Yule Log (also known as Bûche de Noël) is a traditional Christmas dessert served in countries like France, Switzerland and Belgium.
There are many stories regarding the origin of this cake. Some say Norway is the country of origin because of the ancient Norse who used the Yule log to celebrate the return of the sun at winter solstice. “Yule” comes from the Norse word "hweol" which means wheel. The Norse thought that the sun was a big wheel of fire around the earth. This would be the explanation of the name.
Others say that the actual origin of the Yule log is French and that it is derived from the old practice of burning logs during the Christmas Eve.
I would say that irrespective of its origin, it is a fabulous dessert! My version is #glutenfree, light, airy, complemented by a liquor buttercream and topped with delicious chocolate ganache. Do I need to say more? Find the recipe below. I have found inspiration in an older BBC Good Food magazine and I instantly fell in love when I saw this festive cake. I'm sure you will too.
To make the sponge, you will have to separate the eggs first. Start by mixing the egg whites and a little bit of salt with a whisker or a blender until it forms peaks. Add half of the quantity of the brown sugar and keep on mixing until dissolved. Set aside.
Separately, mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until doubled in size and very airy. Sift the cocoa and the gingerbread spice mix and fold it gently with a spatula (do not mix, we want to keep as much air as possible). Once incorporated, start adding the meringue. Add 1/3 of the meringue and fold and do the same until the egg white is fully incorporated (you should incorporate it in 3 steps).
Line a 35cm x 25cm tray with baking sheet, dust it with icing sugar and pour the batter in it. Spread it evenly and gently with the spatula and bake in the preheated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
Once the sponge is baked, be very careful with the next step. Take a clean towel and dust it with icing sugar and then add your hot roll over it (basically you need to flip it from the tray to the towel). Gently peel away the baking sheet and then start rolling the sponge with the help of the towel, The towel should follow the sponge all the way through. Why do we do this? To avoid cracks. If we let the sponge cool down completely and then roll it our roll will have crack and will not be so flexible anymore. Once rolled, leave it aside to rest and cool completely
Mix the room temperature butter with the icing sugar for 5 minutes or until doubled in size and white and airy. Add the liquor or alcohol of your choice gradually and keep on mixing until incorporated. Set aside (not in the fridge). If buttercream is too heavy for you, you can substitute with heavy cream. I tried both versions and buttercream works better because it is firmer.
Heat the cream and the butter in a saucepan until it starts bubbling. Turn off the heat and add to the chocolate (make sure you chop it finely to ensure that all pieces melt equally) and let it sit for 1 minute. After 1 minute, start mixing it with a whisker or a spoon until you get a silky smooth ganache. Set aside (not in the fridge).
Melt the white chocolate over bain-marie and then take your bay leaves and paint the underside of the leaf with the white chocolate (or you can simply dip that side in the melted chocolate). Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set (be patient! If you peel it before time it will break). Once cooled, remove the bay leaves, place them on a plate or baking sheet and spray them with edible glitter.
De-roll the sponge gently and the add the buttercream to the entire surface, making sure the margins are still empty. Roll the sponge back again (gently) and then place it over a rack. Take the ganache and add it spoon by spoon and then spread it with a spatula all over the roll, avoiding the sides (the front and the back). Take a fork and create long stripes to make it look like a log (optional). Add your golden leaves on top and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!
Small tip: Before serving it, leave it to come to room temperature 15-30 minutes, so that the buttercream will soften.