My buddy Cassidy is a fantastic baker, and he graciously allowed me to share his recent Adventures in Bûche de Noël (Yule logs) with y'all. Never has simulated festive wood tasted so delicious.
This year, in order to celebrate the holidays, I faced my fear of rolling cake by making a Bûche de Noël, or Yule Log. I made the cake with my friend Selene, and the help of my mother. My step-dad frosted the cake. The recipe we used came from the Joy of Cooking.
We chose to use their recipe for flourless chocolate souffle sheet cake, which was a little high-maintenance, but it came out wonderfully, very moist and rich. After chilling the sheet cake, we whipped about a cup and a half of heavy whipping cream, folded in a little caramel sauce, spread it out oer the cake and rolled.
We used the Joy's recipe for coffee buttercream frosting, and liberally applied it to the rolled-up log. Jack did a fantastic job sculpting the buttercream to look like bark, even adding extra dollops in two places to create stumps of branches, and poking the frosting at each end with a fork in concentric semi-circles to imitate rings.
The cake was then dusted with sifted cocao powder to give it a realistic tree color, and the pan surrounding the cake was dusted with sifted powdered sugar to make a white winter wonderland for our Buche to lay in. I added some green leaves and pomegranate seeds to imitate holly berries, and the Buche was a great success.
Of course, it is my belief that if you frosted a used sponge with buttercream you could convince someone it was the best sponge cake they'd ever tasted. Buttercream is difficult, though, and can be immensely frustrating. You must have at least a reliable recipe to follow, but if it's your first time I would advise asking someone who has made buttercream before to walk you through it once.
Happy holidays, and happy baking!
- Cassidy Henderson