Buche De Noël
The Buche de Noël is a classic French dessert generally served during Christmas dinner. Essentially, it's a genoise cake, layered with chocolate mouse, rolled up, covered in ganache icing, and chocolate pieces to make the bark. It's very similar to my ultimate chocolate cake recipe, except the cake part is very specific and very different from a regular cake. Also, the ganache is much thicker. I'll be using Martha Stewarts recipe for a Buche de Noël, but I'll be using my chocolate mousse recipe because I really like mine. I also wont be using her meringue mushrooms because it started to look complicated and I don't do complicated baking.
Let's talk about the genoise for a moment. A genoise cake is a very light and airy sponge cake. I say airy because of how much whipping goes into this recipe to give it its light texture. It's also to help it bend and roll. You cannot use a classic cake mix recipe because of how dense those cakes are. You want the cake to roll with minimal cracking so you have to use a cake that is bendy and light in texture. The more dense the cake, the harder it will be to roll.
Here are some tips before you start baking: 1) Make the mousse, meringue mushrooms, and genoise the day before you assemble everything. That way, you're not slaving away in a kitchen.
2) I've extensively researched this, you can freeze this cake and de-thaw it in the fridge. The ganache icing and the rest of the cake will de-thaw at different temperatures, best have it in the fridge to avoid collapsing.
3) If you are making this cake far in advance, make a simple syrup to drizzle over the cake once it is baked to add a little moisture.
4) If you're transporting this cake, don't add the meringue mushrooms until you're at your destination.
5) When you're ready to assemble, do it on the tray you will be serving it on, since it's very difficult to move.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of egg whites
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Melted dark chocolate
Large metal bowl
Two cookie sheets
Heat resistant metal bowl
Small pot of boiling water
Piping bag with large round tip or a plastic bag with the corner cut off
Instructions: 1) Preheat oven at 225F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2) In large metal bowl, add eggs and mix until foamy. Add salt and vanilla. Once you have soft peaks, add sugar slowly. Continue mixing until you have stiff peaks.
3) In a plastic bag, add half of the meringue and cut the corner off of the bag. Under the parchment paper add four dots of meringue to glue the paper down.
4) Make mushroom tops by applying pressure to the bag and swirl to the side when you are satisfied with the size of the mushroom top. I made mine about 1 and 1/2 inches to 2 inches wide. They won't get any bigger in the oven.
5) Then on another cookie tray, make the stems. Instead of swirling out, like you did with the tops, pipe the meringue up. So apply pressure and lift up. The stems only have to be about an inch tall.
They should look like this:
6) With the brush and cocoa powder, sprinkle a little powder on the mushrooms to make it look like dirt.
7) Place in the oven and bake for an hour. Once they are ready, melt chocolate.
8) With a sharp knife, chisel the little point of the stems. With the melted chocolate, cover the bottom of the cap and dip the new top of the stem. Put them together and allow to cool and set.
Use when ready to decorate cake.
2/3-3/4 cups of chocolate chips (does not need to be perfect)
1 3/4 cups of whipping cream
3 egg whites
1/3 cup of sugar
Large metal bowl
Instructions: 1) Whip the cream to stiff peaks in one bowl, then place in fridge.
2) In metal bowl, whip eggs to stiff peaks, slowly adding sugar in the process.
3) Boil water and take a metal bowl that can be heated and place the chocolate chips in the bowl to melt.
4) Fold in the melted chocolate and egg mixture. To do this properly, take a little chocolate and add it to the eggs to temper the eggs, we don't want them to curdle. How to fold: take a large baking spatula scrape the side of the entire bowl and motion it towards the inside of the bowl. Think "outside-in".
5) Take the whip cream and fold it in as well.
Put it in the fridge until it is set, which will take 5-6 hours or overnight.
Here is a video in case you're not sure what I am talking about, but this man is making it a little more different than we are. So I would use this as a guide to see what the eggs are supposed to look like.
2/3 cups of flour
1/3 cups of cocoa powder
Pinch of baking soda
5 tablespoons of melted butter
3/4 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Two large bowls, one needs to be heat resistant
Jelly roll pan
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line Jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment paper and cover in margarine and flour.
2) In a bowl, stiff flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda together. Then whisk.
3) In a heat resistant bowl over simmering water, whisk eggs and sugar. You want to heat the eggs and dissolve the sugar.
4) Take off from heat. With the hand mixer, mix until the eggs have tripled in size, are light in colour, and is thick (almost to soft peaks)
5) Add vanilla and beat for a few more minutes.
6) Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture, but not all at once, do it in two-three chucks and fold in each time you add in flour. Then drizzle butter and fold in again. You will need to fold in to not loose any of the air you've just beat into the eggs.
7) Place mixture into the cake pan evenly and tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Don't over bake. Let the cake sit in the pan on wire rack to cool.
8) Once the cake is cool enough to handle. Cut the edges off of the long ends to make rolling easier. Remove from pan. Layer a piece of wax paper and damp towel over the cake. Turn the entire thing over on your work surface and remove parchment paper. As you are rolling the cake, roll it in the towel, wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate Ganache (make day of assembly):
2 cups of chocolate
2 cups of whipping cream
Medium size sauce pan
Instructions: 1) Add cream in sauce pan and heat, do not boil. Add chocolate in a bowl
2) Add heated cream over chocolate, let it sit for five minutes and mix.
3) YOU NEED TO DO THIS STEP! Let it cool, but make sure it doesn't harden. Whip the cooled ganache on a medium speed until soft peaks. Spread thin layer over cake. Refrigerate and add more to cover thin spots.
Chocolate Bark (make day of assembly): Ingredients: 1/2 of chocolate chips
Bowl to melt chocolate
Two pieces of parchment paper
1) Melt chocolate in a bowl
2) Pour chocolate on a piece of parchment paper and spread very thin. Add piece of parchment paper on top and spread the chocolate even more with hands.
3) Roll paper into a tube and tape shut. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
4) Unroll paper and use the strips of chocolate to decorate the cake.
Assembly of cake:
1) Remove the cake from the plastic wrap and gently unroll the cake. Remove towel, but leave wax paper (for now).
2) Spread an even layer of chocolate mousse on the cake. Then gently roll back up, using the wax paper to help. But remove wax paper as you roll (It's the same motion like a bamboo mat and sushi)
3) Cut the ends of the cake diagonally, to make it more of a real tree.
4) Using the Ganache cover the cake and refrigerate to harden. Add more ganache as needed.
5) Unroll the chocolate bark and lay on cake to create the illusion of a real tree bark. You can also create a swirl design on the open sections of wood.
6) Using a little ganache, stick the meringue mushrooms down to decorate the tree.
7) Add powdered sugar to a sifter and make it snow over the cake.
8) If you want to garnish even more, we had a small tree branch in a Christmas bouquet, so I cut a few pieces off and garnished for a woodland effect.
Here is the completed cake:
Thank you so much for reading and have a great holiday season!