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Megans Cookin: Buche de Noel

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Buche de Noel

Its that time of year again when I make my annual Buche De Noel. Also known as a Yule Log. Whatever you call it, Its Christmas to me. But this year, there's a new recipe in town. The Daring Bakers Challenge is a yule log. The recipe was picked by our hostesses Lis and Ivonne.

We have a little bit of freedom with the recipe.
We can flavor the cake with any flavor as long as we use the original recipe.
I chose chocolate!
We may also fill it with anything we want.
I choose coffee cream filling!
We must use mushrooms to decorate, whether meringue or marzipan.
I choose almond flavored meringue!

So lets get started, shall we?
I made the mushrooms first. I always feel better if I can get those out of the way. I just put the cap and stems, unassembled in Tupperware till I'm ready for them. Now, I'm ahead of the game. At least in my mind!
Next came the cake. It always seems intimidating whenever I see eggs over hot water and heat till warm, but all went well. I added a big spoonful of unsweetened cocoa into the flour mixture but wasn't sure how much to add without drying the cake out. I was Conservative! I also rolled my warm cake in a dish towel covered in powdered sugar to cool. Once cooled, I wrapped it in cling wrap. That way, I could finish the next day. I usually always make the cake over a two day period. That way, I can fill and frost it the day I serve it. So far, Success is knocking at my door

Now comes the filling. Easy peasy! Just whip up some heavy cream with instant coffee crystals and powdered sugar till stiff. Unroll the cooled cake and gently spread cream evenly over the surface. Reroll cake.

If it breaks a little, don't stress! Once you put the frosting on, its glued back together. No one will ever know and you look good
The buttercream. I've never made a buttercream like this. Again, there is that putting eggs over hot water again. I guess sometimes you just have to look fear in the face and laugh. Hope I'm laughing after I finish this buttercream.

A few people have had problems at this stage of the game. If you let the eggs cool to much before adding the butter, it can curdle.

A.O.K. Everything went fine with the buttercream. Ya Whooo!!!
Home run for the ball team. Score!

Now for the funnest part. Frosting and decorating. I always cut a little bit of my Christmas tree in the back where no one will notice. I use these few branches to decorate. They also help nestle the mushrooms and keep them upright. A bird and a sprinkle of snow (powdered sugar) finish off my Christmas yule log.

Sources: Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert

Plain Genoise:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
¼ cup cornstarch
one 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again
1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.
3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).
4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.
5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.
6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly

Coffee Cream Filling


1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Beat till stiff with an electric mixer at medium speed

Coffee Buttercream:

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 tablespoons rum or brandy

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. 2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Meringue Mushrooms

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

2/3cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip.

In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks.

2.Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa.

3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes.

4.male a small hole in the underside of each cap. Add a dab of the melted chocolate and press the stem into the hole. Let stand till chocolate is set.

5.Garnish your Yule Log with the mushrooms.

For folks who have half sheet pans (12 x 17) instead of jelly roll pans (10 x 15) like me, I adjust recipes by multiplying by 4/3--this works out well for the provided recipe

4 eggs

4 yolks

pinch of salt

1cup sugar

1 cup flour or flour and cornstarch mixture

for the buttercream

6 whites

1 pound butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

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Blogger marias23 said...

I love your Christmas tree twig and bird touch :) Your cake looks moist and delicious! Mine turned out a bit dry and I never thought of flavoring the meringue! Brilliant! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 22, 2007 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger glamah16 said...

I love your whole Yule scene. Your a old hand at this I see. Very Nice. Happy Holidays.

December 22, 2007 at 6:52 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

If I didn't know it was a cake, I would've said it was a Christmas centerpiece. Great job on it :)

December 22, 2007 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger maybahay said...

beatiful! cute little birdy:-)
well done on your DB challenge. happy holidays!

December 22, 2007 at 9:19 PM  
Blogger Peabody said...

Oh I love the bird on the log...makes it realistic. Beautiful log.

December 22, 2007 at 9:51 PM  
Blogger Dharm said...

Oh Well done Megan! I love the leaves and the bird is just fantastic! Have a Blessed Christmas.

December 23, 2007 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger The Caked Crusader said...

Beautiful decoration - clever to add the real tree to it!
Isn't the buttercream delicious?

Happy Christmas

December 23, 2007 at 1:33 AM  
OpenID redactedrecipes said...

How lovely! Really like the touches of greenery and the bird!


December 23, 2007 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger african vanielje said...

megan, I can't believe you do this every year. Although the practise really shows, it's gorgeous. Merry Chrismtas

December 23, 2007 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

All I can say is "wow!"

December 23, 2007 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger michelle said...

Looks beautiful!!

December 23, 2007 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Karen Downing said...

Wow, you have so many great ideas for creating a successful Yule Log! Thanks for the tips! Yours looks great (and I bet it tasted good too)!

December 23, 2007 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Brilynn said...

You did such a good decorating job! Well done!

December 23, 2007 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I love the decorations, Megan! It is so cute with the bird and the pine sprigs!

December 23, 2007 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

So how did this recipe compare to the previous ones you've used? Looks stunning!

December 23, 2007 at 4:18 PM  
Anonymous marye said...

beautiful! I am jealous because I thought we had another week...::sniff::
yours is fabulous!

December 23, 2007 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger Julius said...

Your bûche de Noël is truly lovely.

Merry Christmas to you.

Julius from Occasional Baker

December 23, 2007 at 8:25 PM  
Blogger sher said...

It's beautiful! I love the little bird--so adorable!!!

December 23, 2007 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I love how you have decorated the log, it looks so authentic. Mmmm almond meringue.

December 23, 2007 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger thepassionatecook said...

wow, you really went to great lengths decorating your log! well done. you deserve a quiet christmas away from blogging now ;-)

December 24, 2007 at 2:05 AM  
Blogger Merav said...

Excellent job - your decorations are wonderful!

December 24, 2007 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Tartelette said...

Great job on the log Megan! I love your creative touch for decorating!
Happy holidays to you and your family!

December 24, 2007 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Lunch Buckets said...

Awesome log, you decorated it beautifully!

December 24, 2007 at 12:54 PM  
OpenID cerisegourmand said...

That's beautiful! Great job =)

December 24, 2007 at 10:08 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Beautiful! I love the decoration with the branch.

December 25, 2007 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger April said...

It is gorgeous!!!

December 25, 2007 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Cookie baker Lynn said...

Just gorgeous! I can tell you are a veteran at making yule logs. Yours is artful and tasty-looking, too.

December 25, 2007 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks ever so pretty! Very well done!

Happy Holidays!


December 26, 2007 at 10:54 PM  
Blogger Glenna said...

Great job--your yule log is gorgeous. I love how it looks so natural. Very cool.

December 27, 2007 at 6:46 AM  
Blogger Half Baked said...

Great job. Love the way you decorated your log!

December 27, 2007 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

I love that your Christmas tree made its way onto the presentation plate for the cake! Lovely! Great Job!!

December 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Your yule log looks great! Well done!

December 28, 2007 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Dolores said...

This is one of the prettiest logs I've seen...and over the last several days I've looked at a lot of 'em. Great job with this challenge. I hope you had a joyous and peaceful holiday celebration, and that 2008 brings you nothing but the best!

December 28, 2007 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Jen Yu said...

Very nicely done! What a lovely yule log you created. I'm sure it was delicious. Happy new year!

jen at use real butter

December 31, 2007 at 10:13 AM  

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