Happy Holidays everyone! As you’ve probably guessed from some of my prior posts, the madre and I love Flour bakery and the Flour cookbooks!
We especially love the celebration recipes, like the traditionally French buche de noel, or yule log, as anglophones call it. It looks complicated and a bit scary, but each component is not too difficult, and it comes together easily! The family (and my friends) loved the cake, and it’s really too pretty not to share.
White Chocolate Filling
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean (cut in half lengthwise)
- 85 g (3 oz) white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 1/8 tsp salt
- In a medium saucepan, add in the heavy cream, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and both pod halves*. Heat over medium-high heat until little bubbles begin to form along the side of the pan, and remove from heat. Add the white chocolate into the pan and let sit for a minute, then whisk together until chocolate has completely melted. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a small container, add in the salt, and refrigerate overnight.
- *Because the vanilla bean is 1/2 of a full bean, the pod halves will actually each be a quarter of the total bean
- The white chocolate filling should be made at least two days before you intend to present the complete buche de noel.
Chocolate Cake (aka log)
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 3 Tbsp coffee at room temperature
- 115 g (4 oz) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (for dusting)
- 1/4 cup hot brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- White chocolate filling
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a 13×18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then coat the paper with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks, coffee, chocolate, and salt, and set aside.
- With a stand or handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on medium speed for 2-3 or 4-6 minutes, respectively, until soft peaks form. The whites will turn into bubbles and the yellow viscous part will disappear. When the tines of the whisk or beaters leaves a slight trail in the whites, stop the mixer and lift the whisk out of the whites. They will be done when they peak, and then droop.
- With the mixer still on medium, slowly add in the sugar a spoonful at a time- it should take about two minutes to add in all of the sugar. Once it has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes longer, until the whites are glossy and smooth, and the peaks hold their shape without drooping.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold about one third of the egg whites into the yolk-chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the other two thirds until there are no light streaks visible.
- Gently fold in the flour until fully incorporated, and pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet.
- Carefully spread the batter so that it evenly covers the entire baking sheet, focusing on filling the corners and making the batter evenly thick across the whole pan. Bake the cake for 7-8 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 7-8 minutes, until the top is firm and dry to the touch.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the sides of the pan, and dust the entire surface of the cake with cocoa powder using a sieve. Turn the cake onto a piece of parchment paper larger than the pan, and let cool for another 10-15 minutes, until cool to the touch, then carefully peel the parchment off the cake bottom.
- While the cake is cooling, mix the coffee and sugar together in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
- Once the cake has cooled, brush the top of the cake evenly with the soaking syrup.
- Using a mixer, whip the white chocolate filling until it holds stiff peaks. Spread the filling evenly over the cake, leaving a 1″ border uncovered on all edges. Starting on the narrow side, carefully roll the cake like a jelly-roll until it has been neatly coiled. Wrap the roll tightly and entirely in plastic wrap, then place in the freezer until fully frozen (at least four hours or overnight).
- The cake will need to be made at least one day before you intend to serve the buche de noel so that it can freeze before being prepared.
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips, melted
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form (or the whites peak, then droop, when the whisk is lifted out of the egg whites). Keeping the mixture on medium speed, slowly add in the granulated sugar one spoonful at a time, mixing about 30 seconds after each addition. Once the granulated sugar has all been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks re-form.
- In a small bowl, sift together powdered sugar and salt, then fold into the egg whites with a clean rubber spatula.
- Fill a pastry bag with the egg whites, and pipe out eight to ten circles of about 1 1/2″ in diameter on the prepared baking sheet, about 1″ apart*. Then pipe the same number of small posts**.
- Bake the meringues in the oven for about 2 hours, or until firm to the touch. Turn off the oven and let cool in the closed oven overnight.***
- The next day, remove the meringues from the oven****. Remove a mushroom top from the baking sheet and brush the flat side with chocolate. Using a paring knife, poke a hole in the middle of the chocolate coated side, dip the top of a meringue stem into the melted chocolate, and gently press the chocolate-coated tip into the hole in the meringue to create a mushroom. Repeat with the other 7-9 meringues, and let all dry on the parchment paper.
- *These will be the mushroom tops.
- **Bear in mind that these will be the bases of the mushrooms! Form these by piping a small mound (about the size of a Hershey kiss) and then lifting the bag straight up while easing off pressure on the bag.
- *** Unlike my family, make sure to leave a note on your oven so that you don’t turn it on the next day and burn the meringues!
- ****This can be the day that you will serve the buche de noel, or up to a week before. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
- 115 g (4 oz) 56-62% chocolate, chopped OR 3/4 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate ships
- 1/2 heavy cream
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream over high heat until small bubbles form along the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and dump the chocolate into the saucepan, letting sit for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Cool to room temperature, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Buche de Noel
- Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup Ganache, at warm room temperature
- Meringue Mushrooms
- 3-4 Tbsp cocoa powder
- A few fresh cranberries and sprigs of rosemary for making holly
- Two to three hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and place on a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife run under very hot water, trim about 1/2″ off both ends of the log, so that it is about 10″ long.
- Place the knife 2″ in from one end, and angle 45° towards the other end so that the cut will be on a diagonal away from the closer end, cut off the end of the cake. Trim off a piece of cake on the same angle at the other end, starting at the end instead of 2″ in*. Transfer the large piece of cake to your serving plate.
- Dab some of the slightly softened ganache on the flat end of the smaller, angled piece of cake, and place this chocolatey flat side down on top of the larger piece of cake, about one third of the way in from the right end (2-3″). The pointed slanted part of the shorter cake should be pointing upwards. Let the cake sit for about one hour, or until thawed.
- Once the cake has thawed, warm the ganache until just spreadable.** Using a spatula, fully cover the gap between the two parts of the cake and, leaving the three spiral ends uncovered to show the white chocolate spiral, cover the chocolate cake with ganache. Use a clean comb to lightly scrape wavy lines along the log and stub to mimc bark.
- Using a sieve, dust the meringue mushrooms with cocoa powder to mimic dirt. Place the mushrooms on and along the log, then arrange the rosemary and cranberries in clusters on the plate to mimic holly.
- Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to eight hours.
- *This piece is a snack for all of your hard work!
- ** Take care not to warm it too much, or it won’t hold the comb’s shape like mine! The ganache can also be used (as we used it) for “mud” to hold up your mushrooms on the plate 😉
- We had extra shredded coconut, so I used that as fake snow when plating. It may not be traditional, but if you like coconut, go for it!