Only 4 days until Christmas! One of my favourite things to decorate at Christmas is a Yule log, and this year I decided to bake my own, instead of decorating a shop bought one. I made marzipan holly leaves and berries to decorate my log, along with a sift of icing sugar snow, but you can use real holly, as long as you wash it first!
Now making a swiss roll, which forms the basis of this log, always seemed like a daunting task for me, with too much whisking of eggs and careful folding in of flour. However, it is actually very easy, as long as you are gentle with the mixture and try and incorporate as much air as possible.
This log makes a very pretty centrepiece at Christmas, particularly for people who don’t like the heavy fruit of a traditional Christmas cake.
Recipe adapted from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8767/yummy-chocolate-log
For the cake
85g golden caster sugar
85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
For the filling & icing
140g dark chocolate, broken into squares
1 tbsp golden syrup
284ml pot double cream
200g icing sugar, sifted
Red and green food colouring to make holly and berries
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Grease and line a 23 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk for about 8 mins until thick and creamy.
- Mix the flour, cocoa and baking powder together, then sift onto the egg mixture. Fold in very carefully, then pour into the tin. Now tip the tin from side to side to spread the mixture into the corners. Bake for 10 mins.
- Lay a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface. When the cake is ready, tip it onto the parchment, peel off the lining paper, then roll the cake up from its longest edge with the paper inside. Leave to cool.
- To make the icing, melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Take from the heat and stir in the syrup and 5 tbsp cream. Beat in the icing sugar until smooth. Whisk the remaining cream until it holds its shape. Unravel the cake, spread the cream over the top, then carefully roll up again into a log.
- Cut a thick diagonal slice from one end of the log. Lift the log on to a plate, then arrange the slice on the side with the diagonal cut against the cake to make a branch.
- Spread the icing over the log and branch then use a fork to mark the icing to give the effect of tree bark. Scatter with icing sugar to resemble snow, and decorate with marzipan holly.