It Was Worth It (Warning: Cake Porn Ahead)

I decided to allow myself to indulge on Christmas eve. We had dinner with a big group of friends, and I just have to observe that I’ve never seen a group of people less interested in dessert. I guess I should hang out with them more often—but I am always a little suspicious of people who can resist dessert. 😉 Even though I’m now one of those people!

I made a bûche de noël, the traditional Yule Log cake. I absolutely love doing these, because while they take some time to pull off, they are not inherently difficult (as long as you have good recipes and faith in the ability of cake to roll), but garner all sorts of ooooohs and aaahs. I find praise for my baking highly addictive.

I’m especially pleased with how well the mushrooms turned out, because everyone was at first totally baffled as to why I was putting dirty mushrooms on the same plate as the cake. They are actually meringue, with the stems affixed to the caps with dark chocolate, and cocoa powder sprinkled on top of them.

The holly leaves and berries are marzipan. In my wacky allergy world, while I cannot eat raw almonds and reap their health benefit, I am OK (as far as any reaction goes, anyway) eating marzipan, as the almonds have been cooked within an inch of their lives and all nutritional value rendered useless by the addition of copious quantities of sugar. Sigh. I color marzipan by putting pieces inside ziplock bags, then adding food coloring and mashing and squishing it around to mix it. This keeps your hands from getting stained.

The filing was mascarpone cheese with whipped cream and shaved semi-sweet chocolate. It is essentially a modification of a tiramisu filling—I left out the coffee flavors. I stabilized the whipped cream with a bit of powdered sugar before folding it into the room-temperature cheese, then let the mixture firm up in the fridge for a bit, but not for too long, as it will tear the cake if it gets too cold/stiff. It is a sturdy filling that won’t ooze out of your cake roll.

The cake was the chocolate genoise from Joy of Cooking, made on a 11″x17″ baking sheet lined with parchment paper and rolled tightly (without the parchment) as soon as it came out of the oven, allowed to cool while rolled. I spread a clean dish towel over a cooling rack that is the size of my cake pan, then sift cocoa over it in an even layer. I put the towel, then rack, on top of the pan & flip it. I brushed it with a mixture of amaretto, kirschwasser, vanilla, and hot water before adding the filling and re-rolling. I don’t go for tiramisu-level saturation of the sponge cake, but I do try to get some liquid on every part of the cake to prevent dryness.

I frosted the cake with a 1/2 recipe of the Joy of Cooking Swiss Meringue Buttercream chocolate modification, and had enough left over to re-frost the cut end after our meal, so now I have a stumpy version of the cake.

The tree rings on the end are swirls of dark chocolate that I melted in a ziplock bag then piped onto parchment paper & stuck in the freezer to harden. One broke apart, so I’m calling that a result of climate change. I didn’t want to re-do the tree rings.

Was it worth it? Well, my weight was the same Christmas morning as it had been Christmas day. I ate a small piece of my very delicious cake, but I also had a wonderful day making it and sharing it with people I love. If my only indulgences are a few times a year making multi-step cakes like these, then so be it. I can work with that.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in diet and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It Was Worth It (Warning: Cake Porn Ahead)

  1. Love your warning. The cake looks beautiful.

  2. J. says:

    Impressive stuff!

  3. Yeah your mushroom look kinda real lol I could eat a piece of bûche right now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s