So if it’s Christmas it has to be Yule log. Well… not necessarily but why not! That’s not just an excuse for another spongy, creamy and chocolaty treat on your festive table, it is tradition! And what a delicious one!
I make Swiss rolls all year around. With vanilla cream and all kind of fruit. One of my favourite is with raspberry. But for Christmas I like to go an extra mile and to decorate it and trying to make it look as close as a real log. For me the Swiss roll is not the supreme challenge as I have the perfect recipe for it, but the wood- markings on it.
Hard to explain this to my husband… Every time he came into the kitchen I was decorating the Yule log. And he asked me why do I make so complicated cakes? After all, we know how is going to end… Eating it! And we will all remember the taste and less the shape. And that’s true, but what’s the point in making just a bald roulade and name it Christmas Yule log? And that’s why I take photos of my recipes. To remind them 🙂
I make two frostings. One rich, dark and chocolaty frosting, and another one using 1 tablespoon icing and whipped cream for a lighter brown.
The recipe for the sponge is very simple. Follow this recipe and you will have a perfect sponge. The quantities are for 2 logs. I don’t want to use just the ends of the log to make the branches. I make a smaller one to do them.
Ingredients for my two logs:
8 eggs (separated), 8 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, 5 tablespoons cocoa powder.
For the icing:
200 grams dark chocolate (chopped), 250 grams icing sugar, 200 grams soft butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
300 g whipped cream mixed with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Line two Swiss roll tins (different sizes) with baking parchment, grease with a little butter and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until thick and then add 4 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until the whites are stiff and holding their peaks.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is pale, thick and creamy. Add the vanilla extract, sieve the flour and the cocoa powder over, and then fold both in.
Fold half of the egg whites into the yolks and cocoa mixture, folding them in robustly to lighten up the cocoa mixture. Then add the remaining whites in, carefully, to avoid losing the air.
Pour the mixture into the tins and spread gently with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. It’s ready when pressed the sponge it springs back.
Prepare two clean tea towels and sprinkle some water drops over it. The towels should be humid not wet.
Leave the sponge to cool slightly before turning onto the tea towel and gently peel the parchment away. Roll the whole thing tightly like a Swiss roll with the towel inside. Repeat with the second log. Leave them to cool completely.
To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a microwave with 1 teaspoon butter and 2 teaspoons milk. Let it cool.
Put the icing sugar in a food processor, add the butter and blitz until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of cooled, melted chocolate, then blend until smooth. Add the remaining melted chocolate and pulse again to make a smooth frosting.
Unroll the sponges and spread the whipped cream over the sponge used for the big log. (Keep one or two tablespoons of whipped cream to make the light frosting+ 1 teaspoon of chocolate frosting). On the second log spread half of the chocolate frosting. Re-roll them. Slice on the diagonal the small log making one or two small branches and place them against the log. Using a palette knife spread and cover with the chocolate frosting. Use a cream comb scraper, a fork or a skewer to make the deep marks wood-like texture. Let it cool. When the frosting is completely cooled add the second frosting trying to cover some of the deep marks. And dust with icing sugar.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!