We had a bake sale at work in conjunction with Save the Children's Christmas jumper day and I wanted to make something festive, so I decided on this yule log. Unfortunately the final photo that I remembered to take shows the log on a piece of baking paper rather than the nice white plate it was displayed on later. It also looks a little messy but that was the intended effect as tree bark is not smooth!
I used a Mary Berry recipe which you can find here.
100g caster sugar
65g self raising flour
40g cocoa powder
600ml double cream
300g plain chocolate
Preheat the oven to 200C. Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer.
Beat in the flour and cocoa powder
Line a Swiss roll tin with baking parchment and pour in the mixture.Spread it right to the edges - it will be fairly shallow but this is what you want.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. To turn the cake out of the tin, place a piece of baking parchment over the top and holding it in place, flip the tin over and place it on a work surface. Carefully peel off the piece of baking paper that was lining the tin from the top of the cake.
Use the baking parchment to roll the cake up as tightly as you can. I found this recipe worked really well as the cake did not break up or even crack slightly; in the past when I've made a Swiss roll it was a softer cake (this is a little more dense) but it cracked all around as I rolled it.
Leave to cool while you make the ganache.
Bring half the cream to the boil in a small saucepan then remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate broken into pieces.
Stir until the chocolate has melted and then leave to cool. When it has cooled a little, transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge for an hour or two until it is really thick and stiff.
Whisk the rest of the cream in another bowl. The recipe I used did not say to add sugar or sweetener, and it worked well as overall the cake was not too sweet. But I think if you wanted to appeal more to children I would either use milk chocolate instead of plain, which is more bitter, or add sugar to the cream.
When the cream is stiff, unroll the Swiss roll, spread the cream over in a thick layer and roll the cake back up.
I started to spread a little of the ganache on the cake and decided it wasn't thick enough so returned it to the fridge.
When the ganache is really thick, spread it on thickly. Don't worry about smoothing it; alternatively you can make it smooth then run a fork through it to make lines but I prefer it this way.
Most months I take part in Food 'n' Flix, a challenge where participants watch the same film and make a dish inspired by that movie. This month the challenge is hosted by Elizabeth at Law Student's Cookbook and she has chosen the Christmas movie Elf.
I have to confess to never having seen the film before as I'm not really one for Christmas movies and it seemed a bit childish. It is definitely one of the better ones of the genre and both funny and heartwarming - in fact it has all the elements of a good Christmas movie and I think children would love it. I don't entirely understand why some of my friends in their 30s think it is such a brilliant movie though!
The basic premise of the film is that a baby in an orphanage crawls into Santa's sack one Christmas eve when Santa is delivering presents, and ends up being taken back to the north pole. Buddy is brought up by elves and believes he is one of them, despite being four times their size. Eventually he learns he is a human and ventures to New York to find his father - who of course is a 'bah humbug' type of guy. He has various adventures and even falls in love and converts his father to the Christmas spirit - and indeed "saves Christmas".
There is one very funny scene where Buddy is with his 'real' family in New York eating spaghetti for dinner. He explains that elves like to stick to the four main food groups - candy, candy cane, candy corn and syrup, and pours a bottle of syrup over his spaghetti. The next morning he decides to make breakfast as a surprise for his family - and serves them spaghetti with syrup. Later, he eats his own breakfast - spaghetti with syrup and sprinkled with candy and crushed pop tarts. I normally like to make a dish that is actually featured in the movie when I take part in Food 'n'Flix but I had to draw the line when it came to spaghetti with syrup and pop tarts! Instead, I decided that this yule log would tie in with the film as it is suitably festive, so I am sending it in to Food 'n'Flix.
I'm also sending this to Alphabakes, the blog challenge I co-host with Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker, as the letter we have chosen this month is X, and we are accepting Xmas bakes.
I'm also sharing this with Four Seasons Food, hosted by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg. Their theme this month is festive party food and a yule log is a great centrepiece for a Boxing Day buffet in my opinion.
This month's Let's Cook challenge is Christmas party food so I am also sending my yule log over to Simply Sensational Food who is hosting the challenge.