There’s nothing like a spot of baking to get you in the Christmas spirit. And this past weekend I really got to test out my skills. I was invited to an ‘intime soiree’ in honour of the festive season with the glitterati of the Seoul Expat scene. The Christmas roast was all taken care of so I thought I’d be traditional and contribute a dessert and some mulled wine. The most festive dessert I could think of was a good old yule log. I’ve never made one before, though I did do a Swiss roll back in my school days which turned out well so I figured I could handle it. For the sponge part I had a good search and found that most people were on the fence about whether to use flour or not. I decided I’d go with Nigella’s recipe which is a fatless and flourless sponge. It comes out more like a very cakey meringue and is ever so light which I thinks works well with the richness of the frosting. I decided to make a whipped Nutella ganache which was incredibly yummy. With my decorating skills I was rather chuffed indeed and the whole thing was devoured instantaneously. I will definitely be making this frosting again, as it’s just so rich and chocolatey. It would be great on cakes or cupcakes in place of butter-cream.
6 large eggs (separated)
150 grams caster sugar
60 grams cocoa powder
100g of dark chocolate
100g of milk chocolate
300mls of cream
4 large tablespoons of Nutella
Icing sugar to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a Swiss-roll tin (if you have one) with baking paper and make sure you have some overhang so it’s easier to remove. I don’t have a real Swiss roll tin so just used the large trays that came with my oven and that worked out perfectly.
2. In a large, clean bowl whisk the egg whites until thick and peaking, then, still whisking, sprinkle in 50g / ¼ cup of the caster sugar and continue whisking until the whites are holding their peaks but not dry.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is moussy, pale, and thick. Then add the cocoa powder and whisk until combined.
4. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of the egg whites, folding them in robustly. Then add the remaining whites in thirds, folding them in carefully to avoid losing the air.
5. Pour the mixture into your tin, making sure it reaches the corners and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until it sets, if it still wobbles a lot pop it back in for another 5 minutes. Let the cake cool in the oven for about 5 minutes before turning it out onto another piece of baking parchment. Carefully peel off the layer of paper you baked it in, then roll it up in the new piece, and allow it to cool while it’s rolled up. I rolled mine length ways but it’s really up to you.
6. While the roll is cooling you can make the frosting. Warm up 200ml of the cream in a saucepan until it’s hot to the touch but not boiling. Then add the chocolate and stir. Once the chocolate has melted add the Nutella and stir again until combined. Pour this mixture into a bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
7. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, whip with an electric whisk, after a minute or two add the extra cream, this will help it become thicker and gain more of a frosting consistency. If you don’t like your frosting too rich you can add more cream.
8. Once it’s cooled, unroll the Swiss roll and spread with a layer of the frosting, don’t go crazy as it will splooge out the sides but be generous. Then re-roll the log. Pipe the remaining frosting onto the cake to give a log-like effect then sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate. I also popped on a Christmas ornament I found at Daiso to complete the look. Et voilá, a Christmas Yule Log, you’ll be the hit of the party!