Bûche de Noël, Chocolate and coffee
The sweet treats selection available at Christmas time is immense. Many times we have the strange sensation that everything is reduced to turrón, polvorones and roscón de Reyes. But nothing could be further from the truth, there are countless wonderful elaborations from different parts of the world that we should not miss. Today’s recipe is well known and surely many of you have tried it or made it. Bûche de Noël, Chocolate and coffee.
I am going to be totally honest with you, I have never in my life bought, made or eaten this cake. And it is not due to a lack of knowledge about it, but I had never thought of doing it at home before. When I was a child, my parents never bought this cake. And it won’t be because they didn’t buy sweets… Oh, my God. But this was never part of our Christmas.
Bûche de Noël.
Bûche de Noël, as it is called in French in its original name, is a traditional Christmas dessert in different European countries. It originated in France where it became very popular.
It is a Genoise sponge cake or other type of sponge cake that has a soft texture, filled and covered with cream, traditionally butter cream made with chocolate, praline or coffee. Currently there are many variants carried out with other types of sponge cakes, fillings and decorations.
Bûche de Noël origin.
The origin of this elaboration goes back to the pre-Christian tradition of burning a large log of wood, preferably fruit trees, to celebrate the winter solstice. The fire revived the energy to start the new year, keeping the darkness away.
To do this ritual, a few concrete steps had to be followed. The log had to be lit by the older or younger member of the family and, on some occasions, it is carried out with ashes from the burnt log of the previous year. The log should burn for at least 3 days and during this period should be watered with wine, oil or water.
This custom was recovered by the Catholic Church and incorporated into Christmas rituals.
The origin of this tradition had its origins in the Germanic tribes of the north of Europe.
It is practiced in different parts with different names:
- Yule Log in the United Kingdom
- Etéau nedelecq in Britain
- Calignaou in Provence
- Tizón de Nadal in Galicia
- Suche, tronche, tison Noël in different French regions
- Toza or Tronca de Navidad inn Aragón
- Tió de Nadal in Catalonia
In the 19th century, due to the increasing use of stoves in houses instead of fireplaces, the tradition was modified and this wood log was replaced by a dessert that simulated it creating this Bûche de Noël.
Who invented this traditional Christmas treat?
There are several historical references that mention different possible creators for the Bûche de Noël: a young apprentice pastry chef in a Parisian district of Saint-Germaine around 1834 or the pastry chef Bonnat from the city of Lyon who made an iced log with chocolate ganache in 1860.
The most widespread hypothesis refers to the book Mémorial de la pâtisserie et des glaces published in 1898 by the pastry cook and ice-cream maker Pierre Lacam. It contains the recipe for a Christmas tree log made from marzipan, filled with ice cream and covered with chocolate fondant that imitated the appearance of wood.
Whatever its origin, we should be grateful to its creator. It is nice to be able to enjoy in our tables a sweet treat of so attractive appearance accompanied by an amazing history, as it is in this case.
FOR THE SPONGE CAKE:
Recipe from Just in Cooking
- 120 g cake/pastry flour
- 30 g cornstarch
- 5 large eggs
- 150 g sugar (divided 100 g + 50 g)
- 60 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 5 g baking powder
- pinch of salt
FOR MASCARPONE & COFFEE CREAM:
- 200 g mascarpone cheese
- 200 g fat cream
- 45 g icing sugar
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- few drops coffee extract (to taste)
- 100 g water
- 100 g sugar
- rum to taste
FOR CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
- 200 g pure black chocolate
- 135 g fat cream
- flowers made with modeling chocolate (recipe in this link), decorated with sprinkles and painted with edible food coloring
- cocoa powder
Make sponge cake.
- Preheat oven to 390ºF/200ºC.
- Sift flour together with cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Set aside.
- Whisk the yolks and integrate the sugar (100 g) little by little.
- Beat until you obtain an aerated, spongy and whitish mixture.
- Incorporate the mixture of dry ingredients, little by little. Mix with the help of a spatula to help them integrate completely before adding more.
- Add the melted butter and mix until homogenized.
- Whip the egg whites with the rest of the sugar (50 g) until you get a firm meringue, but not dry.
- Add the meringue in batches to the yolk mixture. We will make soft and enveloping movements to integrate it, in this way we will not liquefy the mixture.
- Once we have incorporated all the meringue, place it in a piping bag.
- To prevent the ends of the paper from lifting or moving when you pipe the batter, put small "points" of batter in the corners. In this way the paper will remain fixed. This step is optional.
- Cut the tip of the piping bag and pipe the batter. Make a rectangle and then fill the inside trying to exert the same pressure all the time.
- If we have more batter in the piping bag, we will create lines around the rectangle.
- Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. We will see that it acquires a light golden color for the surface. Also if we press the surface of the cake, it will return to its initial state.
- Remove from the oven.
- Carefully cut the ends to equal size and get a clean cut.
- With the help of the baking paper, roll it on itself when it is still hot. We can wrap it in a cotton cloth if we wish.
- Let it cool completely before filling.
Make the rum syrup.
- Pour the water with the sugar in a saucepan. Place at medium heat and let it boil. The sugar should be completely dissolved.
- Once it comes to the boil, turn off the heat and let it cool completely.
- Place the syrup in a bottle with the help of a funnel, add the rum, close and shake to mix well.
- Set aside at room temperature.
