Happy (belated) New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating, and that 2013 is already off to a great start for you. It’s taken me a few days to get back to blogging, after readjusting to work and trying to normalize my schedule again. As I often do during the holidays, I did a TON of baking while I was away, so I have lots to share!
I know it’s customary to post Christmas recipes BEFORE Christmas, but when you make recipes ON Christmas, that gets a bit tricky. But I was proud of this pretty little creation – so I’m sharing it! I have a few other holiday-inspired recipes to share as well, some of them suitable for anytime in the winter, and and some of them not – so just bear with me, okay? I like to get these things saved on my blog, so next year if I’m looking I don’t have to search the whole internet to find them again.
Last year, I made a buche de noel that I gave to Kevin’s parents for Christmas, and this year I wanted to do it again. I came across this recipe, and loved the chocolate bark look, so I decided to give it a go. It seemed pretty straight-forward, and while rather involved, not particularly difficult.
As often happens when I’m rushing to get something important finished, I have lots of small disasters along the way – but if you didn’t know that you’d never guess from the end result! Overall I was really happy with how this cake came out, both in look and taste.
The buche de noel is constructed with a simple chocolate sponge cake and a mocha buttercream. When I made the cake, it went into the oven looking completely unlike chocolate – the batter was white with brown speckles – but by the time it came out of the oven, it was a perfect chocolate brown! I love the magic of baking.
For the buttercream, I accidentally left out 1/2 of the sugar, so as I was heating the egg whites and sugar, it looked completely unlike how it should. I went ahead with the recipe not realizing my mistake until AFTER I’d taken the egg whites and sugar off the heat and started whipping them – but by some grace of God I was able to reheat that mixture, add the missing sugar, and re-whip… and the frosting came out perfectly. VERY close call, because I was just a couple hours away from delivery time and had no more butter. You’d think after plenty of kitchen hiccups I’d learn my lesson – but maybe that’s just the world of baking?
The chocolate bark was my favorite part about this recipe. I made it by melting chocolate, spreading it in a thin layer between two layers of parchment paper, rolling it up and letting it set in the fridge. When you unroll it, the chocolate breas into pieces of “bark” which you stick to the cake with frosting. It looks like it might be hard, but it’s actually really easy! Just a bit delicate.
It was a lot of fun to make this cake, and it’s so neat to look at! I had wanted to add meringue mushrooms and powdered sugar “snow,” but as was the case with many aspirations over the holidays, that didn’t come to fruition. I was too busy enjoying family time!