This gorgeous Bûche de Noël or Chocolate Yule Log is by far my favourite home-bake of the Christmas season, so far at least. Not only does the finished log look absolutely beautiful but it tastes like a dream!
I have decided that I personally would much rather have one of these as the centerpiece of my Christmas dessert table than a traditional Christmas cake and I'm sure most of my family would agree. The flour-less sponge is beautifully light and the buttercream is just wonderful.
Mr. P. called the cake epic and I have been running around delivering little bits of chocolate log to friends and family, all of them have raved about it.
I love this recipe so much I think I'm going to make a few mini chocolate logs before Christmas!
Don't feel daunted by the rolling of the cake and decorating, it really is actually pretty easy, I was so pleased with my roll, not a single crack!
Don't worry if your cake does crack a little, the icing will cover all sorts of little issues. The bark effect is a breeze, trust me and you will have so much fun making and decorating this cake.
Bûche de Noël or Chocolate Yule Log
Recipe adapted from Nigella's Christmas
For the chocolate yule log:
6 eggs (separated)
150 g caster sugar
50 g cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream:
175 g dark chocolate
250 g icing sugar
250 g icing sugar
225 unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Line a Swiss roll tin or shallow baking tin with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 180° C
In a medium bowl whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, still whisking gradually add 50g of caster sugar, continue to whisk until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Set aside
In a separate larger bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 100g of caster sugar until they are thick, light and airy and pale in colour.
Add the vanilla extract and sieve the cocoa powder onto the yolk mixture, gently fold them in. Add a dollop or two of egg white to the yolk mixture to lighten it and gently fold to combine. Gradually, and gently, fold in the rest of the egg whites.
Pour the mix into the prepared Swiss roll tin or shallow baking tin. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool a little before turning out onto a clean sheet of baking parchment. Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife.
To make the chocolate buttercream:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of barely simmering water, remove from the heat and set the bowl aside to cool.
In a large bowl cream together the butter and icing sugar for around 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and vanilla extract to the buttercream and beat for a further 2 minutes.
Spread the cooled cake with a thin layer of chocolate buttercream.
With the long side of the cake facing you, gently roll the cake away from you, the the baking parchment to help you curl the end under and put pressure on the log as you roll it, this will help insure a tight roll. Don't worry if the sponge cracks a little, the buttercream will hide a multitude of sins.
Cut the ends at an angle, and save the pieces you have removed to create a branch or two later.
Cover the yule log with the chocolate buttercream, using a palette knife or the back of a spoon to create a rough finish. Place the pieces of cake you removed earlier on the side of the log to create branches and ice these with buttercream in the same way.
Use a wooden skewer or similar instrument to mark lines in the buttercream, creating the bark pattern, don't forget the wriggly round markings at the end of the log.
How you decorate is up to you, I kept my log pretty traditional with sugar mushrooms and a dusting of snowy icing sugar. I even added a little dusting of cocoa powder to the board and mushrooms to add to the woodland effect. You could add little sugar Holly leaves, Christmas bows, little woodland creatures, a little gingerbread house and a few white chocolate decorations would look gorgeous too.
I have been busy making loads of gorgeous edible Christmas gifts that I cannot wait to post but I might have to wait until after Christmas for fear the lucky recipients might see something they shouldn't
. I hope you're all enjoying the lead up to Christmas, have a brilliant weekend. x