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Carrot Cake Roulade with Pineapple Cream Cheese


Serves 10 to 12

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 122

Carrot cake gets a new spin when the cream cheese icing becomes a luscious filling punctuated by juicy pieces of pineapple. Though fresh is best, you can use pineapple canned in its own juice.

For the filling
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh pineapple (about 2/3 of a pineapple), drained in a sieve
For the cake
  • Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan
  • 3-3/8 oz. (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs. for the pan
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrots (from about 3 medium carrots)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs, separated, whites at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
To finish
  • 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Make the filling

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until well combined and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually sift in the confectioners’ sugar, beating and scraping until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix to blend. Reserve the pineapple separately.

Make the cake

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter an 18x13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line the pan with parchment. Butter the parchment and sprinkle the 2 Tbs. of flour over it, shaking the pan for even coverage and knocking out the excess.

Put the carrots in a 1-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well. Purée in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, add the orange zest, and cool to room temperature

In a small bowl, sift together the 3/4 cup flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, and cloves. Add the salt and stir to combine.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium-low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrot purée and mix on low speed, scraping down the sides as necessary, until just combined. In three additions, add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed, and scraping the bowl as needed, until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In a clean stand mixer bowl, with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 2 minutes. Fold one-third of the beaten whites into the carrot mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining whites until the batter is evenly colored, with no streaks of white. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, gently spreading it with an offset spatula.

Bake, rotating the pan about halfway through, until golden-brown, set to the touch, and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 16 to 18 minutes. Immediately loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a paring knife. Sift the confectioners’ sugar evenly over the cake.

While the cake is still hot, lay a clean, unscented, lint-free kitchen towel over it. If the towel is long, extend one end about 1-1/2 inches beyond a short side of the cake and don’t worry about the other end. Invert a large rack or cutting board over the towel. Holding both the baking sheet and the rack with protected hands, invert the cake. Remove the baking sheet and parchment.

Using both hands and starting from the short end with the shortest towel overhang, roll the cake and the towel up together. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Carefully unroll the cake; it should look wavy and both ends should curl. (It’s OK if there are some small cracks.) Let cool completely, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using an offset spatula, spread the filling over the cake to within 1-1/2 inches of the far short edge and to within 1/2 inch of the other  edges. Distribute the pineapple over the cream cheese mixture. Be sure to coax the filling into the interior of the  closer curled end so that when the cake is sliced there will be filling in the center of the spiral

Reroll the cake without the towel this time. The filling may squish out of the ends a bit, which is fine.

Finish the cake

With a serrated knife and a sawing motion, trim the ends of the cake. Using 2 large spatulas, transfer the cake to a serving platter.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar and the cinnamon. Just before serving, use a fine sieve to generously dust the top of the roulade with the sugar. Slice the cake with the serrated knife and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 340, Fat (kcal): 17, Fat Calories (g): 150, Saturated Fat (g): 10, Protein (g): 5, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 43, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 220, Cholesterol (g): 120, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

As others have commented, this did take some time but it was so worth the extra effort. The flavors mixed together very nicely and the frosting with the pineapple really hit the spot. It was a huge hit at our family dinner party.

I feel a little guilty being the rating curmudgeon in the group giving this only four stars. I've been on a roll lately (no pun intended) making cake rolls and this one just seems to fall short of my expectations. Don't get me wrong, this is a lovely cake, and certainly worth making, but I don't think it as flavorful as others I've made, especially the cake part.

Delicious but time consuming. Very impressive presentation.

Everyone liked this a lot. I loved the presentation. I'll make it again for a special occasion, like Easter dinner, but it was VERY time consuming. Also used every bowl & utensil I own. Next time, I'll chop the pineapple in the food processor to save some time and make it a bit softer & smoother.

A real winner and a "make-again" recipe. Everyone enjoyed it. I decided to roast my carrots with a bit of orange juice, but I'm not sure it made that big of a taste difference in the end. I'd probably just follow the directions next time and sub some of the water they boil in for orange juice just to boost the orange flavour a bit. In addition to the fresh pineapple, I also sprinkled with sweetened shredded coconut. And as a finishing touch, I sprinkled with coconut in addition to the icing sugar on top.

I made this roulade for a bake sale today. It is beautiful and delicious! The pineapple cream cheese filling is excellent...not too sweet and complements the lightly spiced, sponge-like, carrot cake perfectly. I followed the recipe exactly. From my experience today, it is imperative that the fresh pineapple be drained least a couple of hours. I wonder if canned crushed pineapple could be substituted which would save a lot of time in the preparation; however, the overall outcome of this roulade is well worth the time spent in preparation.

This is a delicious yummy carrot cake roulade. I made it this past weekend following the recipe with minor changes (I omitted the pepper and added slightly less spices than specified as I just like the smell of the spices not the taste). The cake turned out wonderful. It was very easy to bake. The magazine page describing the technique to roll the cake is very helpful. We absolutely loved this cake and will make it again soon.

My husband love the cake, when I told him that there is still 2 pieces left over after the baby shower he was so happy but I did not bring it back:-( so I promise I will do it again for him. I feel the cake is more on a bread texture than a cake texture but I like it. And the video on the website really help me a lot with the rolling up. Thank you.

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