Chocolate Cherry Buche de Noel
One of my favourite signature challenges during the Great Canadian Baking Show was the Buche de Noel, or Yule Log. This is a traditional French dessert usually served during the holiday season. This is a popular dessert because it not only combines nice flavours and a tasty roulade, but also has a very attractive appearance. This will be sure to be a holiday hit for you and your family!
1/4 cup 35% cream
4 oz dark chocolate
1/2 cup sliced, skin-on almonds
Chocolate Sponge Cake:
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup superfine sugar, divided
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup chopped cherries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp butter
Chocolate Whipped Cream:
1 cup 35% cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp brandy
In a small saucepan, scald cream over a medium heat. Pour over chocolate in small heat-proof bowl and let stand for 1 minute before stirring to completely melt chocolate.
Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until firm. Form into four rounded-pyramid-shaped balls. Press almonds into balls to resemble pinecones. Chill in fridge until ready to use.
Chocolate Sponge Cake
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 17 x 12-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line with parchment.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and ¼ tsp salt in a medium bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low with remaining salt and cream of tartar until frothy, about 1 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form. Add ¾ cup sugar, 2 tbsp at a time. Whip until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
In the same stand mixer bowl, whip egg yolks with remaining sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Fold into whites. Sift dry ingredients over egg mixture and fold in.
Spread onto the prepared pan.
Bake until sponge is puffy and springs back when pressed, about 13 to 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
Sift icing sugar onto a clean tea towel and invert cake onto towel. Peel off the parchment. Starting at short end, roll up tightly with towel. Place seam side down on cooling rack.
Combine cherries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 7 minutes. Add spices and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir water with cornstarch in a small bowl to combine. Stir into cherries and simmer for 1 minute until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
Using a hand mixer, whip ingredients in a medium bowl until stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy and pale in colour, about 3 minutes. Stir in icing sugar 1 cup at a time until combined. Add cocoa. Increase speed and beat until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream, vanilla and salt; beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
In small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minutes. Stir in brandy.
Unroll cake onto cutting board and remove tea towel. Brush with warm brandy syrup. Spread with cherry jam, then chocolate whipped cream; both to within 1/2-inch of edges. Starting at one short end, roll up tightly and place on serving plate, seam side down.
Spread roll evenly with chocolate icing. Using a fork, run tines along roll to create wood grain texture. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with cherries and mint. Add pinecones before serving.
Link to CBC's The Great Canadian Baking Show Star Baker post here
Tips for rolling:
- Sprinkle a generous amount of cocoa powder under the sponge to prevent sticking
- Roll slowly to avoid as many cracks as possible (if cracks do happen, just cover them with the chocolate icing!)
- Cover the roll with aluminum foil as soon as you are done rolling to prevent drying out