Baking Partners, Food
Recipe for the Week – Bûche De Noel (Baking Partners Challenge #17)9:12:00 am
It’s Baking Partners time again and since its Christmas, we got a bunch of Yule Log recipes to try out. According to Wikipedia, the Yule Log is actually a log that was burnt in the hearth as a part of traditional Christmas celebrations in several European homes. Coming to the modern day, since homes got smaller and large fireplaces are almost non-existent, most people bake up their own Yule Logs and feast on them!!
Bûche De Noel is the French name for the Yule Log and as we all agree, everything sounds fancier in French, especially food names :-D. The recipe I chose was the one from Williams Sonoma. The cake part wasn’t all that difficult to make, but the decoration part took a lot more time than I expected. I even skipped out on the prescribed garnish for a Yule Log – meringue mushrooms. To see what I used instead, read ahead !
The Bûche De Noel is a three step process – the roll cake, syrup and frosting. I’d suggest starting with making the frosting since it’ll take a couple of hours to cool.
285 g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Note: The original recipe asked to heat the chocolate and cream over a double boiler. I was too lazy for that and so did it my way :-).
1. Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the cream till it begins to boil.
2. Turn off the heat and pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Leave it for a couple of minutes.
3. Whisk the cream and chocolate together continuously till all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth. Here is my mixture with a few lumps still in it:
4. Refrigerate the mixture for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the mixture is cold, add the vanilla and salt. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the chocolate mixture briefly until firm enough to hold a soft dollop. The mixture will continue to firm up as it sits.
Unsalted butter for greasing
1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Note: I used salted butter for greasing, and so skipped the salt in the mix.
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C. Grease a 15 ½ by 10 ½ inch rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper and the pan sides.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and vanilla and continue beating until tripled in volume, about 3 minutes more.
4. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the eggs. Be sure not to dump it in or you’ll just flatten all the whipping you’ve been doing for the past so many minutes :-).
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold gently until just blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan around and bake again for a further 3 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
6. Lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter and sift confectioner’s sugar generously onto it, covering it evenly.
7. When the cake is ready, remove it from the oven and immediately run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Holding the cake in place, invert the pan onto the prepared towel. Lift off the pan and carefully peel off the paper.
8. Beginning on a long edge, roll up the cake and towel together. Set on a wire rack and let cool.
Next is making the syrup, which needs to be at room temperature by the time the cake cools. So I’d advise making it while the cake is in the oven.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp strong coffee (1 tsp instant coffee mixed in 2 Tbsp warm water)
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and granulated sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves.
2. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the coffee and set aside to cool to room temperature.
1. To assemble the Bûche, unroll the cake, remove the towel and brush it liberally with the cooled syrup. Do not overdo the brushing, because your cake will go all soggy and break when you try to roll it.
2. Using an icing spatula, spread one-third of the frosting over the cake. Gently reroll the cake and place, seam side down, on the platter you intend to serve the cake on. Trying to transfer the cake after frosting it can get really tricky!
3. Starting 1 inch from the end and angling to bottom edge, cut off a diagonal piece; set aside.
Note: My cake pan was smaller than the recommended size, so I made two roll cakes, used one roll whole, and cut off a diagonal piece from the second roll.
4. Frost the top and sides of the roll with the remaining frosting, using long, rough strokes. With the back of a fork, make shallow lengthwise ridges for bark.
5. Place reserved cake piece seam side down and attach to the log on the side to resemble a knot. Spread with leftover frosting and repeat the action with the fork.
6. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
7. Garnish with chocolate curls, a sifting of confectioner’s sugar or any other decoration that you’d like :-). The original recipe suggests making meringue mushrooms, but I was too tired and skipped it. Instead, I used a little gingerbread couple that I had baked a few days earlier and kept out of sight of my little Cub :-).
For my gingerbread cookie recipe, see here.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Swiss Roll part is easy, but the decoration can be time consuming. Also, since the frosting can get around quite a bit, and clean up is also a pain. But in the end, you get a pretty little log, which when cut, yields some real yummy slices that’ll make you melt into a pool of chocolatey goodness!!! Enjoy!!