Buche de Noel
Rich, decadent and very chocolatey, this is one festive dessert that is sure to jingle your bells! Translating as Christmas Log, it combines chocolate sponge cake and cherry cream filling with chocolate frosting and meringue, for a yuletastic cracker! It can be made ahead of time, so while it requires a little effort initially, it’s a no-fuss offering on the day.
4 hrs 15 mins total time
1 hr active time
For the cake:
- Cooking spray
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup (5 oz) white sugar
- ⅔ cup (8 oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
For the syrup:
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz) water
- ¼ cup (2¼ oz) white sugar
- ¼ cup (2 fl oz) Kirsch
(or other cherry liqueur)
For the filling:
- ¾ cup (6 oz) mascarpone
- ¾ cup (6 oz) heavy cream
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (3½ oz) dried sour cherries
- ⅔ cup (7 oz) cherry jam
For the meringue mushrooms:
- 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup (3½ oz) white sugar
- 1 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
For the frosting:
- 2½ cups (12 oz) powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup (1¼ oz) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1½ sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter
at room temperature
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
at room temperature
- Sprigs rosemary
- Frozen cranberries
- 1Insert the wire rack into position 4. Select BAKE/CONVECTION/325°F/12 minutes and press START to preheat.
- 2Spray a 13-inch x 9½-inch quarter sheet pan with oil and line the base and sides with parchment paper.
- 3Place the egg yolks and 2½ oz of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, or until thick and creamy. Transfer to another bowl.
- 4Place the egg whites in the clean, dry mixer bowl. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2½ oz sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
- 5Combine the sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture and the egg white mixture together. Fold in the combined dry ingredients then the vanilla and oil. Spread the mixture evenly into the lined sheet pan.
- 6Once preheated, place the pan in the oven and cook for 12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- 7Meanwhile make the syrup, place the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. Once boiled, remove from the heat and add the Kirsch.
- 8Make the filling, place the mascarpone, cream, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and extract in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium speed until firm peaks form. Add the cherries and mix briefly to combine.
- 9Cool the cake for 5 minutes (for easy rolling, it’s important you don’t stand for longer than that). Brush the top of the cake with half the warm syrup. Place a clean tea towel on the countertop and turn out. Remove the parchment paper and brush the other side with the remaining syrup.
- 10Spread the cake evenly with the cherry jam. Top with the mascarpone mixture, leaving 1-inch free along one long edge.
- 11Using the tea towel as a guide and starting at the long side with mascarpone, roll up the cake. Place it, seam-side down, onto a tray. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. Meanwhile, continue to the next step.
- 12Whisk the egg whites on high speed until they begin to foam. Gradually add the sugar, whisking constantly for 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is thick and glossy.
- 13Ensure the wire rack is in position 4. Press PHASE COOK, for P1 select BAKE/NO CONVECTION/210°F/1 hour and press CONFIRM. For P2 select BAKE/CONVECTION/200°F/30 minutes and press START.
- 14Place the meringue mixture in a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip. Spray the pizza pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Pipe ten ¾-inch wide rounds to form the mushroom caps. Dip your finger into water and gently press the top to smooth. Pipe ten ¼-inch wide rounds to form the mushroom stalks.
- 15Once preheated, place the pan in the oven and cook the meringues.
- 16While the meringues are still warm, use a spoon to create a small hole in the bottom of the large meringues. Place a small amount of chocolate into the hole and stick the mushroom stalks into the caps. Place upside down and allow the chocolate to set in a cool dry place. Repeat with the remaining mushroom caps and stalks.
- 17Make the frosting, sift the powdered sugar and cocoa together. Using a stand mixer, whisk the butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy. Add the sugar mixture and salt and whisk on low speed until combined. Add the cream and whisk until combined.
- 18Cut the cake three-quarters of the way up, on an angle. Place the longer piece on a serving board or platter. Position the shorter piece to resemble a branch coming off the log.
- 19Using a palate knife, generously cover the cake with frosting. Run a fork along the log to create a bark-like texture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for the frosting to set.
- 20Place the mushrooms on the log and garnish with the rosemary sprigs and frozen cranberries.