Friday, December 20, 2013

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bûche de Noël


My favorite part of making a yule log cake has always been the adornments - bark made from chocolate pieces, powdered sugar snow, almond pine cones and above all - meringue mushrooms. Since I've been using meringue mushrooms this year in other less traditional ways (see here and here), I decided that this cake didn't need them. But that was only after my discovery of mint chocolate twigs. I knew they'd be just the thing for a more modern take on Bûche de Noël.


The top layer of this "cake" is a mint-flavored no-bake cheesecake. It's so creamy and mild, which is exactly how I like my minty sweets (aggressive peppermint is such a turn-off!). The chocolate mousse layer is slightly more airy texture-wise but it's right at home with the other cold, creamy no-bake elements.


Mint chocolate twigs are probably not readily available to everyone. I only just discovered them this holiday season at a local specialty market (they seem to be a seasonal thing here in the Southern US) but any chocolate baton, cigarette, or stick will work- as long as they're relatively soft and easy to slice through. These mint-filled batons from Sweet Works (pictured above) are a good choice, too!


I used scraps of a wood grain patterned chocolate transfer sheet to make decorative white chocolate embellishments. You may remember that I used it here also, on another favorite minty-mousse creation.

If you don't have a specialty buche mold like mine, then you can use a standard 9x5-inch loaf pan instead. All the recipe steps will be the same, except you'll need to line the loaf pan with parchment before pouring in the batters for easy removal later.

I can't wait to bring this to our family gathering on Christmas, - and gosh! We're almost there, friends! Just a few more short days. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday season!

Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bûche de Noël
[click for printable version]
Yield: 10 servings
Source: Sprinkle Bakes original recipe
Prep: 1 hour, total time 8+ hours with chilling

I used a special buche mold to make this cake (see picture for product link), but you could use a standard-size 9x5-inch loaf pan. If you use a loaf pan, line it with parchment paper that overhangs two edges. The cake will need to thaw slightly before it will cleanly release from the pan.

Tortaflex Buche Mold from Pastry Chef Central
Mint cheesecake layer
1 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 pound cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 can/7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 oz. packet unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
4-5 drops liquid green food color

Chocolate mousse layer
1 tsp powdered gelatin
1 tbsp. cold water
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk, hot - (put in the microwave for 30+ seconds)
8 oz. quality chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup whipping cream

Glaze/topping
9 oz. chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. corn syrup
Chocolate mint twigs (such as Grand Belgian brand or Revillon)
Pieces of white chocolate with wood grain motif *optional
  1. For the mint cheesecake: In a large heatproof bowl, melt the white chocolate at 30-second intervals in the microwave at full power, stirring well after each heating. When chocolate is smooth, add the cream cheese and mix well with an electric mixer. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat until smooth. In a small microwave-safe condiment cup combine the water and gelatin. Let mixture stand for 1 minute. Heat gelatin in the microwave for 5-10 seconds or until liquefied. Stir gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Pour in the (un-whipped) heavy cream and 2 teaspoons peppermint extract. Mix with a handheld mixer on the lowest speed until just incorporated. Pour the batter into a silicone buche pan or a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Place in the freezer while you make the chocolate mousse layer.
  2. For the chocolate mousse layer: Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle over powdered gelatin.  Let stand for 1 minute.  Whisk in eggs and sugar.  Stir in hot milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Mixture will thicken after 5 minutes or so.  When done, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Stir in chopped chocolate and blend gently with a whisk until chocolate is melted and even in color (no streaks).  Let this mixture cool until barely warm, about 25 minutes; stir mixture occasionally. Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Pour mixture over the mint cheesecake layer in the buche pan and smooth the top.  Cover and freeze for at least 3 hours, or until frozen firm.
  3. To unmold, place buche pan over a wire rack. Soak a dish towel in hot water and lightly wring; place hot towel over the bottom of the buche mold. Gently pry sides of mold away from the mousse. Press the top of the mold gently with your hands until the mousse releases.  Place the rack over a large jelly roll pan; place cake in the freezer while you prepare the glaze.
  4. For the glaze:  place heavy cream in a large microwaveable bowl.  Heat in the microwave at 40 second intervals until very hot but not boiling (you can do this on the stove top if you don’t have a microwave). Stir in chopped chocolate.  Let stand for 3 minutes then begin gently stirring mixture.  You can use a whisk, but do not whisk vigorously as it will create air bubbles in the finished glaze.  When chocolate and cream are thoroughly mixed and smooth, add corn syrup.  Stir until combined. Transfer to a 4-cup measure with a pour spout. *Note: Corn syrup can be omitted if desired.  It is used in this recipe to give the glaze shine.
  5. Remove cake from freezer and pour glaze over entire surface. Allow the dessert to stand until the glaze dripping subsides, then pour excess chocolate in the jelly roll pan back into the 4-cup measure.  Rewarm glaze for 20-30 seconds in the microwave if it has thickened. Stir, then pour a second coat over the entire surface of the dessert.  When dripping subsides repeat warming and pouring process a third time (the more times you cover with chocolate, the smoother the surface becomes).  Transfer cake to a serving platter with a large spatula on one side of the dessert and a hand supporting underneath on the other side. Press mint twigs on top of the cake in crisscross fashion.  Place white chocolate pieces on top of cake, if using. Store the cake in the refrigerator or freezer. Cake slices best when partially frozen. Allow mousse to stand at room temperature until soft but still chilled; serve.



