Yule Log and Meringue Mushrooms
This grand dessert, known as a Bûche de Noël in France, is a showstopper. It can be made up to 10 days in advance if frozen after frosting (when frosting is hard, wrap entire cake in plastic wrap and keep frozen; remove from freezer, remove plastic wrap, and place on serving tray 1 hour before serving).
- Unsalted butter for greasing
- Confectioner's sugar for dusting
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1 C sugar, divided
- 1/2 C cake flour
- 1/4 C baking cocoa
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 C heavy whipping cream
- 1 C confectioner's sugar
- 2 tsp instant coffee granules
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 C baking cocoa
- 2 1/2 C powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 T milk
- 2 lg egg whites (room temperature)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 C baker's sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 15"x10"x1" baking pan with greased parchment paper. Lay a clean kitchen towel flat on a work surface; dust with confectioner's sugar and set aside. Place egg whites in a small bowl and set aside. Place egg yolks in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy in color, about 3 minutes. Gradually add half sugar and beat until thick and lighter in color, about 5 minutes. Gradually add flour, cocoa and salt; beat until well blended. Beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining sugar, 1 T at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Transfer 1/4 of mixture into yolks, stirring just to combine. Gently fold in remaining egg whites until no streaks remain. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in center (do not overbake). Cool only 3 minutes and loosen sides with a small knife and invert onto prepared kitchen towel. Peel off parchment paper and loosely roll cake up in towel, beginning with a short side. Let cool.
Place cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and coffee granules and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Place all frosting ingredients a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
When cake is completely cool, unroll and spread inside with filling to within 1/2 inches of edges; re-roll. Spread outside of cake with frosting. Use a fork to make shallow squiggly lines down length of "log." Place on serving platter and chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, you may wish to decorate with meringue mushrooms and sift on a little powdered sugar "snow."
Preheat oven to 200°F (93°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain round pastry tip (#6). Set aside. Place egg whites in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very stiff and glossy. Place mixture in prepared piping bag. To make mushroom caps, pipe half of mixture onto prepared baking sheet into flattened balls between 1/2 and 1 1/2-inches across. A variety of sizes will look best. To smooth tops, rub with dampened fingers. To make mushroom stems, pipe meringue into a slight cone shape with bottom wider than top. Make stems around 2-inches high: some a bit more, some a bit less. Reserve any leftover meringue.
Bake for about 1 hour or until firm to touch. Remove from heat. Using a small knife, puncture a depression into bottom of each mushroom cap. Dab a bit of leftover meringue inside cap (this will work as a glue). Press small end of stems into depression in caps. Return to baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Dust tops of mushrooms with cocoa powder and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- Makes 12 servings.