Friday, December 4, 2009
The Illustrious Yule Log
The holiday baking season, along with the release of "Julie and Julia", reminds me of watching Julia Child and wishing I could make the illustrious Buche de Noel or Yule Log. I can still hear Julia saying "Buche de Noel!" My childhood love of HoHo's had me longing for this rolled chocolate spongecake with chocolate ganache. Yum!
Last year I finally decided to try it. I don't have any Julia Child cookbooks, but I did have a hand-written recipe card in my recipe box for many years. When I was in my teens, I wrote down a lot of recipes from my Mom's recipe box, but I never knew her to make Buche de Noel. So, who knows where this recipe came from.Well, it ended up being a total flop! I was interrupted too many times with people and dogs and who knows what. The cake was over-mixed and was a rubbery mess, despite the long time it took to make the filling and frosting and assemble it.
I won't be trusting that old recipe card, if I even kept it! There are several online sources for Buche de Noel (or Yule Log) recipes. Some trustworthy, tested sites are the JoyofBaking, Food Network, Epicurious, and, of course Martha Stewart. I'm not sure yet which I'll try, but will take a look at the different styles, techniques, and ingredients to see what suits my tastes.
I am not a gourmet chef, but I do love to bake. Some tips for a sponge cake like this are, get yourself a jelly roll pan, don't use it for anything other than sponge cakes, and don't use waxed paper. Some recipes call for using waxed paper on the pan and I just can't get that smell of melted wax out of my head. While I use parchment paper for most other baking, I opt for aluminum foil for a sponge cake. It forms to the pan. You can grease and flour it easily and the cake comes off clean.
I hope this inspires you to make a Yule Log or Buche de Noel this year. Heck, I may even try the little marzipan mushrooms! Just keep in mind that looks don't matter as must as taste.