Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Step-by-Step Bûche de Noël or Yule Log Cake



This is probably going to be one of the longest posts in the history of blogdom, but I hope to pass along some very helpful tips on creating a beautiful Bûche de Noël.  I love this cake because it is so woodsy and heartwarming.  I decided to start this project on December 21st, the shortest day and longest night of the year, Winter Solstice. 

The instructions below are a time-line of the cake's assembly.  Instead of creating a separate post on how to make meringue mushrooms, I've included it in the time-line of this cake. Recipes will be provided at the end of the post for exact measurements. 

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan with shortening. Line with parchment paper and grease parchment paper in the same manner. Set aside and prepare the sponge cake batter.


(see printable recipe at bottom for ingredient measurements)


The batter appears to be a complex task, but it is not.  Beat your egg yolks and sugar until thick. The mixture will resemble prepared cake batter.  Beat your egg whites until stiff in a separate bowl.  Flour is folded into the yolk mixture, yolk mixture is then folded into the whites. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. 




Prepare a thin tea towel with a generous amount of powdered sugar.  I use 1/3 cup and spread the sugar with the palm of my hand to the edges. Turn cake out onto floured surface.



Fold over one end of the sugared tea towel onto the cake and begin rolling from that end.  Roll tea towel into the cake, as you would roll up a newspaper.




Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Meanwhile, you can prepare the meringue mushrooms.



Carefully prepare the meringue mixture.  Make sure all bowls and mixing tools are clean before beginning. Any spot of grease will cause your meringue to flop.  Place prepared meringue in a large piping bag. I used a disposable bag fitted with a coupler and no tip.  This made nice evenly sized mushroom caps.

Your mushroom caps will most likely have peaks after you pipe them.  With a little water, wet your index finger and press the peaks into the wet meringue.

For stems, pipe a 1" base and continue piping,  gently lifting your bag strait up, until the stem tapers and breaks from the tip.  To me, these look like very large Hershey Kisses.  I practiced the stems with this in mind.

You'll then bake these at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 45 minutes.  When time is up, turn off the oven and leave them until the oven is cool. You can also leave them overnight.

While waiting on the meringues to bake, you can begin working on the bark. I really like the natural peeling bark look of thinly layered chocolate over the whipped frosting. I use Microwaveable Fondue Chocolate in a 7 oz. tub.  It can be found at Cost Plus World Market.  You can also use any chocolate with a high fat content that melts easily and dries solid. The instructions could not be more simple.


Melt chocolate, until uniform and smooth, then heat for 30 seconds more.  Spread chocolate across a large piece of parchment, and allow to dry.  That's pretty much it.  As you peel the chocolate off the parchment you'll notice it will break along natural fault lines.  This is part of the beauty.  Bark is imperfect and you can't mess this up.  Flip the chocolate to the reverse side (the part that was touching the parchment) and you'll find bark-like impressions from the drying process.  This is from over-heating the chocolate.  Neat eh?


Your mushrooms are probably baked and cooled by now, so let's take a look at assembly.


With a skewer, make a hole in the middle of the mushroom caps.  To affix caps to stems, you'll need white chocolate or white easy-melt candy wafers.  Apply a little melted chocolate to the top of the mushroom stem and top with cap.  Allow to stand undisturbed until set, about 10 minutes.

While initially piping the stems, some may have fallen over (see above pic) like mine did.  Go ahead and bake them.  You can affix these on the side of the log, as if they were growing upwards (see left).

I love it. Even the rejects are pretty.



Now that our mushrooms are setting, let's begin the sponge cake filling. 


I can't say I love this filling.  It tastes great, but to me it's a little too loose, and takes quite a while to firm up in the refrigerator.  I've included it in the printable recipe, but feel free to substitute your favorite chocolate frosting in place of this.

Gently unroll your sponge cake from the tea towel.  Spread open.  You will find it is very pliable and will not break.  Spread frosting to within 1/2" of outer edge of cake.  For the sake of time (and daylight) I glazed the inside of the spongecake with some of the not-yet-set filling.  I would suggest letting the icing set for the recommended time if you are using the recipe provided.  If you choose to glaze as I did, use a pastry brush to paint on the glaze, and do not use the entire amount.


