Yule Log Cake
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting
2 cups Creamy Chocolate Frosting (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly grease a jelly roll or cookie pan, approximately 10 x 15 in. (25 x 38 cm) in size, with ½ in. (1 cm) sides. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease the paper lightly.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until the mixture becomes very light and thick and has doubled in volume. This will take between 5 and 7 minutes.
Gently mix in the flour mixture, taking care not to deflate the batter. When the flour is thoroughly mixed in (but not overmixed!), spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan (carefully smooth out any bumps). Bake for 8 or 9 minutes, until the cake is puffed in the middle and springs back when you touch it. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 or 3 minutes in the pan.
Now... this is the fun part. Sprinkle a clean dishtowel (no really – do it) with icing sugar. Carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and (quickly! carefully! watch out!) flip the cake out onto the sugared towel. Peel off the paper and, with a sharp knife, trim off the crispy edges (snack time!). Gently roll the cake up lengthwise, towel and all, and leave it alone until it is completely cool.
When the cake has completely cooled, carefully unroll it, spread it with an even layer of Creamy Chocolate Frosting, then reroll it (without the dishtowel this time!), as firmly as possible without causing the frosting to squish out. Place it seam side down, on a long serving platter.
Slice off the two ends of the roll on a diagonal. Save these pieces. Frost the entire outside of the roll with chocolate frosting, then arrange the two diagonal pieces as if they were branches trimmed off the main log. Frost them, too.
With a fork, score the icing to resemble tree bark. Don’t forget to make growth rings on the cut ends. Decorate the log with artificial holly leaves (real holly is mildly toxic)and candy berries.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Creamy Chocolate Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, softened 250 mL
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 125 mL
½ tsp vanilla extract 2 mL
2 cups icing sugar 500 mL
1 tbsp milk (only if necessary) 15 mL
In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the milk, and beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the milk only if the frosting is too stiff.
Makes about 3 cups (750 mL). Enough to frost the cake generously with, maybe, a little left over for a batch of cupcakes.