• Last modified 2126 days ago (Oct. 24, 2013)


COOKING WITH...: Marge Summervill's pumpkin cake roll is so nice it must be tasted twice

Staff writer

Marge Summervill makes a pumpkin cake roll that family, friends, and colleagues both remember and anticipate every year.

Never had a pumpkin roll you say? Think crushed pecans, sprinkled on a light spongy crust, a cream cheese vortex, and a delightful mix of pumpkin, cinnamon, sugar, ginger, nutmeg and vanilla that only gets better one bite after the other.

“The recipe is made all from scratch except for the pumpkin,” Summervill said. “Opening a can of pumpkin is far easier than the pumpkin patch.”

Summervill said that real pumpkin can be used, too, but she has always used canned pumpkin in her recipe because of the time constraints of working on a farm.

“I go for the easy recipes,” she said. “Sometimes the simplest is the best.”

Summervill said she knows many great cooks in Marion who love to cook. However, she cooks for the necessity of it. She has cooked not only for her family but also for hired help at the Summervill farm for years.

“None of us has ever starved,” she joked.

As to the pumpkin cake roll, Marge said she found the recipe at an open house event in Emporia with her husband, Mick, about 20 years ago.

There was a tasting table that had samples of different desserts along with the recipe cards for each, she said. She tried the pumpkin cake roll, took the recipe, and unknowingly made it a family tradition at Thanksgiving.

“I don’t know when the tradition started,” Summervill said. “I didn’t make it one year and everyone said, ‘We can’t have Thanksgiving without your pumpkin roll’.”

Her daughter, Kay Lynn, is carrying on the family tradition by baking and taking a pumpkin roll to her husband’s family Thanksgiving.

“Now they expect it too,” Summervill said. “They expect it every year.”

Sumervill also delivers a pumpkin cake roll to the staff at Marion Cooperative Grain and Supply every year around harvest time to thank them for all their hard work.

“They’re very polite and unassuming, but they remind me if I haven’t brought one by,” Summervill said. “They do like it, I think. They said they don’t put it out for the customers. They keep it for the staff.”

Summervill said the secret to a successful pumpkin cake roll is unrolling and rolling it back up without cracking the crust.

“If you can figure that out, let me know, mine is never perfect,” she said. “But my family eats it whether it is cracked or not.”

Marge Summervill’s Pumpkin Cake Roll


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. pumpkin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ¾ c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg


  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 4 T. butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 8 oz. cream cheese


Beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Stir in pumpkin and lemon juice.

Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin. (Summervill said folding in the ingredients makes for a lighter crust rather than if you were to stir them in.) Spread into a greased and floured 15x10x1-inch pan. (Summervill said the dough should be an oval shape.) Top with chopped nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Turn out onto a tea towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. (Summervill uses a spatula to loosen the crust from the baking sheet.) Next, starting at narrow end, roll the cake and towel together. Let cake cool, then unroll and spread filling over cake. Roll cake up again, chill, and slice to serve.

Last modified Oct. 24, 2013