Friday, December 24, 2010

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
3-4 tbsp confectioners' sugar
2 cups nondairy whipped topping

8 ounces tub cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper; spray again with nonstick spray, then lightly flour.

2. To prepare the cake, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; mix well. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the flour mixture and milk in 2 alternating additions each until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 8-10 minutes. Spread a kitchen towel on a work surface and cover with a piece of wax paper. Sprinkle the wax paper with the confectioners' sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake and invert the pan and warm cake onto the wax paper. Remove the parchment paper. Starting at the long side closest to you, using the towel to help, carefully roll up the cake jelly-roll style. Allow to cool completely, about 45 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, to prepare the frosting, in the bowl of the electric mixer, place the cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until just combined, then increase speed to high and beat until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the melted chocolate; increase the speed to high and beat until smooth, 2-3 minutes.

5. Unroll the cooled cake and remove the wax paper. Spread the whipped topping over the cake and again roll up jelly-roll style. Place the cake seam side down on a serving platter. From one end of the cake, with a knife on a sharp angle, cut a wedge. Spread the cut side of the wedge with 3 tablespoons of frosting and attach it, frosted side, near one end of the top of the cake, to make a "knothole". Spread the cake with the remaining frosting to cover. Using the tines of a fork, etch circles on the ends of the cake and on the top of the attached wedge. Run the tines along the length of the cake to make bark lines. Cover and chill 3 hours or overnight, then cut into 18 slices.

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