For those of you who read my post yesterday, the leaves at the very end were chocolate leaves we made to accompany thew Buche de Noel. Here is the recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Frozen-Chocolate-Peppermint-Buche-de-Noel-362809
I must confess, I’m really not much of a peppermint person. This cake was my assignment and I probably, well definitely, would not have chosen to make it on my own. It was also a total b*tch. I am no stranger to complicated cakes and don’t shy away from a challenge, but considering I didn’t really like the end product, it was so not worth it. That being said, it’s quite beautiful and if you like peppermint and chocolate, definitely give it a shot.
There were too many steps and I was too stressed to document every step, so you’ll just have to bear with my narrations. Here we go. First, you mix together the dry ingredients for the cake in one small bowl. Then in a big bowl you mix together the wet ingredients. You add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix together. Once they are totally combined, you clean the beaters. You then whip together the egg whites, cream of tartar and the sugar until it is stiff, but not dry. Next, you add the meringue mix basically in thirds. The recipes suggests that you fold the meringue into the cake to make sure it stays fluffy. Fluffy is great, but my cake was actually a bit too fluffy, so some mixing might have been good.
Prior to making the cake mix, I prepared the pan. The recipe calls for a 10 x 15 inch pan. If my cake was a little thinner this size would work great. I cut out parchment for the bottom of the pan, sprayed it and then sprinkled it with cocoa. When the batter was done I poured it into the pan and cooked for 12 minutes.
After 12 minutes of baking, I let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I laid out a clean, smooth towel and sifted more cocoa onto the towel so the cake wouldn’t stick. After the ten minutes, I turned the cake out onto the towel. At this point, I was feeling a little anxious. I need to roll the cake up into a log shape…..without breaking it. I must confess, it was very stressful. Despite my worries, this step of the cake went quite smoothly. I moved the log to a safe place and let it cool completely. (Up until this point was all done the afternoon of Christmas Eve day).
When I returned home from Christmas Eve dinner, I returned to my cake. The recipe then said I need to roll out the cake and put a layer of ice cream on top of the cake. This is where my troubles began. I softened the ice cream too much, so after I sprinkled the crushed candy canes on top of the ice cream and went to roll up the cake, the ice cream squished out of the sides. Additionally, because it was so goupy (for lack of a better word), I couldn’t roll up the cake as many times as it should be. There were many cuss words involved. In a fit of disappointment, I managed to cover the mess with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.
I returned to my disaster on Christmas day. I sliced off the end of the cake and placed it on one side of the log (to look like a knot). Then, I whipped up some delicious meringue and covered the cake with a thick layer. Using a fork, I made grooves along the top. Then it went back in the freezer for 3 hours.
About 30 minutes before I intended to serve dessert, I took the cake out and using a kitchen torch, burned little marks on the log to make it look like real bark. Back again to the freezer. When it was time to serve, I took out the cake, cut slices, and plated the cake with homemade chocolate sauce, chocolate leaves, mint sprigs and candy canes.
This is what the cake looked like after several pieces had been served. As you can see, it didn’t have enough loops in it, but from the outside it looked lovely.
This is what the fancy plate looked like. It really was quite nice in the end, just not as pretty as the magazine.