Monday, January 7, 2013

Homemade Bûche de Noël

le nom

Now that the craziness of the holidays has officially died down, hopefully I can get back to some regular posting!  I wanted to share this recipe because it's one of my favorites.  One year in my French class in high school, we had a party before break, and someone brought in this delicious bûche de Noël.  A bûche de Noël is a traditional cake made in francophone countries around Christmas time.  There are many variations on the cake, and people have endless ways of decorating it including chopping a section off and putting it on top to make a protruding limb; dusting it with confectioner's sugar to create the illusion of snow; and even making mushrooms out of meringue.  I've been smitten with this mocha recipe ever since my first bite, and making it has become my own little tradition over the years.  If anyone more daring than me has attempted some of the embellishments for the cake, I'd love to see pictures!   


5 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

mocha cream filling
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules

mocha butter cream frosting
1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp brewed coffee
2 tbsp milk


Line a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and grease the paper.  Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks on high until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until thick and lemon colored.  Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; and gradually add to egg yolk mixture until blended.  

Beat egg whites on medium until foamy.  Add cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form.  Stir a fourth into the chocolate mixture.  Then, fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks remain.  Spread the batter evenly in  the prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes or until cake springs back (do not over bake).  

Cool for 5 minutes; then, invert onto a linen towel dusted with confectioner's sugar, starting with the short side.  Finish cooling on a wire rack.  

In a mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken.  Add sugar and coffee granules, and beat until stiff peaks form; then chill the filling.  

Unroll cooled cake, and spread filling to within a 1/2 inch of edges.  Roll up again.  Chill cake on serving platter.  

Beat frosting ingredients until smooth and frost cake.  Using a fork makes lines resembling tree bark.  

Garnish with holly or make your own using white chocolate and candy.  (Melt white chocolate and mix with green food coloring.  Place in a plastic bag, cut the tip, and pipe onto saran wrap in the shape of holly leaves.  Cool in the refrigerator.  When done, peel off and place on cake with candy like Red Hots or M&M's, etc.)

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