For Christmas this year, I wanted to try something quintessentially Christmas. I’d always seen photos of “Bûche de Noël” looking so festive, sprinkled with snow and sprigged with holly, that it seemed an appropriate holiday dessert to tackle (plus it’s got Christmas right there in the name). This also happens to be a flourless cake recipe, which works well for any gluten-free friends or family.
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ tsp vanilla extract
⅛ tsp salt
6 egg whites
¼ cup white sugar
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 10″x15″ jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick baking spray. In a large bowl, whip together frosting ingredients until thick and stiff. Refrigerate.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks with ½ cup sugar until thick and pale. Blend in cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. In a large glass bowl, using clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks. Immediately fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Dust a clean dishtowel with confectioners’ sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and turn the warm cake out onto the towel. Remove and discard parchment paper. Starting at the short edge of the cake, roll the cake up with the towel. Cool for 30 minutes.
Unroll the cake, and spread the filling to within 1″ of the edge. Carefully roll the cake up with the filling inside. Place seam side down onto a serving plate. Frost the outside of the cake and use a fork to make grooves (like a tree branch). Refrigerate until serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
It turned out spectacularly well! I did run into a bit of trouble initially unrolling the cake after it had cooled, as it was sticking in places to the cloth and actually split in a couple spots. But I smeared the inside with frosting and it rolled up just fine. Once the outer frosting was applied, you could even’t notice! It was incredibly light–like eating a chocolate mousse. Creamy, chocolatey, delicious! I definitely want to try it again with even more decorative flourishes (you can dot the Yule log with adorable little meringue mushrooms).