Re-roll cake and place on the surface from which you will be presenting it.  Here, I used a rectangular cardboard cake pad covered with aluminum foil.  Cut one end of the cake slightly on the bias and reserve piece for later use.

You are now ready to frost the outside of the cake!  I love the whipped icing this recipe calls for, it is SO very easy and nearly foolproof.  I won't go into the making of the icing because I suspect you will have no problem in this area.  (Email if you do have problems, we'll chat.)


The reject mushrooms (for lack of a better name) need to be placed on the log after icing, and before anything else goes on the cake.  That is, if you choose to use them.  Next, the piece of cake we bias cut earlier and saved can be placed cut-side-out and iced to the side of the log.  We could stop here, I mean it's pretty darn cute at this stage, right?




You'll further embellish by placing the chocolate bark pieces all around the cake.  Place as many pieces as you can on any exposed icing surface.  Use little bitty pieces to cover the icing around the reject mushrooms.



Now all that's left is the garnishing.  Below you will see a couple of sliced almond pine cones.  I don't have a tutorial for those in this (already very long) post.  Would you believe me if I said it's as easy as sticking a bunch of sliced almonds into a hunk of Marzipan?  Well, it is!


I dusted the mushrooms with a little cocoa powder, to give them an authentic look.


Place mushrooms on and around cake with a little whipped icing on the base of the mushroom stems. If you still have some white chocolate leftover, it makes a nice fixitive that holds a little stonger than the icing.  Dust the entire scene with confectioner's sugar.  Garnish with fresh flowers if desired.

Bûche de Noël or Yule Log Cake

A traditional and nostalgic Christmas cake. This recipe is from ...

See Bûche de Noël or Yule Log Cake on Key Ingredient.




Meringue Mushrooms

A cute addition to Bûche de Noël or Yule Log ...

See Meringue Mushrooms on Key Ingredient.




If you've made it this far through my wall o' text and pictures, then I'd like to extend a heart-felt thank you. I really enjoyed putting this tutorial together.  Hopefully I've not missed anything, and if I have please let me know! I welcome your correspondence.



P.S. The chocolate bark portion is not in the printable recipe, as it is my own flourish to the completed cake.

34 comments:

April said...

It's gorgeous!! I made one for the DBer challenge a couple of years ago and my mushrooms looked more like ice cream cones!!

Sue Sparks said...

WOW! You're amazing! Your Yule Log looks so fantastic, and your instructional tutorial is so organized and clear! Thanks so much! I probably won't be making it this year, but it will go in my file:) Merry Christmas!

cookies and cups said...

wow! that is awesome! your hard work paid off!

Anonymous said...

well that's awesome looking :) Too pretty to eat! though I don't think I'd have any issues digging in :)

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Oh WOW.....and the post was not 'long'. We love step-by-step. Fantastic and it was great seeing it all come together. My kids would love this

Mara... said...

wow wow wow!! That is one fantastic cake! Thanks for all the steps, I loved seeing how you made those mushrooms. All the details are just amazing. Thanks for sharing it all!!

Nithya said...

Wow, I don't see myself ever making this, but if I do, I know where to come. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and photos. Thank you!

Nicole Maki said...

What an amazing cake. I have wanted to make one for years but was always tripped up by the mushrooms and the bark. Next year I plan to have this grace our Christmas table.

Great, clear instructions. Thanks so much.

Ingrid said...

WOW, it's beautiful! You did an amazing job! Plus, you really made it seem as if I could easily make one myself.
~ingrid

Katie said...

Wow, this is beautiful! I love the chocolate bark. I am definitely adding that to my recipe!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

So gorgeous! I have always wanted to make one of these. I saw a similar "log cake" the other day that was called a Lincoln Log (for presidents day) Maybe I'll have to try your recipe and we'll call it a president's day specialty!

