I won’t lie to you. For days, weeks even, I have been complaining about how tired I am and how badly I need a break from the blog, recipe creation and constant need to be creative. And two days into my ‘holiday’ I was itching to get back into it, my head full with ideas for new festive recipes. I guess I am a Scorpio and born to be contrary! It does help that I am not cooking for, or entertaining, a crowd – it will just be a small family Christmas and I am pretty relaxed about it.
Yes, there will be a roast turkey – my Canadian husband will not deviate on that tradition one little bit. Having tried the roasting bag method for Thanksgiving, I am pretty confident the turkey will be a success with absolutely minimal effort on my part. There will also be gravy, stuffing, and roast potatoes… more than enough for our family of four, though I am sure Brutus, our dog, will be on hand to help make food disappear! And there will also be cocktails – for the grown ups only of course.
Right now, I am writing this post for gingerbread Yule log with spiced chocolate filling and mirror chocolate glaze while enjoying a Red Queen cocktail, utterly content to be doing what I love most. And let’s talk about this cake… Seeing as I have a gingerbread layer cake (with lots of positive comments from readers – thank you so much!) and not one but two gingerbread bundt cake options, it was time to create a yule log version.
The gingerbread sponge is baked in a shallow baking tin (pay attention to the size as it is important) and it uses only whisked egg whites for rising. It is also quite low on fat, containing only scant amount of melted butter. This means that the cake will really benefit being brushed with a little sugar syrup or rum to up the moisture levels. The filling could not be easier and am I quite proud of the (gelatine-free) mirror glaze. It goes on super-shiny but will eventually lose some of its lustre as it cools. If you fancy an easier filling that will create more contrast then use sweetened whipped cream instead of chocolate.
To those of you reading this post today/tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! And to my family and friends scattered all over the globe, I so badly wish we could spend it together.
- 4 large eggs separated
- 90 g | 3oz soft light brown sugar sifted
- 90 g | 3oz plain all purpose flour
- 2 level tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 50 g | 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted or browned
- a little rum or simple syrup for brushing over the sponge
- caster sugar for dusting
- festive sprinkles and edible gold glitter for decorating
- Chocolate filling
- 300 g | 10 1/2 oz mascarpone cheese
- 200 g | 7oz dark chocolate melted
- 150 g | 5 1/2 oz icing sugar
- 2 tbsp stem ginger syrup
- 2 globes stem ginger very finely diced
- Chocolate mirror glaze
- 90 g | 3oz dark chocolate very finely chopped
- 75 ml | 2 1/2fl oz whole milk
- 1 tbsp honey or golden syrup
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 220C (425F) 200C Fan assisted (400F). Put a clean tea towel on your countertop and cover with greaseproof paper. Dust the paper with caster sugar.
- Melt the butter in a small saucpan. If you wish to brown it - which will add lots of lovely nutty flavour - continue to cook over low heat, swirling the pot. The butter will foam and turn from golden yellow to toasty brown. Once you smell the nutty aroma, take off the heat and set aside.
- Lightly brush a 30x20cm (12x8in) swiss roll tin with a little of the melted butter. Line with greaseproof paper and grease the paper as well.
- Put the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a bowl.
- Put the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer (no need to clean) and whisk until pale and doubled in volume.
- Gradually sift in the flour, cocoa powder and spices, in three additions, gently folding it in as you do.
- Gradually add the egg whites and melted butter, folding into the batter until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared tin and level. Bake for 8-10 minutes until sponge is firm.
- Carefully turn the sponge onto the greaseproof paper you prepared earlier. Peel the paper used to line the tin.
- Dust with a little sugar and make a small cut in the middle of one short edge. Cover with a clean piece of greaseproof paper and roll tightly, using the paper to help you. Cover with a lightly damp tea towel and leave to cool.
- Make the frosting. Put all the ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on low speed until combined. Gradually add the melted chocolate and whisk on high until smooth.
- Unroll the cooled sponge and brush with a little rum or spiced simple syrup. Spread with the fiilling. Sprinkle the chopped ginger over the top. Roll up again and spread a thin layer of the filling all over the yule log, filling in at ends.
- Cover with clingfilm and chill for an hour or overnight. Save any remaining filling in a piping bag fitted with large star tip for decorating the cake.
- Transfer the cake onto a wire rack set over a deep roasting tin.
- Prepare the chocolate glaze: put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the milk, honey and cocoa powder in a small pan, stirring to mix together, until almost boiling.
- Pour over the chocolate and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Use a small balloon whisk to gently stir the chocolate, starting in the centre of the bowl. Gently and slowly increase the stirring motion until you have a smooth glossy glaze.
- Pour the glaze over the yule log to cover it completely. Let the excess glaze to drip into the tray below (scrape it into a jug to use for drizzling over the cake).
- Transfer the cake onto a platter. Pipe rosettes of reserved filling over the top. Sprinkle with decorations and edible giltter and drizzle with a little more glaze. Serve at room temperature but keep cake in the fridge if you are not serving immediately.