This is the first time that I actully made a Yule log (sort of a Yule log). Even though the idea of making a log/branch shaped cake is not ‘me’ I loved the opportunity to make genoise, meringue buttercream and assembling the log.
Had to make the buttercream ahead because I didn’t have time to do everything in one go with 3 exams last week, a pre-Christmas dinner party and preparations for our trip to Croatia. I had already read about other people’s curdled buttercream on the Daring Bakers blog so I was starting to get a tiny bit nervous about making it myself. I read all the tips and made the buttercream according to specifications…and still it curdled! But as I was more or less prepared for this I was able to fix it 🙂 I had read in the Williams-Sonoma Baking that you could warm the bowl of curdled buttercream a bit over a pan of simmering water while whisking it when your buttercream curdled and the bowl felt cold to the touch. I did and it worked! Was so happy that I didn’t have to chuck it out! I can tell you that I went to bed with a triomphant smile on my face 🙂 I strayed from a tiny bit from the recipe btw and used dark brown sugar instead of regular. This made the buttercream even better tasting and a bit darker.
Genoise I had made a couple of times before but that was already ages ago. It was easy to make and it smelled wonderfully vanilla-y because I added a generous amount of ground vanilla beans. It was so generous that my hair still smelt like vanilla the next day 😀 I opted for the ‘boring’ old vanilla because because I didn’t want anything to interfere with the taste of the coffee buttercream (my favourite!). I baked it 10 minutes because it looked pretty golden brown by that time (is it just me or was 400Â°F a bit high for this type of cake?)
I used one of the tips I read on the Daring Bakers blog to roll the genoise immediately after it came out of the oven. I should be easier to roll because it would be soft and pliable. It sort of worked….but still cracks appeared…nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little buttercream luckily. I left it too cool.
Meanwhile I had a slight buttercream problem, it was still to hard/cold to spread so I thought I’d break it up in smaller lumps in order for it to warm up faster…..my advise it to not do that because that makes it curdle! Yes my buttercream curdled a second time! This time I did panick but after 5 minutes I got a hold of myself and thought I could at least try fixing it before throwing it in the bin. So again I used the warming and whipping trick….and it worked again! (made me very curious about the chemical processes that were happening in the buttercream). Spread half of the buttercream onto the not so even anymore surface of the genoise and rolled it up. I cut a slice from both sides to see how the swirl turned out. Definitely not perfect but good enough for a first try.
Didn’t have time to frost the outside on the same evening so I did that the next day, making sure to get the buttercream out of the fridge well in advance this time.
As I mentioned before, I’m not the Yule log type so I couldn’t get myself to make branches on my log. Instead I just frosted the roll I made and decorated it with a cake comb. To stay in the whole wood thing I put the log (actually â…” of it) on a wooden chopping board and decorated with a few marzipan mushrooms. I really loved the taste of the Yule log, coffee buttercream is my favourite and had to taste the buttercream lots of time before I finally used it 😉
The combination is very similar to Dutch Mokkataart but than even better than the one you would buy at the bakers.
I had a hard time to photograph this log. The lighting was not good, it was a very grey day and I didn’t manage to get the right colour in the picture. Also I found it hard to just make a nice (enough) picture. These pictures were the best I could do.
Unfortunately I will only be able to maybe see a few of the other creations because for the next 10 days we’ll be in Croatia and the only internet connection we’ll be having is dial-up (yes, that still exists). Hope to read about the other Yule logs after I’m back from Croatia.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
PS the inside buttercream looks darker than the outside even though it’s the same. Maybe whipping it the second time made it darker?
You can find the recipe here.
Things I changed in the recipe:
Added 1 ts of ground vanilla bean to the genoise.
Used dark brown sugar instead of regular in the buttercream.