Make mascarpone cream.
- Cream must be cold 24 hours before used it.
- The bowl in which we are going to make whipped cream must be cold. I recommend to use one aluminium bowl and freeze 20 minutes before beat it.
- Pour heavy cream along with mascarpone cheese into freeze bowl and beat with an electric mixer into low speed.
- Once cream is becoming to form stiff peaks, add sugar little by little stirring the whole time. Increase speed gradually but without reaches high one. Ideally use medium speed.
- Before finish to beat the cream, add vanilla extract along with coffee extract and cocoa powder. Beat until get a perfect whipping cream. Be sure not to over-beat, otherwise cream will become lumpy and butter-like.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill until used it.
Fill the sponge cake.
- Carefully unroll the cake and remove the baking paper.
- Moisten with the rum syrup, wait a few seconds for it to be absorbed.
- Fill the cake with mascarpone and coffee cream. Begin to fill for the end that is the part that we will roll first. Stuff generously with the cream.
- Cover the rest of the cake, reaching all the edges, with the cream. Spread with a spatula.
- Roll carefully on itself. Once it is rolled up, stretch the paper, as I show you in the video, to adjust it well.
- Cover with film and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until the next day.
- NOTE: We will reserve some mascarpone and coffee cream (refrigerated) to join the pieces that will make of "cut branches" in the log.
Make chocolate ganache.
- Chop the dark chocolate, set aside.
- In a saucepan pour the liquid cream, place at medium heat and let it come to simmer.
- Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
- Mix until a homogeneous and silky texture is obtained.
- Pour into a bowl, cover with film and leave to cool.
- Once it has cooled, store in the fridge for 1-2 hours. We must achieve a consistency that is spreadable, but not hard. If we let it cool too much, it will take too much consistency and we will not be able to spread it over the log.
Prepare the sponge cake to create the log.
- With the help of a knife, cut a very thin layer of one of the ends of the log. That way we will get a cleaner and "perfect" cut.
- Cut a piece, not too big, that will be part of the log on one side.
- At the opposite end, cut a thin sheet to get a clean cut, just as we did with the first piece.
- Then, cut a piece again to create part of the log at the top. In this occasion we will make a longitudinal cut, this will favor us to be able to place it in the surface of the log.
- Join both ends with some mascarpone cream. Spread on the base and place on the log.
Cover with ganache.
- With the help of a spatula, cover the entire log with chocolate ganache.
- We will try to be careful when we cover the pieces together. Also make sure to cover the base as well as possible.
- As you cover the surface, the ganache will solidify (at least in my house, it must have been very cold!).
- If you wish, you can scratch the surface with a fork to give more texture to the log. In my case I didn't do it, I liked the way it looked when I spread it with the spatula.
- Refrigerate while modeling the flowers.
Make modeling chocolate leaves.
- Make Easter flowers with moldable chocolate. To make it we will follow the same process that leaves you in the Dark Forest Cake.
- Once we have them done, we can paint them with edible food coloring, metallic powder and glitter.
- Let them harden.
Join the petals.
- Melt some dark chocolate, the amount of chocolate to melt will depend on the amount of flowers you have made.
- Pour a small quantity of melted chocolate on a piece of baking paper.
- Place the flower petals on it.
- Decorate the central part with sprinkles, to simulate the anthers.
- Repeat the same process for the other flower.
- Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes for the chocolate to solidify.
DEcorate the Bûche de Noël.
- Place the flowers on the log. To join them to this one, we will spread the base with some chocolate ganache.
- Place the leaves under the flowers, so that they remain attached to the log we will help ourselves with some ganache.
- Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder, or icing sugar if you prefer, and edible glitter.
- It is important that you roll the cake when it is still warm. That way you can do it without the risk of breaking it.
- The syrup can be made without liquor if you prefer.
- I used coffee extract to make the coffee cream, but if you prefer to add grind coffee, you can.
- If you prefer to make ganache with another type of chocolate, remember to adjust the amount of cream according to the chocolate used.
- To make the modeling chocolate you can use chocolate for desserts, coating, black chocolate...
- Respect the rest time of the modeling chocolate to be able to work with it. If it is very cold, you can give it warmth with your hands or a slight heat stroke in the microwave (1 or 2 seconds).
- Remember to cover every piece of chocolate paste. When they are in contact with the air for a long time, they begin to dry out.
- The modeling chocolate can be stretched between two sheets of Teflon to work better with it. In addition it will help us to contribute final texture. If you do not have Teflon sheet, stretch it with baking paper or some material that allows us to work in this way.
- To paint it I have used metallic powder food colorant, but another type of food colorant can be used.
- The decoration can be totally to your choice, in my case I have chosen this option that I hope you like.
- To preserve the cake we must keep it refrigerated for 2-3 days.
I don't know how you will have your lists of "to be done", "recipes for Christmas", "things to make my family happy these days"... But, one thing I can tell you, on your Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve table, this wonderful Bûche de Noël cannot be missing.
I'm not going to tell you to throw wine or water on it, nor to burn it, hahaha. But it would be great to be able to share it with your family to end a wonderful Christmas evening.
I know that the choice of recipes for these dates is complicated, not because we don't know what to do. It's rather the opposite. There are so many great things to try and do that it is very difficult to choose which ones!
As you think about it, I wish you a wonderful weekend. See you next week!