the daring bakers strike again - yule log

thank god to the daring bakers! what a lazy blogger i have been in the last few weeks. not that i have fallen out of love with the world wide web of foodbloggin' - it's just been a heck of a time with loads of non-blog related stuff to do. and then.. food pics just dont look that cute when you shoot them at night (anybody like black soup?).
but thanks to the daring bakers i had to turn my oven on: this month's competition was a yule log. the yule log is also known as bûche de noël, a genoise filled with buttercream and rolled up to form a log shaped cake. decorated with heaps of buttercream and some marzipan or meringue mushrooms. i came across some yule logs this month in food magazines, this one from UK delicious magazine won my heart instanstly. mostly because i suspect my adorable friend angela has baked this one (and because it's made with nutella...). look how cute & delicious it looks!!!

copyright delicious magazine

i do believe in a decent cake that looks like a cake, but baking tree-logs i guess is just a step further from baking gingerbread cookie houses, isnt it? - at the end of the day it's the taste that counts. this one tastes just wonderful!
you will have to excuse the look of my yule log. it's still in the process of being finished... the mushrooms wont make it into this world until tomorrow, before i serve the yule log. and the frosting needs a chilly night on my balcony to be perfectly firm and set and ready to be served.

enjoy and be merry everyone!


Yule Log (Bûche de Noël)

Plain Genoise:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
3/4cup of sugar
1/2cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off
1/4 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 granulated sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
some extra dark chocolate powder, for reserved buttercream (frosting)

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.

PS: here is a link how to make marzipan mushrooms