It ain’t Christmas season without some serious baking!
The idea of a Yule log cake has fascinated me since I got into baking as a hobby, and after watching Gretchen’s tutorial from Woodland Bakery, I was finally inspired to make it. After all, roll cakes are easier to make than layered cakes, and what fun is it to dress it up like a log!
To make the Yule log stand out, I added edible cake toppers using Santa strawberries and meringue mushrooms. I also added some raspberries. The “Merry Xmas” sign was made with chocolate and white chocolate with freeze-dried strawberries. I like to have all the decorations in my Yule log edible, and what I like about them is that they don’t require artificial food dyes.
Until now, I’m still so amused with the meringue mushrooms. The ‘dirt’ is actually cocoa powder. You can probably trick people into thinking they’re real mushrooms 😛
For the roll cake, I used Cooking with Dog’s roll cake recipe as a reference, and substituted the matcha powder with cocoa powder. The cake turned out to be light and not too sweet, similar to those cakes sold in Asian bakeries. Did I mention that Matchachoco and I are huge fans of light Asian style cakes?
This was my first Yule log attempt, and although it was quite time consuming to make, I really enjoyed making it. I honestly had a difficult time photographing the Yule log as it seems like I can’t find the perfect Christmas-themed background for it. I can’t wait to make another Yule log (maybe next year?), and hopefully by that time, I would have improved the Yule log baking and photography.
Happy baking and happy holidays,
Chocolate Roll Cake
Adapted from Cooking with Dog
4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Prepare a 17”x 11” baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with oil.
- Combine cake flour and cocoa powder, and sift them together 2-3 times.
- In a bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until foamy. Continue to beat, gradually adding half the sugar (1/4 cup), until stiff peaks form.
- In a separate bowl, beat together egg yolks and the half of the sugar (1/4 cup) until the egg yolks have increased in volume. Whisk the cake flour mixture to the egg yolks.
- Fold 1/3 of the meringue (whipped egg whites) into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Do this repeatedly with the rest of the meringue, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Carefully spread the batter to the baking sheet with a spatula, making sure the batter does not deflate. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, or until the cake springs back when it is touched. Make sure you do not overbake or the roll cake will crack when you roll it out.
- After baking, immediately transfer the cake to a flat surface and cover it with another baking tray. This will prevent the cake from drying out and maintain its flexibility. Cover until the cake is cool enough.
Chocolate custard cream (used as the filling for the Yule log)
Adapted from Cooking with Dog
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup milk, warm
~50 g chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Sift together flour and cocoa powder.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of the milk to the egg yolks, and whisk them together. Whisk the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk, and whisk until fully incorporated. Strain the mixture and transfer to a sauce pan.
- Heat the mixture in a sauce pan, continually stirring, until you get a thick consistency. While the custard is still hot, add the chocolate and mix it to the custard until the chocolate fully melts.
- Transfer the custard to a shallow bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic wrap touching the top surface of the custard; this will prevent a ‘skin’ from forming on the top surface of the custard. Refrigerate the custard until chilled.
- In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream to the chilled custard until fully combined. Fold the remaining whipped cream to the custard. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate Ermine Frosting (used to frost the Yule log)
Adapted from Yoyomax12
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
- Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla extract. Continue beating until most of the sugar has dissolved.
- In a separate bowl, mix together milk and flour. Heat milk and flour mixture in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture continuously until the mixture thickens into a paste.
- Transfer milk and flour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Stir it occasionally to make the cooling process faster.
- Once cooled, add the milk and flour mixture to the creamed butter and beat them together.Add cocoa powder and continue to beat. The frosting should have a light fluffy consistency.
TIP: If you end up with a runny frosting, refrigerate or put the frosting in the freezer for a few minutes. Beat the frosting again after taking it out of the fridge until you get a light fluffy consistency.
To assemble the roll cake, spread the filling all over the top surface of the cake. Tightly roll the cake. Wrap the roll cake with parchment paper and plastic wrap, so that it remains tight. Freeze the roll cake.
Once frozen, cut the sides of the roll cake to make it shaped like a log. Attach the sliced parts of the cake to the side and top of the roll cake, using frosting as the glue. Frost the cake with the frosting, copying the texture of a log. Attach the edible designs to the cake, and dust with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
Instructions for the santa strawberries can be found here. Gretchen from Woodland Bakery has a very informative tutorial on how to make the meringue mushrooms. She used a Swiss meringue method for making the meringue, but if you don’t have a candy thermometer or don’t want to go through all the trouble of heating the sugar and egg whites, you can use the French meringue method, which is what I usually do when I make meringue cookies.