Buche de Noel
I made my first Buche de Noel in 8th grade French class for the class Christmas party. I love France and baking and this recipe always speaks to me at Christmas time. It is easier than it looks and it's fun to try to make it look like a log!
- 4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup cake flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp espresso powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 oz dark chocolate chopped
- 1 TBLunsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- ¾ cup heavy cream
Whipped Cream Filling:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Sugared Cranberries (for decoration and good to eat, too, but start them early - see below)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (do not use frozen)
- ¾ cup water
- 1-1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- Juice of an orange (optional)
- 4-5 sprigs of rosemary
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a 10x15 baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well combined and a pale yellow color. Add vanilla and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder and salt.
- Add the dry mixture to the bowl of egg yolk mixture and stir to combine. It will be very thick.
- Add half of the egg whites to the mixture and stir vigorously to combine completely.
- Gently fold in the other half of the egg whites. Take your time and again be gentle. You don’t want to eliminate all the air you whipped into them.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, gently using a spatula to evenly distribute the batter.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cake is spongey and bounces back when touched.
- While it is baking, lay out a flour sack or kitchen towel (thin cotton ones work best) on the counter and sprinkle with a layer of powered sugar. If you use your sifter you can get an even layer without missing spots.
- Let the cake cool for a minute on the baking sheet, then carefully turn it out onto the towel and remove the parchment paper bottom. When turning it onto the towel hold the pan such that as you flip it over it is going away from you. This keeps the powdered sugar from getting as much on you, but it will fly around some.
- Starting from one of the short ends, roll the cake up rolling the towel with it as you go (keep towel in the folds you unroll later) lay the wrapped cake seam side down and let cool completely.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- While the cake is baking, make the ganache.
- In a small heatproof bowl, combine chocolate, butter, vanilla, and salt.
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over low heat until the edges start to bubble. Remove from heat and pour over the bowl of chocolate mixture.
- Let sit for 5 minutes then stir until completely combined and smooth.
- Set aside to cool or place in the fridge until you are ready to use it. If it will be a while, cover the chocolate with cling wrap touching the chocolate to keep it from getting a film. You will need to give it a stir once you take it out before you can frost the cake. It needs to be spreadable.
Whipped Cream Filling
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff peaks from. Set aside.
Assemble the Cake Roll
- Once the cake is completely cooled, carefully unroll it.
- Use a spatula to add an even layer of whipped cream filling to the top of the cake, leaving about ½ inch of space on the edges.
- Gently reroll the cake and then move it seam side down to a serving platter.
- Use a spatula to coat the outside of the roll with chocolate ganache frosting on all sides.
- To make it look like a log, use a fork to drag lines down the ends and across the top lengthwise. You can use a toothpick or skewer to draw spirals on the ends. Use a small spatula to give it a little wavy texture.
- Let set, then garnish. Sugared or fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs are nice. Use sifter to sprinkle powered sugar for a little snowy look.
Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary
If you want to decorate the cake with sugared cranberries and rosemary, start them the night before because they need to sit for several hours.
- Place cranberries and rosemary in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat bring the water and ¾ of sugar to a simmer, whisking until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the cranberries and rosemary and stir. Cover the bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries and rosemary from the sugar syrup and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Allow to dry, uncovered, for 1 hour.
- Pour remaining ½ cup sugar into a large bowl. Toss the cranberries and rosemary in the sugar, coating them all the way around.
- Place on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet and let them dry uncovered for at least 1 hour at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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