Bûche de Noël

23 Dec

"What's great for a snack and fits on your back? It's Log, Log, Log!"**

French colonialism in my motherland (well, my parents’ motherland) is to thank for my taste for European-style pastries today. Eclairs, profiteroles, bánh pâté chaud (a French-influenced, Vietnamese pastry consisting of puff pastry filled with a spicy pork meatball) and French fruit tarts were a part of my vocabulary and diet from a young age.  Bûche de Noël (AKA Yule Log), a traditional French cake, is something that my parents always brought home around Christmastime. It was usually a vanilla sponge cake filled with coffee buttercream and covered with ganache. As a child, I never really liked the flavors, and a cake that’s shaped like a log with mushrooms growing on it seemed odd to me. Now, as an adult, it sounds like a fun, kooky idea.

I’m not sure why, but at 10pm last night just before bed, I decided to attempt my first-ever Bûche de Noël.  I like fruity flavors, so my version consisted of a vanilla cake with apricot jam filling and a rum ganache frosting. For garnish, I made mushrooms, berries and leaves out of marzipan. I don’t know if it was because I’d used my regular vanilla cake recipe, which is really moist and not springy like a traditional sponge cake, or my rolling technique (I was trying to roll it pretty tight) but the cake cracked on me. Once I put the ganache on, though, you couldn’t really tell.  The roll held its round shape for a while, then collapsed to a sad-looking, flat log… Bummer. I think it’s because there wasn’t enough filling to hold the layers and keep them from collapsing (especially since I couldn’t roll the cake as tightly as I would have liked). Also, the ganache was not completely set, so it was a bit gloppy when I applied it. [Note to self: next time, don’t attempt new projects when you’re trying to go to bed!]

Eh, not my best work, but I had fun. Plus, vanilla cake + apricot + chocolate + rum = yum.

**If you were born after 1985 or had to babysit your baby brother like I did, you probably remember “The Log Song” from The Ren and Stimpy Show.

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2 Responses to “Bûche de Noël”

  1. bora December 24, 2010 at 2:28 am #

    It looks delicious to me! I’m drooling.

  2. Jeannie Lee December 24, 2010 at 11:33 pm #

    Wow, Jen! Impressive! And I bet it tastes even better than it looks (gorgeous)!

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