Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bold Baking of Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel (you can add decorated frosting)

This blog is partially becoming my tool for me to remember what I create in the kitchen and how I created it.  I often refer to my blog for some recipe or technique that I used before.  This of course requires that the blog entries have enough information to create the item.  That level of information can be time consuming to add to the blog, so I occasionally skip the detail and I conceptually blog about some great dish without adding the recipe.  

I planned to make this Yule Log (Buche de Noel) the night before Christmas Eve and frost it the next day.  I spent some valuable family time and it was midnight before I was ready to bake. I first looked at my blog, which only had pictures, but no recipe of the cake.  I quickly pulled up a recipe online and started making it. After robotically measuring 3 cups of flour and blending it with salt and baking soda, I realized that this recipe was way off.  Three cups of flour with six eggs does not sound right.  So I frantically (now 12:30 AM) googled and rushed through all kinds of recipes.  One called for cornstarch; I never use cornstarch in my cakes.  Somehow, by combining various recipes, I created the buche de noel cake part and rolled it up to cool overnight (now 2 AM).  During this process I also thought I misplaced two egg yolks in the separation process (but didn’t see it in the drain) so I added two more yolks. Later, I realized that  nothing was misplaced, instead the imagined discrepancy was due  to panic combined with fatigue.  Consequently the cake ended up with two extra yolks which led to a very yellow and tasty cake.  The  buche de noel was a success.

I do not want to repeat this panic night again. Baking is not something one can improvise (or the dreaded cake fall or cake break during the roll can happen).  Some on social media were also asking me for the recipe after seeing photos of the finished product.  So I decided to remake this cake during the holiday season so I can write down the recipe and photograph the process. 

Next year I will not have to panic at 1 AM; at least not about Buche de Noel.

[See my prior posts on Buche de Noel also:  Buche de Noel Overview and decorations]

Beat the yolk until thick

This is the the right consistency (fairly thick)

six egg whites

after beating with formed peaks

Fold the beaten whites into the yolk - make sure you keep incorporating air

The baked product (it's done when it springs back) - sprinkle with powder sugar to prevent sticking

achieve this by placing a cookie sheet topped with the cloth over the baking pan and flip

Very carefully remove the parchment paper, if you rush, you can rip the cake

More powder sugar

fold cloth over

remove cookie sheet from bottom

Very patiently roll the cake

let it rest for a few hours (I actually did overnight and it was fine)-this forms the cake to roll
For cake:

Recipe - Buche de Noel (Yule Log)

6 eggs + 2 yolks
½ cup plus 2 tbs granulated sugar divided in two (the ½ cup and 2 tbs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup cake flour
Powder sugar
Parchment paper
Clean Kitchen rag (not terrycloth)
Jelly pan

Hope (relating to the cake not breaking as it’s being rolled up, unrolled, and then rolled again-that’s three risk points).
 Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 11x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. Line bottom with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment paper also and knock out excess flour.

Separate 6 eggs

Beat yolks (8), ½ c. sugar, vanilla and large metal bowl until lemon yellow-high speed about 5-8 minutes sift half of flour over yolks and fold it in gently. Then sift rest of it in. I actually just beat the flour in at a low speed it also works.

Beat egg whites  (6) with cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form.  Beat in 1 tablespoons sugar half a tablespoon at time until peaks hold.

Spread batter in prepared pan evenly. Bang the pan once against counter to remove bubbles.  Bake until top springs back, about 10-14 minutes.  Sift powdered sugar over towel and top of cake. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Turn hot cake out onto towel with cookie sheet under it (with oven mitts). Peel off parchment. Starting at  long side and using towel as aid, gently roll up cake jelly-roll style. Cool.

Unroll cake, frost and  re-roll cake; place cake, seam side down, on platter. 

Roll (long side away) with towel.  Let sit so the cake molds into a rolled shape
Careful unroll from towel
Fill with frosting
Roll back
Take a diagonal slice off to serve as trunk – stick on the frosting and frost
Make lines to resemble a tree

Carefully put on a large serving platter that has been dusted with powder sugar
Sprinkle powder sugar over the frosted cake to resemble snow.  In prior years I have made white frosting so I can create green, white and red frosting pieces to resemble the forest (leaves, mushrooms, berries).  I skipped that step.

For frosting I used a slightly fluffier variation of my mocha frosting recipe (listed in this blog) and the second time this season I made a rum chocolate frosting (chocolate and rum are a great flavor combination).

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