Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Very Daring Yule Log

Daring Baker's Challenge - The Yule Log

This was my first Daring Bakers challenge. Yikes, what a big one! Not only was I swamped with other Christmas baking, but now, I find out I have to bake a Yule Log, complete with Marzipan mushrooms. And, we found out that we got approved to move into a new house NEXT weekend! It's been a busy but exciting month.

My finished Yule Log - I love it!

My little Marzipan mushrooms

My buttercream - not too bad for my first try! And SO rich and yummy!

I decided to make my buttercream in chocolate flavor, since, while my husband LOVES coffee, he's not such a fan of coffee flavored sweets for some reason. I followed the idea from fellow DBer, The Caked Crusader, to add dark chocolate bars to flavor the frosting. I chose to make the marzipan mushrooms as well, rather than the meringue.

My sheet pan is 12x17, so I increased the recipe by 4/3, as suggested by another DBer. I used 4 eggs, 4 yolks, a pinch of salt, 1 C sugar, and 1 C combined cake flour and cornstarch. I also flavored it with Frangelico, a hazelnut flavored liqueur. SOOO tasty! I also increased the buttercream recipe by 4/3, using 6 egg whites, 1 lb of butter, and 1 1/3 C sugar. I melted 7 little dark chocolate sticks into the butter, and used 2 T of Frangelico in place of the rum or brandy.

I had no problems with the genoise. It was super easy, and I rolled it when it was about halfway cooled, with a sheet of parchment on both sides. I let it cool overnight, wrapped in saran wrap. It was super moist the next morning. The butter cream was NOT what I remembered making as a did curdle a bit, but not as bad as I was afraid it would. It spread easily inside the cake. The hardest part was frosting the cake, but luckily the wood texture hid any funny spots! I decorated it with the marzipan mushrooms, rosemary, and cranberries.

The Yule Log came out great. It was hard to kept trying to pull pieces of the cake off, and the icing was melting fast. But, I overcame it, and it turned out beautifully! :)

Here is the basic recipe, before the substitutions I made:

Yule Log

Plain Genoise: (I added Frangelico to mine)

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)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder if desired
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

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 therm ometer (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, cocoa 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: ( I used chocolate buttercream instead, see recipe below)

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


Chocolate Buttercream
4 Lg egg whites
1 Cup sugar
3 sticks softened butter
1/2 Cup melted chocolate chips

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.

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.

Chocolate Buttercream directions:
1. same as above number 1
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. Slowly stir in melted chocolate.

Marzipan Mushrooms:

8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
Cocoa powder

1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.

2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.

4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.

5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.

6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.

7.Smudge with cocoa powder.

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.


CB said...

ohmygod! I am SO impressed! Awesome job! those marzipan mushrooms are just too cute :)

Nikki57 said...

It looks great! Nice job on your first challenge. I'm so happy you joined in on the fun.

Gigi said...

Awesome job on your first challenge. Welcome and Happy Holidays!

Ann said...

Looks great!

Ann at Redacted Recipes

michelle said...

Awesome job! And such cute little mushrooms!

Beth G. said...

Congratulations on your first challenge!! AND congratulations on the HOUSE!! WOO HOO!!
PS- love the "Deep Thoughts" on your sidebar :O)

Laura said...

Oh, your mushrooms came out so cute!

Rivka said...

Congrats on completing your first challenge -- well done! welcome to DB :)

Julius said...

Dexter and Alanna~

Awesome job you guys! Congrats on such a spectacular first challenge.

Looking forward to seeing more of your challenges.

Feel free to read about my yule log here.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Lunch Buckets said...

Gorgeous log! Congratulations

Peabody said...

Job well done on your Yule Log. Congrats on your new home.

Katie B. said...

Looks terrific! Great first challenge!! :)

Lis said...

If you hadn't said anything about having problems frosting your log, I never would have known - it looks lovely!

Wonderful job!

Happy Holidays!


Tartelette said...

Looks gorgeous! Great jo on your first challenge! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Dolores said...

Great job on your first challenge Alanna... welcome to the madness. And congratulations on your new home!

I hope your holiday celebrations were full of joy and peace, and that 2008 brings you and your family health and happiness, laughter and love.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Congrats on your first DB challenge! Your cake looks great!

Cheryl said...

A perfect yule log you made. What a fantastic job.

Deborah said...

Wonderful job on your first challenge!!

Jen Yu said...

Mmm, such a pretty and silky looking buttercream! Great job on your yule log. Just lovely!

jen at use real butter