Christmas pudding eaters are divided into two distinct camps.
There are those that believe raisins are the devils food and wouldn’t touch Christmas pudding with a barge pole. And those that can’t get enough of that boozy current filled creation doused in brandy butter.
To keep everyone happy for the festive season (no mean feat) we always make a Christmas pudding AND a Chocolate log. Because quite frankly, one pudding is never enough.
I think this version of the Chocolate Log is so good, it could even usurp the Christmas pudding as the ultimate pudding of the festive season. The Chocolate Log, much like Prince George (Alexander, Louis) had many names. Seeing as Prince George is a pretty important chap, I think we can deduce that the Chocolate Log (Chocolate Roulade, Yule Log, Buche de Noel) is also to be held in high esteem. What’s not to love about the Chocolate Log? Delicate chocolately sponge, encasing whipped cream and then smothered in dark chocolate ganache. Ho Ho Ho.
I think it’s one of those recipes that people are intimidated by because it involves rolling a cake. EEEK. But I promise it’s far more of a doddle to make than you may think! The fact that this one is covered in chocolate ganache actually makes it far less scary, as your can hide any mistakes you make under the icing!
Whilst there is nothing wrong with the chocolate logs of yesteryear, it takes very little effort to transform your normal looking chocolate roulade into a Christmassey snow covered show stopper of a Christmas log! Give it a go this Christmas, or Yule be sad you didn’t!
The recipe for the sponge is Mary’s – she’s made a log or two in her day.
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 65g/2½oz self-raising flour
- 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 300ml/½ pint double cream
- 300g/10½oz dark chocolate (around 35-40% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
- 300ml/½ pint double cream, whipped
- icing sugar, for dusting
- sprig of holly
- redcurrants, as holly berries, or I've sometimes used pink mini eggs which also look great!
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Lightly grease a 33x23cm/13x9in Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.
- For the sponge, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar using a freestanding mixture, or an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy.
- Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully cut and fold together, using a spatula, until all the cocoa and flour are incorporated into the egg mixture. (You want to be careful here not to beat any of the air out of the mixture…gently does it.)
- Pour the mixture into the lined tin and spread evenly out into the corners.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.
- Whilst the roulade is cooking, place a piece of baking parchment bigger than the Swiss roll tin on the work surface. Dust with icing sugar generously.
- When you remove the cake from the oven, carefully invert the cake onto the paper and remove the bottom lining piece of paper.
- This next bit is carried out whilst the roulade is still warm, which seems strange but rolling it now, will help you to get a much better roll on your chocolate log.
- Cut a score mark 2.5cm/1in in along one of the longer edges. Starting with this edge, begin to tightly roll up the sponge using the paper. Roll with the paper inside and sit the roll on top of its outside edge to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make the ganache topping.
- Chop up your chocolate pieces and place them into a heatproof bowl. Then heat the cream in a pan until it it’s shimmering and nearly boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring until it is melted. Cool to room temperature, then put into the fridge to firm up.
- When the cake is cool, uncurl the cold Swiss roll and spread the whipped cream on top, and re-roll tightly.
- Now, cut a quarter of the cake off from the end on the diagonal. Transfer the large piece of cake to a serving plate and angle the cut end in to the middle of the large cake to make a branch. (Once you've smothered on your ganache, it's hard to move the cake, so it's a good idea to decorate it on the plate you want to serve it on...otherwise it may resemble a log that had a run in with a chainsaw).
- Now, smother the icing onto the chocolate roulade. I just use a palette knife, or even just a spoon to do this. It definitely does not need to be neat! Trees are not neat.
- Cover each end with icing too, so that you can’t see any of the cream
- Now run a fork along the icing to create rough bark texture. On each end, use your fork to go round in circular motions to mimic the rings of a tree.
- Dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh holly and some mini eggs or redcurrants.
So festive and so lovely!
Have a M(ary) bERRY Christmas!