Wednesday, January 4

A Cake Deconstructed

I pulled it off. I made a buche de noel for Christmas dinner. It was tasty and looked alright. It wasn't as challenging as I anticipated although something did go wrong at every stage. In the end it surprisingly came together. If you'll indulge me, I'll break down this project for you (and me.)
Buche de noel
I ended up going with the Martha Stewart recipe. My biggest mistake was not reading the directions thoroughly enough. I didn't allow time for all the chilling required to make this dessert. This caused me to rush through the frosting and decorating part.
Marzipan Mushrooms
Marzipan Mushrooms
I also didn't make meringue mushrooms; I used marzipan instead which easily molded into mushrooms.
Buche de noel
Buche de Noel
The first step was to make the cake. This part gave me the most anxiety - I was worried the cake would break when I tried to roll it. Luckily it didn't. I made this a day in advance and left it in the fridge, rolled. The directions said to roll the "long end." I couldn't decide what was meant by that. I rolled it the way that made it long and thin, but this only gave me 1 roll. Most buche de noels have more rolls which lead me to believe I should have rolled it the other way . . . whatever.

Step 2 was the chocolate mousse. I didn't account for chilling time. I also had whipping issues both with my egg whites and whipping cream. I think my hand mixer doesn't go fast enough.
Buche de Noel
Next I spread the mousse on the cake and rolled it up. This was tricky as the cake didn't want to unroll. When rolled up I didn't have much of a spiral effect due to the way I rolled up the cake in the first place.
Buche de noel
Making the ganache icing for the outside of the cake came next. The directions said to whip the ganache until it had the consistency of soft butter. Mine never transformed even after some intense mixing and remained the consistency of icing. I decided to pour/drizzle it on and let it set in the fridge (only I didn't account for chilling time) but I did it anyway.
Buche de Noel
Buche de Noel
Buche de Noel
Finally I decorated the cake; making faux bois lines with a knife, scattering chocolate shards, placing mushrooms and sprinkling with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

My family was enthusiastic and supportive of the cake. They even threw out hints suggesting this may become an annual tradition. That makes me so happy. I'm up for the task!


Monkey's Mama said...

Sounds delish! Congrats! We didn't have a yule log this year as my resident baker-friend is no longer a resident! Ashley moved to Utah and took her cake with her :( Your cake looks divine and I'm sure it tasted even better. So yummy!

likeschocolate said...

I am sure it tasted delish even with the small mistakes. Yes, think you rolled it wrong because the cake should wrap around filling not just be on the ouside. No big deal though. I think I would just go with a simple fudge frosting because it is easier to work with in comparison to the one you used. it is much thinner and kind of runny in my experience.

Kitten's Lost Her Mittens said...

I'm so impressed with how it turned out! And I love the mushrooms you've made. I lived in France when I was little, and this definitely makes me think of Christmas there. It always felt too overwhelming to try to make one myself, but having you break it down step-by-step like that makes it feel more manageable. I might have to try it next Christmas!
x Katherine

Jennifer said...

It looks delicious, and those mushrooms are adorable. I'm so impressed with you! The gorgeous, perfect cake I bought from Cactus? It looked much better than it tasted. We didn't even finish it. I'm sure yours was much, much better.

Dana said...

You rock! Really, this is entirely impressive in my baking book. Happy New Year.

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