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Daring Baker’s Challenge – French Yule Log

Posted Dec 29 2008 5:51pm

This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

What a fun fun fun and chocolaty delicious challenge this month! It’s a good thing I had plenty of time away from the office to work on this Yule Log. Although it wasn’t terribly difficult, it took quite a bit of time to make all six elements (cake, mousse, crisp, ganache, crème brulee, and frosting), plan their vegan preparation, and manage my time to make sure it would all come together and be ready to serve on Christmas Day. Believe it or not, my main concern was that it would be chocolate overload!

The most important element of the Yule Log was the mousse filling. VCTOTW Chocolate Mousse Frosting with a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua added in was incredibly delicious. VCTOTW also provided my ganache. Crème brulee was replaced with JOVB pastry crème. I got to use one of my favorite ingredients, rice krispies, to make a white chocolate crisp.

The cake was more of a challenge. The recipe provided was a meringue almond cake, which I presume was crispy, but not really a vegan option (3 egg whites). I thought about a graham cracker layer, but wasn’t sure I could make it almond flavored. I finally decided on the best almond cake recipe I had, the one from My Sweet Vegan. Not a meringue cake, but a delicious almond cake!

The frosting was the only other element I struggled with, because it was made with gelatin or agar agar. I hate stuff made with agar agar and I wasn’t about to ruin all my hard work and 5 other tasty components with rubbery frosting. So I made a vegan version of the given recipe sans agar agar. It wasn’t the smooth mirror-like finish it was supposed to be, but it tasted fantastic.

To make the log, I began layering my components in a loaf pan in reverse order: Mousse, crème brulee, more mousse, crisp, more mousse. This went into the freezer several hours. Then ganache (a very thin layer for me!) and cake, and back into the freezer overnight.

Time to unmold!

Now time to frost. Although I knew I was putting frosting on something frozen, I wasn’t prepared for my frosting to freeze as I was pouring and spreading it! Oh, well. So it’s not so smooth. Add a few candy canes and it’s a chocolaty Buche de Noel.

I had to take it to my mom’s for Christmas dinner, but it traveled just fine. When the entrees and sides were eaten and the dishes cleared, I presented our dessert.

I couldn’t wait to slice into it and see if my layers were even.

I’m not sure what happened to the crisp layer. Maybe it broke apart when I cut into it. And my crème brulee looks like it should have been reduced by a third. But just you and I know it’s not perfect. The eaters only knew they were enjoying a heavenly concoction – rich yet light, smooth and chocolaty, and balanced with layers of complementary flavors and textures.

Would I make this Yule Log again? It was awfully time-consuming and rather expensive, but oh so delicious. You betcha!
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