Traditional roast turkey with cranberry stuffing
Honey glazed ham
Being just the three of us, we usually don't celebrate Christmas with big feasts... feasts with turkey and ham or any particular traditional Christmas dish. We usually have simple meals on both Christmas eve and day and celebrate by opening presents on our Christmas morning. Despite our usual simple Christmas celebrations, I do feel like baking something special this year...
Remember that my friends and I were cooking Martha Stewart's recipes for Cook like a Star (December 2012) last year? I remember reading at Mich's post, Piece of Cake mentioned that she wish to bake a yule log cake for her kids. Actually, I wish the same too. I must confess that I did bookmarked Martha Stewart's Bûche de Noël at that time but was too chicken to attempt this super-challenging recipe... shame shame!
This Christmas, I promise myself that I have to be brave. I need to bake Martha Stewart's Bûche de Noël and so I suggested the theme, Yule Log cake for our bake-along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings... Evil me again! LOL! At times, I do feel like chicken-out again by choosing other yule log recipes like the straightforward Nigella Lawson's flourless one at here and also the easy-plus-less-guilty one at BBC GoodFood but I have finally convinced myself that I can do this.
The ultimate and fanciful Bûche de Noël in Martha Stewart's recipe contains four main components; chocolate genoise, chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache icing and Italian meringue mushrooms. I have made my Bûche de Noël mostly according to Martha Stewart's recipe. In fact, nothing major has been changed except that I have made light cream cheese filling instead of chocolate mousse filling because I prefer to avoid using raw eggs for this bake.
Happy? Of course! Feeling proud of myself that I have made this cake. LOL!
This is the Bûche de Noël that I baked specially for our Christmas 2013... Happy? Of course! The three chocoholic us are enjoying a lot of chocolate this Christmas.
This is it! This is my last post for the year 2013. Although we are not going anywhere far and away this holidays, I have promised to spend more time with my family this festive season. My apologies if I have not been active in my blogging and I promise to be back early 2014 to summarise Cook Like a Star, Bill Granger event and to check out all yule log cakes that have been baked-along with us. Merry Christmas and Happy 2014!!!
|My Bûche de Noël|
|Beat slightly warmed sugar-egg mixture until tripled in bulk|
|... and bake|
|Please cake!!! Please don't be too dry or stick on your rolling surface... Please behave!|
|Making Italian meringue with hot sugar syrup|
|Mushrooms? They look more like marshmallow...|
|Check out these mush-mallow... LOL!|
|Using chocolate ganache to glue the mushroom top and stem together|
|I didn't like the idea of using raw eggs to make chocolate mousse and so I made this instead.|
|Cream cheese chocolate filling... Yum!|
|I need heaps of chocolate ganache to ice the cake|
|phew! I managed to roll the cake with minimal damage!|
|Giving my log cake a stump|
|A slice of our Bûche de Noël...|
Here's the recipe from Martha Stewart
(with my notes and modification in blue)
(replaced with Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling)
Chocolate Ganache Icing
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
(I didn't add this)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Make chocolate genoise and mousse, ganache icing, and meringue mushrooms.
To assemble cake, carefully un-roll genoise on the back side of a baking sheet (discard the plastic wrap and waxed paper, but keep the towel) - I have un-rolled mine onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with cocoa powder. Spread chocolate mousse (or chocolate cream cheese filling) evenly on cake to within 1 to 2 inches of one long end. Re-roll cake, starting from other long end, using towel to help roll it. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 1 hr - I rolled the cake from the short end because my cake didn't have a thick filling and might crack being too thin. Place cake, seam side down, on a serving platter; tuck parchment around it to keep platter clean while decorating. To avoid mess, I have placed four strips of baking paper to form an outline around the cake.
Whip ganache at medium speed until it has the consistency of soft butter - I didn't whip the ganache and all I did is to stir it as it cool until the right consistency. Cut two (or one) wedges off ends of cake at a 45 degrees angle; set aside. Ice log with a thin layer of ganache. Attach wedges on diagonally opposite sides of log (or on top). Spread ganache all over log, using a small spatula to form bark-like ridges. Chill until ganache is firm, about 30 mins.
In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread melted chocolate 1/8 inch thick over parchment. Refrigerate until cold, 10 to 15 mins. Roll paper back and forth until chocolate splinters; sprinkle over cake. Chill cake until ready to serve. (I didn't do this step at all)
When ready to serve, remove the four strips of baking paper, arrange meringue mushrooms around and on cake, and dust lightly with confectioners' sugar.
