There are many, many ways to make a buche de Noel – sponge cake, buttercream, whipped cream, meringue mushrooms – the list goes on and on. This version is light and airy, delicate and sophisticated, and modern in it’s presentation. Having a party? This is the perfect centerpiece for the dessert table!
by volume by weight
1/2 cup cocoa powder 59 grams cocoa powder
1/2 cup boiling water 120 grams boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla 8 grams vanilla
2/3 cup sugar 132 grams sugar
6 large egg yolks 108 grams egg yolks
6 large egg whites 300 grams egg whites
filling and icing:
2 cups whipping cream 454 grams whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar 63 grams powdered sugar
2 ounces gianduja 57 grams gianduja
2/3 cup raspberry jam 225 grams raspberry jam
1 teaspoon vanilla 4 grams vanilla
Heat the oven to 350F. Mix the cocoa powder and the boiling water to a smooth chocolate paste. I do this with a fork to make sure there are no lumps of cocoa. Stir in the vanilla.
Whip the egg yolks with half of the sugar until very light and almost white in color. This will take about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chocolate paste. It is not necessary to mix completely – a few streaks are fine.
Whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Gently stir 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the texture.
Return this to the remaining egg whites and fold in just until combined.
Pour the batter into a parchment lined pan.
The batter should have a mousse like texture and will need to be spread with an offset spatula to make sure it is smooth and level.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely on a wire rack and remove carefully from the pan. The cake will collapse slightly as it cools.
Spread the jam gently over the surface of the cake. Leave a small edge bare on the far side of the cake. This will help prevent filling oozing out of the center of the cake when it is rolled.
For the filling and icing, melt the gianduja with approximately 1/4 cup of the cream. Let this cool while whipping the cream.
Whip the remaining cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla to soft peaks. Fold approximately 2 cups of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Spread this over the cake in the same way the jam was spread being sure to leave that small border on the side of the cake away from you. Refrigerate the remaining cream while you roll up the cake.
Loosen the paper from the edge of the cake closest to you and gently start to roll the cake. Use the paper to help roll and gently peel the paper back as you go.
Once the cake is rolled up, wrap the paper around the outside and refrigerate for an hour. Refrigerating will make the cake much easier to handle.
Line the serving dish with two wide strips of parchment. This will keep the plate clean while you decorate.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and remove from the paper. Lay the cake in between the two strips and spread the remaining whipped cream over the surface of the roll.
Trim the ends of the roll on the diagonal and then remove the strips of paper by pulling carefully on one end of the paper strip.
Now you can finish the cake any way you want! I used chocolate shavings, sprigs of rosemary, and real holly.
There are so many possibilities when making a buche de Noel. I really like this recipe because the cake is simple to roll and tender and light. If you prefer, you can use sponge cake but the sponge cake will need to be brushed with simple syrup or it will be dry.
The filling can be composed any way you want. If you don’t care for raspberry jam, use another flavor or leave it out altogether. The same is true for the gianduja. If you don’t care for nuts or are allergic to them, use regular milk or bittersweet chocolate. Or you could make the cake plain by leaving the cocoa powder out and then fill it with whipped cream and lemon curd.
Decorate your buche de Noel with meringue mushrooms if you like or completely cover with chocolate shavings – or both! Sugared cranberries and orange peel also make lovely, elegant additions. Experiment and enjoy!