Dessert Recipe- Christmas Yule Log!

First, there were Christmas buns, then Rudolph brownies and now we have a Christmas classic; the Yule Log!

This soft Swiss roll is filled with fresh whipped cream, topped with a rich chocolate ganache, and then sprinkled with icing sugar, is there a Christmas cake more decadent?! This is a Mary Berry recipe and I love how simple and well-written the recipes are, they use basic ingredients with easy to remember measurements so although mine might not look as fancy and clean-cut as Mary Berry’s, I’m pleased with how it came out considering I’ve never attempted a Yule Log before.

Serves 6-8

For The Sponge 

4 Eggs
100g Caster Sugar 
65g Self-Raising Flour 
40g Cocoa Powder 

For The Chocolate Ganache 

300ml Double Cream 
300g Dark Chocolate 

For The Cream Filling 

300ml Double Cream, whipped 

Icing sugar to dust on top of the log 

To begin, pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 180 Fan/ Gas Mark 6 and grease a “Swiss-roll tin”, this is a shallow baking tray and should be about 33x23 cm. Make sure you grease all around the corners of the tin too, we do not want this sponge to stick to the sides!

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and caster sugar until the mixture is light and frothy. 

Now add in the flour and cocoa powder, it suggests using a spatula to fold the ingredients together for this part so you don’t lose the air from the eggs, I did use an electric whisk on the lowest setting to keep it churning over, I didn't think my sponge ended up being any heavier than it should have been so it would still work as an easier alternative to mix it all together. Whatever your method, mix together until you have a smooth batter with no lumps. 

Pour your batter into the greased tin, making sure it reaches all corners evenly, and cook on the middle shelf of the oven for between 8-10 minutes until the cake is well-risen, firm and you can see the edges have moved away from the side of the tin. 

Once cooked, place a tea towel that’s bigger than your cake onto a flat surface (the recipe suggested parchment paper but a tea towel is a zero-waste alternative), sift a generous helping of icing sugar into the tea towel, and gently peel the cake away from its tin, don’t let it cool!

Lay the cake out on your icing sugar tea towel and make a small cut about an inch into the side of the sponge, begin rolling from here, we want a very tight roll so the cake cools and doesn’t crack.

Once rolled up, leave the cake like this until it’s completely cool, mine took about 35 minutes altogether. 

Whilst the cake is cooling, it’s time to make the ganache! Simply heat the cream in a saucepan until it reaches a heat that you can still keep your finger in (be careful not to burn yourself!), after it’s reached its temperature, take it off the heat and add your chocolate chunks and simply mix together until the chocolate has fully melted and combined with the cream to create a thick and gloopy ganache!
Let the ganache cool to room temperature and then put it in the fridge.

Take your second batch of cream and whip it until it’s thick enough to spread; I started by trying to whip by hand and then realised I’m too lazy and just put it in the electric mixer on the highest setting for a couple of minutes. 

Now for the delicate part (I was genuinely terrified about this bit), make sure the cake is completely cool and gently un-curl it, take away the tea towel, and spread a generous helping of your whipped cream on the cake. 

Roll up the cake very tightly once more and cut a quarter of it off, place the cake on a plate and position the cut quarter diagonally against the middle of the cake to look like a branch.

Now, take your ganache out of the fridge and being spreading it over the top of the cake. If your piping skills are up to it you could use a piping bag and star nozzle and pipe lines of ganache along the cake, between the branch and its stump and around all the ends to look like bark, I went with the choice of spreading it on in thick layers with a palette knife! 
At this point, you can gently run fork prongs over the top of the cake to look like bark and put it in the fridge to set further for between 20-40 minutes. 

Once it’s set and the ganache is firmer, lightly sift some icing sugar over the top and you’re ready to eat!

If you feel like it, you could pick some fresh holly and berries and arrange them on top or get a cute robin decoration to place on there too!
I was really happy with how this came out, going into it I was worried that the cake would crack and I wouldn’t be able to assemble anything at all but I think with just a bit of confidence you can tackle the rolling of this cake quite easily…don’t show the cake you’re scared!! 
I’m impressed that you can actually see where I’ve rolled the cake inside and the icing sugar helps to bring out the bark texture on top. Although the ganache was more fudgey when I thought it would crack like tree bark, it’s still deliciously rich and that fresh burst of cream helps make up for the thickness of the ganache!

All in all, I would say a very successful bake! This was fun, using simple ingredients, and didn't actually take that long either. If you want to bring something a little more “sophisticated” to the buffet table this year, as well as showing off your Swiss-roll and ganache making skills, then maybe have a go at this Yule Log! 

Merry Christmas,

H x