A classic French holiday cake is the Buche de Noel, a cake roll that is decorated to resemble a yule log. The traditional recipe is a sponge cake or genoise made with flour. This cake is gluten-free. The combination of whole eggs, sugar, and chocolate provide the bases for the cake. It is then bathed in a smooth chocolate glaze and spread to resemble the bark of a tree. Nuts can be add to the sides, if desired. We left this version unadored. We celebrate the holidays , all 12 days, and the cake can be served on any one of the twelve. If you want to serve this cake on the 12th Day, add a small doll or trinket, as they do for King’s Cake. The person getting the trinket has good luck for the year, so goes the legend.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 18 minutes
8 squares (8 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons espresso powder
8 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons warm water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons butter
6 squares (6 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
1. For Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15-1/2×10 1/2×1-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper; set aside. Melt the 8 squares chocolate in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth.
(Or, microwave the chocolate in a large microwave-proof bowl on high 1 minute. Let stand 5 minutes.; stir until melted and smooth. If not, return to the microwave for 15 more seconds and stir until smooth.) Combine the vanilla and espresso powder in a cup; set aside.
3. Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixer bowl on high speed until thick and pale, 5 minutes.
4. With a rubber spatula, fold in one-third of the eggs into the chocolate until well-blended. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cocoa over the chocolate mixture; then fold in vanilla-espresso mixture and remaining egg mixture until just blended.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake 18 minutes just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our sticky. Remove from oven and sprinkle the last tablespoon cocoa evenly over the top. Cover with waxed paper then a clean tea towel. Place a wire rack over tea towel and invert; peel off the parchment paper. Roll up cake from the long edge and let stand until cool.
6. To make Filling: Stir the 2 tablespoons cocoa and water until well mixed. Add the heavy cream and sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Carefully unroll the cake (it may crack and break). Spread the cream to within 1-inch of one long side and roll up with the aid of the waxed paper and towel. (Can be made ahead. Wrap well and freeze up to one week.)
7. For glaze: Remove the cake from the freezer; let stand at room temperature while preparing the glaze. In a medium saucepan, bring corn syrup, water, and butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until chocolate melts and is smooth. Pour glaze on the cake, spreading along the sides with metal spatula. Let stand an hour or until glaze is set. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Makes 12 to 14 servings.