from the fridge, trim the ends off each cake and carefully cut into quarters with a sharp knife.
- Using a piping bag fitted with a wide, open round tip and containing the remaining cream cheese filling, carefully pipe ghosts on the top of each mini roll and each mini cake and press eyes into the frosting.
- Refrigerate until ready to eat. (If you are intending to make significantly ahead of time, be aware that the black colour in the eyes may ‘bleed’, so place the eyes on the ghosts just before serving).