Our Buche de Noel

Well the meal was wonderful. We are all stuffed to the gills. One of our special desserts was a Buche de Noel. Here is a picture of the finished cake and the recipe. Buche de Noel is a traditional French Christmas cake also called a Yule Log.

Pronounced: boosh / duh / noh el

* 4 eggs, separated
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* pinch of cream of tartar
* 3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
* For the frosting:
* 1 cup whipping cream
* 10 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
* 2 Tablespoons rum

Preheat oven to 375°F. with rack in the center of the oven. Grease the bottom of a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment paper.

1. Put the eggs yolks into a large bowl.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the sugar from the 3/4 cup measure and set aside. Beat the remaining sugar and eggs together until pale.

2. Beat in the vanilla.

3. In another greasefree, clean bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of the cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks.

4. Add the reserved sugar and continue beating until the4. Add the reserved sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.

5. Divide the flour in half and gently fold it into the egg mixture in 2 batches.

6. Add one-quarter of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites.

7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly into the corners with a metal off-set spatula. Bake 15 minutes.

8. While the cake is baking, spread a dishtowel flat and lay a piece of parchment paper, the size of the cake, on top of the towel. Sprinkle the paper with some sugar.

9. Invert the cake onto the paper and carefully peel off the lining paper. Slowly, roll up the cake with the paper inside, and starting from a short side. Wrap the towel around the cake, place on a rack and allow to cool.

Prepare the filling & frosting:
1. Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until it has melted.

2. With an electric mixer, beat the chocolate until it is fluffy and has thickened to a spreading consistency.

3. Spoon one-third of the chocolate into another bowl and stir in the rum.

4. When the cake is cooled, unroll it. Spread the rum-flavored chocolate evenly over the surface. Roll the cake up again, using the paper to help move it forward.

5. Cut off about one-quarter of the cake at an angle. Place it against the side of the larger piece of cake, to resemble a branch from a tree trunk.

6. Spread the remaining chocolate mixture over the rest of the cake. Using a fork, press the back side of the tines against the chocolate and lightly drag through to resemble bark.

To serve:

The cake may be made up to two days ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator. Before serving, add some decorations, such as sprigs of holly, or other figurines. Dust with confectioner’s sugar to resemble snow.

I also saw a very pretty decoration on a Martha Stewart show: Sparkling Rosemary. Mix one egg white with 3 tablespoons of water. Cut rosemary into 3 to 4-inch sprigs. Brush with some of the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

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