Chocolate Yule Log

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It’s the day before Christmas Eve. By now you’ve probably eaten your fair share of mince pies and are sick of the sight of Celebrations, Roses and Quality Streets that have been making the office rounds. Luckily for those who aren’t feeling the festive fruitiness and never tire of chocolatey goodness there’s always a trusty Yule log to turn to. Far easier than the length of the recipe would have it appear this is an easy one to whip up if you’ve got fussier mouths to feed. The lack of alcohol makes it more child palate-friendly than boozy Christmas puds slathered in brandy cream so it’s a great alternative on the big day.

Personally, I’ll be sampling everything, and by sampling I mean wolfing down multiple servings with eyes far bigger than my stomach.

Eat, drink and be merry – but get dessert rolling first.

For the sponge:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 65g self-raising flour

Ganache & filling

  • 2 x 300ml cartons double cream
  • 300g dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 200C, grease and line a 23x33cm Swiss roll tin (or a shallow baking tray of similar size)

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, pour in the caster sugar then whisk until very pale, frothy and about doubled in volume.

Weigh out the flour and cocoa powder, sieve into a bowl and toss together before sieving into the egg and sugar mixture.

Use a spatula to gently incorporate the flour and cocoa by cutting and folding – try to knock out as little air as possible in order to keep the sponge light.

Once all the flour and cocoa have been evenly combined pour the wet mix into the prepared tin, spreading evenly into the corners.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes until the sponge has risen. The edges will begin to pull away from the sides and it should feel firm to touch.

Lay a sheet of baking paper, larger than the tin, out on the table and dust it with icing sugar. Carefully remove the sponge from the tin and place it face down on to the sheet of dusted baking paper.

Peel the other sheet away from the back of the Sponge. With a sharp knife score a line down the longer side of the sponge, approximately 2.5cm away from the edge.

Fold in the scored edge (with the baking paper) and roll the sponge up tightly. Leave to cool in this position.

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In the mean time crack on with the ganache. Finely chop the chocolate, heat 300ml of cream until piping hot – don’t let it boil, then pour over the chocolate and mix until smooth and glossy.

Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature. If you’re going to spread it onto the sponge I don’t recommend putting it in the fridge as it will set very firmly making it really difficult to spread nicely. If however you are piping the ganache on to the log then it needs to be quite firm – I think spreading and then teasing with a fork looks far more log like though!

Whip up the second carton of cream and you’re nearly ready to un-roll (ha) the cooled sponge and spread the whipped cream evenly across it, leave a little gap near the edges. 2014-12-13 17.50.18 2014-12-13 17.52.45

Without the baking paper this time, roll the sponge in on itself – this should happen quite easily as it will have retained its shape whilst cooling.

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Pipe or spread the ganache evenly over the sponge. If you’re spreading the ganache use a fork to draw lines through it for a bark-like effect. Dust with icing sugar just before serving – otherwise it just melts and goes gooey as we discovered!

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Et voila! Your very own Bûche de Noël – time to settle down and enjoy a slice.

Merry Christmas!!

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Chocolate Nutella Cake

Nutella is a lot like peanut butter. It’s either a staple or it’s not. For me, it never has been, growing up or even now I’m old enough to shop for myself. This is probably because, despite finding it a bit sickly, I can still put away a substantial few spoonfuls before that queasy feeling kicks in. It might be touted as a healthy breakfast spread (seriously questionable…) but I’d rather stick to good old PB. 2014-12-01 20.00.46

My Italian housemates on the other hand are mad on the nutty stuff. They go through at least a three jars of it per week. So, with an impending Italian birthday on the horizon I figured Nutella would be the ideal twist to a bog standard birthday cake.

A whole jar of Nutella went in to the making of this. Safe to say a slice is not a healthy breakfast option but it is a delicious dessert and if you’re no Nutella fan then this cake recipe is just as good without.

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Cake:

*adapted from delicious magazine

  • 250g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 3 – 4 tbsp. nutella
  • 1 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 150ml sour cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 160C and prepare a 23cm cake tin (grease and line)

Start by melting the butter, chocolate, Nutella and espresso powder in a bowl over a pan of nearly simmering water.

Stir gently until melted.

Set aside, weigh out the flour and cocoa powder and sieve into a large bowl, followed by the sugars.

Fold in the chocolatey mixture, then the eggs, milk, sour cream and vanilla and combine. If things look a little bit lumpy give them a whisk, but not too much.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hr – 1 hr 15, the cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean with a couple of moist crumbs.

Allow to cool in the tin completely before starting on the ganache. I left mine overnight.

 Ganache:

  • ½ jar nutella
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 284 ml double cream

*optional : 6 Ferrero Rocher to decorate

Melt the cream and Nutella over a medium heat until piping hot but don’t let it boil.

Pour over the finely chopped chocolate and stir until glossy, if it doesn’t taste nutella-y enough then add extra to your taste. I find copious amounts of nutella far too sweet so wanted the dark chocolate to offset that. Alternatively you could use a combination of milk and dark.

Leave to cool – it seems like a really wet ganache but leave it alone a little while before pouring it onto the cake, once you’ve stopped it flooding everywhere it sets into a lovely fudgy topping.

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