I baked this for my family as a surprise this year, and as soon as my dad saw it, he exclaimed happily, "Oh, it's a 'buche de Noel'!"
The Buche de Noel, as its name implies, is a cake baked and eaten around the Christmas season, and is made to resemble the Yule log that was burned by pagans of centuries ago in celebration of the Winter holidays. This cake was most likely a Victorian invention, and is still eaten in France and other Francophone countries.
I ended up writing my own recipe because I'm nit-picky and prefer to have things my way. So, here it is, my very own recipe for the Buche de Noel. Of course, you are more than welcome to tweak the recipe to suit your taste.
The cake is a chocolate sponge cake, with cream cheese frosting on the inside, and cream cheese-chocolate frosting on the outside. The "snow" is the powdered sugar, the snow drops are vanilla meringue. I made the holly berries and leaves out of gummy bears by flattening out the green ones and cut them into leaves, then covered them with sugar. I cut the red bears into halves and trimmed them into roundish shapes, then covered them in sugar as well. The bottom is then decorated with red-and-white mints.
For the chocolate sponge cake:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites (be sure that there is no trace of the yolk in the white)
4 Tablespoons chocolate powder (not instant hot chocolate mix!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg
For the cream cheese frosting:
1/2 stick of cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Whip everything together.
For the chocolate-cream cheese frosting:
The same as the cream cheese frosting, but with 4 Tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 3/4 Tablespoon of chocolate powder. Whip everything together.
1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. Cover a 15-inch pan with parchment paper and grease it very well. Set the pan aside.
2. Beat the egg whites until a stiff white peak is formed. Set aside.
3. Beat the yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla together until you get a thick and creamy texture mix that is very light in color.
4. Sift in the flour and chocolate powder into the sugar-yolk mixture, and beat until well-blended.
5. Gently fold in the egg whites.
6. Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread it out evenly.
7. Bake for 12 minutes.
8. While the cake is baking, take out your baking towel, or a large piece of parchment paper (a silicone baking pad will work, too).
9. Cover the entire surface generously with powdered sugar.
10. Flip the cake over on to the edge of your towel/paper/silicone pad while it is still hot.
11. Cover the entire cake genorously with powdered sugar.
12. Gently but tightly roll the cake up with your towel/paper/silicone pad, and let it cool.
Meanwhile, make your two frosting flavors.
After your cake has cooled, cover the inside with the white frosting, and roll your cake back up (alone this time). Cut one end of your cake diagonally and place it on top of the main cake. Cover it in the chocolate frosting, and run the fork across the surface to create the tree bark texture.
Decorate your cake to your heart's liking! You may make the holly berries with gummy bears or gumdrops. To make the leaves, just flatten out pieces of green gummy candy and trim them into leaf shapes, and cover them with sugar again.