Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Ho Ho Ho: Another Holiday Recipe

My Christmas present for you today.

I took French classes, starting in high school. That included French Christmas carols and French recipes. Among my favorites was one for a Bûche de Noël. I loved baking, a skill handed down from my mother, and she was always game for a new recipe.

A bûche is pretty on the table and decadent to eat. I decorated mine with gumdrop leaves and berries (some people use cranberries and mint leaves) and meringue mushrooms. So, if you need a project and want something delicious to eat, here's my recipe for you today.

What's your favorite food "centerpiece?"

Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake)


Cooking spray
5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 c. granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
Powdered sugar or unsweetened cocoa to roll the cake

creamy rum FILLING
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup milk
2 egg yoks, slightly beaten
2 tbsp. rum
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. corn oil margarine 

Chocolate curls


Small rosemary sprigs

Meringue mushrooms


Mint leaves
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  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment or waxed paper and grease with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs whites at high speed until soft peaks forms. Beating constantly, add 4 tablespoons of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. 
  3. In small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until well mixed. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat about 4 minutes or until thick and light in color. With mixer at low speed beat in cocoa and vanilla until well mixed. Gently fold cocoa mixture into egg whites until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until cake springs back lightly when touched.
  4. Immediately turn cake out onto cloth dusted with confectioners' sugar or unsweetened cocoa. Remove parchment or waxed paper. Roll cake from short side in cloth. Cool on wire rack.
  5. Make filling: In a 1 quart saucepan, stir together sugar and corn starch. Gradually stir in milk until smooth. Stir in egg yolks. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in rum until well blended. Turn into medium bowl. Cover with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Cool slightly (no longer than 1 hour). Gently fold in whipped cream. 
  1. Make frosting: In top of a double boiler over simmering water, stir together chocolate chips, water, corn syrup and margarine. Stirring constantly, cook about 5 minutes or until melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Fill bottom of double boiler with ice. With wooden spoon, beat chocolate mixture over ice for about 5 minutes or until mixture is spreadable consistency. Remove from ice.
  1. Diagonally slice about a 1-1/2 inch portion off each end of the cake. Reserve about 1/3 cup frosting for the cut portions and spread cake with remaining frosting. Using a fork, make ridges in cake to resemble bark. Place reserved pieces of cake against frosted log to resemble knots. Frost knots with reserved frosting and chill.
Meringue Mushrooms
3/4 cup sugar 
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Unsweetened cocoa
1 square (1 ounce) semi-sweet chocolate
  1. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment or brown paper. In small saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. In large mixing bowl, beat egg whites at high speak until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and salt. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Still in vanilla. Beating constantly, pour in hot syrup in a thin steady stream. Continue beating until mixture becomes stiff and glossy.
  2. To form mushroom stems, fit a large pastry bag with 1/2 inch plain, round tip. Fill with 1/3 of meringue mixture. Holding pastry bag vertically over baking sheet, push out meringue slowly while raising the bag straight up. Form stems about 1 inch high, with base slightly wider. Cut the meringue away from the tube with a small knife. To form mushroom caps, fill pastry bag with remaining 2/3 meringue. Press out rounds. 1 inch apart on sheet, 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inches high. Sharply twist bag to avoid leaving a peak on top. If desired, sprinkle lightly with unsweetened cocoa. Bake at 250 for 1 hour. 
  3. Turn oven off. Open door and leave meringues in over 1 hour to dry. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate. 
  4. With a small, sharp knife, make a small hole in the flat side of each meringue round. Dip stem end in melted chocolate. Insert in cap. Store mushroom in airtight container.

  5. You can find more of the French traditions I learned about in


  1. Meringue was impossible in hot, humid Florida, and baking is impossible without serious recipe adaptations here at 9100 feet now. But this looks yummy. I have a recipe for a decadent chocolate bundt cake from my high altitude cookbook that I make for special occasions. If there will be people around. It's been a while.

    1. Must be a challenge to adapt recipes for altitude! Chocolate cake sounds yummy.