Judy said...

wow. this yule log is pretty much the most badass thing ever!

saheel88 said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, I made the cake. and I was overjoyed when she secured it, taste delicious and wonderful and impressed my family and friends, that allowed me the opportunity I will send you pictures, but my applied a beginning and you are a professional. My success in the application of this recipe encouraged by the experience of other recipes. You're wonderful and I'm
very impressed the way you love your cooking. I repeat my thanks once again

Viagra Online said...

I have never tried a piece of this amazing cake, I am feeling so good to eat this wonderful cake, making this wonder everybody will get impressed with this.

Brooke said...

I am endeavoring to make this for my son's birthday party this weekend. It is so beautiful I hope I can do it justice! I am trying to do some of the steps ahead of time to save myself a headache on party day. If I make the chocolate bark early on in the week and put it in the fridge will it be all sweaty once I put it on the cake?

Brooke said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial! It went off great. One person asked where I bought it!

alyona said...

I can't wait till Christmas where I can have access to a kitchen...this looks amazing! very delicious, although it would be a bit hard letting people devour this masterpiece so quickly! :)

Amy said...

Omg, this is so beautiful!!! I will have to try this next Christmas!!! Can't wait. Thank you for the tutorial!

snippets of thyme said...

I cannot wait to make this yule log cake. I make a buche every Christmas. I think I have mine in my blog in the "Labor for my Love" post (Sept). My husband asked me to make one for his birthday. Like you did at first, I cringe at my initial photography attempts. I am getting better at the photo part but I have always wanted a better looking buche. Thank you for all of your photo tips. I cannot wait to go down this culinary path!

acheter levitra said...

SO many times I read stupid post but this time I must say i'm impressed! Well done! Cheers!

Amanda said...

the pine cone! w o w

Jenn said...

I used your techniques (I decorated a store bought pumpkin roll) last night and I really liked the results. I would have liked more information about making meringue (I googled how to do it and failed twice before getting something usable) and my chocolate didn't get the white bark texture but i tore it apart and it worked out great. I used the brown frosting (I made chocolate cream cheese buttercream) to attach the mushroom caps and it looked nice, like the brown gills(?) of a mushroom. Sprinkled Cinn, Coco, and P. Sugar. I even make the pine cones using some almond paste and almonds. Thank you so much for this tutorial. Mine turned out great even though it didn't turn out exactly like yours.

Anonymous said...

SWEET! (literally) :)

Cuisinart ss 700 said...

This is very sweet. Best if we add up a nice coffee using Cuisinart ss 700

Anonymous said...

What a pretty yule log cake! I can't wait to try and make it this christmas. I went to Cost Plus to look for the microwavable chocolate fondue but no luck. Would candy melts work? Not sure how to look for chocolate that dries solid.

Anonymous said...

MAde this 2 days ago. It turned out AWESOME! It was so pretty no one wanted to cut it! What are those cool green ferns? you have on the platter?

Life's Lesson and Lecture said...

This is THE.BEST. Yule log I've ever seen. and you made it seems like this was so easy to make.. salute!

Life's Lesson and Lecture said...

by the way.. I can't make the wood bark exactly like yours.. the colors never seems right.. can you tell me the trick?

AJ Koser said...

This is by far the coolest thing I've ever seen! I'm making it this year and I can't wait! Thank you so much for sharing this with us and please don't worry, it was not a "long" post at all. the instructions were so clear, photos are great and we would be happy to hear even more. :D

Willow said...

Hi, I was wondering if it was possible to use a pan that was deeper than 1 inch for this cake. Would it still work?
Thanks

SprinkleBakes said...

Yes! It will still work!

Willow said...

Delish! Made it here- http://bluelacedaisy.blogspot.com/2012/12/x-mas-eve.html Everybody loved it!

Sarah said...

Hi Heather!
I love your site, and I love your Yule Log, but the recipes don't seem to be available on this page anymore and I'd love to use your cake for the base of my roulade. Can you repost the recipes?

Heather Baird said...

Hi Sarah, you can find it here. The recipe cards in this post may not show up if you're using a mobile device.
http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/171105/print/ -let me know if the link doesn't work. I'll add the recipe in the blog post text (which I need to do soon anyway)

-h

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