A chocolate yule log, or “Bûche de Noël” is a classic French Christmas cake, that doesn’t require the love and attention of a British Christmas cake, so it’s a great choice for those less organised, or those who just feel suddenly inspired to make a little something festive.
The meringue mushrooms are a traditional touch, but not completely necessary; I rather enjoy the annual ritual of making them though, and it’s not anywhere near as difficult as you might imagine.
The kids always love this one!
Chocolate Yule Log
- 4 large eggs
- 100 g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 75 g self-raising flour
- 50 g cocoa powder
- 100 g egg whites
- 200 g caster sugar
- 300 g unsalted butter (softened)
- 100 g dark chocolate (70% )
- 1 large egg white
- 80 g caster sugar
- a little cocoa powder
- a little icing sugar
- sprigs of rosemary
- a little caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200c /180c fan
- Spray a Swiss roll tin with oil, and line with baking parchment. Spray more oil on top of the parchment.
- Crack the eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the sugar and cold water, then whisk for approximately 5 minutes, until the eggs are foamy and voluminous.
- Meanwhile, weight out the self-raising flour and cocoa powder into a small mixing bowl.
- Once the egg mixture is ready, use a fine mesh sieve to sift about half of the flour mixture over the eggs.
- Use a spatula to carefully fold the flour into the eggs.
- When the flour is mostly incorporated, sift the reckoning flour on top, and continue folding until there are no more dry spots.
- Gently scrape the cake mixture into the prepared Swiss roll tin, then tilt and shake the pan to encourage the batter into the corners.
- Place into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, until the cake has some structure but is still a little soft to the touch.
- Immediately cover the cake tightly with aluminium foil, and leave to cool completely.
- Place the egg whites and sugar into a heatproof bowl, and set over a bain-marie.
- I use the bowl of a stand mixer, to make everything cleaner and easier.
- Stir gently over a medium heat until the sugar has all dissolved.
- Whisk the meringue mixture for about 7 minutes, until cool and thick.
- Add the butter, a little at a time, and continue whisking until the buttercream is smooth.
- Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave, in short bursts, stirring regularly.
- Allow the chocolate to cool a little, then add to the buttercream and whisk again.
- Preheat the oven to 90c/75c fan
- Whisk the egg white until it is foamy and starting to hold its shape, then slowly sprinkle in the sugar, a little at a time.
- Keep whisking until the meringue is glossy and stiff.
- Place the meringue into a piping bag with a large round opening.
- Pipe an even number of mushroom caps and stalks onto a lined baking sheet.
- Use a moistened finger to smooth over the tops of the mushroom caps.
- Place into the cool oven for 90 minutes.
- When the meringues are cool, assemble the mushrooms by simply pushing the stalks into the caps.
- You can make the mushrooms look more realistic by dusting them with cocoa powder.
Assembly and decoration:
- Remove the foil from the Swiss roll tin, and pull the cake and parchment out completely.
- Spread a layer of the buttercream all over the top side of the cake, leaving a 1-2cm gap along one of the long edges.
- Take a breadknife and cut off that 1-2cm piece of cake, and fold it completely over onto the buttercream.
- Use this ‘cut and fold’ to start the roll tightly, and pull the parchment up and over to help keep things even and together.
- Once the roll of complete, cut the top quarter off the cake at a 45 degree angle.
- Arrange the chocolate roll on your presentation plate, with the smaller piece positioned to look like a branch.
- Place the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip, and pipe straight lines up and down the branches.
- On the log ends, swirl the nozzle to create circles.
- Feel free to play with the buttercream bark using a fork of skewer to make it look more natural.
- Give the yule log a generous dusting of icing sugar to give the impression of snow.
- Decorate the yule log with the meringue mushrooms.
- Add sprigs of rosemary, and redcurrants dusted with caster sugar to give the appearance of foliage.