Daring Bakers take on the Yule Log

While the tradition of the Yule Log is most closely associated with Christmas, the practice of burning a Yule Log dates back to celebrations of the Winter Solstice in Scandinavia.

The burning of the Yule Log became part of the celebrations of Midwinter. The Yule Log came to represent life, prosperity, warmth, protection and light during the dark winter.

Over the centuries, this tradition was carried on in some form by virtually ever European culture. At some point in the 18th or 19th century, the French transformed the tradition into an edible version with the Buche de Noel.

In High School I actually made a couple Buche de Noels for French class. They were nothing like this one. I never made meringue mushrooms or “real” buttercream. Those would definitely be a challenge for me!

I set out to make my Yule Log the afternoon of a holiday party we were going to attend. I decided to make the genoise chocolate and to fill it with raspberry preserves and buttercream. I wasn’t crazy about the coffee flavored buttercream frosting, but everyone else really liked the combination of flavors.

Overall, the Yule log was not overly difficult to make or assembly, but again, I wasn’t crazy about the exterior frosting, so if I made it again, I’d definitely make a chocolate frosting.

Yule Log(from Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert)

Hosts: Daring Baker Founders Ivonne (Cream Puffs in Venice) and Lisa (La Mia Cucina)

Recipe Quantity: Serves 12

Cake should be stored in a cool, dry place. Leftovers should be refrigerated

Recipes:
Plain Genoise:
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour
¼ cup cornstarchone
(1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

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

3.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).

4.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.

5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6.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.

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

8.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.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10.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.

Coffee Buttercream:
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy

1.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.

2.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.

Meringue Mushrooms:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup (3-1/2 ounces/105 g.) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (1-1/3 ounces/40 g.) icing sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

1.Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. 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.

2.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.

3.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.

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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27 Responses to “I’m bigger than you Yeast and you will make my bread rise!”

  1. #
    1
    Jen Yu — November 26, 2007 at 11:55 pm

    Oh yum! Those look terrific. Congratulations on a successful first challenge and welcome to the Daring Bakers. Great job 🙂

    -jen at use real butter

  2. #
    2
    Nikki57 — November 27, 2007 at 12:04 am

    You bread looks great! Congrats on overcoming your fear of yeast.

  3. #
    3
    Katie — November 27, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Congrats on your first challenge!! Looks great!

  4. #
    4
    MrsPresley — November 27, 2007 at 12:42 am

    1st, congrats on your 1st DB challenge! 🙂 2nd, congrats on overcoming your fear of yeast! i recently overcame this fear and am so glad i did! 🙂

  5. #
    5
    Michelle — November 27, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Congratulations on your 1st challenge! Your bread looks so great!

  6. #
    6
    Gigi — November 27, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Great looking bread! Congrats on becoming a daring baker. Isn’t it fun?

  7. #
    7
    Dori — November 27, 2007 at 2:20 am

    you’ve inspired me to get over my fear of yeast as well!

  8. #
    8
    breadchick — November 27, 2007 at 2:27 am

    Great job on your first challenge and on overcoming your yeast fear! Welcome to Daring Bakers!

  9. #
    9
    Chris — November 27, 2007 at 3:04 am

    Welcome to the DBs! You did a “wicked awesome” job!

  10. #
    10
    I(dot)J — November 27, 2007 at 4:14 am

    wow.. looking at your bread really reminded me of how this first challenge was for me.

    Great looking buns.

  11. #
    11
    Tartelette — November 27, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Bravo on your first challenge! You did fantastic! I loave how cozy the loaf looks, it must be great for sandwiches, and congrats on beating the yeast demons to a pulp this month!!

  12. #
    12
    ostwestwind — November 27, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Wow, what a success! All looks great

  13. #
    13
    Sheltie Girl — November 27, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    You did a wonderful job on your breads. Congratulations on your first DBer challenge!

    Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

  14. #
    14
    Candace — November 27, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Nice job! Love the step by step photos!

  15. #
    15
    ~Amber~ — November 27, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    See yeast is not as scary as you though it was, huh?
    Congratulations on your first challenge. All of your goodies look wonderful!!

  16. #
    16
    Deborah — November 27, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    You did such a wonderful job on your first challenge!! Especially with accidentally adding the larger amount of potatoes.

  17. #
    17
    kitten — November 27, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    I loved your step by step photos and your bread looks divine. Great job in telling the yeast who’s boss !!

  18. #
    18
    Gretchen Noelle — November 27, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Your bread looks great. I loved your post…funny and detailed! You succeeded with using yeast – great job! Congrats on your first DB challenge!

  19. #
    19
    Julie — November 27, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Hey, your breads look great! Thank goodness your first challenge with us wasn’t baked yeast jello … gross. Anyway, your rolls especially look nice and tender torn in half, just crying for butter. Job well done!

  20. #
    20
    marias23 — November 28, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Congrats on your first challenge! Carrying heavy baking ingredients lets you burn calories so you can enjoy your creations! Yippee!

  21. #
    21
    chronicler — November 28, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Your bread turned out perfect! and the pictorial post is an added bonus! Super first challenge!

  22. #
    22
    Gabi — November 28, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Glad you showed that yeast who is boss!
    Nice job and good for you for getting right to it!
    xoxo
    Gabi

  23. #
    23
    Dolores — November 29, 2007 at 3:26 am

    Congratulations and welcome. It lookw from here like you successfully tamed the yeast beast! And thanks for the measuring-cup-in-the-colander tip!

  24. #
    24
    Bev and Ollie "O" — November 29, 2007 at 11:39 am

    your bread looks great, your slashes on the loaf are so perfect!

  25. #
    25
    Christina — December 1, 2007 at 1:33 am

    I must say, for someone who is fearful of yeast you really came out on top and produced both a stellar loaf and rolls. Great job!

    Welcome to the DBers!

    Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

  26. #
    26
    creampuff — December 2, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    What a success story! From the storm to conquering of yeast … you did it all! Way to go on your first challenge!

  27. #
    27
    Claire — December 3, 2007 at 12:24 am

    This dough looks like it makes a REALLY good loaf. Welcome to DB’s! Nice job.

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