Saturday, 22 December 2007

December Daring Baker's Challenge - Yule Log

And so, it was time for my fifth Daring Bakers Challenge! I can’t believe it! I never believed I was worthy, let alone capable of successfully completing 5 challenges! (I had to skip November as our oven door exploded into hundred’s of pieces).

This month Lis and Ivonne, the creators of the Daring Bakers group I am a part of, took control and set the challenge - the Yule Log. I didn’t know anything about them. When I Googled it and saw a pic, I recognised it.

I waited till the last possible opportunity to make and give it as a Christmas gift to the gorgeous Madden sisters. I have to say, I went in pretty confident, didn’t really pay close attention. Somehow that worked for me, as I had no problems with the making side of things. I’ve been checking in on our Daring Bakers website, and quite a few people had problems with the buttercream, for example. I had made the genoise style cake previously and I have to tell you it was so much easier with my new sexy red KitchenAid!

Unfortunately, I got too big for my boots and forgot to put the cake smeared with the buttercream in the fridge before I rolled it up. Once the cake had cooled down I applied the buttercream and rolled it and the bloody thing cracked on each turn! Urgh. I was devastated! I powered on and smeared the whole thing with the best tasting frosting I have ever, ever made or tasted and tried to make it pass for a log. As you can see it didn’t have too much luck.

You need a piping bag for the meringue mushrooms. I don’t have one, but will be buying myself one soon! I tried to make my own from bakingpaper. Therefore, my mushrooms didn’t really work. Good trick though, I’d like to try them again.

I’m pleased with the cooking and tasting side of this fun December challenge.

The recipients of the Yule Log, loved it and said the taste was divine, so all was well in the end.
I’ll definitely be making this again and will endeavour to make it appear more like a log. I‘ll know when to pay attention!

If you’d like to see how the other Daring Bakers went please visit our blogroll.

Plain Genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup plain flour
¼ cup cornflour

Coffee Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
340g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons brandy

one 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 200C.

Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so
the water is simmering.

Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).

Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume.

The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornflour.

Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly. (Mine only need 5 minutes).

While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Filling and frosting the log:
Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.

Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.

Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).

Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.

Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.

Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

Meringue Mushrooms:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 110C.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Have ready a pastry bag fitted with a small (no. 6) plain tip. In a bowl, using a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until very foamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar while beating. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Continue until the whites hold stiff, shiny peaks. Sift the icing sugar over the whites and, using a rubber spatula, fold in until well blended.

Scoop the mixture into the bag. On one baking sheet, pipe 48 stems, each ½ inch (12 mm.) wide at the base and tapering off to a point at the top, ¾ inch (2 cm.) tall, and spaced about ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. On the other sheet, pipe 48 mounds for the tops, each about 1-1/4 inches (3 cm.) wide and ¾ inch (2 cm.) high, also spaced ½ inch (12 mm.) apart. With a damp fingertip, gently smooth any pointy tips. Dust with cocoa. Reserve the remaining meringue.
Bake until dry and firm enough to lift off the paper, 50-55 minutes. Set the pans on the counter and turn the mounds flat side up. With the tip of a knife, carefully make a small hole in the flat side of each mound. Pipe small dabs of the remaining meringue into the holes and insert the stems tip first. Return to the oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool completely on the sheets.

Garnish your Yule Log with the mushrooms.


Dolores said...

Congratulations on a successful challenge amidst what's undoubtedly been a busy month. Since it's still Friday in California, I'm going to benefit from all of the early posts when I tackle this one on Sunday. Thanks to you, I'll be sure I make enough space in the refrigerator!

Happy Holidays!

glamah16 said...

Glad you oven is working again. Everything turned out great. My genoise cracked as well ( right out of the oven).

Dharm said...

Nicely Done! It looks just great!

Dharm said...

Nicely Done! It looks just great!

maybahay said...

Well done with the DB challenge. Love the candy canes around your log. Happy Christmas.

Foodie Froggy said...

Very good job ! Congrats !

Princess of the kitchen said...

Well done! Your mushrooms look wonderful.

The Caked Crusader said...

Nice job! My sponge cracked a little on rolling too but when it tastes that good who cares?
I agree the buttercream is awesome.

marias23 said...

You know that when it comes to food, taste it all that matters and your log looks delish! Merry Christmas!

Gigi said...

Great yule log. I love all the decorations, especially the candy canes.

Aamena said...

sorry for your genoise, but the log still looks good, great buttercream!

michelle said...

Nicely done! I had cracky genoise, too. :(

Chris said...

No worries about the seems as though many of ours cracked. Hey...mine even tumbled! Ha! Your Yule Log looks great. Well done!

Tartelette said...

You did a great job! The mushrroms look very "true" that way!! I love buttercream for its "hiding" all mistakes capacities!!
Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

My cake cracked also. I wasn't familiar with this type and should have saved it by drizzling some rum over it (or, what the heck, just take the shot directly..haha)Yours came out lovely. Merry Christmas!

Julius said...

Great bûche de Noël!

Happy Holidays.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Claire said...

Good job! Love the candy canes.

Deborah said...

I think most people's cakes cracked. Thank goodness for the frosting!! Your log looks wonderful!

Tara said...

Beautiful log despite the cracking... nothing a good layer of buttercream can't fix hey?

Gretchen Noelle said...

So glad you were able to participate this month! Great job covering up all the mishaps and I am sure it tasted fabulous! Now, how do you decide which of you will actually do the DB challenge?

wmpe said...

You recovered well from your cracked genoise roll. Your mushrooms have character. Lovely cake. Wendy

Carla said...

Your mushrooms look fantastic. I've used a plastic ziploc bag in cases where I don't have my pastry bag and that works sometimes. I hate folding the parchment paper into the cone.

I have to agree with you that that was the best icing ever. I couldn't stop licking the bowl!

Great job and have a terrific new year!

Carrie said...

Looks Great!

Elle said...

A rustic looking log and mushrooms, which is quite appropriate for a log, right? Seeing as you made them with a paper piping system, your mushrooms are great! My cake cracked, too, but the buttercream covered most of that up. :)
Happy New Year!!

Jen Yu said...

Oh, you are so worthy of being a Daring Baker! That's one sweet looking yule log :) Excellent work and happy new year!

jen at use real butter

Katie said...

I love your free style mushrooms. They look great, so authentic. Your lof looks delicious.