Pumpkin Spice Ghoul Log with Apple Butter Cream Cheese Filling

I was talking to my friend, Tina, a few weeks ago about Yule logs; whether we’ve made them, good recipes for them, etc., when I was struck with inspiration. Why wait until Christmas for a Yule log?!

I know that there is a lot of tradition surrounding the Yule log, but it’s so yummy, I wanted to have my own version for Halloween.

Enter the Ghoul Log.

See what I did there? ;)

I decided, too, that since I was going with festive Halloween decor, then why not change up the flavors to spicy Fall goodness? A pumpkin roll obviously fit the bill, and a little apple butter whipped into the cream cheese filling was a pretty genius idea…if I do say so myself.

Just like any jelly roll, or roulade cake, you’ll want to turn the still hot cake out onto a clean, dry dish towel that has been generously dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Remove the parchment paper from the cake, then…

…roll the cake and towel together tightly.

Once the cake is completely rolled up into the towel, place it seam side down, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

After the cake has rested, unroll it from the towel and transfer the cake to a piece of parchment paper on an unrimmed baking sheet. Spread the cake with desired filling and reroll the cake firmly, placing it seamside down.

At this point, I like to chill the cake while I make the ganache. The ganache needs to sit for about an hour before being spread on the cake, so the cake firms up nicely while it chills, just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap to keep it moist.

Once the ganache is ready, slice one end of the cake off at an angle, set the cut piece aside for use later. Slice another thin piece off of the other end, just to even the cake out. You can totally eat that piece. ;)

Spread most of the ganache over the cake, leaving the cut ends unfrosted. You don’t have to be very neat about it, because you want it to look like tree bark. Once the cake is covered, use a fork to create a wood grain look by dragging the tines lightly through the ganache.

Next, place the cut piece of cake on top of the ghoul log, diagonal side up. Spread the remaining ganache on the sides of the “branch” like you did on the main part of the cake, again using a fork to create a wood grain look.

Now your cake is ready to be decorated. All of the directions above work perfectly for a holiday Yule log, as well.

I decided to decorate my ghoul log with little fondant jack o lanterns and meringue ghosties, which, admittedly, aren’t exactly ghoulish, but they are awfully cute. :)

Even though Yule, and in this case ghoul, logs are traditionally decorated with meringue decorations (like mushrooms for Yule logs), you can definitely,make this simpler by using fresh whipped cream, vanilla buttercream, or rolled fondant for the ghosts. You could also make your elements out of marzipan or even cake bites.

The jack o lanterns are simply fondant (or marzipan), tinted orange, and shaped into balls or ovals. Use a toothpick or modeling tool to press lines into the sides, then draw faces on with a black food writer. Finish each pumpkin off with a twisted green stem.

This is an impressive, festive Halloween cake that is actually very quick and easy to make. The cake is fast and simple to mix up, and since the ganache requires zero precision, it’s fun to just slop it on and have very life like looking wood with hardly any effort.

As for the actual cake…holyohmygoodness. It’s so delicious. I wasn’t sure about the filling at first, but it was the perfect sweet-tart compliment to the spicy pumpkin cake and the dark chocolate of the ganache.

I hope I’ve started a new tradition for the Fall holidays; an autumnal cake for the Halloween or Thanksgiving dessert table to go with the wintry Yule log we see at Christmas. :)

Pumpkin Spice Roll
with Apple Butter Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FILLING
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE GANACHE (optional)
6 ounces milk, white, bitter-, or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (8 ounces or 250 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees (190 C). Lightly spray a 10×15-inch rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the eggs and sugars until light and frothy. Stir in the pumpkin purée and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined; scrape the bowl. Sprinkle about half of the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, and mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched, and edges are beginning to brown lightly.

While the cake is baking, lay a clean, dry dish towel on a flat surface. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar over it and rub it into the towel with your hands. Sprinkle an additional tablespoon over the towel and leave as-is.

Once the cake is done, overturn it onto the prepared towel, peel away the parchment, and immediately roll the short side of the cake up in the towel. Transfer the roll to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 2 minutes. Beat in the half the sugar until combined. Add 1 tablespoon heavy cream and the remaining sugar; whisk on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir in the apple butter and vanilla, and whisk on high for another 4 minutes. If the frosting is too thick, add more cream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Chill until ready to use.

To make the ganache: Place the chocolate in a medium bowl: set aside.

Bring the heavy cream and butter to a gentle boil, or microwave until it begins to bubble and butter is melted. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and (now melted) chocolate together until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool completely, about an hour.

Assemble: Once cake is cooled, unroll it and spread the filling over the surface, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Re-roll the cake, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes.

After the cake is chilled, trim both ends using a serrated knife (if you wish to have a small “limb”, trim one end slightly more, and at an angle).

Spread most of the ganache over the cake, leaving the cut ends unfrosted. You don’t have to be very neat about it, because you want it to look like tree bark. Once the cake is covered, use a fork to create a wood grain look by dragging the tines lightly through the ganache.

Next, if adding the “limb”, place the cut piece of cake on top of the ghoul log, diagonal side up. Spread the remaining ganache on the sides of the “branch” like you did on the main part of the cake, again using a fork to create a wood grain look.

Decorate as desired.

Recipe by Darla

Leave a comment

Comments

  1. Becca - Cookie Jar Treats says

    This has got to be the greatest idea of the year. Seriously! I would have never though of making a ghoul log, and quite frankly I’m jealous you thought of it first, haha. :)

    You’re cake looks absolutely stunning!

Trackbacks