Wednesday, 10 December 2014


Recipe: Festive Yule Log

Time taken: 2 hours maybe (including the hour break in the middle)
Ingredients: 4 free range eggs, 100g caster sugar, 60 g self-raising flour, 40g cocoa, 600ml (a pint) of double cream), 300g dark/plain chocolate (same thing), a little icing sugar, a little butter and festive decorations.

Hi readers,
If I’m honest I’m losing track of which day of the week it is. I just had to check using the pop-up calendar in the corner of my computer screen. How ridiculous! It’s Wednesday. OBVIOUSLY it’s Wednesday. Get a grip. Somebody slap me in the face.

I think it’s so hard to even tell the day of the week because I’m so entirely surrounded by Christmas. Little else has any meaning these days. Two days ago? Geography Society Christmas Meal (which was a total blast – wine by the bottle and outrageous dancing in Flares!). Yesterday? Flat Christmas (again a blast – we carried off the cooking and had a major quiz-off). Tonight? Christmas Meal with a bunch of the geography girls to include those who couldn’t come to the official meal (at Fat Hippo – I can’t WAIT). The day after? Christmas manicure and a gig with my friend, Woody. The day after that? DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.

So really, when measuring the days this way, it’s not shocking that I don’t know the actual day of the week. But it is still ridiculous. Anyway, yesterday I found time to make it back into the kitchen, readers! As a vegetarian, I didn’t play a major role in the Flat Christmas dinner prep. Largely, I was in charge of chopping veg here and there. And I set the table and crafted handmade placemats. AND BAKED THE YULE LOG!

That’s right! One of my flatmates took charge of Dessert Option A (bread n butter pudding) and Dessert Option B was all for me to take care of!! What a responsibility! I actually got really concerned about this. But it the end it went shockingly to plan and I managed to muddle together a pretty decent yule log, readers. I followed a Mary Berry recipe the whole way and it did me proud.

Here’s the one just for you (slightly simplified for student readers)…

1.       Heat your oven to 200˚C.

2.       Using some kitchen roll, grease a rectangular cake tine with butter.

3.       Line the tin with baking paper.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I’d run out of baking paper so I used tin foil instead and, luckily, this worked fine! Maybe don’t use clingfilm though, as I imagine this melts in the oven.

4.       Crack your eggs and measure your sugar into a mixing bowl.

5.       Use an electric hand whisk to whisk these together, until the mixture is pale, light and frothy.

6.       Measure your flour and cocoa into a sieve together.

7.       Shake so that these delicately fall over your egg mix.

8.       Use a spatula to fold the flour mix into the egg mix, until they’re full incorporated and you have a chocolatey goo.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Be careful when folding not to knock the air out of your mix. If you do this, it won’t rise very much in the oven. A terrible shame.

9.       Carefully pour the cake mix into your lined tin. Tip the tin around so that the mix spreads evenly to every corner.

10.   Carefully transport your tin into the oven and leave to bake for 8-10 minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Keep checking on your sponge and maybe switch the tin around after 5 minutes so it faces the other way, you don’t want any part of your sponge to burn!

11.   Meanwhile, lay a piece of baking paper on your work surface that is bigger than the size of the cake tin. Rather than baking paper I used foil again. And it worked again. I also hear you can use a clean tea towel.
12.   Use your sieve to dust icing sugar over your baking paper/replacement-item.

13.   When your cake is well risen, firm to touch, it springs back when you poke it and it’s shrinking away from the edges of the tin, take it out of the oven.

14.   Run a sharp knife around its edges, to make sure the cake isn’t stuck to the tin.

15.   Tip your tin upside down over your baking paper, so that the cake falls out onto the icing sugar below.

16.   Remove the baking paper stuck to your cake, which had been lining the cake tin.

17.   Along a long edge of your cake, use a sharp knife to core a little line along the length of the cake, an inch away from its edge.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Don’t cut this bit of the cake off, just draw a line with your knife. Try not to go too deep into the cake with the knife. It should still be attached.

18.   Starting at this edge, tightly roll up the sponge with the paper inside it.

19.   Sit the roll on its outside edge and leave to cool completely (mine took an hour or so).

20.   Meanwhile, heat half of your cream in a pan.

21.   Break your chocolate up into squares.

22.   When the cream is reasonably warm, remove it from the heat and add your chocolate. Stir it all in until the chocolate is melted and you have a chocolate-coloured goo.

23.   Pour this into a bowl and leave in the fridge to cool and firm up. This will be the outer coating of your yule log.

24.   Pour the other half of the cream into a mixing bowl. Use an electric hand whisk to whip the cream.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: The aim here is to make your cream a solid, like squirty cream. It takes about ten minutes. You know it’s ready when the cream stands of its own accord in stiff peaks. Don’t over-whip. Keep an eye on it.

25.   Pop this in the fridge to keep cool. Go chill for a while.

26.   When your swiss roll feels TOTALLY COOL you can uncurl it and spread the whipped cream evenly over the top.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I didn’t use all the cream. Some was felt over. I kept this in the fridge for eating with the yule log when it was served later in the evening. Handy.

27.   Re-roll your swiss role tightly, this time without the paper.

28.   Cover it entirely, really thickly, with the chocolate ganache topping that you have in the fridge. Coat the whole log with it.

29.   Run a fork along your yule log to make lines in the ganache, so it looks like proper bark.

30.   Cut a quarter of the length of the yule log off, diagonally not straight.

31.   Transfer your bigger piece of cake onto a serving plate or presentation board.
ChefBehere Top Tip: I made my own by covering a chopping board in foil.

32.   Angle your small piece next to the bigger one, so that it looks like a branch.

33.   Decorate your cake! This can mean just dusting some icing sugar on it like snow. Or I had holly and berry sprinkles to use. Or you can adorn it with fresh holly or a little plastic robin, maybe. Get creative.

And that’s it! In just 33 steps (it’s a mammoth recipe, I know) you’ve made yourself a yule log!! Well done! Here’s my baby from yesterday… part branch, part revolver...

Isn’t it amazing?? What do you think? I was pretty proud of my work, I have to say. And my flatmates were so lovely when they tasted it! Lots of compliments about my baking. :) It was a lovely end to a very special Flat Christmas. Eating our yule log. I wholly recommend this recipe. Mary Berry never lets me down and her yule log definitely has the X factor! Go give it a try this December. And let me know how yours come out! You’ll be fine I promise. Ready, set, BAKE!

Roll safely kids,


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