Journal files / Kris Craig
It is still Thanksgiving weekend, but on TV that's already so day before yesterday. I'm loath to flip right into Christmas, but I'm thinking of something so beautiful, and such a big deal to make, that there's no pressure to get off the couch and actually do it. It's still Thanksgiving weekend, after all.
Buche de Noel, or Chocolate Yule Log, is a chocolate cake filled with a flavored whipped cream, rolled and frosted with chocolate using long strokes intended to make grooves that resemble bark. There are several recipes for the buche in our archives. The recipes can be complex, the logs decorated with meringue mushrooms and other fancies, but one was simplified by Betty Crocker, this one:
BÛCHE DE NOËL
For the cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or crystals
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 15-inch-by-10-inch-by-1-inch pan with oil or waxed paper; grease with shortening or cooking spray. In small bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Pour eggs into large bowl; gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar. Beat in 1/3 cup water and the vanilla on low speed. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan, spreading batter to corners.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove foil. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. While hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes.
In chilled medium bowl, beat all filling ingredients on high speed until stiff. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread filling over cake. Roll up cake.
For tree stump, cut off a 2-inch diagonal slice from one end of cake. Attach stump to one long side using 1 tablespoon frosting. Frost cake with remaining frosting. With tines of fork, make strokes in frosting to look like tree bark. Garnish with nuts. Serves 10.
CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons hot water
In medium bowl, beat cocoa and butter on low speed until thoroughly mixed. Beat in powdered sugar until mixed. Beat in vanilla and enough of the hot water until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
(Source: "Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook")