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December 25, 2013

Chocolate Yule Log

It's nice to think of the  first stages of my culinary journey where I struggled completely in creating cakes that would pass the scrutiny of my former pastry master. (Hi Master Chef).  Making this buche de noel or yule log took me back to my culinary school days. (What an experience!) So this is the first yule log I made since I left Le Cordon Bleu. Yeah, that long!  The cake and the frosting were simple to make but rolling it up was a challenge. Well, I did a good job rolling up my first yule log at school although it was quite a struggle. This time I made a better looking cake.  Kudos to me!

This is a basic chocolate sponge cake frosted with chocolate ganache. I used vanilla buttercream for the ice and mushroom, colored marzipan for the holy. I dusted the cake with icing sugar for the snow effect.
The recipe for sponge cake is from the internet.

Sponge cake ingredients:
5 eggs separated
140 g light muscovado sugar ( I used 120 g)
100 g self-raising flour
25 g Dutch cocoa powder.

Heat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Butter and line the base and sides of a 30 x 35 cm sheet pan with baking  parchment.

Add three quarters of sugar and 2 tablespoon water to egg yolks. With electric whisk, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy and forms a trail when the whisk blades are lifted. Transfer into a clean bowl.Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold in lightly. Set aside.

Wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk blade. Place the egg whites into the clean bowl and beat until foamy. Gradually add the rest of sugar and beat until stiff. Fold into cake mixture in three batches.

Pour the mixture evenly over prepared tin. Carefully spread to the edges. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cake feels firm to the touch. Leave to cool completely before using.

450 g dark chocolate
370 ml heavy cream
80 g butter
icing sugar to sweeten and for dusting

Place dark chocolate in a bowl. Melt it over  a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat once the chocolate is 80 percent melted. Set aside.

Heat the heavy cream. Once you see tiny bubbles forming around the edge of pan remove from heat. Pour the heated cream into melted chocolate slowly. Stir until chocolate and cream are well incorporated.  Stir in butter. Sweeten ganache with icing sugar. The amount  depends on how sweet you want your ganache to be.

Let cool. Use when ganache reaches spreading consistency.

Put a large sheet of baking parchment on work surface. Dust with icing sugar to stop the cake from sticking to the paper. Turn the cake out onto the parchment and peel off the lining paper. Trim the dry/ crusty edges. Spread ganache on the cake  then score along the edge of the one close to you.  Roll the cake up from there, be sure you hold on to the baking parchment so it doesn't roll up with the cake. Leave the paper in place and chill. When cooled, remove the paper. Use a star piping tip and pipe ganache on the log until covered.
Decorate as you wish.

Here's the pre-cut log cake for individual serving. This was a favorite at our Christmas brunch. 

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