In preparation for a class I recently taught on making a traditional Bûche de Noël, I did some test runs of the process and created a petite log with a flourless chocolate sponge cake filled with whipped caramel mascarpone cream, coated with medium ganache “bark” and finished off with meringue mushrooms, pistachio moss and a dusting of powdered sugar snow. FYI - all of this just happens to be gluten free!
When making one of these babies, organization and planning are essential. The good news is pretty much all of the components can be prepared ahead. Meringue mushrooms will hold for a couple of weeks if kept in an airtight container in a non-humid environment. Bake the cake, fill and roll it a day or two ahead then finish up with glazing or frosting the log and completing the garnish the day you plan to serve. Cool!
Before you begin, decide what you would like to use for your components: cake (typically some kind of sponge or nut meringue that lends itself nicely to rolling up), filling (from simple whipped cream to Swiss meringue buttercream to your favorite fruit curd), “frosting” (often a basic medium ganache) and garnish (here’s where you can follow the traditional path or go a little avant garde with your decor.)
I’m not here this time to share specific recipes with you but to simply encourage you to do some research and come up with what works well for you. HINT: Prueitt and Robertson’s Tartine and Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible are two great places to start.
And if you really want some inspiration, check out this link to some of the Bûches de Noël in Paris this season. It’s an entirely different world out there folks!
Below is a view of the table where four talented bakers created their own versions of the traditional holiday yule log.
It was lots of fun plus everyone was able to take their end result home. Yay!
A big thanks to those who participated in the class.