This recipe is a little fancier than my past posts! If you are a beginner baker, you may want to study this recipe a bit, maybe look up a video tutorial, and practice!
I haven't made a Bûche de Noël since my days at the Culinary Institute of America. We made a similar version of this, a roulade cake, in my first class, Baking Techniques. This type of cake is also called a swiss roll cake or a jelly role cake. Essentially all this is, is a chocolate cake roll.
Also known as a yule log cake, the Bûche de Noël is a classic Christmas dessert recipe that came about in the 19th century. The cake itself is a form of a genoise cake, which is a sponge cake (which is the oldest cake recipe!). It is baked in a shallow pan so that it can be filled and rolled up.
This dessert symbolizes an even longer tradition of the yule log. Before the medieval era, Celtic Brits and Gaelis Europeans would get together and celebrate the beginning of the winter solstice. They would burn logs that were decorated with holly, pinecones, and ivy, and burn them to cleanse the air of the events of the past year (maybe we should do that to get rid of 2020!). The logs ashes are said to have been treasures with medicinal benefits and would guard against evil.
There are three stages to making this chocolate cake roll: the cake, the filling, and the frosting.
You want two medium sized bowls for making the cake. I used one of my medium size glass bowls, and my KitchenAid mixer bowl.
You start by separating the eggs. Meaning you need to separate the egg white from the egg yolk. I use the shell of the egg to do this, but you can also use an egg separator tool.
I put the egg yolks into the glass bowl, and the egg whites into my KitchenAid bowl.
I used the whisk attachment on my hand mixer to start whipping the egg yolks. As they start to get frothy, I add HALF of the sugar (which would be 1/4 cup). I keep whipping the yolks until they are a pale yellow and they are frothy.
Setting that aside, I sift together all the dry ingredients. I also measure out my vanilla extract and set it aside.
Slowly, I add the dry ingredients to my egg yolks while still whipping them. Once the dry ingredients are in, I add the vanilla. The batter will be very thick, that is normal.
Set that bowl aside, and attach the whisk/whip attachment to the KitchenAid (or other brand stand mixer) and start whipping the egg whites. When they get frothy, add the other half of the sugar. Whip the egg whites until they are a stiff peak.
Next, I tempered the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. I took a spoonful of egg whites and mixed it into the egg yolk mixture. Once it was combined, I poured the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Use a spatula and fold the two mixtures together.
Prepare a jelly roll pan by laying down some parchment paper or a silicone mat, then spray the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
Pour the batter into the pan, then spread it around with an offset spatula. Make sure you spread it around evenly. IMPORTANT!! Don't tap the pan on the counter to release air bubbles. We want those air bubbles! Those are part of the stabilization of the cake.
Prepare a tea towel by laying it on the counter or table, and sprinkle it heavily with powder sugar. The powder sugar will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.
Bake at 350F for about 8 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 2 minutes.
Flip it onto the prepared towel and take off the parchment paper or silicone mat, then roll it up and let it cool completely!
I chose to do a whipped cream cheese filling. It is very light, and counters the heavy taste of the chocolate cake.
I used my trusty KitchenAid mixer for making the filling. Start out with the paddle attachment, and beat the cream cheese until is is really smooth. Then add the sifted powder sugar, and again beat until it is smooth.
I then switched to the whip attachment, and while it was running on a low speed, I slowly added the heavy cream and vanilla. Once it was combined, I turned up the speed and let it whip until it was fluffy and more stable (we don't want a runny filling!).
When your cake is cooled down, unroll it from the towel. Spread the filling on the cake evenly, then roll it back up and put it in the fridge to allow the filling to set up!
Whipped ganache is probably one of the easiest frostings you can make. There is only 2 ingredients, and the only downside is there is some waiting time for it to cool down.
You want to first heat up the cream, either in the microwave (which is what I did) or over the stove. Once the cream is to its boiling point, pour it over the chocolate.
Let it sit, without stirring it, for one minute. Then go ahead and stir it until it is smooth and all the chocolate is melted.
Then, we wait. The ganache has to cool down and solidify before we can whip it. Stir it every 10 minutes or so until it is completely cooled down to room temperature and is more solid.
I used my hand mixer for this, but you can definitely use a KitchenAid mixer for this step. I used the whip attachment and whipped the ganache until is was fluffy, lighter brown, and generally looked more like a chocolate frosting!
Take the Bûche de Noël cake out of the fridge, and frost it with the whipped ganache. You can use your spatula to create divets and lines in the frosting to resemble the look of a Yule log.
Keep the cake stored in the fridge until it is ready to serve!
This Buche de Noel, otherwise known as a Yule Log Cake, is a traditional Christmas dessert! Chocolate cake with a whipped cream cheese filling, and topped with whipped ganache, it is decadent and delicious!
I’m so grateful you’re here! Have a look around at some of my favourite recipes and stay a while.
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