The Christmas log was the best received dish of the Christmas dinner this year! I was very uneasy about how I’d made the cake roll without ending up with a big mess of broken cake mixed up with chocolate icing. I made the log the day before, just to be sure I’d have enough time to make amendments in case of disaster. It is indeed quite challenging to roll the cake without breaking it. The good news, though, is that it doesn’t matter! The recipe is very forgiving because in the end you cover everything with the chocolate icing. Try it! Credits for the recipe go to Nigella.
For the cake
- 6 eggs, separated but keep both the whites and the yolks
- 150 grams caster sugar (finely ground sugar)
- 50 gram cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- confectioner’s sugar for decoration
For the icing
- 175 grams dark chocolate, chopped and melted
- 250 grams confectioner’s sugar
- 225 gram butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
How to make the cake: Beat the egg whites until they thicken. Add 50 grams caster sugar and beat a bit more. In a bowl whisk or beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until they become whitish. Add the vanilla extract and cocoa. Fold the egg whites in three batches, gently. You don’t want to lose all the air from the meringue. Now, line a baking pan with parchment paper or silicone mat. Pour the batter evenly over the pan and bake at pre-heated oven 360F/180 C for about 20 minutes.
Here’s where I differ from Nigella. I wouldn’t wait to roll the cake when it’s completely cool. When you take it out of the oven, let it cool down so that it’s comfortable to touch. Sprinkle a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar, turn the cake on it and roll it ever so slightly. This way it will break less. Let it cool off completely in the loosely rolled position in the tea towel and start making the chocolate icing.
How to make the icing: To make the icing, first melt the chocolate and let it cool. I use the microwave to melt the chocolate starting with just a minute of heating. Then I whisk it to see if all the lumps are melted and, if needed, I put it back in the microwave for a few more seconds. Now, beat the confectioner’s sugar with the softened butter for a few minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and the vanilla, and beat some more until it’s smooth.
How to put it together: On a clean surface, gently unfold the cake. Spread a thin layer of icing on the top side. Carefully, roll the log and place it on a serving dish. Use the remaining icing to cover the log. Make some patterns to make it resemble a log. You can use a fork. I used the plastic short fork that came with the panini press (to clean the cheese from the grooves). You can freeze the log or keep it in the fridge until serving time. When you are ready to serve sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar for a snowy decoration.