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Image for Recipe - Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

Image for Recipe - Christmas Chocolate Log Cake
  • Time preparation 1 ½ hours, plus chilling
  • cook time 15 minutes
  • Serve Serves 10

This is a sumptuous twist on a classic yule log, with the layers running vertically rather than horizontally. It looks impressive on any festive table. We like the robins on the top of our cake, but use any Christmas-themed decorations you like, or even just berries.

Recipes taken from The Great British Bake Off: Love to Bake by Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith & The Bakers (Sphere, £22.00)
  • For the sponge:
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 50g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the chocolate meringue buttercream:
  • 300g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • For the chocolate bark:
  • 200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • To decorate
  • Redcurrants, Christmas-themed decorations (optional) Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Special kit:
  • 30 x 40cm Swiss roll tin, greased, then lined (base and sides) with baking paper
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper

Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Make the sponge. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk until thick and mousse-like.

Sift together the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the bowl, then gently fold in using a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air.

Add the melted butter and fold again until the mixture is smooth and combined.

Carefully pour the mixture into the lined tin and level with a palette knife. Bake on the middle shelf for 12-14 minutes, until the cake is well risen and springy and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 2 minutes, then turn out onto a clean tea towel. Peel off the baking paper and, starting from one of the short ends, roll the sponge into a spiral with the tea towel rolled inside. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate meringue buttercream. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat.

Put the sugar, egg whites and salt into a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is foamy. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and increases in volume, turns from opaque to bright white, and leaves a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and beat, on medium- high speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture doubles in volume and is thick, stiff, glossy and cold to the touch.

Gradually, add the butter to the cooled meringue mixture, beating continuously until smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate, then cover until ready to use.

Carefully unroll the sponge cake. Turn it so that a long side is closest to you, then cut the cake horizontally into three long strips, each strip about 40 x 10cm. Spread each with 3-4 tablespoons of the meringue buttercream.

Roll one strip into a tight Swiss-roll shape. Place the end of the roll at one end of the second iced cake strip, then roll this around the first rolled strip - the cake starts to become a short, wide Swiss roll.

Position the end of the roll at one end of the third iced strip and roll again. Carefully turn the cake over and place spiral-side down in the middle of a serving plate. Cover, then chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the bark. Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Measure the height of the cake and draw two parallel lines on each sheet of baking paper lining the baking sheets, positioning them the same distance apart as the height of the cake. Flip the paper over so that you can see the lines through the paper.

Re-melt the chocolate until runny again, then spoon it onto the baking paper between the lines.

Spread level with a palette knife and leave to cool (not the fridge) until the chocolate starts to set and loses its shine. Using a fork, mark ridges in the chocolate to resemble bark and leave to set solid.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Using a palette knife, spread the sides smoothly and create a swirl pattern on top to resemble the rings of a log.

Using a hot knife, cut the chocolate bark into 3cm-wide strips and, using a palette knife, carefully position the bark pieces all around the outside of the cake, pressing them to stick.

Decorate the cake with berries and Christmassy cake decorations, then lightly dust with icing sugar. (If you make ahead, leave the cake to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes, before serving.)

Ingredients

  • For the sponge:
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 50g plain flour
  • 40g ground almonds
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the chocolate meringue buttercream:
  • 300g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • For the chocolate bark:
  • 200g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • To decorate
  • Redcurrants, Christmas-themed decorations (optional) Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Special kit:
  • 30 x 40cm Swiss roll tin, greased, then lined (base and sides) with baking paper
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Make the sponge. Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk until thick and mousse-like.

Sift together the flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the bowl, then gently fold in using a large metal spoon, taking care not to knock out too much air.

Add the melted butter and fold again until the mixture is smooth and combined.

Carefully pour the mixture into the lined tin and level with a palette knife. Bake on the middle shelf for 12-14 minutes, until the cake is well risen and springy and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 2 minutes, then turn out onto a clean tea towel. Peel off the baking paper and, starting from one of the short ends, roll the sponge into a spiral with the tea towel rolled inside. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate meringue buttercream. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth, then remove from the heat.

Put the sugar, egg whites and salt into a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.

Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is foamy. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and increases in volume, turns from opaque to bright white, and leaves a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and beat, on medium- high speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture doubles in volume and is thick, stiff, glossy and cold to the touch.

Gradually, add the butter to the cooled meringue mixture, beating continuously until smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate, then cover until ready to use.

Carefully unroll the sponge cake. Turn it so that a long side is closest to you, then cut the cake horizontally into three long strips, each strip about 40 x 10cm. Spread each with 3-4 tablespoons of the meringue buttercream.

Roll one strip into a tight Swiss-roll shape. Place the end of the roll at one end of the second iced cake strip, then roll this around the first rolled strip - the cake starts to become a short, wide Swiss roll.

Position the end of the roll at one end of the third iced strip and roll again. Carefully turn the cake over and place spiral-side down in the middle of a serving plate. Cover, then chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the bark. Melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and remove from the heat. Leave to cool for 30 minutes.

Measure the height of the cake and draw two parallel lines on each sheet of baking paper lining the baking sheets, positioning them the same distance apart as the height of the cake. Flip the paper over so that you can see the lines through the paper.

Re-melt the chocolate until runny again, then spoon it onto the baking paper between the lines.

Spread level with a palette knife and leave to cool (not the fridge) until the chocolate starts to set and loses its shine. Using a fork, mark ridges in the chocolate to resemble bark and leave to set solid.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Using a palette knife, spread the sides smoothly and create a swirl pattern on top to resemble the rings of a log.

Using a hot knife, cut the chocolate bark into 3cm-wide strips and, using a palette knife, carefully position the bark pieces all around the outside of the cake, pressing them to stick.

Decorate the cake with berries and Christmassy cake decorations, then lightly dust with icing sugar. (If you make ahead, leave the cake to come up to room temperature for 30 minutes, before serving.)

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