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Best Ohio-Inspired Fall Recipes

Take a bite out of fall by baking seasonal and fall-inspired food and treats. 

Sliced pumpkin cake roll

Best Ohio-Inspired Fall Recipes

By Mary Kleffner

Posted On: Sep 16, 2022

Fall is a special season in Ohio. From cooler temperatures and crisp breezes to the satisfying crunch of leaves under your feet – there's something to look forward to every year. And although there are plenty of ways to bring in the season, there's one way that's simply better than the rest – baking seasonal and fall-inspired food and treats!

This fall, try your hand at candy buckeyes, a scrumptious pawpaw (Ohio's largest native tree fruit) pudding, or stick to tradition by making your own pumpkin roll or baked apples. 'Tis the season! Make memories and create new traditions by trying out fun, Ohio-themed recipes.

closeup of Pumpkin Cake Roll

Pumpkin Cake Roll

A trip to the pumpkin patch is one of the best ways to celebrate fall – and there's no better feeling than picking out the perfect pumpkin to take home. Savor seasonal flavors with a classic pumpkin roll that you can share with all your friends and family!


  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh puréed pumpkin)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes. Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

baked bloomin apple with cinnamon and caramel sauce drizzle on a blue and white china plate

Bloomin' Apples

It doesn't get more fall than apple picking. Walking through rows of apple trees, feeling a nice, cool breeze – the experience is fun for all your loved ones. This year, try something different and create "blooming apples" – a yummy twist on the classic baked apple.


  • 4 good size Granny Smith apples (or the apples of your choice)
  • 4 Tbsp. of rolled oats
  • 4 Tbsp. of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • Prepared caramel sauce


  1. Take your apples and cut off the tops.
  2. Cut around the core (but not all the way to the bottom because you want it to be closed so the filling doesn't come out). Scoop out most of the core.
  3. From there, you'll use your knife to cut 2-3 circles in the perimeter around the hole where the core was, making sure you don't cut all the way through to the bottom. It should look to have a bullseye effect.
  4. Turn the apple over to the top is face-down. Placing the tip of your knife about a centimeter or so from the center of the bottom of the apple and cut down to the top of the apple. Do this all the way around the outside of the apple. Place them top-side-up into a deep baking pan.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix your oats, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Divide the mixture between the four apples and stuff it into the middle of each apple where the core used to be.
  6. Pour your apples cider over the apples so that it covers the booth of your pan.
  7. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with caramel sauce. Enjoy!

A post shared by Sara Bir (@sausagetarian)

Pawpaw Pudding

Have YOU heard of the pawpaw? Native to the Appalachian region, this tree is known for its fruit, the pawpaw – the largest berry produced by any tree native to the United States. A cross between a banana and a mango, the pawpaw is a sweet addition to any recipe. Try something new this season – pawpaw pudding!

Bonus: Read an interview with author Sara Bir (The Pocket Pawpaw Cookbook) on pg. 18 in the 2020 Ohio Travel Guide. And don't forget to check out the pawpaw pudding recipe on pg. 20! 


  • 1/2 cup/1 stick/113 grams butter (melted and slightly cooled, plus more for baking dish)
  • 2 cups/400 grams sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose-flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups paw paw pulp (thawed if frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2in baking dish
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs and pawpaw pulp until smooth. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Whisk in melted butter. Pour into sugar mixture and stir only until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared dish. Bake 50 minutes or until set in the center. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack before cutting.
  5. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

hand dipping peanut butter candy ball into pot of melted chocolate to make buckeye candy in front of tray of buckeye candies

Peanut Butter Buckeyes

Nothing is more "Ohio" than the buckeye. They're everywhere – from university mascots, the state tree and the statewide Buckeye Candy Trail, buckeyes are central to Ohio's identity. And they're even better in peanut butter and chocolate form! Create the perfect gameday (or any day) treat with this easy buckeye recipe.


  • 1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (divided)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons All-Vegetable Shortening


  1. Combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in large bowl. Beat with mixer on low until blended. Add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until blended. Beat in additional powdered sugar until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate.
  2. Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat until mixture is smooth. Reheat as needed while coating peanut butter balls.
  3. Insert toothpick in peanut butter ball. Dip 3/4 of ball into chocolate, leaving top uncovered to resemble a buckeye. Remove excess. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Remove toothpick. Smooth over holes. Refrigerate until firm.

Looking to "spice up" this traditional recipe? Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper with the peanut butter mixture in step one, continuing the rest of the recipe as directed.

And there you have it, just a few Ohio-inspired fall recipes. Try a few or try them all!

For more fall baking inspiration and foodie fun this #FallinOhio, and check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.

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