The New Bakers Dozen
Yule Log Help

The The Bakers Dozen: Yule Log Help
By Peachcreek (Peachcreek) on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 04:35 pm: Edit

When I was a young cook, I had the chance to be the Pastry Chefs' Helper. One of my favorite desserts that she made at Xmas time were these cool little forest scenes made from Yule Logs. About 10 years ago, I got the great idea to make these things again. They turned out terrible. I tried a few different recipes for rolled chocolate cake with the same results. They broke apart instead of being pliable. They tasted O.K.,but did'nt look servable. This year I have loads of time on my hands and thought I'd try it again. Any suggestions or directions?

By W.DeBord on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 08:53 am: Edit

I don't believe in pre-rolling cake rolls before their filled. I think that leads to more cracking and is un-nescessary, THIN cakes roll-up fine with-out "training" them. You can compress your cake a bit using a rolling pin and that will change the texture into a more flexable cake. Sometimes the edges are a bit drier than the center of your cake and crack when rolled, so trim off the edges.
Once you fill your roll with your buttercream refridgerate it completely before you think about cutting and decorating it.

You can use a thin layer of marzipan in your roll. Roll it between plastic wrap, put your cake on top, frosting and then roll-up. Work on plastic when your filling and rolling, less fuss, less handling.

Some garnish ideas: I make pine cones out of marzipan with almond slices poked into it shaping like a pinecone, then dip in chocolate. Long chocolate shavings look very realistic as bark. Martha (it was in her Dec. magazine?) had a white yule log that was interesting.

By Yankee on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 02:14 pm: Edit

You should be using a roulade or chiffon type cake recipe. Roulades are similar to genoise, except they contain extra sugar and no butter. The sugar helps keep the cake moist and flexible. Butter will harden as the cake cools and make the cake difficult to roll.

Try "Baking with Julia," Vanilla Chiffon Roll, pg 277. You can substitute two or three tablespoons cocoa powder for an equal amount of the flour for a chocolate cake.

I also use a rum and brown sugar syrup on the cake before I roll it. (A good rum in the Yule log usually helps ease any holiday pain.)

I agree with DeBord, there is no need to "pre-roll." Although, I do roll on baking paper. I also use a mousse filling and ganache coating as I am not big on buttercream.

Good luck.

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