A little unsalted butter, for greasing
5 large eggs
140g caster sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling
140g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
160g good quality plain chocolate
50g unsalted butter
75g double cream
1 tbsp amaretto (optional, to taste)
Sweet cream filling:
300ml double cream
3 tbsp icing sugar plus a little extra for decoration
1 tsp vanilla bean paste / vanilla essence
100g finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
A large swiss roll tin (this recipe is for a 26 x 37cm tin)
Method: For the Sponge:
Preheat the oven to fan 160C/gas 3. Grease and line the swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper.
Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl set over a bowl of simmering water and start whisking with the electric hand whisk. Check the temperature of the mix regularly and once warm to the touch, remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking for another 5-6 minutes until trebled in volume and thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl then sift into the egg mix in 3 portions, folding gently to incorporate between additions. Use a large metal spoon or sharp edged spatula for this and make sure to get to the bottom of the bowl to avoid any pockets of flour from being unmixed. Pour the mix gently into the lined tin and tilt to tease it into the corners and is level.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a minute then turn out onto a sheet of baking parchment sprinkled with a little caster sugar. Peel off the lining paper then turn back onto a clean sheet of parchment. Make a long cut about 1 cm from the long edge of the sponge and use this to fold the sponge over to form a kink while still warm. Fold the longest edge into a spiral around this kink with the parchment separating the layers and leave to cool completely.
For the Icing:
Make the icing whilst the sponge is cooling. Finely chop the chocolate and add to a large heatproof bowl. Gently heat the cream and butter over a low heat until steaming then pour over the chocolate. Gently stir to form a smooth icing - you can give it an extra 10 seconds in the microwave if any chunks of chocolate remain. Add the amaretto to taste and chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes.
For the filling:
To make the cream filling, whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla together until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and chill until needed.
To put together:
Unroll the sponge and spread the cream filling over the inside, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge. Sprinkle the roasted chopped hazelnuts over and re-roll the log without the parchment paper on the inside.
Cut the sponge ¾ of the way along its length on a slight diagonal and place this beside the existing sponge at an angle to look like a branch
Spread the icing mix over the entire log (apart from the ends - it’s nice to see the spiral!), reheat the icing slightly to make it easily spreadable if required. Run a fork through the icing to give it a bark effect and sprinkle with any leftover hazelnuts and a dusting of icing sugar to decorate.
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