Vanilla, Chocolate and Berry Yule Log
Making a Swiss roll is never very easy, but if you follow my method it’s reliable and pretty much fool-proof. And the joy of a Yule Log decoration is that even if the cake cracks as you roll it up, because you’re going to smother it in chocolate no one will know…
For the cake
- 3 medium eggs
- 65g castor sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- A little butter for greasing
- castor sugar for dusting
For the filling and chocolate ganache
- 2 x 300g packs of frozen summer berries (or replace some with cranberries)
- 100g castor sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 200g dark or milk chocolate, in drops or broken into small pieces
- Red roll out icing
- Green roll out icing
- Icing sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (185°C fan assisted, gas mark 6).
2. Cook the berries gently in a small pan together with about 6 tbsps of water (90ml) and 100g of sugar. Once they are soft, drain them in a sieve over a bowl until all the juice has drained out. Set the berries aside and return the juice to the pan. Simmer very gently for a few minutes until thickened into a syrup. Allow to cool.
3. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over simmering water (or melt in a microwave). Heat the cream (keeping back a small amount for serving) to just under boiling point, then pour it onto the chocolate, stirring quickly to mix until smooth. Chill for 1-2 hours until firm enough to spread (you can always gently warm it if it goes too stiff).
4. Cut 2 sheets of baking parchment, one to the size of a large baking tray and the other a little bigger. Grease the sides of the tray well, then grease one of the pieces of paper and put it onto the tray greased side up.
5. Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 – 8 minutes until the mixture is really thick, pale and fluffy. Add the flour and fold gently until it’s blended.
6. Spread the cake mix over the buttered paper, smoothing the top evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just set – don’t overcook!! (I found 8 minutes was enough in my oven)
7. Meanwhile, put a tea towel ready on the work surface. Have ready to hand the other sheet of baking parchment and the castor sugar. Once the cake is set, take it out of the oven and sprinkle the top with castor sugar. Trim the edges away neatly.
8. Cover with the baking parchment, then the silicon sheet or tea towel, and invert the whole thing carefully onto the work surface.
9. Carefully lift one long end of the paper away from the cake just a small way (about 3cm or 4cm) and score a line across the cake, cutting just half way into it. Replace the paper. This helps the initial bend as you roll.
10. Roll up the cake, together with both inner and outer sheets of paper and the tea towel. Let this cool for about 10 minutes, then unroll very carefully and gently remove the inner paper.
11. Spread a thin layer of ganache, followed by the berries, then re-roll without the outer paper.
12. Cut about a quarter off one end of the roll at an angle, and stick it to the side of the cake to make a forked branch. Spread the entire cake with the remaining ganache and mark with a fork to look like bark. Mark the end of the branches with rings.
13. Roll out a small amount of green icing and cut some holly leaves, marking the centres with the back of the knife. Make tiny berries from red icing. Stick to the cake and prop up the leaves a little with kitchen paper until dry so they don’t go too flat. Dust the top of the log with a little sieved icing sugar and serve with a little of the berry syrup drizzled over and extra cream.