Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Buche de Noel / Yule Log

A little late...but, better than never I suppose. I did not think I would have time to make the Daring Baker's Challenge for December, Buche Noel, but at the last minute I ended up making it on Christmas day morning. We did all the Santa stuff and gift opening really early, as Jack woke at 5:15 AM- (yes, you read that correctly). I had made the meringue mushrooms on Sunday so the cake and icing were quick. I read many of the posts by the other bakers regarding the Swiss Merngue curdling, I think it all depends on the speed of the mixer. I find it does look curdled for a bit- but then you beat it until it cannot be beat anymore and it pulls together again into a smooth satiny cream.

The cake was delicious, I filled it with a white chocolate pastry cream which I made a little loose on purpose so the cake would stay very moist and I added 8 oz melted dark chocolate to the icing at the end. Since I was also serving it to children and I was afraid they would not care for the coffee flavor which is what the recipe called for. Other than that, I followed the Daring Baker's recipe exactly. I also sprinkled the mushrooms with cocoa and powdered sugar- they came out really cute, but I forgot to take a photo of it- maybe next time.

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 (1) 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.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.


4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons Brandy
8 oz. melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate

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. Add liquor and beat into the buttercream, add melted chocolate and mix well.

Meringue Mushrooms:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugarUnsweetened 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. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.

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. Reserve the remaining meringue.

3.Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.


  1. Fantastic, Katia! And my stars, what an early riser he is! heheee!

    Your mushrooms are so pretty - the snowy whitest I've seen yet!

    Happy holidays!


  2. Merry Christmas to you!! The log and mushrooms look gorgeous!!

  3. I love how smooth your mushrooms came out! Great job!

  4. Beautiful job Katia. I'm glad you found time to join us on this one.

    Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2008!

  5. Fantastic bûche de Noël!

    You're right about buttercream - it becomes satiny after more whipping.

    Happy Holidays.

    Julius from Occasional Baker

  6. Your log looks wonderful! Great job!

  7. Very pretty indeed! The mushrooms are perfect and your buttercream looks so luxurious. Wow! Great job and happy new year :)

    jen at use real butter

  8. Found tour site and had to check out the yule log. Looks wonderful!
    Sounds tasty.


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