The Yule Log, or bûche de Noël, is a traditional French Christmas cake shaped and decorated to look like a log. It’s a fancy holiday treat that takes a little time – but is well worth it when you take the first bite of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.
Pastry chef Deran Lanpher from Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Bakery shows us how it’s done. The delicious treat is on the menu at Yachtsman Steakhouse and Cape May Café for just two days – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A couple of tips: rolling the cake is the trickiest part, so make sure it’s still moist when it comes out of the oven. And when whisking the egg whites for the cake, make sure to use a copper, glass or stainless steel bowl for maximum volume.
Serves 6 to 8
Chocolate chiffon cake
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup plus 3 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
Chocolate Mousse Cremeux
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
6 ounces dark semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup extra heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate
3/4 cups heavy cream
Crushed peppermint candy, for garnish
For chiffon cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Measure and cut a piece of parchment paper to line bottom of pan and spray with nonstick spray.
- Sift together flour, cocoa powder, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt and place in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. With mixer running at slow speed, add egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition until mixture is smooth. Transfer batter to a large bowl.
- After thoroughly cleaning mixer bowl, combine egg whites, remaining 3 teaspoons sugar, and cream of tartar. Whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold one-third of egg white mixture into cake batter, then fold remaining egg white mixture into batter.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Batter will be only 1/4-inch deep. Bake 6 to 10 minutes, just until set. Do not overbake.
- Remove cake from oven, let cool for 10 minutes. While cake is still warm, slide it out of pan, with parchment still attached, onto a clean kitchen towel. Trim crispy edges off the long sides of the cake. Beginning at one narrow end, use the towel to roll cake—along with parchment paper—into a cylinder.
For mousse cremeux:
- Combine egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; whisk until light in color and thickened to a soft peak, about 3 minutes.
- Fill a medium saucepan about halfway with water. Bring water to a simmer. Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place bowl over simmering water, making sure bowl does not touch water. Stir chocolate mixture constantly until completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- When chocolate mixture is room temperature, stir into egg yolk mixture.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat until frothy, then add remaining 2 teaspoons sugar, beating until medium peaks form.
- Whip heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture, then gently fold in whipped cream. (Some streaks of cream may remain, do not overmix.) Refrigerate until cold.
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk in cream until combined. Set aside until slightly cool but still spreadable.
- Carefully unroll cake from towel; remove towel. Spread mousse over cake surface. Using parchment paper to lift up a narrow edge of the cake, roll it back up, over the mousse, peeling off parchment paper as you go.
- Once cake is rolled, wrap parchment paper around it to keep it round and place cake seam side down on a platter. Refrigerate about 1 hour, until firm.
- Remove parchment paper from cake and ice with ganache. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. Refrigerate until ganache is set, about 30 minutes, before serving.