Pumpkin Mini Rolls. PERFECT for a ghostly HALLOWEEN. Made with a gluten free sponge and cream cheese frosting.
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DON’T LOSE THIS RECIPE! PIN Pumpkin Mini Rolls FOR LATER…
Pumpkin Mini Rolls for a Ghostly Halloween…
These Pumpkin Mini Rolls are a perfect Autumn treat. After all, it is the season of all things spooky… and scary… and well, maybe cute? This Halloween ghostly gathering is hardly going to send you running. If anything, you might want to scoop them up and take them home to look after. With their googly, bog-eyed faces, they ooze character and look almost 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, These pumpkin mini rolls can masquerade as adorably as they like. There’s no way they can save themselves.
The rituals and roots of Halloween
Thoughts on Trick or Treat
To be honest, I’m not big on some of the modern and commercial rituals of Halloween. The idea that we send kids out knocking on the doors of strangers, begging for sweets doesn’t sit well. It’s not that I’m over-protective… far from it. But while I still keep some treats handy just in case the doorbell should ring, it remains an uncomfortable concept.
Regardless of parental protection, it also seems heavily at odds with the whole ‘be wary of strangers’ message. If it’s not ok to take sweets from strangers in the street, why the heck would we encourage the kids to knock on doors and ask for them?
Pagan Vs Christian Roots
Halloween is often considered to be an ancient Pagan and therefore non-Christian festival. To be honest, I’m not particularly religious, but for those who shun this annual festival for its ‘Paganism’, look a little closer. The roots of Halloween are in fact, 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) as well as All Souls Day on the 2nd.
There is even suggestion that the Christian church introduced additional ‘connected’ festivals on or close to Pagan dates. This was to try and divert attention away from, as well as absorb Pagan customs.
A celebration of the dead
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 (I think) a really positive thing. People in the UK can be quite stoic around emotions and particularly loss. Having lost both parents and my brother, I can tell you that’s really not good for mental health. I am all for a bit of openness and remembrance.
From parties, picnics, vigils and decorating graves… to symbolic dance, prayer and elaborate face painting… The rituals of All Saints and All Souls day around the world help to connect the present with the past… Our departed loved ones celebrated for all they gave and shared with us.
Pumpkin Mini Rolls to celebrate Halloween
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 charming and delicious Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls. Topped with simple little ghosts of cream cheese frosting, they seem ready and willing to celebrate the dead in the friendliest of ways.
Are Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls easy to make?
If you have ever made a swiss roll, then these pumpkin mini rolls should be relatively easy to make. The sponge is moist and rollable which will limit cracking and hopefully the instructions are clear and helpful if you are a novice.
Cream cheese frosting can be tricky. I have written a helpful set of tips to getting it right in my post for Carrot Cake. So if you are new to making cream cheese frosting or have had trouble with it in the past, I would definitely recommend checking out the advice offered in that post.
Can I make Pumpkin Mini Rolls dairy free?
The sponge used for these pumpkin mini rolls is naturally dairy free. The cream cheese frosting is not. While I have not tried making cream cheese frosting without cream cheese however, Veggie Desserts has a vegan ‘cream cheese’ frosting recipe that looks like it will work.
The mini roll sponge recipe does however require eggs, so cannot be made vegan.
Other #FreeFromHalloween Inspiration
If you are looking for more ‘free from’ Halloween inspiration, here’s a few ideas from around the web to get you started.
- Intolerant Gourmand – Halloween Cookies
- Gluten Free Alchemist – Halloween Trick or Treat Rocky Road
- Gluten Free Alchemist – Healthy Halloween Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers
- Gluten Free Alchemist – Halloween Cake Pop Spiders
- Free From Fairy – Raspberry ‘Blood’ Chocolates
- Gluten Free Alchemist – Chocolate Spider Cupcakes
- Dairy Free Kids – Barm Brack
- Eats Amazing – Creepy Crudite Cups
- Gluten Free Alchemist – Pumpkin Scones
- Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen – Halloween Meringues
Here’s the recipe for Ghostly Halloween Pumpkin Mini Rolls
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Halloween Ghost Pumpkin Mini Rolls & Mini Cakes
- Swiss Roll tin
- mini cake moulds (optional)
- sharp knife
- piping bag and round open nozzle
- 40 g fine brown rice flour
- 30 g sorghum flour
- 30 g tapioca starch
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder gluten free
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp allspice powder
- 3 large eggs At room temperature. UK large (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’)
- 200 g golden caster sugar
- 150 g pumpkin puree canned
- icing sugar to dust
Cream Cheese Filling/Frosting (see NOTES re quantities)
- 200 g unsalted butter softened
- 1 tsp vanilla paste/powder
- 300 g cream cheese Philadelphia or equivalent
- 150 g icing sugar sifted
- ½ tbsp milk to loosen – if necessary
- edible sweet eyes for decoration
- 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). If you are making one large pumpkin roll, prepare a 10 inch/25 cm x 15 inch/38 cm tin.
- For the additional mini cakes, 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).
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
- Weigh and mix together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, vanilla powder and spices and set aside. TIP : Weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and the mixture leaves a lasting 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.
- Prepare a large sheet of baking paper by liberally sprinkling with sifted icing sugar.
- Remove the sponge from the oven and while it 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. Fold 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 middle at the central 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.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- While the cake is cooling, make the filling.
- Soften the butter slightly and beat in a medium bowl until smooth and beginning to pale.
- Add and beat in the vanilla.
- Take the cream cheese from the fridge and drain-off any excess liquid.
- Add the cream cheese to the bowl and beat into the butter (preferably with a beater attachment or wooden/firm silicone spoon) until just smooth. Do not over-beat.
- Add the sifted icing sugar about a third at a time and gently beat or mix through. Again, use a beater attachment rather than a whisk or use a wooden/firm silicone spoon to avoid over-beating. If you over-beat, the icing may become liquid, so be very careful.
- Place back in the fridge until ready to use.
- When ready to use, if the frosting has become too hard to work, simply leave at room temperature for a short while and fold through.
Filling and Decorating
- When the sponge is cold, carefully unroll 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 frosting, 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).
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