bûche de noël

9:11 AM



Y'all are probably so tired of hearing me talk about this buche de noel! But! I had to share because I was psyching myself out for weeks over making this happen and then when I finally did it was actually a lot easier than I thought. Granted I must have spent approximately seven hours finding the perfect recipe. I finally settled on one from Nigella Lawson as it seemed like the most unfussy one and required the least ingredients. The the frosting was buttercream and the queen of the culinary arts, aka Julia Child, basically orders you to only use buttercream frosting so it was a done deal! I went ahead and converted the measurements for you to US measurements (they are off by a smidge here and there but it's just fine so no worries!). I'll also throw in a few tips I learned in the directions. And if there's anything I didn't cover feel free to ask in the comments! The cake was a huge hit, I even got one "this is the best thing I've ever had" so it's a keeper for sure!

cake
6 large eggs (separated)
2/3 cup caster sugar (I just did a mix of powdered and regular 50/50)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 tsp powdered sugar (to decorate)

frosting
6 oz dark chocolate (chopped)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup soft butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
2. In a large, clean bowl whisk the egg whites until thick and peaking, then, still whisking, sprinkle in ¼ cup of the caster sugar (the 50/50 mix) and continue whisking until the whites are holding their peaks but not dry.
3. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is moussy, pale and thick. Add the vanilla extract, the cocoa powder over, then fold both in.
4. Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of the egg whites, folding them in robustly. Then add the remaining whites in thirds, folding them in carefully to avoid losing the air (this took forever and my arm about fell off so commit to a good ten minutes or so of "folding").
5. Line a cookie sheet with sides (I used something that looks like this) with baking parchment, leaving a generous overhang at the ends and sides, and folding the parchment into the corners to help the paper stay anchored.
6. Pour in the cake mixture and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (make sure to smooth the top and make it equal all across, it will pretty much set the same way you put it in). Cover loosely with a clean tea towel. Let cool. I eventually moved my to the fridge for a good two or three hours because I wasn't planning on frosting it right away. 
7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate – either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – and let it cool. 
8. Put the powdered sugar and butter into a mixer and beat until smooth. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and the tablespoon of vanilla extract and beat again to make a smooth icing. 
9. Carefully (with the occasional aid of a large, long knife) peel away the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. I peeled it away on both ends, then the sides and left the middle. Keep on the parchment paper and put a 1/4 inch layer of frosting on the cake (don't make it too thick because it's buttercream and you're putting more on top, you want to be able to taste the cake). Then begin to roll. Use the parchment paper to aid in tightening the roll as opposed to your hands. As you get to any spots where the parchment paper is still attached simply use a knife to peel it off. Get a good seal at the end and place on a dish fold down.  
10. Cut one or both ends slightly at a gentle angle, reserving the remnants. Use one of the ends to create a branch somewhere on the log. Place it cut side down covered in some frosting so it would stick. Right now nothing needs to look pretty as frosting covers a manner of all sins. 
11. Spread the remaining frosting on the cake covering the branch piece too. I didn't frost my ends as I wanted the "rings" of frosting and cake to be visible. Create a wood-like texture with the help of a fork.
12. You don’t have to dust with icing sugar, but I love the freshly fallen snow effect, so I sifted some on top. I also used a bit of ivy to decorate it as well. 

That's it folks! It really wasn't half bad but my god did it taste phenomenal! Might have to make it again for new years... hmmm....

*recipe from Nigella Lawson

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