Yule Log -can anyone give me some specific help?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by siduri, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. siduri

    siduri

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    I'm baking for my christmas party the 21st.  Something like 50 people.  I usually make one or two christmas log cakes, large, about 13 inches long, pretty thick, and with two branches made the same way, but from a sponge baked in a smaller pan. 

    I have two problems.  While everyone oohs and aahs about them, and they always eat it, personally I find them pretty dull eating.  It's for my own satisfaction that i do all this anyway, so i want to be able to enjoy it!

    I have tried the following

    cake:
    1. sponge cake (6 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour) whether white or chocolate (cocoa replacing part of the flour) depending on the color of the filling, i like to make it contrast so the slices and the ends look like the rings of the tree. 
    2. genoise
    I didn;t see essentially any difference between them.  Both are dry and rubbery. 

    filling:
    1. chocolate or vanilla italian meringue buttercream 
    2. white chocolate cream cheese buttercream
    3. light whipped ganache
    I found them all too rich

    frosting
    1. butter and dark chocolate ganache,
    2. dark chocolate ganache (both ganaches applied fairly thick so i could make a bark effect using the point of a sharp knife pressed all over the surface)
    3. simple italian meringue (no butter) (this was an additional cake, made to look like birch, with melted chocolate applied with the edge of a knife at various places along the bark)
    These were also rich (except the meringue) but i don;t mind that, people even peel it off. 

    my assessment:

    They all look spectacular.  I stick small branches of bay into the log to look like the pieces of tree that remain when they cut a real yule log.  No problem there.  Also the birch log is extremely realistic.

    However the cakes are dry or rather rubbery and uninteresting and the fillings are too rich after a huge meal and along with trays of maybe 8 or 9 types of cookies and a large (moist) fruitcake. 

    My questions
    1. can I use a buttercake recipe without it cracking when it's rolled out (it's a big pan, the short side is 13 inches)?  Can I use any butter cake recipe or do i need a special one and are there any special techniques?  Spongecake and genoise are rubbery so they;re easy to roll wihtout cracking, but it's the rubberiness i hate. I don't like liqueurs in my cakes so I'm not going to soak the cake with it.  I also am not a fan of cake soaked in syrups. 
    2. what alternate sort of filling could I use?  I usually keep the filled roll in the freezer and take it out the day of the party so it stays cold at room temperature.   I thought of whipped cream - if i freeze it and then take it out will it work?  will it soak the cake in liquid as it defrosts?  What about half whipped cream and half italian meringue?  That could even be kept frozen since it stays soft?  With that i wouldn't mind the sponge cake so much.  Has anyone used whipped cream in a sponge roll and had it come out ok?  or whipped cream and italian meringue in equal parts.
    thanks
     
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I would use a choco, vanilla or hazelnut stiff butter cream. As far as a bit rubbery, mine is same but regular cake does not hold together. I think using whipped cream and meringue would require a bit of gelatin to assure holding up even in freezer  ( like a bavarian)

    Good Luck
     
  3. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I use a traditional Swiss roll recipe which has no flour, Siduri.  I think I use the Delia Smith recipe, which may be online.  It's never dry.

    Now I'm left wondering if a swiss roll is a specifically British name for a flat, flourless sponge?!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  4. chefross

    chefross

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    Look......sponge or Genoise is by its' nature are dry. The filling makes the yule log moist and edible.

    I made one just a week ago at work.

    I used Nuetella for the interior flavored with Ameretto.

    I used a chocolate buttercream plain and simple for the outside.

    Other things I've done for the center were pastry cream lightened with whipped cream, or flavored whipped cream with gelatin added to stablize.
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Can you try using a cream cheese based frosting?  That way it doesn't have to be too sweet and the acidity can help balance out the richness in the filling.

    I really believe you should rethink the role of booze in your cake lol.  Try a little creme de cassis it's more fruity than boozy but still provides that kick!
     
  6. chefross

    chefross

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    Also....If I may....Try this recipe on for size.

    It might make a better cake for you:

    5 eggs

    5 oz. sugar

    4.5 oz. sifted cake flour

    1/2 oz. melted butter

    Combine the eggs and sugar and whip on high speed for 8 minutes or until triple in size. remove from machine and sift cake flour right into the mix and pour in the butter all at once. Use a folding gesture to incorporate all the flour and butter. Pour unto your pan and bake 400-425 until browned and it springs back when lightly touched (8-10 minutes)
     
  7. siduri

    siduri

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    Thanks for the suggestions

    I've tried adding butter to spongecake before, and was not much impressed, but might try yours chefross.  Nutella, no, I used to like it till they made everything with it, and it seems most pastry shops no longer know how to make chocolate filling!  Also it's rich like all the other things.    But the pastry cream with whipped cream and gelatin (bavarian cream) might be just right.  Does it freeze well though? 

    Koukouvagia, i did do a white chocolate cream cheese filling, but i felt it was too rich. 

    Same for those who mentioned buttercreams. 

    Ishbel, I didn't think of flourless sponge.  Interesting idea, should be moist. 
     
  8. ishbel

    ishbel

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    It's what I use and I've never had a dry textured cake - however, I can't vouch for the fact that it won't crack when you roll it up, but I always manage to hide that underneath the cream or buttercream coating!
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  9. siduri

    siduri

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    I'll try it out Ishbel. 

    thanks
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I find white chocolate to be too heavy I can't stand the stuff.  If you mix the cream cheese with mascarpone and not too much sugar it will be less rich.  You can even incorporate a little whipped cream in the mixture to make it lighter. 
     
  11. prettycake

    prettycake Banned

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    I have a recipe that does not require to roll it as soon as it comes out of the oven then unroll to fill...  I use one that is completely cooled ,  filled then rolled.  It NEVER breaks.  It really depends on what recipe you are using.. As for taste,  regular Sponge cake is really not as outstanding flavor or taste.. You can add ingredients that will enhace the taste and flavor.. as well s your filling:

    I made this two weeks ago:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. siduri

    siduri

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    Well, i had my party and made my yule log.  As often happens, just discussing with you guys gives me ideas and gets me thinking, and i made the absolutely best (and i think nicest looking) yule log ever. 

    I used a simple sponge cake (6 eggs, separated, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, pinch salt, some vanilla) for the main part and the same but replacing more than half the flour with cocoa - so that i could serve one or the other, depending on the person's taste. 

    I filled it with a mixture of whipped cream and italian meringue.  I froze it, and i figured it could be served frozen or defrosted, since it;s like ice cream. 

    I frosted it with a dark ganache of 72% bittersweet chocolate and cream. 

    The branches are laurel (bay) which i buy to make garlands and keep some for decorating the log. 

    here is my picture (plus an english christmas cake (with the flowers - very moist) and a couple of trays of cookies. 

    Happy Yule to you all

    [​IMG]

    prettycake - can you give me the recipe for your rollable cake?
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That looks beautiful Siduri!  I'd certainly like a slice of that. 

    I made my yule log and I should post a picture of it.  It looks nice.  I made it with carrot cake (cake mix) and a butter cream cheese frosting both inside and out.  Can't wait to dig into it today.