I’ve been thinking for a while about trying out a new Christmas recipe. Something I’d never tried before and, as usual, something I could perhaps put my own little spin on. I wanted something I could take into work and share with my colleagues before we all parted to join our families for the holidays. My manager requested “something chocolatey!” and so Yule Log it just had to be!
This recipe makes roughly 10 slices and will keep for approximately 4 days in a sealed container.
4 Large Eggs
100g Golden Caster Sugar
70g Plain Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
150g dark chocolate
200g Icing Sugar
You will need: 2 mixing bowls, 1 baking tray, baking paper, saucepan, 1 glass bowl
The first thing you need to do is to separate the eggs into 2 separate bowls, egg whites in one and yolks in the other. The easiest way to do this (that I know of) is to juggle the yolk between the two halves of a cracked egg shell until all the whites have fallen into one bowl below.
Add the golden caster sugar to the egg yolks and whisk (with an electric whisk if you have one, I don’t and therefore do everything by hand. It works just as well, just takes a little longer and involves a little more arm ache.)
Once this mixture is light brown and smooth in consistency, sift in the flour from a small height (this gets rid of clumps but more importantly adds air into the mixture).
Also add 40g Cocoa Powder and your vanilla extract.
Then mixing time again! As you mix all these ingredients together it will turn into gooey, chocolately goodness.
Next, return to your egg whites and get whisking!
Yes it looks like soap for a good while, keep going!
Eventually the egg whites will form “soft peaks” that look like tiny cloud mountains, that means they are ready.
Add approximately a third of the egg whites to the chocolatey mixture at a time, mixing gently, maintaining as much air as your can until all the egg whites are mixed in.
It doesn’t look all that yummy for a while as you’re doing this, just keep at it.
You will end up with a smooth and fairly runny chocolate mixture. You will then need to get your baking tray and cover this in a sheet of baking/greaseproof paper, your paper needs to be bigger than the tray!
The just pour the mixture evenly into the tray in a rectangular fashion.
Pop in the over and bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 190 degrees, trust me and don’t leave it in longer. I over baked my first one, not trusting the time and it came out solid as a brick and wouldn’t roll at all!
Roll out another large sheet of baking/greaseproof paper on the work surface and dust generously with icing sugar.
Then gently (or really cack-handedly if you’re anything like me) flip your flat sponge out on to the new sheet of paper and peel off the sheet that went into the oven.
Woohoo, we have our chocolate sponge!
Whilst the sponge is still warm, roll the sponge and the baking paper together into itself, as tightly as you can. and leave to cool like this.
Whilst the sponge cools we can make our chocolate butter cream. You can alternatively use chocolate ganache, or if you want a cheat option you can buy some pretty good ready tubs these days!
First, break up your dark chocolate into squares and pop it into a glass bowl.
Place the glass bowl onto a saucepan filled with boiling water and watch the yummy chocolate until it melts.
Leave to cool slighty, this is important because we don’t want to hot chocolate to make the butter split.
In a separate bowl, mix your icing sugar and butter (at room temperature). I’ve offered a suggestion as to how much of each but this really depends on how much butter cream you want to make and how light you want it to be. I always do this by eye (and by taste) as I go. In general I find that you need roughly double the amount of icing sugar in weight than butter. Then mixey mixey!
Once smooth the chocolate should be cool enough to add. I would recommend adding the chocolate a couple of spoonfuls at a time, so you can gauge how rich it is going to be. You can also add a little cocoa powder if you want to.
Now, slowly and carefully, unroll your sponge. Then lather a generous helping of your chocolate butter cream all over the sponge.
Here’s the twist, usually that’d be it. You’d roll it up cover it in yet more chocolate and say Bob’s your uncle. However, I’ve added a little something different, my special ingredient…
You can use any good quality cherry jam, I like this one from Morrison’s or the one I used in the Cherry Bakewell Cake Recipe from Tesco also works a treat because they are full of whole cherries! Smother your chocolate filling with a layer of your cherry preserve.
Now for the difficult part. We’re going to re roll the whole thing, hopefully without making a huge sticky mess. It should be made easier from having already rolled the sponge once. As you can see, I’m not an expert at this and mine actually split along one side but that is merely a cosmetic set back and nothing more butter cream can’t fix!
Lather on the rest of your chocolate filling all over the top and sides of your log.
Then use something with a narrow edge (I just used an ordinary butter knife) to run streaks through the topping to create the illusion of wood and top off by sprinkling icing sugar all over.
There you have it, a scrumptious Christmas treat with fruity twist, Black Forest Yule Log.
Merry Chocolatey Christmas!