LA BÛCHE DE NOËL RECIPE
Also known as the Yule Log, La Bûche de Noël is a holiday delicacy enjoyed each holiday season across Europe. Originating in France, the tradition dates back to Medieval times, when a real log was thrown on the hearth on the night of the winter solstice to signal the days growing longer, the coming of the new year, and to purify the air for a new beginning.
Ivy, holly, pinecones, or even wine might be thrown on top of the log to bring good harvest the following year. Ashes were preserved to ward off lightning in wood-framed homes.
Though rooted in paganism, this tradition carried over into Christmastime and, eventually, the wood log was replaced with a buttercream-frosted and rolled sponge cake, decorated to look like a log, complete with meringue or marzipan mushrooms and frosted holly leaves.
The possibilities for a Bûche de Noël are vast—recipes call for yellow or chocolate sponge cake, fillings of chocolate mousse or whipped cream, drizzled or not with a liqueur of your choice, and dusted with cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, and/or ground espresso beans. Once the cake is rolled and frosted, the real fun begins—adding all sorts of decorations, from fruit to woodland creatures to chopped up nuts or candies.
Bistro-to-Go has kindly shared their go-to Bûche de Noël recipe for all who dare to create this decadent holiday treat that, with any luck, tastes as good as it looks. This is the ultimate gift for your holiday guests.
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
• 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 6 eggs, separated
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
• Powdered sugar for dusting
• Espresso liqueur or Cognac
• Whipped cream, pastry cream, or chocolate mousse for filling
1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Oil a half sheet pan and set aside.
2. Combine the flour and cocoa powder in a bowl and set aside. In a double boiler, melt the bittersweet chocolate, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract over low heat and set aside. Beat the egg whites and salt until foamy, then gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until glossy and stiff. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and other 1/3 cup sugar until pale and thick. Then beat the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in the egg whites. Then fold in the dry flour and cocoa powder mixture, being careful not to overmix.
3. Pour into the prepared half sheet pan and bake for 10–12 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Remove cake from the pan and place on a dry, clean dish towel, lightly dusted in cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Starting lengthwise, roll the cake tightly and evenly including the towel. (This allows the cake to cool in the desired shape.) At the end of the roll, place it seam side down (so it doesn’t unravel).
5. Allow to cool for another 20 minutes.
6. After cooling, unroll the cake and brush the surface with espresso liqueur or favorite Cognac.
7. Choose a preferred filling. Pastry cream, whipped cream, and chocolate mousse are all possibilities. Spread the chosen filling across the cake evenly, leaving a 1-inch space around all corners.
8. Roll cake (without the towel), lengthside first (so it’s long, not short and fat), once again evenly and tightly. Use a clean towel to help transfer rolled cake to either the fridge to chill, or the freezer to store. Chill at least 2 hours if immediately decorating, or freeze for up to 1 month.
9. Decorate as desired and enjoy. We’ve included a few pictures of our cakes for your inspiration.
The recipe we used as inspiration can be found here: bonappetit.com/recipe/buche-de-noel-recipe
Blue Mountain Bistro-to-Go
948 Route 28, Kingston