05 January 2008

Daring Bakers and the Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

I am a very, very bad little Daring Baker... This was supposed to be posted no later than 23 December, and I had it finished then, but it didn't get eaten until a few days later, though it was meant for Christmas. How in the world I could foresee into the future, I haven't a clue. Let me know if you find out.

What a challenge in store for December. A Bûche de Noël, with lovely meringue mushrooms (or marzipan, but I chose the other), was chosen by Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice (<--- click here for the recipe)and Lis at La Mia Cucina.

The components that stood out to me were the genoise, which did not contain butter, and the Swiss meringue buttercream. I had made neither of those before.

The making of the genoise went along quite easily, though it never really got thick to the point where thick ribbons streamed down.

Then the timer binged! and I went to rescue my genoise from hell... But apparently it already suffered a terrible blister. Look at the picture, now imagine it puffed up. Not cool.

In the words of Miss Clavel, "Something is not right, something is quite wrong. And so, I sing this song." Something was definitely not right, and that something was my buttercream. The beginning step reminded me of a 7-minute frosting in that you dissolve the sugar with egg whites over a double-boiler, but unlike a 7-minute frosting you remove it from the heat when you beat it. Well, mine never quite thickened. I added the butter anyway (an amount, 3 sticks, I thought too much, but it tasted wonderfully), got a really creamy texture, a slightly off-white hue, but still quite runny. Next, it was time to add the dissolved espresso powder. It curdled the beautiful mixture. I think it might have been due to dissolving the powder in cooled coffee instead of water... Or something.

After skinning the genoise, I decided to roll it up with the incredibly runny buttercream. (Despite the repulsing sight of the skinning, which very much reminded me of a real blister, and I know, I've had my share of blisters, I ate some of it anyway and it hands-down beats blister skin. No, wait, I'm not implying that I've eaten blister skin...)

I rolled it up and wrapped it in plastic wrap, then stuck it in the fridge.

The next night, I realized that, due to the runny buttercream, the center was not filled adequately.

Next, I made the meringue and piped out little mushroom caps and stems.

As the mushrooms baked, I took out the frosting only to find a curdled, thick mass. It didn't taste grainy, though, really smooth and dissolved easily. I added the remaining meringue to a bit of the buttercream because I was going to pipe more filling into the center of the roll.

The assembled meringue 'shrooms.

Sliced, then frosted. It was a bit difficult because the frosting kept coming up from the log. I made it work, however.

I heard this noise, and I realized it was coming from the container in which the 'shrooms were kept... Lo and behold, it was 'Shroom Dude with a special message!

The decorated 'shrooms, smudged with cocoa powder.

A bit late in the week, for Saturday's breakfast, we partook of the yule log. Everyone loved it, and the crunchy-chewy meringue 'shrooms were the perfect touch. My mom was especially surprised at the lightness of the dessert; knowing how much butter and stuff went into it, she expected it to be on the heavy side. The polar opposite, however, as the genoise was amazingly light and fluffy, the buttercream very creamy, and after consuming a slice with some mushrooms, it didn't feel like a log in the pit of my stomach. (Yes, pun intended.)


  1. Hey I can sympathize with having to skin your genoise! Great job, and hey, it can't always be on time :)

  2. Christina - I am sure glad to know that you have never eaten blister skin! You sure rose to the challenge and that is what it is all about! I really like the look of your mushrooms, you did a great job coloring them.

  3. Ew..blister skin.
    It sounds like this cake was quite a challenge, but at least you did it!
    You mushrooms look better than any I've seen, I think. They actually look like mushrooms. Most people made this HUGE.

    PS- I like the mushroom dude.

  4. Well better late than never. At least all the holiday madness is behind us. Great job.

  5. Blister skin is yucky, but your log looks really great. I love the mushrooms.

  6. It does sound like you struggled a bit with this one, but in the end pulled it together... your pictures are stunning and in no way signal a blistered genoise or a broken butter cream.

    Happy New Year!

  7. wow your mushrooms look so real!!!

    better late then never, so well done on completing this challenge.


  8. total success, in the end! it looks great!

  9. Wow, what a challenge! I just became a DB, can't wait to complete my first challenge. Loved the mushrooms!

  10. I think it looks faboo- you swiped that buttercream right back up out of hell-

    And hey- you got that log to roll up- which I did not make happen...

    Sweet work!

  11. You had some of the same issues I did...but yours looks a lot better :-)

  12. Your log looks fab and your mushrooms scrummy! mine were also calling me from the box....how strange!

  13. Wow! Those are some fabulous pictures. I've never made meringues before, I guess DB really does have some challenges. Any tips?

  14. Well, you certainly made me laugh tonight! I love the little mushroom man...

    Great job on your challenge this month and don't worry about it being late.

  15. Despite your problems, it still looks great! And I love your mushrooms!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


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