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Buche de Noel with Mushroom Meringues

This simple to make chocolate cake roll is gluten free and whips up in no time. 
The instructions may look daunting but if you read through them you will see that they are easy to do.

You can serve this dessert simply by filling with whipped cream and dusting the top with powdered sugar or you can go all out and cover it with buttercream, garnish with chocolate bark and meringue mushrooms.

The meringue mushrooms are best made on a dry day and we haven't had many of them around the west coast so when we had a cold spell this last weekend I was delighted to make up a batch of meringues. 

Buche de Noel (Yule Log)

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • powdered/confectioners/icing sugar for dusting tea towel
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.  
  2. Line a 10 X 15 inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  
  3. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until they are thick and pale.  Sift in the unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and continue to beat until combined.
  4. With clean beaters,  beat egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tartar and slowly add 1/4 of the sugar.  Beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add a spoonful of the egg whites to the beaten egg yolk mixture and stir.  Add another spoonful and stir again.  This lightens up the batter.  Carefully fold the remaining egg whites carefully into the egg yolk mixture.
  6. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake 15 minutes.  Cake should spring back when lightly touched. 
  7. While the cake is baking, dust confectioner's/powdered sugar.  Flip the warm cake onto the powdered sugar and carefully remove parchment paper.
  8. Roll up from the long side.  Don't roll tight and be gentle.  Cool.

Filling for the Buche de Noel
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 packages whipping cream stabilizer (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Whip together whipping cream and powdered sugar with the whipping cream stabilizer if you are using it.  If you don't have access to whipping cream stabilizer, you can use a heaping teaspoon of instant vanilla pudding but then eliminate the vanilla extract. Add in vanilla extract when soft peaks form.
  2. Gently unroll cooled cake.  Spread whipped cream evenly over cake and roll up again using the tea towel to help.
  3. Place seam side down on a platter.  Keep in mind that you will be cutting off a little piece of one end of the roll off to form a branch on the side.
Buttercream Frosting
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered/ confectioners/ icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • a bit of milk 
  1. Cream butter in a large bowl.  Sift together cocoa powder and icing sugar into the bowl.
  2. Beat together, adding vanilla and a bit of milk to make a spreadable consistency.
  3. Spread over the Buche de Noel.
  4. Cut a 3 or 4 inch piece of the cake roll off on a diagonal and place it on the side of the cake to make a branch.
Chocolate Bark
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chocolate bar
  1. Melt slowly over low heat in a small pot or melt in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds. 
  2. Spread the chocolate over parchment paper and chill until it hardens.
  3. Roll the parchment paper with the chocolate into a tube.  Unroll.  You should have bark like chocolate bark.
  4. Place chocolate bark all over the log.
  5. Sift with icing sugar.

Mushroom Meringues

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tartar until foamy.  Add sugar a little bit at a time until stiff peaks form.
  3. Place a large hole piping tip into a piping bag. Fill with meringue.
  4. Pipe out meringue imagining the size of the mushroom cap you want to achieve.  Don't lift the tip until it is the size you want.  Stop pressure on the bag and lift up the tip.  After all the caps have been piped, use a damp finger to pat down the point.
  5. To make the mushroom stems.  Pipe stems, lifting the tip as you apply pressure.   Sift a tiny bit of cocoa powder over mushroom caps before baking. 
  6. Place in the oven.  Turn oven off after one minute and then leave in oven 2 hours.

Once meringues have cooled, cut a bit off the top of the stem.

Melt a bit more chocolate and spread the bottom of the mushroom cap with melted chocolate.

Put the stem on and allow to cool.  

Decorate your Buche de Noel with the mushrooms and use a bit of fake greenery to complete your masterpiece.  (mushrooms should remain at room temperature, so add them just before putting the Buche de Noel on display to serve)

Refrigerate until serving time.