A Yule Log or Bûche de Noël is a traditional French Christmas dessert. Filled with chocolate mousse and iced with chocolate ganache, this cake will be the star of your holiday menu!
Three Chocolate Components in this Bûche de Noël
A chocolate genoise cake was rolled around chocolate mousse and iced with a whipped chocolate ganache to form this Bûche de Noël. Who could resist? This is a fancified jelly roll cake. You can go whole hog and cut off a few wedges and place them artfully to resemble branches extending from the log’s trunk. Obviously, I took the easy route and I think it looks just fine.
A Chocolate Dessert is Always a Hit
I would never dissuade you from making this festive dessert, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the mousse. It was certainly light and tasty, but highly aerated so I had to smooth out many of the resulting “holes.” Others bûches de Noël are filled with thick custards or buttercream frosting. I love the concept of this dessert and will try another version next Christmas. My family had absolutely no complaints. Bill ate slice after slice…and Katie made short work of the meringue mushrooms. Tom took a slab back to his house where I’m certain it disappeared in a matter of minutes. Nick will have some catching up to do dessert-wise when he’s home from school on his winter break. Thank goodness he’s too busy with Physics and Organic Chem to read my blog or check Facebook. He’d be very disappointed to have missed this ultra-chocolaty treat!
More festive desserts from my #HolidayFoodParty friends:
- Chocolate Peppermint Bark from Cravings of a Lunatic
- Buche de Noel from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cranberry Moscow Mule from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Chocolate Gingerbread Crumb Cake from Hungry Couple
- Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
- Apres Ski Boozy Tea from Pineapple and Coconut
- Raspberry Almond Torte from Magnolia Days
- Fruit and Nut Bars from What Smells So Good
- For mushrooms: ½ cup egg whites at room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup superfine sugar (whiz regular sugar in food processor for one minute)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
- For mousse:4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 4 eggs separated
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- For cake: 5 tablespoons butter, plus more to butter pan
- ⅔ cup cake flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting cake
- Pinch of baking soda
- 6 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- For ganache: 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Make meringue mushrooms up to 3 days ahead. Preheat the oven to 225º. Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Use an electric mixer to whip egg whites till foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt and vanilla. Continue whipping till egg whites form soft peaks (if you make a peak with the meringue, the tip will not stay upright).
- Slowly add the sugar while continuing to whip on high…a tablespoon or so at a time…till the whites form stiff peaks (the peaks will stay upright).
- Place the meringue in a pastry bag fit with a large plain tip. Or do what I do and use a ziplock bag fit with a large plain tip. For stems, press out a bit of meringue onto the baking sheet and lift the tip straight up. For caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue. I just used a teaspoon dough scoop to form my rounds. You can use a wet finger to gently pat down any major imperfections.
- Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- To make mushrooms, melt semi-sweet chocolate in microwave…stopping and stirring at 30 second increments till melted. Add vegetable oil and stir. Use a tooth pick to make a hole in the bottom of the cap…just large enough to insert one of the stems. Spread a small amount of chocolate on the underside of the cap and connect stem to cap. It may take a bit of fiddling to make the holes the correct size and to get the mushrooms to stand alone. You should have plenty of caps and stems with which to practice. Dust mushrooms with cocoa powder to finish.
- Make mousse. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave, stopping and stirring at 30 second increments till smooth. Let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks. Let cool to room temperature.
- In large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar till stiff peaks form. Whisk a third of the whites into the chocolate, then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites.
- Whip the heavy cream till soft peaks form, and fold into the chocolate mixture. Chill till set, about an hour.
- Make cake: Preheat oven to 350º. Butter 10½ x 15½ x 1 inch jelly roll pan. Line with parchment paper then butter and flour paper. Tap out excess flour.
- Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda twice into a medium bowl. Set aside while you clarify the butter. Over low heat, melt butter. Skim off white foam and then pour butter into a bowl, leaving any white solids which remain in the pan. Set aside and don’t forget to add this to the cake batter (I nearly did).
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs. Place over a pot of simmering water and heat and whisk till mixture is warm and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and beat on high till tripled in volume. Reduce speed to medium and add vanilla. Beat another few minutes.
- Sift about a third of the dry ingredients into egg mixture. Fold in with spatula. Repeat two more times, adding in the butter with the last addition.
- Spread batter evenly in prepared jelly roll pan. Bake 15-20 minutes, till cake pops back up when lightly tapped. Do not overbake. Place on rack till cool enough to handle.
- Dust top of cake with cocoa powder. Cut around perimeter of cake to loosen. Place a piece of waxed paper over top of cake, followed by a damp dish towel. Invert cake onto a work surface, peel off parchment and sprinkle with cocoa. Starting with one short end, carefully roll up cake in the towel. Wrap in plastic if desired and refrigerate till needed.
- Make ganache: Microwave cream in large measuring cup till hot. Add chocolate and whisk till smooth. Refrigerated till cold.
- Whip cold ganache at medium speed till it has the consistency of soft butter. Start assembling the cake.
- To assemble: Carefully unroll cake onto the backside of a baking pan. Discard the wax paper and any plastic wrap. Spread mousse on cake leaving a one inch margin on each long edge. Reroll cake starting with the other end…using towel to help roll. Cover with plastic and chill one hour.
- Ice with the ganache. Make lines or ridges on cake to resemble tree bark if desired. Garnish with meringue mushrooms.