Saturday, December 30, 2006

Bûche De Noël

Once again this year I attempted a traditional French holiday dessert : une bûche. It's a yule log cake that gets its name from the log that people put on the fire just before going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve.

This is the third year that I've made one, but this year my chocolate frosting didn't work as well as the last two years. It might have been that I put too much kirsch in, resulting in a frosting that wouldn't thicken properly. Oh well, it still tasted good !

The jelly roll cake, fresh out of the oven. It will flatten out a bit as it cools. I think I need to reduce the number of eggs from eight to six.

The first step is to make the jelly roll cake. This is a light cake made with eight eggs. I know that sounds a bit contradictory, but the eggs are separated and the whites are beaten until they're fluffy and the yolks and flour get folded in, so there's a lot of air in the cake.

Chocolate pastry cream is spread on top of the cake just before it gets rolled up.

For the filling, I made a chocolate pastry cream (more egg yolks). Then the cooled cream is spread over the cooled cake and the whole thing is rolled into a log shape.

The rolled-up log.

Next, I cut the ends off diagonally and stuck them onto the log to simulate branch stubs. This year I made them too big. Then the whole thing gets frosted.

Above, the ends of the cake are stuck onto the log to simulate stumps. Below, chocolate and cream are ready to be made into a ganache for frosting the cake.

You can make meringue mushrooms or candied leaves to decorate with, but with everything else we were doing that day, I just sprinkled the log with powdered sugar to simulate snow. Like I said before, it all tasted great even if it didn't look to professional...

The frosted and dusted cake.

So, I'm thinking that if I do this again next year, I may use lemon curd for the filling and try a different frosting. And I also think I need to make a smaller, flatter cake, so I'll experiment with six eggs rather than eight and reduce the flour and sugar accordingly.


  1. Bravo on actually attempting to make a real bûche! They are delicious but I go for the GOOD store-bought ones. Happy New Year!

  2. I had to settle for Moravian ginger cookies, but they're really good. They have that Madeleine effect on me. This year we've had oysters, duck and pate de fois gras, but with a different sequence. Ce soir, 31 decembre, du champagne, the real McCoy! Happy indeed!


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