Bûche de Noël

Joyeux Noël y’all! 

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Peanut butter buttercream, vanilla sponge, dark cocoa “paint”, and chocolate ganache.

This is a traditional French cake served at my family Christmas. I included my favorite orange filling for this recipe, but you can use whatever filling you prefer, just be sure the “paint” reflects the flavor you use also.

Bûche de Noël – 10 servings
Ganache:
14 ounces dark chocolate chips (65-70%)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
Cake:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, more for greasing pan
3/4 cup cake flour, plus more for pan
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Paint: 2 tablespoons sugar + 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ganache: Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside. Bring cream and honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate, cover with a plate and let sit for 1 minute. Remove plate,and whisk until smooth and shiny; let cool at room temperature until set and thick, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Cake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13-inch x 18-inch rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat 2/3 cup sugar and eggs on high speed, about 8 minutes, until mixture falls back in thick ribbons when lifted from the whisk. Fold in cooled butter and flour. Spread batter into an even layer on bottom of prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 10-12 minutes. Working quickly, place a clean kitchen towel that is larger than the baking sheet on a work surface, and dust it liberally with confectioners’ sugar. Invert the cake onto towel; dust with more sugar. While the cake is still hot, starting with a narrow end of the rectangle, immediately roll cake up into a jelly roll, letting the towel roll inside the cake. Let cool to room temperature rolled up, seam side down.
Make the paint: Bring 2 tbsp. sugar, Grand Marnier, and 1 tbsp. water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat; cook until sugar dissolves and set aside to cool.

Filling:
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining ingredients until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream.

Assemble: 
Once cooled, gently unroll and remove towel from cake. Brush the inside with the “paint”; allow to soak in for about 2 minutes. Spread buttercream evenly over cake; re-roll cake and set the roll seam side down on a serving platter. Slice about 3 inches off one end of the cake roll at a 30° angle; cut the other end to make it flat. Spread the flat end of the angled slice with a little buttercream and set the slice on top of the cake roll to create a “stump.” Stir ganache until smooth and, using a small offset spatula, spread ganache over cake, leaving the ends of cake and cut top of the “stump” exposed. Drag the tines of a fork along the ganache, making markings to resemble bark; refrigerate until chilled – serve by slicing into rounds.

Optional decorations: cocoa powder, powdered sugar, meringue mushrooms, candied rosemary, whatever you like!

Merry Christmas!

Happy Cooking! Bon Appetit!
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