12 Days of Baking – Day 9: Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Nailed it! The thought of making a bûche de noël (or Yule Log) use to scare the heebie jeebies out of me.  Seriously. I was scared of this cake …. like nightmare on Elm street scared. Like, there’s a spider on me scared. Like, clowns at a kids party scared. Ok. I being a bit dramatic, but this cake totally intimated me. Until, I discovered the secret…….time and patience. Yep. All you need is a little patience and a couple of hours and you too can be a culinary genius.  The trick with this recipe is to do it in steps. First, make your sponge cake. Second, make your cream filling. Third, make your buttercream frosting. It’s a lot of work but results are deliciously beautiful! Time to get in the kitchen and show this bûche de noël who’s boss!

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Ingredients:

Cake Ingredients
6 eggs separated
1 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of  pure Vanilla
3/4 cup of cake flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt

 

Chocolate Cream Filling

1 1/2 cup heaving whipping cream
3 tablespoons of white sugar
2 tablespoons of dark cocoa powder (60% cocoa)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla flavoring

 

Buttercream Ingredients

12 tablespoons of unsalted butter (softened)
3 cups of powdered sugar (sifted)
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
8 tablespoons of whole milk (room temp)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring

Directions:

Sponge Cake Directions

  1. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with parchment paper; grease baking pan and parchment paper. Seperate egg whites from egg yolk into separate bowls. Make sure eggs are at room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add flour to egg yolk mixture until well blended.  Set aside. (Do not over blend)
  3. Beat egg whites on medium until foamy. Add 1/4 salt ; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Stir a fourth of the egg whites, into egg yolk mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.
  4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back (do not overbake). Cool for 5 minutes; invert onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Peel off parchment paper. Roll up in the towel, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and coffee granules. Beat until stiff peaks form; chill. Unroll cooled cake; spread filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again. Place on serving platter; chill.
  6. In a large bowl, beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Frost cake. Using a fork, make lines resembling tree bark. Yield: 12 servings.

Chocolate Cream Filling Directions

  1. In a small bowl combine sugar and cocoa powder mix together. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of whipping cream to the cocoa mixter and blend together forming a paste. Making a paste will help with the cocoa dissolving into the whipping cream. Once you have a paste, add it to the remaining whipping cream. While on high until cream, add in vanilla flavoring and continue blending.
  2. Cover and set aside until cake has cooled.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Directions

  1. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and very pale in color, about 3-5 minutes. Start with the mixer on low and move it up to about medium-high. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  2. With the mixer on low, gradually add the cocoa powder. Beat well to combine. Scrap down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  3. Turn the mixer off and add the vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. With the mixer on low, add about one half cup powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Then add about 1-2 tablespoons of milk and mix until combined. Continue to add the sugar and milk alternately. Beat thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Once all of the sugar and milk have been added, check for sweetness and add more powdered sugar if desired, but be sure to sift it first to avoid lumps. Beat for about 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy or desired consistency. If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the frosting, to keep moist, until ready to use. If the frosting is exposed to the air for too long, it can become dry and form a crust, which will ruin its texture for spreading or piping.
  6. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container, with a piece of plastic wrap placed directly on the frosting to block any air, for up to two weeks. You can also freeze the frosting for a couple of months. Either way, when you’re ready to use it, let it soften to room temperature and then beat it with the mixer to fluff it back up again. Enjoy!
  7. Notes: Frosting is soft at room temperature and firm when refrigerated. If frosting becomes too warm and soft to work with, cover frosting with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface and refrigerate until piping consistency. Place frosted desserts in refrigerator, until about 30 minutes before serving, so frosting has a chance to soften.