‘Tis the season for an impressive Christmas classic!
Is anyone else in the mood for a yule log? If you’ve never heard of it, a Bûche de Noël is a cake roll decorated to look like a log. A classic Bûche de Noël is vanilla sponge or genoise with chocolate buttercream, but the sky’s the limit with flavor combinations. People get really into decorating them, either with flames to look like a log in the fireplace, or with snow, mushrooms, and other woodland accents to resemble a log in the forest. Some even use shaved chocolate to create a realistic bark effect. Personally I think the cake is impressive enough on its own frosted to look like a log.
I have baked a Bûche de Noël most Christmases during the past decade but I always make the same one out of a cookbook and I don’t make any changes (shocking, I know!) so it will never appear here on The Rose Table. This year you can thank Mama Rose Table for requesting a chocolate Bûche de Noël. I turned one of my best desserts, my Great Wall of Chocolate, into a Bûche de Noël fit for the chocolate lovers in your family. Here a dark chocolate sponge cake is rolled up with a whipped chocolate cream cheese filling flecked with mini chocolate chips and frosted with a dark chocolate buttercream. It’s more chocolatey than sweet but the whipped filling keeps is surprisingly light and fluffy. I hope you love this much as I do!
P.S. Don’t get intimidated by how long this recipe is. This is much easier than the Bûche de Noël I’m used to baking, trust me! The hardest part of this recipe is separating the eggs for the cake.
Dark Chocolate Bûche de Noël
For the cake:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs , separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 1/3 cup , divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (I love Hershey’s special dark)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
Chocolate cream filling, recipe follows
Dark chocolate buttercream, recipe follows
- Make the filling (recipe below) and refrigerate.
- Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 15.5×10.5×1-inch jelly-roll pan, line with parchment paper, and grease paper. Spread a thin towel on the counter and sprinkle with a handful of powdered sugar.
- Carefully separate eggs. Beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. In a stand mixer, beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed about three minutes. Gradually add remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar; continue beating for two additional minutes.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to egg yolk mixture alternately with water, beating on low speed just until batter is smooth. Gently fold beaten egg whites into mixture with a spatula just until the batter is uniform in color. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Immediately invert onto prepared towel or parchment paper and peel off paper. Carefully roll cake with towel away from you starting at one of the narrow ends. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
- While cake is cooling, make the buttercream (recipe follows).
- To assemble: carefully unroll cake, spread with chocolate cream filling, roll back up, and slice the ends off. (Note: I usually make one thin cut just to have a nice end and cut a larger, angled slice to put on the side of the cake for an impressive log.) Use a small spatula to spread dark chocolate buttercream all over cake, leaving the ends bare.
Chocolate Cream Filling:
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened – I’m not kidding! Do not use cold cream cheese! – and cut into cubes
8 oz mini chocolate chips
- Beat together cream, vanilla, cocoa powder, and sugar until soft peaks form.
- Cut cream cheese into cubes and slowly beat in. Don’t panic if it looks like cottage cheese at first; keep beating until smooth.
- Stir in mini chocolate chips.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to spread on cake.
Dark Chocolate Buttercream
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted buter, softened
4 oz unsweetened Ghirardelli baking chocolate
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Chop baking chocolate into small pieces. Slowly melt on the stove over low heat or in the microwave at a very low level, checking and stirring every thirty seconds. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Beat softened butter with a hand mixer. Beat in melted chocolate until smooth and then powdered sugar.
This cake stays good for days in the fridge. This is what my family will be enjoying after our Christmas dinner! Comment and tell me what your favorite Christmas dishes are.
P.S. It snowed at The Rose Table today! I always tell you guys what a messy cook I am. With great flourish, I whacked my powdered sugar container across the kitchen (thank goodness it’s plastic!) and watched in horror as the open container spun in the air before landing with an ominous thud right next to my dog, who thought she had died and gone to heaven. I had to include this picture of Gabby having the time of her life in the “snow.”