Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yule Log

The DB'rs strike again! This time we've gotten into the Christmas spirit making a yule log. I was excited when I found out this was our challenge, because I've never made one before. I have however made other rolled sponge cake desserts, such as a pumpkin roll, a Thanksgiving staple. For this challenge we had to make a genoise cake filled with and iced with a butter cream. Then decorated with meringue or marzipan mushrooms. So here's mine! I filled and iced it with the coffee flavored buttercream. I spread layer of chocolate on the cake before filling it with the buttercream.

I really didn't have any problems with the recipe. My cake stuck a little to the parchment paper and cracked a bit on the last roll, but I was able to cover it with the buttercream. The buttercream was great! So rich and decorating with it was easy. I made the cake on Friday and served it for my mother's birthday on Sunday. It was a beautiful birthday cake although my nephew, five, wanted to know why grammy wanted a log cake for her birthday!
This was a really fun Christmas challenge. Be sure to check out all the other Daring Baker's logs!

Yule Log(from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert)Daring Bakers Challenge #14: December 2007Hosts: Daring Baker Founders Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice) and Lisa (La Mia Cucina)Posting Date: Saturday December 22, 2007 or Sunday December 23, 2007 (Note: To accommodate the fact that some of you want to serve this for Christmas, for the first time we're allowing you to choose your posting date. You can post on the Saturday or the Sunday.)
Recipe Quantity: Serves 12
Recipes:Plain Genoise:3 large eggs3 large egg yolkspinch of salt¾ cup of sugar½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)¼ cup cornstarchone (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again1.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 whites1 cup sugar24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened2 tablespoons instant espresso powder2 tablespoons rum or brandy1.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.Meringue Mushrooms:3 large egg whites, at room temperature¼ teaspoon cream of tartar½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugarUnsweetened cocoa powder for dusting1.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.Marzipan Mushrooms:8 ounces almond paste2 cups icing sugar3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrupCocoa powder1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.7.Smudge with cocoa powder.
Assembling the Yule 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.


Lunch Buckets said...

Nice log, love the extra ring of chocolate!

Nora B. said...

Dear Paula,
Fantastic work with the log. I like that photo with the swirl.

Merry Christmas! I hope that you and your family will have a wonderful day and also best wishes for 2008.

x Nora

Baking Soda said...

Great log! Love the chocolate extra, I did ponder that idea but in the midst of baking and rolling forgot all about it, wish I'd done that.

Claire said...

I love your addition of chocolate. It makes the rolled view so much prettier. Great job!

Peabody said...

What a lovely log...and a great birthday cake.

Beth G. said...

YUM! The chocolate makes it looks so delicious!! :)

Cynthia said...

Happy Christmas!

Lis said...

What a pretty log! I love the addition of the chocolate before the filling..yum!

Happy holidays!


Tartelette said...

Great looking log Paula! I like the extra swirl of chocolate!
Happy holidays!

Andrea said...

Great idea to add the extra chocolate, and I'm sure your grandmother loved her special birthday cake!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful log!


Dharm said...

Your log looks great! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

ostwestwind said...

Congratulations, no problems! You log looks great, and the extra chocolate is a great idea!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Great job on your Yule Log! I love the addition of the chocolate layer!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great looking log! I love the chocolate filling...

Cheers and Happy Holidays!


Merav said...

Excellent job! I love how the platter resembles a candy cane!

Dolores said...

Beautiful job on your log... what a special birthday cake for your mom. I love the chocolate ring, and your mushrooms are marvelous.

I hope your Christmas celebration was full of peace and joy, and that the new year brings health and happiness, laugher and love.

Julius said...

What a great looking bûche de Noël!

Happy Holidays.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Deborah said...

It looks wonderful! Great job!

eatme_delicious said...

Great idea doing a chocolate layer! Looks delicious.

lina said...

I'd say this log must have been a wonderful birthday cake even though it might seem odd with a log to a little one. Beautiful! The extra layer is such a great idea.

Jen Yu said...

Ohh, I love the effect of the chocolate and the buttercream in the filling! Looks so pretty. Excellent job on the yule log! Happy new year :)

jen at use real butter