There’s nothing more impressive than bringing a log cake to Christmas dinner. This yule log is not a difficult cake to make, but there are a good number of steps involved. Start by heating your oven to 425 F/220 C/gas 7. Lightly grease and line a 9 x 13-inch Swiss roll/jelly roll tin with parchment paper. Apply a light layer of vegetable oil with a piece of paper towel then separate the egg yolks and whites.
Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together in a large, roomy, baking bowl with either an electric beater or a hand whisk until a light-yet-thick mixture is formed. Break the chocolate into pieces then melt with 4 tablespoons water in either the microwave or over a pan of slightly simmering, boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Add the chocolate to the egg and sugar mixture and stir gently.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff, fairly firm peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Fold 1 tablespoon of the egg white into the chocolate sponge mixture to lighten it. Add the remaining whisked egg whites and gently fold through. Spread the sponge mix into the prepared tin, smoothing the surface very, very gently with a spatula taking care to not knock out any air.
Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a little crisp on the top. Do not overcook or the sponge will become dry. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Lay a large sheet of parchment paper onto your work surface, quickly flip the pan over onto the paper and gently ease the sponge out. Peel away the parchment paper on the sponge and trim any ragged edges of the cake.
Spread the cream evenly over the entire surface leaving a 3/4-inch margin on either of the two short sides. Carefully fold this in towards the cream, then use the paper on the work surface to roll the cake away from you until a log is formed. Do not worry if cracks appear on the surface, these are part of the character of a Swiss Roll.
- 3 eggs
- 85g golden caster sugar
- 85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking powder
For the filling & icing;
- 50g butter
- 140g dark chocolate, broken into squares
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 284ml pot double cream
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Grease and line a 23 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with baking parchment.
- Beat 3 eggs and 85g golden caster sugar together with an electric whisk for about 8 mins until thick and creamy.
- Mix 85g plain flour (less 2 tbsp), 2 tbsp cocoa powder and ½ tsp baking powder together, then sift onto the egg mixture. Fold in very carefully, then pour into the tin.
- Tip the tin from side to side to spread the mixture into the corners. Bake for 10 mins.
- Lay a sheet of baking parchment on the work surface.
- When the cake is ready, tip it onto the parchment, peel off the lining paper, then roll the cake up from its longest edge with the paper inside. Leave to cool.
- To make the icing, melt 50g butter and 140g dark chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of hot water.
- Take from the heat and stir in 1 tbsp golden syrup and 5 tbsp double cream from a 284ml pot. Beat in 200g sifted icing sugar until smooth.
- Whisk the remaining double cream from the 284ml pot until it holds its shape.
- Unravel the cake, spread the cream over the top, scatter over 2-3 crushed extra strong mints, if using, then carefully roll up again into a log.
- Cut a thick diagonal slice from one end of the log. Lift the log on to a plate, then arrange the slice on the side with the diagonal cut against the cake to make a branch.
- Spread the icing over the log and branch, then use a fork to mark the icing to give the effect of tree bark.
- Scatter with unsifted icing sugar to resemble snow, and decorate with holly.