How To Make Your Own Buche De Noel

Your family and friends likely expect you to deliver when it comes to desserts. While it’s tempting to stack a bunch of Swiss cake rolls into the shape of a Christmas tree, you can do better than that. Use the skills you’ve learned in online baking courses to make a Buche de Noel to really impress your guests.

The ingredients

Nonstick veggie oil spray
powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (note: You will also need some for dusting the finished cake.)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
2 tablespoons brandy, Cognac or dark rum
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Whipped cream or butter cream frosting

The cake

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    Spray a rimmed 18×13 inch baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add parchment paper and lightly spray it as well.
  • Place a kitchen towel that is larger than the pan on a flat surface. In a small bowl whisk together equal parts cocoa and powdered sugar. Use a fine sieve to dust the towel with the mixture.
  • Use the just-emptied bowl to sift the flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder together. Place the bittersweet chocolate, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl that is microwave safe and heat the mix in 15-second intervals, pausing to stir it until melted. Set it aside to cool.
  • Place the egg whites and salt in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer on medium to high speed to whip them into a foam. As the mixer is running add 1/3 cup of granulated sugar until the mixture is beaten into stiff, glossy peaks.
  • With clean egg beaters add another 1/3 cup of granulated sugar to the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Beat until thick and pale (around 4 minutes). Add the chocolate mixture and beat until there are no more streaks. Fold in the meringue but leave some streaks. Add the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
  • Pour the batter onto your lightly-greased baking sheet and smooth out the top for an even layer. Bake the cake around 10-12 minutes, until the top is dry and springs back when you lightly press on it. The edges should be pulling away from the sides of the baking sheet. Set aside to cool a little.
  • After a few minutes loosen the cake from the baking sheet with the edge of a knife. Invert the cake onto the cocoa/sugar dusted towel. Peel off the parchment and use the towel to roll the cake into a log. With the seam side down, transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it sit about 20 minutes, until it is barely warm.
  • In a jar, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and two tablespoons of hot water. Shake until dissolved. Stir in the Cognac, rum or brandy. Unroll the cake and use a basting brush to top it with the syrup.

The layering
Spread whipped or butter cream frosting over the cake, leaving an inch around the edges frosting free. Roll the cake and place it on a serving platter with the seam side down. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, until cold. Dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve. If you want to really wow your guests, cut a piece or two from one end of the cake and re attach it so that the log looks like it had another branch. You can then frost it so that there is no visible seam. Add meringue mushrooms or other confections for a professional touch. Use a knife to shape the frosting into the grooves of tree bark and you’ve got one beautiful, delicious cake.

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