Here is a holly-trimmed version of the traditional yule log cake that is sure to cause murmurs of appreciation. It is one of my most requested Christmas recipes.—Jane Birch, Edison, New Jersey
- 1-1/3 cups finely ground walnuts
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 10 eggs, separated
- 1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Additional baking cocoa
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- COCOA FROSTING:
- 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 to 4 tablespoons hot water, divided
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 3-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
- Large and small green gumdrops
- Red-hot candies
- Line two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans with parchment paper. Grease the paper and set aside. In a bowl, combine the walnuts, flour and cocoa; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating until mixture is thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vanilla. Add cocoa mixture; beat on medium for 1 minute.
- In another large bowl, beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Gently fold into cocoa mixture.
- Spread batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool cakes in pans for 5 minutes. Turn each onto a kitchen towel dusted with additional cocoa. Gently peel off parchment paper. Roll up each cake in a towel, starting with the short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form. Unroll cakes and spread evenly with cream mixture to within 1/2 in of edges. Roll up each cake again.
- Place one cake roll seam side down on the serving plate. Use the second cake roll for the branches. To make branches, measure 3 in. from top right corner of the second cake roll; cut at an angle from that point to the bottom right corner. Measure 3 in. from the top left corner; cut at an angle from that point to the bottom left corner. Save end pieces for another use. Measure 3 in. from the top right and 3 in. from bottom right; cut between the marks. Place cut cake sections along sides of cake for branches.
- For frosting, in a large bowl beat the cocoa, butter and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and 3 cups confectioners' sugar. Add additional water if necessary to achieve spreading consistency; set aside 1/3 cup of frosting. Frost top and sides of cake with cocoa frosting.
- To the reserved frosting, stir in the remaining sugar. Place a #5 round pastry tip in a pastry or plastic bag; fill with frosting. Pipe lines over frosting to create a bark-like effect. For holly, flatten gumdrops between waxed paper. Cut into holly leaf shapes. Place clusters of holly leaves and red-hot candies together on frosted log. Yield: 12-14 servings.
Originally published as Yule Log in Country Woman November/December 2003, p24
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