December 22, 2009 Full Circle
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve come full circle. Yes, it has been one full year, 365 days, since the birth of my blog. I thought it appropriate to re-invent my first post to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Bringing Home the Bakin’. Once again, I made the Buche de Noel for my French Class, this time using a delectable triple-chocolate variation. Though my Bouche does not look as pretty in the slice close-up as it did last year, this recipe was excellent. It was very chocolate-y, but far less sweet than many (most) cakes, and wasn’t covered in waxy buttercream, as per last year. I would 100% recommend this recipe.
As for my vision for the coming year, dorm-room baking might be a little difficult, but I’ll just have to find a way…I’m sure my roommate and the people on my floor wouldn’t mind the occasional homemade baked good. 😉
Stay tuned — there is LOTS of holiday baking to follow!
Buche de Noel – Martha Stewart
Makes one 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch cake.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for parchment and pan
- 2/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- Pinch of baking soda
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan. Line with parchment; butter and flour paper, tapping out the excess flour.
- Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda together twice into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Skim off white foam, and pour clear yellow butter into a bowl, discarding white liquid at the bottom. Set aside in a warm place.
- In a medium-size heat-proof bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and beat on high speed until mixture is thick and pale and has tripled in bulk. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla, and beat 2 to 3 minutes more.
- In three additions, sift flour mixture over egg mixture, folding in gently with a spatula. While folding in last addition, dribble melted butter over batter and fold in.
- Spread batter evenly in pan, leaving behind any unincorporated butter in the bottom of the bowl. Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when touched in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t overbake or cake will crack. Let sit in pan on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
- Dust surface with cocoa powder. To make rolling easier, trim edges of cake, and cover with a sheet of waxed paper and a damp dish towel. Invert onto a work surface, and peel off parchment; dust with cocoa. Starting from one long end, carefully roll up cake in towel. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate until ready to use.
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate (The quality of the chocolate is very important here — I recommend Guittard semisweet chocolate chips.)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs, separated
- Pinch of cream tartar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat, and transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, stirring well. Let cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. Whisk a third of the whites into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remainder of the egg whites.
- Whip cream until it holds soft peaks, and fold into chocolate mixture. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
- 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (Again, quality is key: I used the same chips.)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Chop chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Heat cream until bubbles begin to appear around the edges (scalding); pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Refrigerate until cold but not solid, stirring occasionally.
- Make chocolate genoise and mousse, ganache icing, and meringue mushrooms (optional)
- To assemble cake, carefully unroll genoise on the back side of a baking sheet (discard the plastic wrap and waxed paper, but keep the towel). Spread chocolate mousse evenly on cake to within 1 to 2 inches of one long end. Reroll cake, starting from other long end, using towel to help roll it. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Place cake, seam side down, on a serving platter; tuck parchment around it to keep platter clean while decorating.
- Whip ganache at medium speed until it has the consistency of soft butter. Cut two wedges off ends of cake at a 45 degrees.angle; set aside. Ice log with a thin layer of ganache. Attach wedges on diagonally opposite sides of log. Spread ganache all over log, using a small spatula to form barklike ridges. Chill until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes.
- In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Spread melted chocolate 1/8 inch thick over parchment. Refrigerate until cold, 10 to 15 minutes. Roll paper back and forth until chocolate splinters; sprinkle over cake. Chill cake until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, arrange meringue mushrooms around and on cake, and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar. (I used white chocolate instead.)