Chocolate Roll

When I make a birthday cake for a friend, I have two things in mind. One, I don't like buttercream laden, syrup soaked cakes. They are everywhere. And two, I want to make a cake that the birthday girl or boy will like and the cake has some sort of a legacy.  I am not sure what the recipients of the cakes think of that. Oh well.

With another birthday coming up, I kept switching from one cake to the next. My baker friend and I had endless chats on what we could and could not make. We wanted something new, something different, and we settled on a Yule log at the last minute. It was long past Christmas, but ever since I saw the recipe for the perfect Yule Log, I needed an excuse to make it.

Traditionally, Yule Log or bûche de Noël - is a cake that's made at Christmas.  Bûche de Noël comes from France/Europe from the Iron Age (medieval era), when it was traditional to burn a log of wood at Christmas which came after the winter solstice, to celebrate the end of the winter season and when the days start getting longer. In the early 17th century the first cakes appeared, to continue the tradition, albeit with cake. And the cakes were popularized in Paris during the 1800s. It is still made in bakeries and patisseries everywhere (even here, in India) for Christmas. The cake is very similar to the swiss roll - a flat sponge cake is filled and rolled. And in this case, iced, with a  chocolate frosting. This combined with the design of the frosting which imitates the bark of tree. 

A classic Yule Log has a white buttercream filling and a chocolate roll with a chocolate buttercream frosting covering the cake. The cake is decorated with marzipan mushrooms, marzipan leaves, and dusted with icing sugar. Imagine that for a Christmas dinner.

The cake that I made is probably not a traditional Yule Log, since I wasn't too keen on using buttercream and we made a vanilla cake instead of chocolate. So the effect was a chocolate swirl inside a white cake covered in chocolate ganache. And I decorated it with editable golden stars and not marzipan leaves. Oh, details. This after all was a birthday cake.

Chocolate Roll
Recipe adapted from a lot of places. Cake recipe is from a textbook.  (The cake can be made flourless too - see Joy of Baking)

The roll is not 'fatless'. While sponge cakes can be made without adding fat, this recipe I think makes for a sturdier and softer spong roll. The proportion of chocolate to cream in the ganache for this cake makes for a smoother softer ganche that's easy to spread (and eat)

For the cake:

You need - 

100 gms sugar
4 eggs
100 gms all purpose flour (Maida)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil

For the ganache

175 gms dark chocolate - chooped into small pieces or grated.
200 ml fresh cream (or use single cream)

To make the cake - 

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celcius. Line a baking tray with butter paper. Sift the flour with the making powder and set aside.

2. In a large bowl combine the eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk them together until the mixture is light and mousse like (pale yellow in colour, light, airy and more than double in volume)

3. Fold in the sifted flour into the eggs. Cut and fold, so that all the flour is incorporated. Fold the batter gently, so that it can retain the air. Add the oil and fold (2-3 times) again.

4. Pour it into the prepared tray and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cake, because it bakes really fast. When it starts getting slightly golden around the edges, remove it from the oven. Immediately, turn this cake onto a tea towel or a icing sugar dusted (generously) butter paper. Roll the cake when it is hot and immediately put it in the fridge (this is what my Mom has taught me and it works every time). Let the cake rest in the fridge for 15 minutes - 1/2 hour.

5. Just before taking the cake out, make the ganache by boiling the cream. Once the cream comes to a boil, take it off the heat and add the chocolate in and whisk vigorously until the chocolate has evenly melted and you have a smooth ganche.

6. Unroll the cake and pour 1/4 th (about 3-4 tbsp) of the ganache on to the cake. Spread it with a palette knife until it is evenly coated. Roll the cake again, this time removing the tea towel/paper as you go. Lift the roll gently onto a cake board or serving plate.

7. Coat the cake with 3-4 tbsps of the remaining ganache and chill it in the freezer for 2 minutes. This way, the ganache sets, and it's easier to make the final layer of frosting. Pour over the remaining ganache, spread it evenly on the cake and use a fork - by running it in the frosting in small strokes - to imitate the effect of a bark.


  1. sounds yummy. can we have a taste too?
    &&&&& how can you NOT like buttercream? I mean, c'mon now :) this is pprfldr btw

    1. ok, clarification :) I like buttercream, just not the overly sweet margarine stuff. now all butter or swiss or italian - they are a different story all together!

  2. Can't wait to make this... :)


Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you! If you have seen anything, eaten anything or been to anyplace mentioned here write in! If you want to share something interesting, go ahead! Want to make an obesrvation or want to give me your feedback, I am all ears. But derogatory, racist, rude or comments that are just plain mean, are not welcome around here. Comments are moderated for now; and any promotional campaigns will promptly filtered.

Popular Posts