Yule Log Description
The Chocolate Icing
1. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium sized bowl and place the bowl over, not in, a pan of simmering water. Stir gently as the chocolate begins to melt and continue stirring until very smooth.
2. Meanwhile heat the cream in a small pan or in the microwave then add it to the chocolate again stirring until very smooth.
3. Stir in the sugar and cocoa until very smooth. Use immediately or let rest briefly at room temperature until ready to use. If the frosting seems too stiff you may rest it over the simmering water bath, stirring until it smooths out.
The Sponge Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a standard 11 by 17 baking pan by first buttering it, then lining it with wax or parchment paper then buttering the paper. Sprinkle a bit of flour over the pan and shake to evenly coat then knock out the excess.
2. Place the egg yolks, ½ cup of sugar, the vanilla and rum in a mixing bowl. Beat vigorously with a hand whisk until the mixture is thick and ribbony with a pale yellow colour. This will take several minutes. You may do this in your stand mixer, if you do at this point remove the mixture from the mixer bowl and thoroughly clean and dry the bowl before proceeding to the next step.
3. Beat the egg whites separately in a clean bowl until the form soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks are formed.
4. Fold the two mixtures together. Begin by quickly stirring one third or so of the whites into the yolks. Then gently add half of the remaining whites and half of the flour, fold gently with a rubber spatula and try not to overmix or you will knock the air out of the batter. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and when the mix is almost blended add the butter and finish mixing.
5. Immediately pour the batter into the ready baking pan and smooth it gently into an even layer. Place in the oven and bake for about ten minutes or so, just long enough for the top to feel springy to the touch and for the batter to congeal. Don’t overbake or you wont be able to roll it up.
6. Remove from the oven and trim off the dried out edges on the ends of the cake. Turn the cake onto a slightly damp tea towel that has been thoroughly dusted with powdered sugar. Sift an even level of powdered sugar over the top of the cake then gently roll it up into a log-like cylinder. You may freeze the cake for several days at this point, if you do let it thaw for several hours before proceeding.
7. Unroll the cake and leave on the towel. Sprinkle it with a bit more rum (or a lot more rum!) Spread your filling evenly over the cakes surface then roll up again using the towel to help. Slice off about one third of the cake at a 45 degree angle. Place the roulade, seam side down on a serving platter and position the smaller piece next to the larger one so that it resembles a branch. Frost with the chocolate icing. Draw a fork through the icing to help it resemble bark. Decorate and serve.