Chocolate Yule Log

I always used to look in awe at Yule Logs, I found them so beautiful and loved all the different ways they could be decorated. And, let’s be honest, I loved how much chocolate was involved.

I have memories of Yule Logs as dessert at Christmas time, but I don’t remember them very well. I think that’s because as soon as I could bake, Mum had me in the kitchen making the flourless chocolate mousse cake.

This could taste quite one note if you’re not careful, so feel free to add in more cinnamon or vanilla bean paste in the filling. Or even add something crunchy to the filling like roasted, chopped walnuts or honeycomb.

If you have some dinky Christmas decorations that you want to use to spice up the Yule Log even more, do it! Little trees, baubles, toy deer, whatever. Chuck it on.

Ingredients

Sponge:
4 eggs
pinch of salt
75 grams icing sugar
80 grams self-raising flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Filling:
200 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting:
150 grams dark chocolate
150 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
150 grams icing sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Separate the eggs. Using a free-standing mixer, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Then gradually add in the icing sugar.
  3. Whisk in the egg yolks one by one, until really pale and light. Carefully sift in the flour and cocoa powder, then add the vanilla paste. Fold everything together with a large spoon, trying to keep in as much air as possible. Pour the batter into the baking tray and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the sponge springs back when you gently touch it.
  4. Place a large sheet of baking paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with the caster sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the baking paper, while it’s still hot, then peel off the bottom layer of baking paper. Roll up the cake into a long sausage, starting at one of the long ends, with the baking paper rolled inside it. This will help to shape the cake later, without it sticking. Allow to cool.
  5. Whip the double cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  6. Carefully unroll the sponge, and lay flat. Spread the whipped cream across the entire cake. Re-roll, keeping baking paper only on the outside of the cake, then place in the fridge.
  7. Melt the chocolate for the frosting in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once melted and smooth, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Beat the butter in a free-standing mixer until creamy, then gradually add the icing sugar and the melted chocolate, continuing to beat until fully combined.
  8. Remove the yule log from the fridge, and remove any baking paper. Slice one end of the cake off at an angle, and place it on the side to create an additional branch. Cover the log in frosting, ensuring that all cream and cake are hidden with frosting. Then, use a fork to carefully scrape through the frosting to create a bark effect. Decorate with sprinkles and any other Christmas decorations you see fit.

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