Saturday, December 22, 2007

Buche de Noel - Daring Bakers December 2007 Challenge


Yule Log 2007
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
I have wanted to make a Buche de Noel, or yule log cake, for several years now but never got around to it. When it came out as the Daring Bakers Challenge for December, I was excited, to say the least. I knew I had a tree trimming party to go to and planned to make it for that day. The day of the party, it was pouring down rain, the kind of day that makes you want to lock the door, make a pot of tea, and watch movies or read books all day long.

I was actually worried it was going to be "one of those days" when I went to the post office to send holiday gifts (the day after the deadline, of course), and then to the grocery store. The only thing I needed was parchment paper, and guess what I forgot? Which meant I was going BACK out in the rain to hunt down parchment paper - which by the way, in my town, neither Walgreens nor CVS deemed important enough to carry - so I didn't get started until around 1 pm. I don't mind having a disastrous baking day (see last month's Daring Bakers Challenge) but was desperate not to have this day be one of them.

Chocolate genoise cake layer

The first step is baking the genoise layer. I decided to do a chocolate version, and altered the recipe based on Nick Malgieri's suggestions on the old episode of Sara's Secrets (where he bakes this cake!). I watched that episode twice before I delved into this project.

Unfrosted yule log
I slightly overbaked the cake, knowingly, because it told me to start on the buttercream once the cake was in the oven, but then I had egg whites whisking on the stove when the cake was over and I freaked out a little. So later on, the cake cracked when it rolled up, but it was still all good.

Creamy buttercream
I was worried that my buttercream would break after reading some stories of the other Daring Bakers, but I had my fears put to rest by Nick Malgieri, who said once the mixture had cooled completely down in the mixer, you could just throw the softened butter in one stick at a time and beat it until it came together - so I did, and it was wonderfully creamy and SO delicious. This is not the buttercream you make by mixing powdered sugar and butter. I didn't have rum or brandy, so I used Kahlua, which really amped the coffee flavor in this.

Meringue mushrooms

While the rolled cake and buttercream chilled, I went to work making meringue mushrooms. I have made meringue a zillion times -back in my tearoom days we had to have lemon meringue pies every Thursday (and oh look, I even made meringue earlier this month)- but I have never made meringue mushrooms. Lacking a pastry bag, I used a gallon ziploc and it worked pretty well.

The mushrooms added the most mystery to the cake - a lot of people at the party thought they were "actual" mushrooms and I had to prove they weren't by cutting them apart. The cocoa powder applied before baking really added a touch of realism.

I didn't do much to decorate the cake other than add fork marks (after the pictures were taken, ha!). I was late to the party, it was pouring down rain, and I realized too late that I had no covered dish large enough to transport the cake. So I used the umbrella on the cake and ended up at the front door looking like a drowned rat, but the cake was dry!

Daring Bakers Blue Logo
The recipe can be found on either blog of this month's challenge hosts - Ivonne and Lisa. All the Daring Bakers (I believe we're over 300 strong now) can be seen in the list here.


Categories: Buttercream, Cake, Chocolate, Coffee, Daring Bakers, Holiday, Meringue

26 comments:

marias23 said...

The fact that people at the party thought those were real mushrooms just attests to the great job you did on the meringues! Let's hope they didn't think the yule log was a real wooden log ;)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Gigi said...

Nicely done!

Peabody said...

Oh no, I can just picture you trying to carry it with an umbrella in the other hand! Great job on your log.

Megan said...

Jenny, your cake looks amazing. My buttercream was more like butter slosh. very runny but I see I have something to strive for. Your looks so good!!! You have yourself a very merry little Christmas!!

2ndgenlibrarian said...

Yum!!

This recipe makes me want to join the Daring Bakers. I feel intimidated by the skill (and experience) of the group.

2ndgenlibrarian said...

Yum!!

This recipe makes me want to join the Daring Bakers. I feel intimidated by the skill (and experience) of the group.

glamah16 said...

A lot of people ,especially here in the US,dont care for genoise because its so dry.And its a **** to make IMO.All the buttercream and filling helps. Your log looks great.Happy Holidays.

Quellia said...

Now that's putting your priorities in place - protect that cake and just get wet! I love it!
Nice work!

reprehriestless warillever said...

I guess that's why you are called daring bakers.

We have been baking constantly this Advent, but much tamer fare like gingerbread, sugar cookies, butter cookies, trifle, and birthday cake (for Jesus).

If you want a laugh, pop over to my blog to see the graham cracker houses.

Meeta said...

The extents we Dbs will go to for a challenge even getting ourselves wet in a downpour but assuring the cake stays dry. Great one!!

creampuff said...

Beautiful job! I'm glad you finally got to make the Yule Log. All the best to you in the year to come!

Julius said...

Your bûche de Noël looks wonderful. I'm impressed at your dedication and sacrifice that you rather be wet than the cake. :)

Have a great Christmas!

Julius from Occasional Baker

Baking Soda said...

Now those are some realistic looking mushrooms! I thought I hated buttercream but this version is so smooth and silky, not buttery at all, far better than the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter thing! Great job Jenny!

Lunch Buckets said...

Great log, your mushrooms are awesome!

eatme_delicious said...

Kahlua in the icing sounds so yummy! I can completely imagine the timer for the cake going off while whipping egg whites over a hot water bath. I definitely would've freaked out too. I finished the cake before even starting on the buttercream though so thankfully didn't encounter that problem. I'm happy to see it all turned out well for you though. Looks great!

Claire said...

Your roll looks great! Nice job.

Beth G. said...

Yum!! Looks great! :)

Tartelette said...

The log looks great and you saced it form the rain! Yippee!
Hope everybody liked it and that you had a great holiday!

Jen said...

Another baking Jen here! Great job on your yule log! :)

creampuff said...

Oh, you're so lucky that you actually got to see Nick make it! Your mushrooms are so plump and cute and I think the log turned out great! Happy Holidays!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful tale and wonderful cake! I love the sound of the Kahlua! Yum!

Dolores said...

What a *wonderful* way to spend a rainy day. (except the schlepping out for parchment part. And the drowning while you kept the cake dry part.) Great job! Hope your holiday season's delivered some joy and peace in addition to the rain, and that the new year brings health and happiness, laughter and love.

Deborah said...

I wish I would have seen that episode, but by the time I found out about it, it had already aired. Oh well!! You did a wonderful job!!

wmpe said...

Your cake looks great. What a compliment to have your mushrooms thought of as real! You braved the rain and made a great cake. Wendy

Jen Yu said...

Awesome! Great job on your challenge and I applaud your resourcefulness with the ziploc - works great in a pinch :) I think you can count this as a success!! Happy new year :)


jen at use real butter

Ann-Marie said...

You're clearly a Baker At Heart when you choose to save the cake over yourself. Ah, what we sacrifice for our art! Congratulations on your Buche -- it looks luscious -- and especially on your trompe de l'oeil mushrooms.