Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daring Bakers December Challenge : Yule Log

yule log

I am excited when I knew that we are making Yule Log for our December Daring Baker challenge.I have been toying with the idea of making one for Christmas since November but just isn't sure if I will have the determination to follow through. Since our hosts Ivonne and Lis have chosen Yule Log as our December challenge, I have no reason not to make it this year!

yule log

After much procastination, I made my yule log last Monday for OCT department Christmas party on the next day. Initially I was planning to play around with the filling, but I love coffee flavor so much that I decided to just stick with the coffee buttercream as filling and frosting. I added Kahlua in the buttercream instead of brandy, which the recipe suggested. I also added a thin layer of Nutella in the filling to make it extra decadent. That was the creativity I have left after many rounds of cookie recipes testing.

The Yule Log was well received at the party and I wished I brought my camera along. The meringue mushrooms piqued the interest of a few children in the party and they are intrigued by its appearance and "melt in the mouth" texture.

yule log

The Yule log is a fun and rewarding challenge and I can't wait to meet the other 400+ yule logs. Be sure to check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see other beautiful creations my fellow Daring Bakers come up with! Maybe you will get inspired to make one for Christmas too.


Genoise cooling and waiting to be filled

I wish I could tell you more about this month challenge, but time is of the essence around here. There's a cheesecake baking in the oven and many cookies that needed to be decorated and packed for our party tomorrow. OCT is helping me pack some of the cookies while I sneak out to blog here. I should have started the cookies baking earlier. Maybe I will start in October next year.Or maybe June, given my snail-like speed.

Yule Log
from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert

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

(note: I made a chocolate genoise. To make a chocolate genoise, use 1/3 cup cake flour, 1/3 cup corn starch and 1/4 cup cocoa powder)

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.

Coffee Buttercream:

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy (I used Kahlua)

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.(around 160F)

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. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Meringue Mushrooms:

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened 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.

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.

3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.

4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).

5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.

8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.

9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.


desie said...

Gorgeous! I love your festive decorations.

Anonymous said...

Yoohoo ! A great looking bûche ! You Must be damned proud of it !

Peabody said...

I love the use of the candy canes and the red and green sprinkles! Looks great...glad we gave you an excuse to make one.

eatme_delicious said...

Looks good! Great idea to add Kahlua to the buttercream.

Megan said...

It's beautiful! I bet it was the talk of the party!

african vanielje said...

Beautiful Mandy. It looks so deliciously festive. No wonder it went down well. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas

michelle said...

How beautiful!

Gigi said...

Lovely log!I love the candy canes.

marias23 said...

Simply yummy-licious! Love the candy cane arches. Makes your log seem like the house of a little creature :)

Merry Christmas!

Unknown said...

I love the addition of Nutella...that had to be delicious. The favorite part at my party was also the mushrooms. It was kind of funny! Looks great and festive. And isn't that what DB is push us to make something we might not have otherwise, without the "command" to make it!?

Chibog in Chief said...

gorgeous!! i love your yule log its so magical!!! i feel like im a child again! it was indeed a great challenge for all of us!!happy holidays!!

Unknown said...

wow, great use of candy canes!

Aimei said...

Beautiful yule log Mandy! I like the fact that everything can be eaten here...the colourful beads idea and the meringue mushroom. Great job!

Merry Christmas to you!!

Chris said...

My eyes opened wide when I clicked on over. Looks beautiful! I, too, love the c-canes...Excellent job

Rasa Malaysia said...

I went to Use Real Butter and was floored by her creation, and now yours! I am simply speechless!!!!

Helene said...

Just stunning as always! I love the colored sprinkles...:) The clarity of your pciture is mind blowing!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and family!

Julius said...

This is beautiful.

I especially love your photo of the genoise all rolled up.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Jenny said...

What a great looking Yule Log! Love the red and green sprinkles and candy canes. Great job!

Venus ~ Vi said...

Hi Mandy ~

Foremost, I want to wish you and your family a merry christmas and a wonderful 2008!

I was considering the Yule Log for a x-mas get together dinner too but it has advance for me so I gave up the idea >.<

I love the meringue mushrooms! I saw the how-to from one of Martha Stewart's magazines sometime back and was so in love with them. Yours are just as beautiful!

tigerfish said...

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! :D

Lunch Buckets said...

Nice log, and I love your kitchen towels :)

bp said...

Wow, so lovely! It deserves an award! The mushrooms are really cute, too!

Have a blessed Christmas now, you and OCT!

Brilynn said...

Love your decorating skills, the sprinkles are great!

Veron said...

Love it that you use the candy canes ... too cute!

Anonymous said...

That's such a fabulous looking log! Love the candy cane, brings life to the all brown cake. Fantastic!

Beth G. @SweetLifeKitchen said...

It looks delicious!!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Wonderful job on the challenge. Your log looks great and so festive, too.

Lis said...

I absolutely love how you decorated your log, Mandy! You did an amazing job. =)

Happy holidays!


Andrea said...

Your yule log turned out lovely! The candy canes were a great idea!

Dolores said...

That's a bakery-worthy log, Mandy... I love the festive touch the candy canes add. I also used Kahlua and found it much more palatable than brandy. :)

I hope your holidays brought joy and peace, and that 2008 is filled with health and happiness, laughter and love for you and your family.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I really like your addition of the candy canes--they look so cheerful!

Deborah said...

Your log is gorgeous!! The candy cane sprinkling was such a great idea!

Jen Yu said...

Simply lovely presentation. I think the sprinkles are the bomb! Great job on your challenge. Can't wait to see what you have in store for January! :)

jen at use real butter

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your yule log. I'm with the children...I love the mushrooms too.

Happy New Year!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

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