I made a Yule Log cake a couple of years ago and while it was good, but it wasn’t Cake Wall of Honor good (see below.) This years just might be. It has chocolate Swiss roll with whipped cream filling, glazed and sugared cranberries and rosemary, merengue mushrooms (not majic) and a dusting of confectioners sugar.
The recipe was cloned from a number of online suggestions. I took the parts I wanted and left the rest. Sorry I can’t reference them all, I didn’t keep notes.
Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
• 4 large eggs, separated
• 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup (65g) packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1 Tablespoon (15ml) strong brewed coffee
• 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted (see note)
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour
• 3 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
Vanilla Whipped Cream
• 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
• 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 12×17 inch baking pan (Half sheet) with nonstick spray or grease with butter, so the parchment paper sticks. Then line it with parchment paper so the cake seamlessly releases. Spray or grease the parchment paper too. We want an extremely nonstick surface for this cake roll. Place the stand mixer bowl and whip into the freezer
- Make the cake: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl on high speed for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Sift the flour, 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl bowl. Pour the melted butter, coffee, and egg yolk mixture over the dry ingredients. Beat everything together on medium speed until completely combined. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in the egg whites until completely combined. Avoid over-mixing and deflating those whites. Batter will be very light.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. It will be a very thin layer. Tap the pan fairly hard on the counter to smooth out the top. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the cake gently springs back when touched with your finger. Do NOT over-bake.
- Roll the cake: As the cake bakes, place a piece of parchment paper flat on the counter. Sprinkle with a light coating of confectioners sugar. Once the cake comes out of the oven, immediately invert it onto the parchment paper. Peel off the parchment paper that was on the bottom of the cake as it baked, then dust the recently exposed cake with more confectioners sugar. Starting with the narrow end, slowly and gently roll the cake up with the parchment. The cake will be warm. Allow the cake to cool completely rolled up in the parchment. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up as you prepare the whipped cream.
Make the whipped cream:
- Remove the mixer bowl and whisk from the freezer, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Gently unroll the cake. Dollop the whipped cream on top, and carefully spread, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the cake. Gently roll the cake back up, without the parchment/towel this time. Diagonally cut about 4” off the end of the log and position along one side.
- Set aside in the refrigerator as you prepare the ganache.
- Heat cream to near boiling
- Pour over chocolate and let sit until chocolate softens
- Beat with a spoon until blended and shiny. It won’t be pretty at first but will eventually come together into a uniform shiny chocolate.
- Before the ganache firmest to frosting consistency use some to “glue” the branch on the log and fill in any cracks
- When the ganache is a spreading consistency spread over the cake
- Before completely set, use the tip of a knife to striate the ganache to resemble bark. Do not be to careful. It will look more natural if it imperfect. That’s my story, and I am sticking to it.
To make sugared cranberries and rosemary,
- add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until sugar has melted. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Spread 1/2 cup of sugar evenly on a shallow dish.
- Dip cranberries and rosemary springs to the sugar water, then roll in the sugar.
- Let dry before adding to the cake.