This is a traditional French cake baked for Christmas time. Decorations vary but the cake is always a light sponge rolled and filled with chocolate buttercream – also coffee flavour or nut-buttercream can be used.
For the sponge cake:-
8 egg yolks
1 pinch salt
a little bit of lemon zest
5 egg whites
For the cream filling:-
7 egg yolks
50g cocoa powder
70g good chocolate (couverture)
Prepare a swiss roll tin, grease and line with baking paper.
Place the egg yolks and a third of the sugar in a bowl and beat until it has at least doubled in volume. Add the salt and lemon zest,stir in lightly.
In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
Slowly add the egg yolk mixture to the egg whites, folding in gently.
Sieve the flour and cornflour together and add slowly to the mixture folding in gently.
Gently pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently spread out evenly with a palette knife.
Bake in a pre-heated oven, 230°-240°C, for 8-10 minutes, but do start checking the cake after 6 minutes.
Turn the baked cake out onto a damp tea-towel,remove the baking paper.Roll the cake inside the tea-towel and leave to cool,unrolling again to add the filling- or leave to cool flat covered with a second damp tea-towel.
French Buttercream – ‘Crème au beurre nature’
This method gives a very light buttercream.The egg yolks are initially added to the cooked sugar beaten warm and then cold again.Therefore having a bowl with ice cubes handy will help.
Bring the sugar and water to the boil, cook to softball,(116°C)
Place the egg yolks in a bowl and beat until frothy,in a slow stream add the sugar mixture beating all the time,this is easier in a mixer.
In a seperate bowl beat the butter until creamy, add the cocoa powder and the melted chocolate, stir through.
Add the butter mixture to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly.(In this quantity this is ok, if you are making a larger quantity then you will find it easier to add the egg to the butter).
To assemble the cake
Spread half the buttercream over the cooled cake and roll the cake up. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the outside of the cake. Pipe the remaining buttercream along the outside of the cake until it resembles a yule log.
You can decorate the cake with mazipan leaves and mushrooms,(you can also make mushrooms from meringue), sugar holly leaves and berries or anything that you like to give it a Christmas look. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
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