Ottawa·Recipe

Make your own holiday yule log

In our series of holiday cake baking, where we covered stollen, panettone and fruitcake, we've arrived at the yule log.

Ice cream is the star in Pascale Berthiaume's annual yule log creations

The finished Pascale's natural ice cream yule log. (Supplied/Pascale Berthiaume )

In our series of holiday cake baking, where we covered stollen, panettone and fruitcake, we've arrived at the yule log.

Many of us only know the yule log from its mass produced grocery store freezer case versions. But there is a better way.

Take, for instance, the handmade Bûches de Noël up for custom order from Pascale's Natural Ice Cream on Gladstone Avenue. 

"I can make 15 at a time with the molds. And it's definitely a process. So I pull it out, I spray it, I put it back in the freezer. I stash it then I decorate it, then I box it," said Berthiaume, who used to hand role the cakes before switching to log-shaped molds to speed up the process. 
Pascale Berthiaume uses a special mold to give her ice cream a 'wooden' appearance, and places it on a special sponge cake before coating it in a chocolate which hardens as it makes contact with the ice cream. (Submitted/Pascale Berthiaume)

Other handmade logs can be had from The Merry Dairy and 3 Sisters in Ottawa.

If you want to make one at home, here is a yule log recipe from Vandana Jain, who appeared on holiday week of The Great Canadian Baking Show. This version is soaked with Brandy syrup and filled with chocolate whipped cream and cherry jam. 

(The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Ingredients

Pinecones:

  • ¼ cup 35 per cent cream.
  • 4 oz dark chocolate.
  • ½ cup sliced, skin-on almonds.

Chocolate spongecake:

  • ½ cup flour.
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder.
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch.
  • ¼ tsp baking powder.
  • ½ tsp salt, divided.
  • 6 large eggs, separated.
  • ⅛ tsp cream of tartar.
  • 1 cup superfine sugar, divided.
  • ¾ tsp vanilla.
  • ¼ cup icing sugar.

Cherry jam:

  • 1 cup chopped cherries.
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • ½ tsp ginger powder.
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg.
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves.
  • 1 tbsp water.
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch.
  • 1 tsp butter.

Chocolate whipped cream:

  • 1 cup 35 per cent cream.
  • ¼ cup sugar.
  • 2 tbsp cocoa.

Chocolate icing:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3 cups icing sugar.
  • ½ cup cocoa powder.
  • ¼ cup heavy cream.
  • 1 tsp vanilla.
  • ½ tsp salt.

Brandy syrup:

  • ¼ cup water.
  • ¼ cup sugar.
  • 2 tbsp brandy.

Decorations:

  • Cherries.
  • Mint leaves.
  • Icing sugar.

Preparation

Pinecones:

  1. In a small saucepan, scald cream over medium heat.
  2. Pour over chocolate in small heat-proof bowl and let stand for one minute before stirring to completely melt chocolate.
  3. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Form into four rounded-pyramid-shaped balls.
  5. Press almonds into balls to resemble pinecones. Chill in fridge until ready to use.

Chocolate sponge cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray a 17 x 12-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low with remaining salt and cream of tartar until frothy, about one minute. Increase the speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form. Add ¾ cup sugar, two tablespoons at a time. Whip until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, about two minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In the same stand mixer bowl, whip egg yolks with remaining sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened, about one minute. Fold into whites. Sift dry ingredients over egg mixture and fold in.
  5. Spread onto the prepared pan.
  6. Bake until sponge is puffy and springs back when pressed, about 13 to 15 minutes. Cool for five minutes.
  7. Sift icing sugar onto a clean tea towel and invert cake onto towel. Peel off the parchment. Starting at short end, roll up tightly with towel. Place seam side down on cooling rack.

Cherry jam:

  1. Combine cherries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for seven minutes. Add spices and cook for two minutes.
  2. Stir water with cornstarch in a small bowl to combine. Stir into cherries and simmer for one minute until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Chocolate whipped cream:

  1. Using a hand mixer, whip ingredients in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate icing:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy and pale in colour, about three minutes.
  2. Stir in icing sugar, one cup at a time until combined.
  3. Add cocoa. Increase speed and beat until fluffy, about two to three minutes.
  4. Add cream, vanilla and salt; beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

Brandy syrup:

  1. In small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil.
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about one minute. Stir in brandy.

Assembly:

  1. Unroll cake onto cutting board and remove tea towel. Brush with warm brandy syrup.
  2. Spread with cherry jam, then chocolate whipped cream; both to within half-inch of edges.
  3. Starting at one short end, roll up tightly and place on serving plate, seam side down.
  4. Spread roll evenly with chocolate icing.
  5. Using a fork, run tines along roll to create wood grain texture.
  6. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with cherries and mint. Add pinecones before serving.

Preparation Time: 70 Minutes

Servings: Makes 10 servings