Chocolate Genoise from Martha Stewart
Makes one 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch cake
5 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for parchment and pan
2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
(I used 30g Valrhona Dutch processed ones)
Pinch of baking soda
(replaced with 1/4 tsp baking powder)
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350°F (or 160°C fan forced). Butter a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan (Mine is 25 x 35 cm). Line with parchment / baking paper; butter and flour paper, tapping out the excess flour - I didn't butter and flour the paper.
Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda / powder together twice into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Skim off white foam, and pour clear yellow butter into a bowl, discarding white liquid at the bottom - I didn't do this and used everything in the melted butter. Set aside in a warm place.
In a medium-size heat-proof bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved - Yes that I did do this step but didn't have a good photo showing me doing this. Ops! Remove from heat, and beat on high speed until mixture is thick and pale and has tripled in bulk. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla, and beat 2 to 3 mins more.
In three additions, sift flour mixture over egg mixture, folding in gently with a spatula. While folding in last addition, dribble melted butter over batter and fold in.
Spread batter evenly in pan, leaving behind any unincorporated butter in the bottom of the bowl. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when touched in center, 15 to 20 mins - I baked mine for 15 mins. Don't over-bake or cake will crack. Let sit in pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
Dust surface with cocoa powder. To make rolling easier, trim edges of cake, and cover with a sheet of waxed paper (or baking paper) and a damp dish towel (I didn't use this). Invert onto a work surface, and peel off parchment; dust with cocoa. Starting from one long end, carefully roll up cake in towel. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate Light Cream Cheese Filling adapted from BBC GoodFood
Instead of making chocolate mousse by Martha Stewart which contains raw eggs, I have adapted a light and easy chocolate cream cheese filling from BBC GoodFood to fill my yule log.
20g plain chocolate, 70% cocoa solids or more, very finely chopped
(I used Callebaut chocolate callets with 70% cocoa)
160g extra light cream cheese
(contains 13.6% fat)
20g icing sugar
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules
(I used decaffeinated ones)
Place chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. Heat a small pan of water (one-third full) until boiling, remove it from the heat, then sit the bowl of chocolate over the top. Leave for a few mins off the heat until melted. Otherwise, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave with medium-low power. Remove the bowl from the pan, then leave the chocolate until it is cool to the touch.
Add icing sugar, cocoa powder and coffee granules into melted chocolate and mix by hand until well-combined. Add cream cheese into the chocolate mixture and stir vigorously until smooth.
Chocolate Ganache Icing from Martha Stewart
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
(I used Callebaut chocolate callets with 70% cocoa)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until bubbles begin to appear around edges (scalding); pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 mins, then stir until smooth. Set aside at room temperature until cool but pourable, stirring occasionally.
Note: I made only 2/3 of this recipe for my log cake and the amount is more than enough to ice my cake and glue my meringue mushrooms.
Meringue Mushrooms from Martha Stewart
Makes enough to decorate oneBûche de Noël
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
(I didn't add this)
1 tbsp cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
(I used the cocoa powder only for dusting)
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
(I used the leftover chocolate ganache to glue my mushrooms)
Heat oven to 225°F (or 100°C fan forced). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or baking silicon mats), and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat sugar and 1/2 cup water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid reaches 248°F (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric beater fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high, and add hot syrup in a steady stream, beating constantly. Continue beating until cool and stiff, about 5 mins. Beat in vanilla. Fold in cocoa powder - I didn't add any vanilla and cocoa powder.
Spoon meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with a coupler and large plain tip. Pipe meringue onto prepared baking sheet to form 2-inch domes. Pipe a separate stem shape for each dome.
Sprinkle cocoa powder lightly over meringues. Bake until dry, about 2 hrs - I did mine for 1 hr 45 mins. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To assemble mushrooms, melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Trim off points from tops of stems. With a small offset spatula, spread chocolate on underside of a cap and place trimmed end of stem into center of cap. Place mushroom, stem side up, in an egg carton to harden. Repeat with remaining mushrooms; refrigerate until set.
Note: I made only 1/2 of this recipe to bake 27 mushrooms to decorate my log cake. Once the mushrooms were assemble with chocolate or chilled, they tend to absorb moisture quickly and need to be consumed within the same day.
Happy Brave Baking and Merry Christmas!
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Here are our baking friends that have joined us for this bake-along. Please visit their blogs for more of their Christmas Log Cake baking.
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I am also submitting this post to Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 hosted by Yen from Eat your heart out.