It. Is. Finished.
Oh my goodness, everyone, I am so unbelievably happy today. Yesterday, with some help from my dad, I pulled together the famed holiday dessert – The Buche de Noel.
I have been documenting my progress the past two days, but yesterday was the day… cake baking and dessert assembly (and eating!).
The cake is a standard sponge cake and starts with a combination of eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and a little salt that is whipped on a double boiler until the mixture reaches 100 degrees.
Then the egg mixture is removed from the heat and whipped some more on high speed until the mixture becomes twice its original volume and has cooled.
When the mixture has been cooled, then the dry ingredients (cake flour and corn starch) are sifted into the mixture and it is all folded together.
The batter is poured into a high-sided cookie sheet (or jelly roll pan) and spread out with a spatula. Bake for about 13-15 minutes until the cake is just set in the middle.
Then turn out the cake onto a work surface to cool and stand back and do a happy dance that you have successfully made almost all the elements for the Buche de Noel.
Then go run some errands and return home to realized that your cat has jumped upon the counter and eaten some of your cake…
So, make another cake and then make sure you stand watch as it cools so that thieving cats don’t eat your second attempt.
Now, it’s all about the assembly!
To make the mushrooms, dab a little room temperature ganache on the bottom of a mushroom cap.
And gently push in the stem until it becomes anchored in the ganache.
And viola! A meringue mushroom!
For the Buche de Noel itself, brush the cake with a spiked simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil, cooled, and spiked with an equal part of rum!).
To make spreading the ganache easier (and to ensure you spread it evenly), I put big blobs of ganache all over the cake and spread with an offset spatula.
I totally spaced and didn’t take pictures of how to roll a jelly roll, but here is a pretty good tutorial video from Martha Stewart. I rolled my cake along the long-side, which provides a better sized piece of cake (this dessert is very rich so a little goes a LONG way!).
We wanted to make a branch sticking out of the middle of the cake, so my dad trimmed 3-4 inches off one end…
… and placed it onto the middle of the log!
Then frost the log like you would a regular cake… or as my dad put it, like you spackle a wall. Whichever analogy works for you!
Then artfully arrange some meringue mushrooms around your Buche de Noel.
And stand back and admire your work!
Oh so festive!
This was a great Christmas baking challenge and I am so pleased with how it all worked out. I can’t wait to try again next year!
Your Buche de Noel bakin’ friend,
PS – I used the Buche de Noel recipe from Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers by Nick Malgieri.