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22 December 2014

Festive Yule Log

This rich chocolate yule log makes for the perfect centerpiece this Christmas. A light, airy swiss roll sponge, covered in a sweet buttercream filling and topped with some festive holly. 

In our home, we always have a chocolate Yule log on Christmas Day. Having had bought ones for as long as we can remember, my sister set out to make one this year and it did not disappoint. Comparing this one to shop-bought? There is no comparison. It’s even more delicious and it’s always satisfying to say it’s homemade, but looks shop bought. 


What’s even better is that the entire cake is gluten free! This was a great bonus for my eldest sister as she has Celiac Disease, and can’t have any gluten in her diet. It’s always a challenge to try a new gluten free recipe, as it’s a completely different bake without gluten. I’ve had my fair share of gluten-free cake flops, but this recipe of Nigella's is a no-fail recipe for the Christmas season!

This recipe will definitely take longer than your average cake recipe, but the reward is even greater. You too can let out a big sigh of relief when it's finished and grin proudly when people marvel at the festive yule log you made from scratch. Just like my smug older sister did. (She was pretty chuffed with herself)

Festive Gluten Free Yule Log
Recipe from Nigella.

For the cake:
  • 6 large eggs (separated)
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 teaspoons icing sugar (to decorate)
For the icing: 
  • 175 grams dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 250 grams icing sugar
  • 225 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 Cooking Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until thick and peaking, then, whilst continuing to whisk, sprinkle in 50g / ¼ cup of the caster sugar and continue whisking. Stop whisking when the whites are holding their peaks.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is moussy, pale and thick. Then, add the vanilla extract, sieve the cocoa powder, and then fold both in until combined.
  4. Add a couple of dollops of the egg whites, to the yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in well. Then continue to add the remaining whites in thirds, folding them in carefully to avoid losing the air.
  5. Line a Swiss roll tin (or a half inch high baking tray, which is what we used) with baking parchment, leaving a generous overhang at the ends and sides, and folding the parchment into the corners. Pour in the cake mixture and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Use a skewer to test it is cooked through, whilst being careful not to overbake!
  6. Let the cake cool a little before turning it out onto another piece of baking parchment. If you dust this piece of parchment with a little icing sugar it may help with preventing stickage, any dents can be later covered up with icing sugar! Cover loosely with a clean tea towel.
  7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate – either in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave in 20 second blasts – and let it cool completely.
  8. Place the butter in a bowl and beat (using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer) until soft and creamy. Then add the icing sugar and mix until smooth and well combined. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and a tablespoon of vanilla extract and mix well until you get a lovely smooth consistency.
  9. Sit the flat chocolate cake on a large piece of baking parchment. Trim the edges of the Swiss roll, cutting off any rough, uneven edges. Spread some of the icing thinly over the sponge, going right out to the edges. Start rolling from the long side facing you, taking care to get a tight roll from the beginning, and roll up to the other side. Pressing against the parchment, rather than the tender cake, makes this easier.
  10. Cut one or both ends slightly at a gentle angle and place the Swiss roll on a serving plate/board. The pieces cut off from the swiss roll is to make a branch or two. You achieve this effect by placing a piece of cake at an angle to look like a branch coming off the big log.
  11. Cover the yule log with the remaining icing, covering the cut-off ends as well as any branches. Create a wood-like texture by marking along the length of the log with the flat side of a spoon/spatula or fork. Dust with icing sugar to create a fresh snowy scene! And then devour.
The Yule Log will keep well for up to a week in an airtight contained in a very cool place. So it makes for a great Christmas treat to make ahead!

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