Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Daring Bakers #14 - Yule Log

With plenty of Christmas baking happening, it was appropriate that the Daring Bakers join in with the festive Yule Log. There are many versions of this classic, but the version we were assigned to make involved a genoise sponge filled and iced with coffee buttercream and decorated with meringue or marzipan mushrooms.

The actual recipe was straightforward and simple to make but it involved several steps and a bit of time set aside to make it and the commodity most lacking in December is time. As my mum's birthday is on Christmas Eve, I thought it would be nice to share the Yule Log as her birthday cake (she's very used to the blurring of Christmas and birthdays!) I intended to make and blog about this cake on 23 December (as we were supposed to post our Daring Bakers blog entry on 22 or 23 December)and then serve it for mum's birthday lunch the next day.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men of course went astray and so I found myself taking over mum's kitchen on Christmas Eve to make up the Yule Log. The genoise sponge was very easy to make, involving a mixture of eggs, egg yolks, sugar and flour that baked for just 10 minutes. It made a lovely light airy sponge cake. Although the instructions said to let the sponge cool and then roll up, I've found from previous swiss roll cake making that it's best to roll the sponge in a tea-towel when hot and let it cool in that shape, which helps prevent cracking.

The buttercream was made by beating egg whites and sugar over hot water until hot, then beating to a meringue and then mixing in a large portion of butter, followed by coffee granules dissolved in liquor. Not having made buttercream like this before, I was a bit dubious but the end result was a light, sweet cream that spread easily on the cake. I found that there was far too much buttercream for the cake and I could easily have used half the amount that was made. As it was, my Yule Log increased greatly in size as I piled on spoonful after spoonful of buttercream.

The final step was to make meringue mushrooms for decoration. Unfortunately I ran out of time to make these, so my Yule Log was served up with no decoration. Apologies to Lis and Ivonne, this month's hosts, for not quite completing the challenge as specified (and for being a day or two late in posting).

To assemble, the sponge was unrolled and filled with buttercream. I sliced off the ends and put these on the log to make a stump shape, which was then iced all over with buttercream. A fork drawn through the buttercream helped to give it the appearance of bark.

The Yule Log was eagerly received by the assorted family members and birthday girl, although opinions differed as to whether it really looked like a log or was more like a submarine or tank! However, all were agreed that the buttercream was probably too rich and sweet and so small portions of this cake were more than enough. While I would definitely make the genoise sponge again, as I think it would lend itself to all types of fillings, I would probably make less buttercream or adjust the recipe in some way to make it less rich and sweet.

Once again, this was a fun challenge to make. Thanks to Lis and Ivonne for choosing a fun, festive treat to make and I look forward to more DB challenges in 2008!


Claire said...

Glad you were able to make the cake. Hope you enjoyed it.

marias23 said...

Hi Melinda. It's a great technique to roll the cake while still warm. I hear that it reduces the cracking that so many DBers encountered. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lane said...

It sounds like you had an enjoyable experience overall. Glad yours turned out better than mine!
Jane of Vegan Bits

Deborah said...

It sounds like your yule log was enjoyed!!

Dolores said...

I'm glad you found time in the hectic holiday season to join in on this one; I enjoy reading your stories. I hope your holiday celebrations were filled with joy and peace, and that 2008 brings you the very best.

The Baker & The Curry Maker said...

I'll have to try rolling it up with a teatowel while its hot next time, it makes sense. I was so disappointed mine cracked. I agree, there was way too much buttercream.

Happy New Year.