Saturday, 22 December 2007

December Daring baker's challenge- Yule log

This month we were lucky enough to be hosted by the founders of our group Lisa from La mia cucina and Ivonne from Cream puffs in Venice. They choose a terrific and very festive recipe for the month of december and something which I had never made before- a yule log. For those of you who don't know, a yule log, or buche de noel, is a rolled cake that is iced and sliced to create the look of a real log, to symbolises the yule log that was traditionally burnt by the vikings during the winter solstice for the whole 12 days of christmas. It is a symbol of light to those who live in darkness 24 hours a day during the windter period.

I didn't really have any troubles with the recipe at all, which was a relief after hearing terrible stories of curdled butter creams and rubbery genoise. One thing I did do was change the flavour of the buttercream to a non alcoholic chocolate one. This was because there were a whole lot of kids over for dinner and they wouldn't eat an alcoholic coffee cream. To make the chocolate buttercream, I melted about 2/3 cup dark 70% cocoa chocolate, stirred it over some cold water to cool it and then I beat it into the buttercream.

Here is the recipe and some photos. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as i enjoyed making it.

This recipe is from Nick Malgieri's book, 'Perfect cakes'. Here it is.:

Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: DessertServes 12Cake should be stored in a cool, dry place.

Plain Genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
¼ cup cornstarch
one 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).
4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.
5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.
6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.
9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.
10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Coffee Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. 2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Filling and frosting the log:
1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.
2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.
3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.
4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).
5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.
6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.
7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.
8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.
9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.
10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.
11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

Meringue Mushrooms:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.2.Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.4.Garnish your Yule Log with the mushrooms.


maybahay said...

Well done with the challenge! Looks great:-)
Happy Holidays.

Prettybaker said...

Awsome - I totally love the mushrooms! Perfect!!

zorra said...

Wow, you did a lot of goodlooking mushrooms. Your Yule Log looks great.

ostwestwind said...

It's so nice to see how great the other yule logs came out! Congratulations!

Dharm said...

well done indeed! I like your mushrooms too. mine got soggy realy quickly. Think its the humidity over here...!!

glamah16 said...

You did great . Nice presentation. Happy Holidays.

FoodieFroggy said...

Merci pour le commentaire. Ta buche est très belle aussi !

michelle said...

I love your mushroom army!

Jenny said...

Well done!!
I just started this month, what a challenge it was!

Happy Holidays!


Aamena said...

i wish my buttercream looked like this!

marias23 said...

What a bounty of shrooms! To be honest, I wish I had made more because meringue is now my new addiction! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tartelette said...

Well done...looks gorgeous on that path of mushrooms!
Happy holidays to you and your family!

Megan said...

Love the shrooms! Merry Christmas

Peabody said...

Yes, coffee and alcohol for the kids might not have been the best thing. :)
Looks great...lots of mushrooms.

Rachel said...

Woah, that's a lot of shrooms!I had a tough time with them!

Nora B. said...

Jess, look at all those mushrooms, I wish I could pluck one (or more) off the computer screen. You did such a fantastic job with your yule log - well done!

Merry Christmas and "see" at next month's challenge.

p/s: thanks for dropping by my blog.

Julius said...

Your bûche de Noël looks wonderful!

Happy Holidays.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Claire said...

Look at your forest of mushrooms...GREAT!

Half Baked said...

Nice job! Your log looks great! Cute shroom's

Deborah said...

Your cake looks wonderful! I love all of the mushrooms!

Jen Yu said...

Wow! So many lovely little mushrooms! You did a wonderful job on your yule log. Congratulations :)

jen at use real butter

Dolores said...

Great job with the December challenge. Sorry it's taken me so long to get here... as the group grows that gets more complicated.

Happy New Year!

Andrea said...

Your yule log turned out so well1 I love the little mushrooms!

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