Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog In France Christmas Blog Hop


Thanks to Stephanie for organising a Christmas blog hop today. At the bottom of this post you will find direct links to all the blogs taking part, many of whom will be offering a little something to some lucky readers so do hop on over and say hello. My Christmas themed post is my Yule Log (Buche de Noel) challenge.

The main challenge for me was that it was something I had never attempted, partly due to the sheer terror the rolling of the sponge fills me with. However I soon realised there were other challenges, firstly which recipe to use, as I found so many and they were all different. I love my cake, but I do prefer a light, not too sweet recipe, which is another reason I have previously shied away from this traditional French Christmas delight. Many of the recipes contained a lot of sugar and despite the sponge being fat free the filling is either whipped cream or buttercream. I have an aversion to using too much butter and I struggle to find a decent whipping cream here in France. I also had to decide whether I wanted to use cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate and whether it would be a recipe with or without flour. I am not known for my decision-making, which is possibly another reason why I had never given this one a try before. I like to think of myself as an experimental baker so I decided to come up with my own recipe and challenge myself to write this blog as I baked – fool!

For the sponge:
Line a lipped baking tray with baking paper and preheat oven to Gas 4 (cooking time is approx 15 mins)
3 large eggs beaten with 75g of caster sugar for at least 5 mins until very pale and fluffy
100g dark chocolate melted in a bowl over (but not touching) gently boiling water
100g plain flour, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1 tsp of baking powder sifted

At this point I watched with a heavy heart as all the lovely air I had beaten into the eggs disappeared as I tried to gently fold in the chocolate and dry ingredients, despite using a metal spoon and gentle touch as recommended. I think the cooled (as suggested) melted chocolate was the issue here. The batter really didn’t spread over the baking tray very well as there didn’t seem to be much mixture to spread. Never mind, the mix I licked from the bowl was deliciously chocolaty and the cooked sponge looked just fine.

The next challenge was whether to roll whilst still warm, leave to cool, unroll, then fill and re-roll, or leave to cool, fill and roll, I hope you are keeping up here. I decided to opt for the roll it once option, as I would only have to worry about rolling it once!

For my filling I decided on cherry compote, as cherries and chocolate go together very well and it should also help keep the sponge moist and be a bit lighter than the creamier fillings. Having transferred the cooled sponge from the baking sheet to a clean tea towel and peeled off the baking paper I spread over my sticky cherry compote, feeling very pleased with myself.
Buche de Noel (my style)

What happened next can only be described as a mess, the cake refused to roll and I was left with a chunky doorstop sandwich of chocolate cake and cherry that in no way resembled a buche de noel, traditional or otherwise. This is not the first disaster to come out of my kitchen and it’s not likely to be the last either but I gallantly went about covering it (up) in chocolate buttercream frosting and even using my fork to give it a log like effect. We will eat and enjoy it, but I think I might stick to mince pies in future.

Thanks for reading and I hope this has inspired you to get baking in your kitchen, it really doesn’t matter if things don’t always look cookbook perfect, it is the thought and the taste that count. Please feel free to use my recipe, or alternatively find a real one! If you would like to pop back on Friday I will be posting my review of Stephanie’s book Heads Above Water and announcing the winner of the blog hop giveaway. I have a set of postcards to offer one lucky person who leaves me a comment here, please include your email address, thank you.



17 comments:

  1. Hi!
    Your cake looks delicious! I made a bûche a couple of years ago - it was really yummy but very sweet - I definitely prefer the traditional Christmas cake I've grown up with.

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  2. Thanks Caiti. By the way I love Bordeaux and would love to see it all Christmassy.

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  3. I have been told by a friend that she has had problems posting a comment here. If you are experiencing problems you can also contact me by email frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com or on Twitter @Loubille or Facebook www.facebook.com/TheFrenchVillageDiaries Thank you.

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  4. I think the cake looks great - far better than I could do. I stick to mince pies, just about the limit of my baking skills.

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    1. Thanks Victoria, I have to say I think I prefer mince pies too!

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  5. Hi Jacqui, Thanks for joining in the hop. I do like buche but I'd never attempt to make one. The idea of rolling up sponge fills me with terror! So many things could - and would - go drastically wrong. Cherry and chocolate is one of the most perfect taste combinations ever. Your log not only looks beautiful but I bet it tastes truly amazing too.

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    1. Thanks Steph, but all credit for the looks MUST go to the buttercream you should have seen the mess I had before! Thanks for organising another great hop!

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  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Loved your post on making buche noel....I think it sounds really hard and I'll leave the baking to you. No way could I roll the sponge. And I have yet to find something that whips up into anything resembling whipped cream. Oh well...drink more wine, eat more bread and cheese...who needs cream?

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    1. Why don't the French whip their cream? Mmm that could be a blog post! I have to say I'd rather eat cheese too Evelyn!

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  7. Hi, I spent many Christmases helping my French in-laws to make buche de noël but since I never thought it was very good, I have to confess I didn't take much notice of what went on. I can't remember the rolling being a problem but I don't think the sponge was hot when the rolling took place - maybe luke warm. Also, my children don't like buttercream! I always make my grandmother's Christmas cake which everyone likes and is not complicated!

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    1. Our 12 year old has only recently started liking buttercream, another reason I have never bothered with a buche before. Maybe my sponge was too cold, but not sure I'll try again! Thanks for hopping over (I've been to yours too).

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  8. Hi,
    Love the Christmas Log...it evokes memories or Christmas in the UK. Every year we bought a Chirstmas log to eat on Christmas Eve. I'm useless at making swiss roll style cakes so I salute your attempt

    Boas Festas e Feliz Natal from sunny Portugal!

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    1. Thanks Piglet. I'm sure my Mum made something similar, but so long ago I don't remember how we rolled, I'll have to ask her! I bet your Christmas will be warmer than ours :)

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  9. I'm impressed at your bravery in taking on the famous Buche, I'm not yet brave enough to attempt it myself, but I do love buying those gourmand recipe books in the supermarket, dreaming of suddenly becoming capable of creating such magic in the kitchen. I'm still making pikelets instead of crepes.

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    1. Thanks Claire, brave or foolish - I know what I felt when trying to roll it! Thanks for hopping over.

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  10. The cake looks so delicious, I will have to get my live in chef to make one.
    Have a lovely Christmas

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  11. I'm sure your chef will make a better job of it than I did Steve.

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