Pumpkin Roll Candles

real pumpkin sponge rolls
real strawberry trifle

A seasonal pumpkin roll that’s stuffed with a sweet vanilla cream cheese filling is made using a pumpkin flavored sponge cake. The first known sponge cakes were created by Italian bakers during the Renaissance period sometime during the 15th century. Originally known as biscotto del re or King’s biscuit, these early sponge cakes were soaked in sherry or other fortified wines and were layered with custard, whipped cream, and fruit to form a dessert known as a tartufo or trifle.

Sponge cakes are a type of unleavened quick bread that get their fluffiness from well beaten egg whites. The first known sponge cake recipe is attributed to a cookbook by Gervase Markham that was published in 1615. The term “sponge cake” was first referenced by the novelist Jane Austen in a letter that was penned in 1808. From the context of her letter, the sponge cake was one of Ms. Austen’s favorite desserts.

My first experience with a pumpkin loaf dates back to when I began working as a Culinary Arts instructor in 2007. Since my predecessor had sold pumpkin loaves as an annual fund raiser project to supplement Culinary Arts funding, the principal asked if I could continue this tradition particularly since many families in the local community enjoyed serving these pumpkin loaves as part of their Thanksgiving dinners.

real pumpkin sponge cake

Although I had never done this before, it wasn’t hard to make these loaves. After making thin sheet cakes using a pumpkin sponge batter, my students spread a sweetened vanilla cream cheese over the cakes prior to rolling them up. The only real secret to doing this is that adding a filling to a pumpkin sponge needs to be done while the cake is still warm and pliable. Sponge cakes that are allowed to cool to room temperature are likely to crack, tear, and break when being rolled. The cream cheese filling also needs to be warm. Warm cream cheese is a lot easier to spread than cold cream cheese which could resist spreading and tear the delicate sponge.

After each cake was rolled, it was plastic wrapped and refrigerated. After the cream cheese cooled, the filling acted as a binder to help with holding the loaf together. With a production cost of about $7.50 per loaf, we sold each loaf for $20. The fifty rolls we made generated a net profit of $625 and were completely sold out to the faculty and staff within 24 hours.

While shopping at a local supermarket earlier this week, I saw a strawberry sponge loaf and thought about using this to make a pumpkin loaf candle. After slicing the loaf, I froze it prior to using this slice to make a silicone mold. The mold was filled with wax that I scented using Nature Garden’s pumpkin crunch cake aroma. The candle I produced is pictured below.

pumpkin loaf candle

The vanilla filling had to be painted on. To simulate the filling, I used undyed wax that I scented with vanilla toffee crunch.

pumpkin loaf candle

To simulate a crust, I simply darkened melted wax from the pumpkin loaf by mixing additional orange and brown dye. The wax was then painted on.

Although I could have chosen a perfect strawberry roll slice as a model for my mold, I chose one that was slightly flawed. The loaf pictured above had a small piece of missing crust that allows one to see the underlying crumb. Since I liked the contrast between the loaf’s crust and the sponge, I made a mold using this slice as opposed to one that would have been more visually perfect.

pumpkin loaf candle

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