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Yule Log (Buche de Noel)
10 to 12 servings
This festive Buche de Noel is decorated to resemble the giant yule logs in traditional French Christmas Eve bonfires. In Louisiana the bonfire tradition continues, as a way to guide Papa Noël (Santa) on his sleigh.
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Swans Down® Cake Flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + extra for rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Cake decorations of your choice
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 10 fluid ounces heavy cream
- PREHEAT oven to 350℉. Spray a 12×17-inch sheet pan with pan spray, line with parchment paper and spray again.
- MAKE SPONGE CAKE: Whip egg whites and granulated sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until stiff peaks form; set aside.
- BEAT egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in another bowl, whisk egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and creamy.
- SIFT flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder and salt over the egg yolk mixture, add butter and whisk on medium speed until completely combined.
- FOLD in whipped egg whites until completely combined. Be careful not to overmix and deflate the mixture. Gently spread cake batter evenly onto prepared, parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched.
- PREPARE another sheet of parchment paper and a slightly damp kitchen towel. Remove baked cake from oven, sprinkle top surface with cocoa powder, lay the sheet of parchment paper on top and cover it with kitchen towel. Starting with a short side, gently roll up the cake (including the bottom sheet of parchment the cake is sitting on, the top parchment and the kitchen towel). Set rolled cake aside and allow to cool.
- MAKE FROSTING: Cream butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add melted chocolate and mix until combined. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until smooth and spreadable.
- MAKE GANACHE: Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a sauce pan and pour heated cream over chocolate; let sit for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let sit until chocolate thickens (you can speed up process by placing in refrigerator, but be sure to stir every so often to ensure even cooling). Once chocolate is thickened to consistency of sour cream, place it in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk until ganache is thick and fluffy; set aside.
- UNROLL cooled cake gently, remove top parchment paper and towel and set aside, and spread chocolate frosting evenly over the top of the cake to about 1/4 inch thick. Re-roll the cake without the bottom parchment. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour to set.
- ASSEMBLE CAKE: Remove plastic wrap from chilled cake roll and place on a cutting board, seam side down. Cut a thin slice from both ends to create clean edges, then cut 2 to 3 inches off one end of the cake on a diagonal. Stick 2 to 3 skewers into the top of straight cut end of the cake. Place the small cut piece, diagonal side down, onto the skewers to create the look of a cut branch.
- FROST cake with whipped chocolate ganache using a small offset spatula or back of spoon to create a rough, tree-bark texture and decorate as desired.