This recipe is simple, effective and wheat free! The light sponge is made with love (and lots of elbow grease) by whisking up egg whites rather than flour. Suitable for any occasion or doll it up for a wonderfully festive Yule Log!
You will need –
- 175g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 large free range eggs, room temperature
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 300ml double cream
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- a 23cm – 33cm baking tin (or nearest available) – grease-proof paper.
Get baking –
Lightly butter the baking tin then line with grease-proof paper. To help it fit snugly, snip in an inch at the corners to encourage the paper into the corner of the tin.
In a heatproof bowl, melt the dark chocolate over hot water. Once smooth, leave to cool for 15 minutes while you mix up everything else.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C/350 °F/ gas 4.
Separate the eggs. Put the whites into a large mixing bowl and put the yolks in another bowl for later. Be careful not to get any yolk in with the white as it may inhibit the aeration when whisking. As guessed… whisk those egg whites, with an electric mixer or by hand if you’re feeling powerful, until you get stiff peaks. You have reached the right stage if you can turn the bowl over and the whites stay in… hold it over your head if you’re confident.
Add the caster sugar to the egg yolks. Whisk together for 2 or 3 minutes until very thick and pale. The mixture will leave a trail on the surface when the whisk is lifted out, then you’re good to go!
Pour the cooled chocolate into the yolk and sugar mixture and gently fold in with a wooden spoon, blending evenly.
Stir two large spoonfuls of egg white into the chocolate to loosen the mix. Then gently fold in the rest with a metal spoon, turning it through and scraping the chocolate from the bottom, making sure not to knock out much air. Take your time, but don’t over do it.
Sift the cocoa powder over the top and very gently, but thoroughly, fold in with the metal spoon.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spread it evenly, and bake for 20-25 minutes until risen, firm, and with a delicate, paper-like crust. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
Lay a large piece of baking parchment on the worktop and lightly dust with icing sugar. Turn out the sponge carefully onto the sheet and steadily peel off the lining paper on the up-turned sponge, keeping low to the cake when pulling.
Whip the cream until it just holds its shape.
Spead the whipped cream over the smooth sponge, leaving a 2cm edge on all sides. With a sharp knife, make a shallow cut along one of the shorter ends, not cutting all the way through.
Roll the cut edge over slightly, then, using the bottom baking paper to lift and guide the sponge, continue the rest of the roll. Pull the sugared paper away from you to keep the tight curl and use your other hand to encourage the sponge. There will be a few cracks but that’s fine… it’s home baking! Use both hands occasionally to firm the sponge. If it rolls evenly, you will get fewer cracks. Move onto a serving platter/ board with two palette knives or large flat spatulas and dust with more icing sugar if needed.
There you have it!
To make the Yule Log –
- 175g dark chocolate (chopped)
- 250g icing sugar
- 225g soft butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
To transform your Chocolate Roulade into a Yule Log, all you need to do is to make some chocolate icing and some arty bark-like patterns on the top.
Once you’ve successfully rolled your sponge, leave it to the side and make the icing. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over hot water as before. Leave to cool once melted.
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the soft butter and mix together thoroughly. (This can be done in a food processor, but I find it more fun by hand, and I feel less guilty eating it afterwards because I know I worked for it!) Add the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract and combine until smooth.
Turn to the Swiss Roll. Diagonally cut one end of the roll, a few inches down. This will become a branch which extends off the main log. Move the trimmed log and the branch onto the serving board ready to construct and ice. Place the branch approximately a third of the way down, or wherever you’d like it, and fit the flat, sliced end against the main log.
Cover the entire cake in the icing sugar, not making it too smooth. Make sure the icing isn’t warm otherwise it will melt off. There will be plenty of icing, so don’t over do it, any left-overs can be kept for a few days in the fridge and used again once brought up to room temperature.
Using the blunt side of a dinner knife, mark the texture of the bark into the icing, making lots of slightly wavy, horizontal lines. You could also do a couple of raised swirls to show some knots in the wood, add a little extra icing mix for these. On the extra branch, make sure your lines lead away from the log, the same direction as the branch extends.
Store for long periods in the fridge, but take out to come to room temperature before serving, then it will cut smoothly and the icing will not be hard. It will last a good few days.
Dust with icing sugar before serving and there you have it, your Yule Log with a light coating of snow.