Nigella’s Chocolate Yule Log

Posted 23 December 2010 by

Every year at Christmas, I ice a chocolate swiss roll, as a yule log. This year is the first time I have made the whole thing. Actually, that’s not strictly true. There was that one time in home economics when I was about 12, when I attempted to make a chocolate yule log. The sponge turned out like rubber, and the “icing” was liquid. It was one big, chocolatey mess. Happily, this one turned out much better. This recipe for a flourless chocolate yule log, or Bûche de Noël, comes from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Christmas.

Chocolate yule log decorated with chocolate buttercream and icing sugar.

The yule log was part of an old European yule-tide tradition where a large log (or whole tree) was brought into the house and burned in the hearth. At some point this became represented culinarily (a word?) by the Bûche de Noël. Did you know there is also a Yule Goat? (Look it up!)

Ingredients:

For the chocolate yule log

  • 6 eggs (separated)
  • 150 g (5 oz; ⅔ cup) caster sugar
  • 50 g (1.8 oz; 0.4 cups) cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate buttercream

  • 175 g (6 oz) dark chocolate
  • 250 g (8.8 oz; 2 cups) icing sugar
  • 225 g (7.9 oz; 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Please note: this reicpe uses metric measurements; conversions are approximate

Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add 50 g of caster sugar while still whisking, whisk until the peaks hold their shape.

Whisked egg whites, forming peaks.

Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with 100 g of caster sugar until they are thick and “moussy” (the object being to get the whole thing as light and airy as possible).

Whisked egg yolks, with a whisk.

Add the vanilla extract and cocoa to the yolks, and fold them in. Add a dollop of egg white to the yolk mixture, and mix it in. Gradually, and carefully, fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Egg whites folded into egg yolks, sugar and cocoa, to make chocolate yule log.

Pour the mix into a lined swiss roll tin or shallow baking tin. Bake at 180° C for 20 minutes. Allow the cake to cool a little and then transfer it to some clean baking parchment, or a clean tea-towel.

Cooked flourless cake for chocolate yule log.

Mix more thoroughly to avoid the pretty marbling effect!

To make the chocolate buttercream filling/icing, cream together the butter and icing sugar. Melt the chocolate and allow it to cool. Add the chocolate and vanilla extract to the buttercream and combine.

Spread the cooled cake with a thin layer of chocolate buttercream.

Chocolate sponge spread with chocolate buttercream, ready to be rolled into a swiss roll.

Now comes the fun part! With the long side of the cake facing you, gently roll the cake away from you do that it forms a long log-shaped (obviously!) swiss roll. You can use the baking parchment or tea-towel to help you put pressure on the log as you roll it. The sponge will probably crack, but that’s ok!

One end of a chocolate swiss roll.

Closeup of a chocolate swiss roll, showing the cracked surface.

The cracks make it look more authentic.

Chop a piece off each end, at a rakish angle, and place them at the sides of the log, to look like branches.

Chocolate yule log, waiting to be iced.

The naked log.

Cover the yule log with the rest of the chocolate buttercream. You can use a fork to make “bark” patterns in the icing and sprinkle icing sugar on top to look like snow.

Closeup of chocolate buttercream icing on a chocolate yule log.

And there you have it, Nigella’s Bûche de Noël, just in time for Christmas. Happy yule-tide!

Finished chocolate Buche de Noel.

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