24 comments:

Marjorie (Sugar for the Brain) said...

This looks so yummy and utterly perfect!!! Happy Holidays!!!

Melanie said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!!

Bethany said...

Oh my goodness, this might be the most delicious looking dessert recipe I've seen all month!!! Totally have to try!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

Oh man, this cake is stunning! Lovely recipe!

Angelyn said...

Your work is flawless! I am just so impressed!

Belinda Lo said...

I love it! I am think mini ones in shape of dome for a party I am having soon. Too cute and love the sticks; they are what make it so rustic.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Refined and beautiful!

Cheers,

Rosa

Susan said...

Heather: This sounds really delicious. Tis the season to make buch :) Just wondering how you make that cute white chocolate "bark" too--if you don't mind :) Thanks for sharing this creative recipe with us.

Nikki B said...

Heather, it's a reall Chrystmas treat for me-- you've been posting every few days, and every time i open your site, it's like a present day for me. Thank you for your beautiful pictures, funny and detailed explanations and for your wonderful treats. You've been my inspiration for the last 4 month. Happy Christmas and Holidays to you and your family :-)

Lauren at Keep It Sweet said...

Wow, this is a stunner! And I agree, overwhelming peppermint flavor is not appealing at all. But done right, mint and chocolate is just so good!

Becca Looney said...

Wow, this is so creative and elegant. It really is beautiful!

HipFoodie Mom said...

Gorgeous!!!! love this. . Happy Holidays!

Amanda said...

It doesn't get much more beautiful than this. You are SERIOUSLY talented!!

Diane said...

Simply beautiful! Perfection...

La cocina de Camilni said...

Te ha quedado perfecto, y con ese sabor a menta y chocolate qué rico

Amber said...

Lovely! Do you use semi-sweet, unsweetened or milk baking chocolate?

Heather Baird said...

Semi sweet!

Viaja en mi Cocina said...

Wonderful pictures!, I wish I could try this cake!, It is my first visit to your blog, I think that it is very well explained and you have a lot of interesting recipes!, I will come again for sure! Hello from Spain and Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I think there is complete serendipity in my soul when I can say, that right now, I have all those ingredients in my kitchen!

Emily said...

Just wanted to say that your recipes are the most consistent when it comes to recreating them in my own kitchen....I'm by no means an expert baker, but I feel like one when I get such great results! My husband has told me on multiple occasions that your pumpkin pie is even better than his mom's, but we're keeping that between us for the time being ;) I look forward to trying different techniques and I'm confident I can do it with your direction! Thanks!

Carroll said...

Love the cheesecake version of this! The rounded cake pan could be used for so many other things- I see one in my future!

cafebaklava said...

Its so beautiful Heather, Cant stop praising your skills

Spencer @ Moo-Lolly-Bar said...

Looks absolutely wonderful! Almost too good to eat!

Beauty Follower said...

Wonderful color combination!

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