Finally, for my last blog post of Christmas Day, I present; the pièce de résistance...my take on the bûche de Noël a.k.a. the Yule log!
As a kid, when faced with the two choices of dessert; from the UK's traditional Christmas fruit cake (beurk!) and the delicious Belgian gooey chocolate sponge cake or ice cream that is the Yule log, I'm sure you don't need much guesswork to know which one I preferred. But sadly, "the parents" always bought the fruit cake (sniff).
While my taste buds have changed since then and I don't actually mind the fruit cake that much anymore, I wanted to try my hand at making my own Yule log. So when my aunt asked me if I could make a tiger cake (a Scandinavian dessert Tiikerikkakku) that bares a very similar recipe/resemblance to the marbled effect of the Yule log, I knew what I was going to do. One Christmas present later (a Yule log pan bought from Nordic Ware on Amazon) and I was ready.
These photos are all the result of my very first attempt at this recipe so bare with me, I would definitely change a couple of things:
Firstly; buttering this pan (then flouring to make it non-stick) was a nightmare!!! Because of all the ridges butter gets left in clumps (as you can see a bit in the photos). So if I could find a spray can of butter (which I've seen used before in America) I would definitely recommend that over the normal technique.
Secondly: I followed this British Vogue recipe but the quantity was not quite enough to fill my whole pan, although it did rise quite well for non-self-raising flour (gluten free plain white flour from Dove's Farm, my favourite!).
For the ingredients, I'm calculating half as much again from the original recipe because of the size of my pan. But when I next attempt it, I shall confirm whether that was indeed enough or whether I should have just doubled the original quantity.
Ingredients for cake (Serves 12):
450g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
375g caster sugar
4 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 small eggs or 7 big ones
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
450g plain flour (gluten free)
4 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
27ml (little bit less than 2 tbsp) double cream
1 1/2 xanthan gum
Preheat oven to 180C° on fan oven (I had to do 200C° with my normal oven) and grease the pan (try to find a spray can of butter or oil, otherwise...may the force be with you!).
Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with a handheld electric whisk until pale and fluffy (careful, this is not the point where we add the actual cream). Stir in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, whisking well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift the baking powder, flour and xanthan gum together, then fold into the egg mixture.
Spoon about a third of the mixture into a separate bowl (I did a bit more because I wanted more chocolatey parts in my cake), and fold in the cocoa powder and cream.
Alternate spooning in both mixtures into your pan however you want and level the top with the back of your spoon when done. I attempted piping to try and make a stripy wood-like pattern, but when both my vanilla and chocolate piping bags burst within minutes, I gave up! Spooning it in at random hoping for the best actually works quite well! :P
Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes (I did 65 minutes and it was a bit dry). It does say until firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean but I would recommend aiming for the 50 minute mark to keep things moist.
Whatever you do, try and get the cake out of the pan (especially the non-flexible Nordic Ware ones) while it's still a bit warm (I made the mistake of putting it straight in the fridge while still in the pan after cooling and had to re-pop it in the oven for 5 minutes to loosen it up again, because that thing wasn't budging!).
The cake tastes best the day after baking and is also suitable for freezing.
There you have it, my first attempt at the Yule log! I'm definitely going to be doing this recipe again if only to try out the multitude of decorating ideas I have for the finished product.
What do you traditionally eat on Christmas Day?
Does your dessert involve chocolate? :P
Gotta go and indulge in my food coma now. I'm sure we can all agree that whatever it is we eat, we all end up feeling like stuffed turkeys by the end anyway! :P