Daring Bakers, let our powers combine! Our heroic group of bakers has come together again for our monthly baking challenge! For December, Yvonne and Lisa, the co-creators of the Daring Bakers, hosted the yule log challenge! Or trial, as it were ...
The three trials of the yule log
I made this for my SAS December party. In this case, SAS stood for Soups and Sweets. I had a later night than I'd planned, so I didn't start making my soups and sweets until just after midnight. I had to get it all together for lunch, after all! I hit the soups first, and those were cake ... um ... then I hit the cake. The actual cake. I started with the buttercream ... which started out soupy ... picture this: It's about 2:30 a.m., and you're thinking, "If everything goes my way, I can get a couple of hours of sleep before my friends show up for lunch!"
Trial 1: Plain Genoise
Genoise. No problem! And for the weeks leading up to the actual project, I kept telling myself that if the genoise came out too dry, as it sometimes does, I'd soak it with a simple syrup. It works like a charm ... when you actually remember to do it! It's just after 3 a.m.; I barely remember my name. By the time I was ready to roll it at around 5 a.m., I'm so bad off, I can't even remember to involuntarily blink ... that's bad. The result: a cracked roll. Shouldn't be a problem, though ...
Trial 2: Coffee Buttercream
I love cooked buttercreams and make them often. This one, however, didn't want to work with me.
The buttercream started out pretty runny, no matter how much I mixed it. And stared and prayed and threatened with a wooden spoon.
I figured I'd chill it to thicken it up--fine in theory, but in reality, it separated as the butter got too cold!
I threw the bowl back over its water bath to heat the butter back up, then put it back into the mixer, and it came together perfectly. Hooray! This wrapped up at about 5 a.m.
Trial 3: Meringue Mushrooms
Although I love marzipan, I wanted to make meringue mushrooms because I knew they'd be quicker for me than shaping meringue. Plus, I bought a billion eggs for this project, and I wanted to use them up. Project Yule Log threw me a bone, and this was almost as easy as eating the thing.
The mushrooms were easy and fun to put together. On the third hour of yule log, my true love gave to me--hooray ... on ... a tray?
If only these mushrooms really grew in the woods ... of course, then I wouldn've have the pleasure of making them!
They're so dang cute, I just wanna eat em up.
The Final Trial: Assembly
No problem. Lop off each end at an angle, and attach them to look like branches. Frost them into place, and you're good to go. And the cracks? No sweat--just pack them with buttercream! It tastes good, and no one will be any wiser.
Of course, there is the other problem of dry genoise ... parts of it crack when you roll it ... and the ends ... well, they just don't want to stay rolled. This trial has turned into a log rolling event. Frosting isn't going to hold it together, either. It's 5:30 a.m.--do you know where your skewers are? No? That's because you don't have any. But the thing's gonna unravel! Don't complain--stick a fork in it!
And look around the kitchen while you keep glancing furtively at your balancing act. This trial is now a circus.
The trouble with log rolling is you're going to have a crack where the log is unraveling itself. I name the crack the San Andreas fault. This trial is now a natural disaster.
That's how I fixed it. I was going to use nuts in the plating, anyway--luckily, brazil nuts make fabulous wedges. Hello, sunshine--it's about 6. And now that I'm sure it's going to keep together, it's time to get that crostata made! (Photos to appear in a later post.)
Anyway, pack some nuts around it, then some pirouettes and mushrooms, rip up some apple fruit rollups for moss (because that whole green coconut thing never looked quite right to me), and snag some Boston Baked Beans (candy-coated peanuts) for ... moss berries ... holly ... some sort of berry that makes sense at 10 a.m. when you've been up for 27 hours straight. Call it good. Call it yummy. Call it done. Woooooot!
Yule. It's what's for breakfast. ;D
The recipe is here.