Sunday, December 23, 2007

First Daring Baker Challenge: White Chocolate Raspberry Yule Log

So not only was this my first Daring Baker challenge but it was also my first time making a yule log. Since I was home for Christmas, I had the pleasure of having a wonderful assistant – my mom! I decided I wanted to try something different, so I decided to make a white chocolate genoise cake. I followed the recipe with the only exception being that I added 3 oz of melted white chocolate chips. I melted the chocolate over a simmering pot of hot water and then added the melted chocolate right before I folded the flour in.

Laura G- picture 1

It looked like it deflated the eggs a little bit, but nothing too bad. I almost forgot to butter the pan underneath and on top of the parchment paper (which could have led to disaster), but luckily my mom reminded me. I was also worried that there wasn’t enough batter – it made a very thin layer in the jelly roll pan, but I think it turned out all right.

Laura G- picture 2

I found a very good King Arthur article on yule logs – so I followed their suggestion on how to roll the log. I had decided to do a raspberry buttercream filling (my family has an aversion to coffee-flavoring – don’t get me wrong, I love coffee… just not so keen on coffee-flavored things). So I knew that I didn’t want to put the filling in while the cake was still warm, so (at King Arthur’s suggestion), I laid out a tea towel and doused it with powdered sugar.

Laura G- picture 3

We then flipped the cake out onto the tea towel and, again, covered the top of the cake with massive amounts of powdered sugar (so that nothing would stick). At this point, I thought the cake was a bit underdone (I was really worried about overbaking it, so I took it out after about 9 min in a 325 convection oven). I then rolled the cake up, with the tea towel still on it. I set it to cool for the next couple of hours.

My attention then turned to the filling: raspberry buttercream. To make the buttercream raspberry-flavored, we decided to puree and then strain some raspberries with a tiny bit of sugar. This was my first attempt at buttercream – and, it appeared to curdle. I looked up a bunch of different things on the web, trying to figure out what had happened (and turned to the old trustee “Best Recipes” from America’s Test Kitchen). Everything said to keep beating it. So I tried that, but it didn’t seem to work. We ended up adding some powdered sugar until the consistency was right, threw it in the fridge, and hoped for the best. A little while later, it looked better and tasted good, so we used it. Unrolling the log was nerve-wrecking, but it didn’t split at all! I was very happy about that.

In the meantime, we made marzipan and worked on the buttercream frosting for the outside. I decide to make this chocolate buttercream (rather than coffee) and this time my mom suggested beating the eggs a lot longer (and heating them to a bit higher temperature). So we ended up with what looked like meringue (many websites said that buttercream is just meringue + hot sugar syrup).

Laura G- picture 4

I tried to color it with just the cocoa powder, but it wasn’t a rich enough brown, so I added some brown food coloring (in paste form). That seemed to do the trick. We had to chill the log a couple of times (the raspberry buttercream filling was pretty soft – probably due to the puree we added for the raspberry flavor/color). And in the end, I think I chilled the chocolate buttercream frosting a bit too long, as I had to wait a bit for it to warm up so it was easier to frost.

We made marzipan for the mushrooms/decorations. I forgot we had paste food coloring (which probably would have given us more vivid colors) so we just colored the marzipan with regular food coloring. We made mushrooms (dusted with cocoa powder for the dirt), elves, and presents. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before we could make meringue mushrooms (I wanted to try those) – but maybe next time! We dusted it with powdered sugar to make it look like there was freshly fallen snow…

So now.. for the final pictures:

Laura G- picture 5
Overview: Whimsical on one side.. Mushrooms on the other

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Meeting the mushroom requirement… check!

Laura G -picture 7
The mushrooms looked surprisingly real!

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Naughty or Nice…?

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Christmas Elf #1

Laura G- picture 10
The Whimsical Side

Thanks for reading! -Laura


Lis said...

Holy cow, Laura - you and your mom can come bake with me ANYTIME! =)

I love the log - and the flavors sound heavenly. Your lil elves, presents & mushrooms are so adorable!

Fantastic job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers! I can't wait to see what you'll come up with next month. :D


Lunch Buckets said...

Nice job, cute mushrooms too!

Beth G. said...

WOW!! Looks great- I love all the lil' guys :)

Sandicita said...

All the marzipan elves look sooo cute! I like the Naughty/Nice list!
Great Job!

Ann said...

What a great log!

Tartelette said...

Love it Love it Love it!! The elves and presents are da bomb!!
Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura, I love your marzipan elves and presents. Much talent there, kid :)

Dolores said...

I love that you got to make this with your mom... what great fun that must have been! Congratulations, and welcome... I can tell already that you fit right in. :)

Gabi said...

your Log looks great- love the flavours you used. Great marzipan decorations and what a joy to bake with your mum!
Welcome to the DBs and hope to see more of you in 2008!

glamah16 said...

So adorable. I love it.

Elle said...

Wow! White chocolate and raspberries...check...totally cute mushrooms...check...even cuter elves and 'naughty or nice' scroll...check...elegant rendition of the Buche de Noel..check! Great job Daring Baker.
Happy Holidays!

Baking Soda said...

Mmm, rich and bark eh dark! Nice log, your presents and elves are just too cute!

Jen Yu said...

Those elves are too cute! I admire your patience to make them (I would get fed up and eat them). Raspberry? Brilliant! I love raspberry anything! Great job on the yule log and congrats :)

jen at use real butter