Friday, December 16, 2011


Last year my bȗche de noël was a solidly chocolate affair:( This year we're having a more subtle log, mocha butter-cream wrapped in a vanilla génoise (sponge). It's an easy bȗche to make, really. The cake cooks in 10 minutes and the buttercream requires no cooking.

yolks make a ribbon
Set the oven to 375° and grease a jelly roll pan (bottom and sides). Line the pan bottom with wax paper or parchment and grease the paper.

3 tbs butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or substitute)
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 plus 1/8 cups flour, sifted

• Beat egg yolks one minute then add the 1/2 cup sugar a little at a time until mixture thickens, looks yellower and forms a ribbon when you lift the beaters (about 2 to 3 minutes depending on the mixer)
• Beat in vanilla
• Beat egg whites in separate bowl until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt. Beat until soft peaks form
• Beat in the 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form

stiff peaks
• Stir 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture. Fold in about 1/3 of the remaining whites until combined
• Then fold in the flour and the remaining egg whites, alternating
• Fold in the cooled butter
• Spread batter in the pan, lift the pan a couple inches off the counter and drop it (to remove air)
• Bake for 10 minutes

cutting off the edge

flipped onto the towel

While the cake is baking dampen a clean dish towel and lay it on the counter. Cover the the towel with wax paper. Sprinkle powdered sugar, through a sieve, on top of the cake after you take it out of the oven; then flip the cake over onto the towel, remove the wax paper from the cake bottom and sprinkle cake bottom with powdered sugar. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool completely.

Buttercream Filling
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 tbs instant espresso coffee powder
1 tsp vanilla

• Beat sugar and butter in the mixer on medium until light. This takes three or four minutes
• Add chocolate, coffee and vanilla and beat until smooth
• Unwrap the cooled cake and spread with about half the buttercream. Roll the cake up and put it, seam down, on a small cookie sheet
• Cut a diagonal slice off each end of the cake and set aside
• Frost the log, add the "knots" where you want and frost them too.

Now you can decorate. Being time-challenged, I only drew a few lines with a cake tester and added marzipan mushrooms and leaves. A little more elegant? Shower the log with shaved chocolate curls. Or lay a few live holly leaves on the roll and add red hots for berries. Hard to go wrong.

into the freezer
Now, if, like me, you would like to do all this ahead of time, make the cake today and when it's iced and decorated place it in the freezer and leave it there for at least an hour.

When the buttercream is frozen solid, lift the cake off the paper and wrap it tight (you want to eliminate as much air as possible) in layers of plastic wrap. Freeze the cake until you need it. Important: unwrap the cake before you thaw it to keep the icing perfect.

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