The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Yule Logging

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Franko's picture
Franko

Yule Logging

 



Every 2 or three years I like to make a Yule Log for our family, relatives or friends , but in this case it was a request from one of my wife's colleagues. Sometime back in November my wife Marie was chatting with one of the other staff members at the college where she works about their respective plans for the Christmas season. Her friend Wendy mentioned that one of the things they always like to have on Christmas Eve is a Yule log, but that she'd been disappointed with the ones she's had over the last few years because they'd been so plain and ordinary. What she was looking for was one that had all the whistles and bells so to speak, but just couldn't find a local bakery that made them that way. When Marie asked her what in particular she wanted on it, the reply was “those cute little meringue mushrooms and maybe some marzipan holly ...or something”, to which Marie replied “oh...my husband makes them like that. I'll see if he'll make you one. I'm sure he'd love to” Does this sort of thing sound familiar to any other husbands or wives here on TFL?


Don't get me wrong. I enjoy making these cakes every so often, but they do take a fair amount of time in order make all the various components for them, and time has been a precious commodity for me this month for some reason. However, I thought it'd be fun to do one, and if it turned out the way I hoped, thought it might make a good blog post to TFL.


 


The cake itself is a chocolate sponge baked in a 20x14 sheet pan, cooled, then brushed with a flavoured simple syrup, in this case Kahlua, then layered with a custard buttercream flavoured with hazelnuts and rum. This is rolled jelly roll fashion in parchment and tied with string then kept in the fridge for a night or two, until it's tight and sealed. The day before doing the final decorating I made the meringue mushrooms, in addition to some coloured marzipan holly leaves and berries, as well as shaping small pine cones from chocolate plastique. The meringue is a typical all purpose type that can be made either cold or with the hot Swiss style method. The caps and stems of the mushrooms are piped on to a sheet pan and baked at 225F for an hour then left in the oven for another hour with the heat turned off and the door slightly open, then left to cool for at least several hours or overnight. Assembly is done by taking a sharp paring knife and rounding out a hole in the base of the cap, dipping the stem part in melted chocolate and inserting into the hole in the cap. Very easy and quite realistic looking!


On decorating day I made French style chocolate buttercream for the icing of the log and some chocolate curls or 'bark' to lay on top of the buttercream to add a bit more realism. Next I cut off diagonal sections from each end of the roll, iced them and placed one on the top ,slightly off to one side and the other on the rear lower side of the log, securing them with bamboo skewers to the body of the cake. Then it's just a matter of adding all the other decorating components to make a nice presentation. I had planned to add some spun sugar angel hair to drape over the log, or maybe a white chocolate spider web, but simply ran out of time to get it all done before going to bed for my workday start at 2:00AM the next day. It's probably just as well I didn't do the spun sugar anyway, since it's not to be eaten till the 24th and doubt it would hold up properly over that period of time. When I was taking my training in trades school in Vancouver, my cake and decorating instructor Mr. Knoss, a Swiss master, used to say “one of the most important aspects of cake decorating is knowing when to stop” . It's very easy to get carried away with decorating and end up with something that's over decorated and busy, so I think in this case, necessity forced me to stop at a good point.


 


Unfortunately, necessity has also been a factor in me having to leave out all the recipes and most of the procedure for making the various components. It would take pages of typing to write up, and for a hunt & peck typist like myself, would take till sometime in the New Year to finish I reckon. For anyone who might be interested in any of the recipes or procedure used in this cake I plan to write them up over the next few days....week or two?, and have them available for anyone wanting them.


 


Now it's time to get some family Christmas baking done.


Merry Christmas and best of the Season to everyone on TFL!


Franko



 


 


 


 

Comments

LindyD's picture
LindyD

That's so realistic looking, Franko, if I didn't know what it was, I'd be tempted to toss it in my wood stove. ;-)


Someday, when I'm not working full time and have a house elf around to do all the chores, I'd think about making one.  Till then, I'll just have to appreciate your beautiful artistry.


Wendy is truly blessed to have such good friends!


Merry Christmas to you and your family.

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a delicious and so Christmas time looking dessert!  I wouldn't mind eating these year round!


Happy Holidays,


Sylvia

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

That is gorgeous!  I bet it's scrumptious, too.


Glenn

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Kahlua, rum, hazelnuts and chocolate?! Yum!
So decadent and what a beautifully-crafted and realistic-looking result.
This is a lovely yule log - inside and out!
Happy holidays from breadsong

wally's picture
wally

That's really a wonderful creation and a gorgeous presentation.  Just thinking about the labor involved makes me dizzy, though.  I'll stick to easy things - like bread dough.


Fabulous looking Yule Log!


Happy Holidays to you and your family,


Larry

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Larry!


These things do take some prep work that's for sure. That's why I only try to do them once every few years or so. Actually assembling and decorating the log doesn't take that long, it's the cleanup afterwards that's the killer.


Best of the Season to you Larry!


Franko

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

AND Kaluah !   Fabulous :) 


Great job, Franko !

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Franko,


That looks fabulous! Kahlua and rum - now you're talking! Love the mushroom and holly details.too. Wendy must be very happy. 


Thanks for the detailed instructions on how to construct it.


If you used French buttercream must be a bit like the French 'bûche de Noël' then?


If you are writing up formulae in the New Year and have time I wouldn't mind a good meringue formula. Now I'm trying yolk enriched doughs am tending to get a stock of whites in the fridge. Have tried a few meringue formulae, with heated and unheated sugar, but not got it down yet. Think the humidity may not be helping, not to mention my hamfisted piping techniques LOL.


Wishing you and yours and great Christmas, Daisy_A

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Daisy,


Thanks very much for your comments. As far as using up egg whites I'm in the same boat as you. What I usually wind up doing is making a Dacquoise which a meringue with toasted, chopped nuts folded in to the meringue then baked in two separate layers and sandwiched with a flavoured cream or mousse of some kind. These use up a fair amount of egg white in one go and their pretty easy to make.


Here's a link to what looks like a good recipe for Dacquoise.


http://www.food.com/recipe/dacquoise-96702


Hope this helps until I can get some of the formulae from the log written up.


Cheers,


Franko

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Franko,


Mmm, that sounds delicious. Just took a look - got all of those ingredients in the cupboard now. So even if it snows so much I can't get to the store, I can still make Dacquoise :-)


No rush on formulae. Sure you have plenty other things to do this Christmas season - like celebrate!


Best wishes, Daisy_A

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Haha, Franko you have been holding out on us. You are a skilled pastry chef as well. A beautiful log in every way.


Mery Christmas Franko!


Eric

amazonium's picture
amazonium

you did a great job! My daughter asked me to help her make one this year but we simply ran out of time.  But you have inspired me- perhaps I will get a 'second' wind and have a go at one!!


June

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks to everyone who's responded and for all your super comments about the Yule log. Thank You Lindy, Sylvia,Glenn,breadsong,Larry,Anna,Daisy,Eric, and June!


It's really great to get such positive feedback from all of you. Much appreciated.


Best of the Season,


Franko


 

louie brown's picture
louie brown

That is a beauty, Franko. It reminds me of Julia Child's log, right down to the piece sticking out. really beautiful.

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Louie,


Well thank you very much! I always enjoyed Julia's classic style, so this is a really nice compliment to receive. Many thanks.


Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

Awesome Cake baking and decorating skills, Franko


Very best seasonal wishes to you and Marie


Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

Thanks Andy!


I don't get much practice doing this sort of thing, so it's encouraging to hear from another person in the craft that I've been able to retain some of the skills I was taught in training. Very kind of you!


Best of the Season to you and Alison


Franko