Pumpkin Roll recipe can be found at the bottom of this story.
WOODVILLE, W.Va. -- Sue Dolin can't tell you exactly how many pumpkin rolls she and her fellow churchwomen made last year. The profit, however, was $12,000. At $10 apiece, that's a lot of pumpkin rolls for the women of First Baptist Church of Woodville Ladies Circle to bake, frost and roll.
Especially considering they bake them two at a time in the church kitchen that houses just one residential-sized oven. Last year, they produced 114 cake rolls on the Monday before Thanksgiving and 115 on Dec. 15, endeavors which required 12- to 14-hour work sessions.
"We took the two days before Thanksgiving off," said Sandy Wilburn. "We have to cook for our families."
Days off are rare for the six or seven women who count themselves among the ranks of bakers. A total of about 13 women help in the process, some with tasks other than baking, like packaging and delivery. They bake cake rolls in other flavors like raspberry, strawberry, red velvet, spice, chocolate/peanut butter and banana bread, year round. Pumpkin orders, their biggest sellers, peak in the fall.
"Start? We haven't quit baking," said Dolin, who initiated the pumpkin roll project four years ago as a fundraiser for the little church's special projects and missions. They also make chocolate peanut butter eggs for Easter. The 40-member congregation supports the Lincoln County church through tithing. The cake roll sales don't go toward the church's budget.
The women have commissioned a stained glass window for the fellowship hall, provided blinds and pew covers, sponsored a mission in Haiti, and funded a church trip to Pittsburgh to attend a religious musical. A missionary who spoke to their church several weeks ago got their attention. They're planning a big donation to his mission in Thailand.
The women fill orders as they come in and can usually produce an order placed in the morning by the evening of the same day. They bake nearly every day in the fall. One of the circle members, Chiquita Whitten, moves lots of them at the feed and seed store she runs just up the road from the church. They don't do much marketing.
"When you have a good product, and price it well, you don't have to sell," said Dolin.
The recipe is Wilburn's, and is published in the circle's cookbook. People could make them from the recipe, but many prefer to pick them up from the church ladies.
"I don't really like pumpkin rolls," Wilburn said. "I've been making them for years to give as Christmas gifts.
The cake rolls contain no preservatives, and are chilled in two regular-sized refrigerators. "We don't freeze them because we sell them so fast," said Donna Lovejoy as she mixed batter with an electric hand mixer. They use a sturdier stand mixer to blend the rich cream cheese filling. Last year, the bakers went through three hand mixers and burned out the engine of one stand mixer.
The long counter serves as an assembly line workstation, starting with mixing the batter on one end. Lovejoy handled that task last week. The mother of four home-schools her three youngest children, who accompany her at many of the baking sessions.
She poured the batter into waxed paper-lined pans and slid them into the oven, where they baked for 13 minutes. Lovejoy assembled ingredients for the next batch.
When the timer went off, she pulled the fragrant cakes out of the oven, and then upended them on sheets of waxed paper sprinkled with powdered sugar. She pulled the waxed paper off the top, sprinkled the top with powdered sugar and rolled the cake up in more waxed paper to cool curled in a jellyroll shape. The cooled rolls were passed down the line, unrolled, spread with a generous helping of creamy filling and rolled back up.
Swathed in plastic wrap, the pumpkin rolls were placed in the refrigerator to chill until they are delivered. Saint Francis and Thomas hospitals are their biggest customers, although Alpha Resources is gaining ground. While they worked, Katrina Linville, an Alpha employee, stopped by to pick up a delivery.
"I just started taking orders last year. I filled the order form in about two minutes this year," Linville said. "People love these."
Additional members of the Ladies Circle are Frances Graley, Sandy Lovejoy, Stephanie Morris, Laura Searls, Natasha Searls, Tammy Smith, Amanda Wilburn, Julie Wilburn and Tammy Wilburn.
Cake roll flavors include pumpkin (with or without nuts), strawberry, lemon, coconut cream, red velvet, butterscotch, vanilla, spice, pineapple, orange and carrot. Bread roll flavors are chocolate with peanut butter filling, spice and banana. Sugar-free cakes are available in most flavors. All cake rolls, including those with nuts, are $10.
To order cake rolls, call Dolin at 304-524-7919, Whitten at 304-524-2483 or Sandy Wilburn at 304-369-0291.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
2/3 cup canned pumpkin