Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

This month, Lis and Ivonne challenged all the Daring Bakers to create a Yule Log for the holidays. Mine is a few days late -- it's been a hectic month, and the past few days have been especially sad for me because Chester died-- but the cake is finally here: a Christmas miracle.

Please check out all the other beautiful Yule Logs by visiting the links on the Daring Bakers blogroll and, again, happy holidays.

Yule Log

Orange Genoise:

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour - spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
¼ cup cornstarch
Zest of one orange

one (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

2.Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).

4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted. Fold in zest.

5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour and cornstarch.

6.Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Chocolate Buttercream:

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled a bit
2 tsp. vanilla

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Add chocolate and liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Marzipan Mushrooms:

8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
Cocoa powder

1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.

2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.

4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.

5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.

6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.

7.Smudge with cocoa powder.

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.

2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.

3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.

4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).

5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.

6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.

7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.

8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.

9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.

10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.

11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.


glamah16 said...

So sorry about your Chester. He was so cute. Great job on your Yule Log.I love the idea of orange genoise.Merry Christmas.

Carla said...

Merry Christmas, Laura Rebecca!! Sorry to hear about Chester, though.

Claire said...

Nice job on your log. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Lis said...

Awww LR I am so sorry to hear about Chester. :( Losing a loved pet is the absolute worse.

Your log is gorgeous as I knew it would be. =)

I hope, despite the bad news, that you and yours had a very nice Christmas!

Love & Hugs,

Beth G. said...

It looks beautiful there by the tree- sending best wishes your way, sorry for your loss :(

Kirsten said...

You guys (daring bakers) are all NUTS, but your log does look lovely.

Sorry for your loss.

Merry Christmas!

Tracy said...

Very sorry to hear about Chester.
Your Yule Log looks awesome. I just joined the Daring Baker!s ... I'm a bit nervous about the challenges in store

Megan said...

Oh Chester. I'm so sorry for your lost!

Andrea said...

Your cake looks wonderful with a perfect swirl of cake and filling! Sorry to hear about Chester. Best wishes.

Baking Soda said...

So sorry to hear about Chester. Glad you managed to bake the challenge, good job!

Peabody said...

Sorry about your pet. :(
Your log turned out lovely.

Judy said...

I've been waiting to see your yule log, and it is, indeed, lovely. My sympathies to you for Chester. Losing a cherished pet is always difficult.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Your log does look lovely, especially with the beautiful tree in the background. Sorry about your pet.

Deborah said...

I'm sorry to hear about Chester. You did a great job on this challenge, though.

Laura Rebecca said...

Thank you all so much for your kind words. I miss Chester so much -- he's the best pet I've ever had.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It's so hard to experience these loses around the holidays. I had a little blue parakeet growing up, so different from cats and dogs and so sweet.
Your log is lovely!

Dolores said...

I'm also sorry to hear about Chester. Your orange yule log is beautiful.

I hope that you were able to find some joy and peace in your Christmas celebrations, and that 2008 brings you and your family health and happiness, laughter and love.

Elle said...

Sorry for the loss of your cute guy. He was a handsome bird.
Your yule log looks great and that icing truly delish. Love the iced sugar cookies, too. So perfect for Christmas. Hugs for the Holidays.

creampuff said...

Laura Ra,

What an absolutely beautiful Yule Log! I love how you decorated it. I hope you had a lovely holiday!

Julius said...

Happy Holidays, Laura Rebecca.

Your yule log is fantastic.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Jen Yu said...

Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry about Chester. He was such a beauty of a bird. *hugs* Your yule log looks terrific. *more hugs* I hope you have a great new year.

jen at use real butter

Mary said...

I'm sorry to hear about Chester. Your log is pretty though. (No consolation I realize.)

breadchick said...

Laura Rebecca,

I'm so sorry for your loss of Chester.

The red star next the Yule Log is quite lovely my dear.

Happy New Year!