Dec 23, 2007

Yule Log - Daring Bakers

I am officially a DARING BAKER!!! heehee =P I'm so excited! This is my first Daring Baker challenge, and I have to say it's a really complicated one. I have seen yule log recipes in my cookbooks, but I've never bothered making it because it just looks so complicated. There are basically three parts: the genoise, the buttercream and the meringue mushrooms. The recipes are from Perfect cakes by Nick Malgieri and The William-Sonoma collection: Dessert.

I made the buttercream the night before. This was a bit scary for me as I have never made buttercream before. I read my fellow daring bakers' problems with the buttercreams and it seems like a daunting task. I kept waiting for the buttercream to curdle, but IT NEVER DID! I have to say this must be beginners luck!! I put the buttercream and in the fridge and the next day I had to whip the buttercream again, but it was still really good the next day.

I made the genoise next. I must have either cooked it too long or cooled it for too long, because I had a hard time rolling the cake. It started to crack in some places. Overall though, the cake came out well. It was really fun putting the log together!!

This is a picture of my naked log. After I frosted the log with the coffee buttercream, I felt like the cake looked really naked and it didn't really look like a yule log. So I put a chocolate bark on it. All I did was melted some chocolate, spread it thin on a piece of parchment paper. I left it in the fridge for 10 minutes to let it harden, then broke it off into little pieces.

The last part was the mushrooms. The original recipe makes 48 mushrooms!!! I didn't think I could fill my yule log with so many mushrooms, so I only made a third of the recipe. I still ended up with about 12 mushrooms. This was really fun to make. They are just so darn cute!!! I had a hard time piping the stems and making them straight. They were kinda crooked, but I'm going to call them natural. heehee =P

Overall I'm happy with the end product. I ended up giving the yule log to my friend for her family christmas party. It was kinda hard to part with it. I don't think I've ever spent so much time decorating a cake before. To tell the truth, I thought about chickening out of this challenge, but I'm so glad I didn't. I don't think I would've made a yule log otherwise, and it was really fun to make!! Here are the recipes:

Coffee Buttercream

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
12 tbsp of unsalted butter, softened (168 g)
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp of warm water

  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 (approximately 160 degrees).

  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.

Plain Genoise

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 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 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.

Meringue Mushroom
1 egg white

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

35 g sugar

14g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line 1 baking sheet 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 12 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 12 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, 35-40 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.


Anonymous said...

I reallylike the way you layered on the chocolate. Looks great!


Beth G. said...

YUM!! The chocolate bark looks awesome and your mushrooms came out fantastic :) Great Job!!

Morven said...

Adorable. Well done on your first challenge.

Morven said...

Adorable. Well done on your first challenge.

Julius said...

Wow, yours is the most original bark I've seen so far.

Congrats on such a beautiful bûche de Noël - it must have been really hard to part with it.

Feel free to read about my yule log here.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Tartelette said...

Great Job! I love the chocolate bark on it, gives it a great touch!
Happy Holidays to you and your family.

toasty said...

The chocolate bark = fantastic idea! I ended up really enjoying the meringue mushrooms--too cute! The meringue [mushroom] caps don't really have a smooth surface but do you think it could be dusted with food coloring powder? I think red & white spotted mushrooms would look great against the brown chocolate...maybe even pink pearlized ones.

Deborah said...

I love the bark on your log! Great job!!

Dolores said...

I'm with the others, the chocolate bark was a brilliant touch! Congratulations and welcome to the madness. Happy New Year!


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