I’m not a huge fan of Christmas cake so my absolute favourite dessert to have at Christmas time is a Chocolate Yule Log! It’s a light chocoate sponge filled with whipped cream and coated in a rich chocolate ganache – what’s not to like! This recipe is based on a Mary Berry one, with a few of my own touches. I’ve made it so many times over the years I’ve lost count… It always disappears fast whenever I serve it! And I’m always hoping there’s enough left so I can go back for another slice!
To start I make the ganache topping because it has to cool down and set in the fridge for a few hours. I heated the double cream and butter on a low heat, then I mixed in dark chocolate until it was smooth and glossy. Then I popped it in the fridge for a few hours.
For the sponge I used my food mixer to whisk up eggs with caster sugar until frothy and at the ‘ribbon stage’. Then sifted in self-raising flour and cocoa powder and folded it into the egg mixture gently so as not to lose the frothiness.
I poured the mixture it into a lined baking tray with a lip and baked for 10 minutes.
Whilst it was baking I prepared a sheet of baking paper dusted generously with icing sugar, when it was done I tipped the sponge out onto it straight away. Then I peeled off the baking paper it was baked in and rolled the sponge up as tight as I could, taking the fresh baking paper with it. I left it to cool fully still wrapped in the paper.
Once the sponge was cold, I whipped up some double cream with icing sugar and vanilla for the filling. I unrolled the sponge and spread out the cream onto it using a palette knife. Then I rolled it back up again.
I cut the roll diagonally at one end and positioned on a serving board to look like a branch.
The ganache was nice and thick by now. I piped it onto the sponge and used a fork to create texture.
I made a holly sprig with fondant and dusted the Chocolate Yule Log with icing sugar.
If like me you stand in the camp of not liking Christmas pudding or cake, the Christmas Yule Log is a great alternative dessert idea for Christmas Day!
I usually make about three of these every year to take to all my Christmas events and meals. To make it a bit easier, you don’t have to cut the roll, you can just leave it straight too.
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Chocolate Yule Log
For the ganache
- 300 g Dark chocolate
- 300 ml Double cream
- 30 g Butter
For the sponge
- 4 Eggs large
- 100 g Caster sugar
- 65 g Self raising flour
- 40 g Cocoa powder
For the filling
- 175 ml Double cream
- 1 tbsp Icing sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Icing sugar
- Green fondant optional
- Red fondant optional
Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/400F/Gas Mark 6, line a large swiss roll tin or a baking tray with a lip, with baking paper
Make the ganache first as it needs time to cool. Heat the double cream and butter in a pan on a low heat, you want to to be warm but not so hot you couldn't hold your finger in it
Take it off the heat and add the dark chocolate broken into pieces. Leave for a few minutes, then stir and the chocolate should have melted. Put in the fridge to set for 3 - 4 hours
For the sponge, whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk or in a food mixer for 8 minutes until it reaches 'ribbon stage' - this is when you can drizzle the mixer in a figure 8 and it doesn't sink back immediately
Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder, trying not to lose the volume
Pour into the tin, and tip the tin to spread the mixture around. Bake for 10 minutes
Remove from the oven and tip onto a clean sheet of baking paper that has been dusted with icing sugar
Remove the baking paper the sponge was baked with, then roll up the sponge, taking the clean baking paper with it, then leave to cool completely
Whip up the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla for the filling
Gently unroll the sponge and spread the cream all over it
Re-roll the sponge, diagonally slice about a third of the sponge off and position it along the side of the larger piece of sponge to look like a tree branch
Remove the ganache from the fridge, it should be very thick by now. If it's too stif, microwave it for 30 seconds and stir well to loosen it up again. Pipe or spread the ganache all over the sponge. If piping, use a star nozzle to create texture. If spreading, use a fork to create texture
Dust with icing sugar and add a decorative holly leaf made from fondant in the centre if you like
Serve immediately, store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days
Recipe slightly adapted from Mary Berry.
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