The twelve days of Christmas - Juliet's Yuletide Christmas log
In the first of our new Christmas strand, Juliet Sear explores Nottingham Christmas Market to try some of their delicious Christmas treats before creating the ultimate festive indulgence - her Yuletide Christmas Log.
8 medium free-range eggs
200g caster sugar
140g self raising flour
80g cocoa powder
¼ sea salt
Filling and coating
450g fresh double cream
50g icing sugar
2 tsp orange extract
25ml Cointreau (optional)
For the frosting
225g dark chocolate chips
225g double cream
150g softened unsalted butter
300g sifted icing sugar
2 tsp orange extract
Extra caster sugar for sprinkling the paper and cooked sponge
A robin or merry Christmas cake decoration to finish
A cake plate, stand or log
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. For the sponge, in a large bowl or stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is tripled in volume, pale in colour, light and frothy, this will take about 4-5 minutes.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and carefully cut and fold together, using a spatula, until it’s all incorporated into the egg mixture. (Be careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture).
4. Gently pour the mixture equally into two 9 x 13 inch lined tins and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 9–10 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch.
5. Whilst the cake is in the oven, place a piece of baking parchment just over double the longest sides of the tins and generously dust with caster sugar. Once baked, remove from the oven and flip out onto the dusted paper. Cut the sponge in half widthways to make 4 equal pieces each measuring 9 x 6.5inches.
6. Take the 4 pieces and create one long piece of cake, with the short edges touching between. You should end up with a long piece approximately 36 inches. Dust the top with caster sugar.
7. Cut a score (2.5cm/1in) in one of the shorter 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. This will take about an hour.
8. To make the filling, whip 450g of double cream with the sugar, orange and alcohol, if using, until it is forming soft peaks.
9. Uncurl the cold Swiss roll and remove the paper. Spread the whipped cream on top, and re-roll tightly and place to set firmly in the fridge until hard.
10. When ready to decorate, make your frosting. Boil the cream and pour onto the chocolate chips, allow to stand for about 5 minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir it in the middle in one direction until it brings together the ganache. Leave to cool but not set hard.
11. Make the buttercream by beating the icing sugar, butter and flavouring.
12. Reserve a heaped tablespoon of the plain buttercream, then add the ganache to the rest and beat together slowly into a chocolate buttercream. Take some of the chocolate buttercream and stir this into the plain buttercream to give you a light wood coloured shade which will be the lighter colour on the top to create the cut log effect. Place the rest of the buttercream into the piping bag and secure the end with a clip if you wish.
13. To decorate the sponge, unroll from the paper and slice off a little at either end to make flat so it stands up and is easy to ice on the top.
14. Place onto a cake stand and on top of a cake turntable (if using) and frost the top by spreading neatly over the light-coloured buttercream to the top of the log, covering the sponge.
15. Pipe several swirls around the log to make a knot effect by holding the piping bag against the side, squeezing onto the cake and swirling around the centre winding outwards.
16. Pipe the rest of the cake, going up and down around the knots to create the vertical bark effect. Create lines with decreasing spirals from the edges inwards. Place in the fridge until ready to serve, bring the cake to room temperature for about an hour or two before serving. Slice to reveal the pretty vertical stripes.