Continuing to brag about my holiday baking 🙂 : I made a bûche de Noël, a.k.a a Yule log to bring to the holiday dinner at my cousin’s house. I was overjoyed at how it turned out since it was the first time that I attempted many of the elements and techniques in making it: meringue, sheet cake, ganache, and marzipan. Admittedly, most of them are straightforward and anybody probably could have done them. The meringue was probably the most challenging technically, both because of the skill involved (knowing how and how much to beat the egg whites) and the baking required (baking temperature and time and cool-down).
I loosely followed this bûche de Noël recipe, using its sponge sheet cake, bittersweet ganache, and mascarpone filling.
For the for meringue mushrooms, I used a chowhound.com recipe. It came pretty good, though the egg white could have been a bit stiffer: the tips of the mushroom stems drooped a bit when piped out. It wasn’t too bad. I only needed to chop off a bit of the tip to assemble the mushrooms. I used bittersweet chocolate to “glue” the stems to the caps, and to also to make the underside of the caps a dark brown:
For the “bark”, instead of the recipe’s white “birch bark”, I used Two Sisters’ Crafting’s recipe for chocolate buttercream frosting.
The assembly is fairly straightforward, albeit with one flaw in the instructions, IMO: the mascarpone filling should go on first, underneath the ganache. The recipe calls for spreading on the ganache first then the mascarpone filling which didn’t work out so well. When spreading the mascarpone filling on top of the ganache, it was difficult to avoid smearing the mascarpone filling into the ganache because the ganache was too soft and did not make a good base for the mascarpone filling. Even the recipe itself says: “carefully spread [the mascarpone filling]over [ganache] surface, trying not to blend with ganache!
I used a marzipan recipe from foodnetwork.com, adding bittersweet chocolate powder to make the “leaves”.
Here’s the result. It was the huge hit one would expect, both visually and taste-wise!