Every nation has something very special to cook for Christmas and New Year. If you’d like to surprise your family and friends, you can’t make a mistake turning the pages of a French cook book. Probably the most special for those very special days in France is their log cake, Buch de Noel. I’m not sure you can buy it at a time of the year that isn’t around Christmas.
What makes this cake especially interesting is decoration. It’s often meringue mushrooms, chocolate leaves, Santa’s figurines, and much more. Just google Bush de Noel for inspiration. For my cake, I used simple decorations with marshmallows, turquoise sugar, and white sprinkles. The kids are jumping around it trying to convince me not to wait till Christmas Eve!
I’ve never tried this recipe before and have been pleasantly surprised by its’ simplicity, despite the number of ingredients and steps. So let’s start!
Buch de Noel
Preparation: 45 min; Cooking: 10 min; Servings: 10-12
- large eggs – 4
- sugar – 75g
- bread flour – 70g
- vanilla sugar – 1 sachet
- pinch of salt
for soaking – 1/3 cup of rum, or maple syrup, or any other fruit syrup
- butter softened – 250g
- fine sugar – 300g
- cacao powder – 60g
- cream 35% - 30-40g
Prepare the cream first. In a bowl, mix together sugar and cacao powder. In another bowl with an electric mixer whip the butter and cream to get a nice, creamy mix (about 5-7 minutes). In batches add sugar and cacao powder, mix well. At this stage I found it easier to mix with a spoon, not the electric mixer. As soon as the cream is ready, put it in a freezer.
To prepare the sponge sheet you absolutely must have an electric mixer with a whisk. Preheat the oven to 450F (230C). Line a shallow baking tray (approximate size is 30x60 cm or 12x24 in) with parchment paper.
In a very clean and dry bowl, preferably much deeper than you need to accommodate eggs and sugar (not to be covered with egg “snow”), whisk together all the ingredients but the bread flour. Whisk it until the mixture increases in volume by 7-8 times, for approximately 10 minutes. Add sifted bread flour and very carefully combine it with the egg mixture using a spatula or a spoon. Don’t overmix or you’ll lose the volume. Pour the dough into the tray and immediately put into the hot oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
When the sponge is ready, let it stay for a few minutes and take it out of the tray together with the parchment paper. Soak the sponge with rum or maple syrup using a spoon. As soon as the sponge is completely cool, spread about 1/3 of the cream all over it. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add a thin layer of strawberry or other favorite jam. Then with the help of parchment paper roll up the sponge sheet from the short end.
Turn the roll on the parchment paper in such a way that the “seam’ is on top. Spread about 1/3 of the remaining cream to mask the “seam” and a bit of the sides. Turn the roll onto the serving board so that the covered “seam” is at the bottom. Spread the rest of the cream to evenly cover the rest of the cake. If you’d like to show the “rings of the log”, don’t put cream on the sides.
Decorate as you wish and Voila!
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!