Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bûche de Noël

Merry Christmas! I hope everybody has had a wonderful time with loved ones, around the dinner table with all the great tasting food or around the Christmas tree opening presents. This year, my family and I actually did both. We're not really big on gifts, but we all exchanged them today after dinner. My sister gave me a cute recipe box! It's shaped like a house and I can even place a recipe on the roof.

I am going to share my dessert recipe today. I decided to make a Bûche de Noël as a challenge to myself. To others, making this cake may not be that complicated, but for someone who has never made a roll cake before, it was a whole new level. It's been on my to-bake list for a while, but that list is quite long and something else always came before it. Now, I must have not been in my right mind today because things just weren't going right with the dessert. It wasn't quite a disaster, but it certainly didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. The cake tasted fine, but I must have either underbaked it by a minute or didn't let it cool completely because it was too moist. I will definitely go for a different recipe next time like this one from Baking Bites. Next time, I am going to wait several hours before doing anything with the cake to make sure it has cooled completely!

Then, the whipped cream appeared whipped enough, but I guess it wasn't because it didn't stay inside the cake as I rolled it up and was oozing out everywhere. Instead of whipped cream, I would go for a cream cheese filling next time or even just a spread of jam. Then, the chocolate frosting was really loose and by this point, I was so frustrated that I didn't even care sadly, but thankfully, the frosting set in the fridge and that really helped with the bark texture. Despite my struggles, I don't think it turned out too terrible and I loved that my family laughed when I took it out of the fridge. Nobody saw me make it today so it was quite a surprise!

Once you get the hang of making it, Bûche de Noël can be quite a fun dessert. You can go all out with the decorations and make meringue mushrooms, tree leaves, etc to make it even more fancy, but I made it simple, thank goodness. And the flavors can be adjusted to match your preferences. The filling, frosting, and the sponge cake itself can have many different flavors. It's so versatile that you can change it up every year so that it doesn't get boring.

Buche de Noel

Vanilla Chiffon Roll
From Zoe Bakes

- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup vegetable or safflower oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites

- 1 recipe for filling [recipe below]
- 1 recipe for frosting [recipe below]

1. Prepare a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan with oil and a sheet of parchment. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Sift together 1 cup of the sugar, flour, baking powder, and baking soda onto a sheet of parchment; add the salt.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, oil, water and vanilla until blended. Add the dry ingredients gradually to the yolk mixture, whisking all the while; set aside.
4. Beat the 6 egg white in a stand mixer on low speed until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining sugar, beating until the teh whites are thick and shiny and hold medium peaks.
5. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk/flour mixture to lighten it, then turn the yolk mixture into the whites and gently fold together until thoroughly incorporated.
6. Pour the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it evenly with an offset spatula. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the edges just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to rest on cooling rack until room temperature.
7. When completely cooled, invert the cake onto a sheet of parchment. Spread filling over the completed surface of cake. Using the parchment to help you roll the cake over the filling into a tight log starting at the long end. Wrap the cake and refrigerate for a couple hours.
8. Once the cake is chilled cut it at an angle in half. Cut one of the halves again making one of the pieces 1/4 and the other 3/4. Place the 3/4 piece against the half log and the 1/4 piece will sit on top of the half log.
9. Frost the cake with choice of frosting. Use a fork to create the bark texture. Dust powdered sugar on top to resemble snow.

Whipped Cream

- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Chill the ingredients, bowl, and whisk.
2. Beat the whipping cream on medium-high until it starts to thicken. Add powdered sugar (or less) 1 tbsp at a time and beat on medium until soft peaks form. Add vanilla until stiff peaks form.

Healthified Chocolate Frosting
From Betty Crocker

- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or no-trans-fat 68% vegetable oil spread stick, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 to 3 tbsp fat-free milk

1. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, cocoa, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk with electric mixer on low speed. Gradually beat in just enough of remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. Spread frosting over cupcakes. To set, chill in the fridge.

Buche de Noel

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