She was trying it on a bit, she knew we had already made home-cured salmon and sloe vodka, that the gluten free pastry for the mince pies was mixed and waiting to be rolled from the fridge. However the cry went up when I saw her reach into a chiller cabinet for a huge premium-priced (but not delicious-looking) yule log. She knew she was pushing her luck, so we read the ingredients list together, and she put it back of her own accord. But did she moan!
Anyway, whilst she is outside I will whisper to you that I've made this recipe, a gluten-free chocolate roulade and decorated it as a Chocolate Yule Log for our Christmas dinner. I want this to be a suprise for her as the teen is not a fan of Christmas pudding. For her, the main event will be a forerib roast with yorkshire puddings and all (yes, all!) the trimmings especially creamy horseradish. I am already looking forward to the look on her face when she sees it, even though she will probably be too stuffed to eat any till later in the day!
I've used a Mary Berry recipe for the ingredients which is naturally gluten free. I am a great fan of Mary Berry and found that her foolproof recipes were a great way to build my confidence and learn the basics when I first starting baking cakes. Roulades look impressive but are not that tricky as long as you have a good recipe to start. For the yule log, I have used a different techinique from Mary Berry, in that I prefer to roll the sponge before it cools and unroll to fill before re-rolling. The key to making this is confidence. Believe that the sponge will be cooked enough even though it is only in the oven for 20 minutes. Be confident in rolling your sponge, and do it quickly before it can cool down and break. And gently unroll the cooled sponge to fill it before re-rolling. Knowing that I am going to cover the outside of the roll with buttercream icing means that I can patch up any cracks that I create as I roll, unroll and roll again.
The Mary Berry method here suggests rolling the sponge once it is cold and filled. This is great if you don't want to make the roulade as soon as you have baked the sponge and especially good for summer roulades when you are decorating the dessert with little more than a sprinkling of sugar.
Once you have made one and discovered just how straightforward they are, don't forget that this roulade recipe is a fantastic dessert for any time of year. Filled with cream or chocolate, cherries in summer or blackberries in the autumn (preferably without the chocolate buttercream 'bark') this is a lovely dessert for anytime of year!
- 175g 70% cocoa solid chocolate in 1cm sq pieces
- 175g caster sugar
- 6 medium free range eggs, separated
- A pinch of salt
- 2 level tbsp cocoa, sieved
- Set the chocolate to melt either in the microwave or in a bain marie, remove from the heat as soon as it is melted and allow to cool slightly
- Lightly grease a 13"x9" (33x23cm) swiss roll tin
- Line with non-stick baking paper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mk4
- Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks are formed (but before they become dry)
- Add half the castor sugar and beat until combined
- Transfer the egg whites into another clean mixing bowl
- Now whisk the egg yolks and the rest of the sugar together until they are light and creamy and trebled in volume (at least 5 minutes, so use an electric mixer)
- Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolk mix and mix gently to combine
- Add one spoon of the egg white mix to the chocolate mix and fold in.
- Continue adding the egg whites, until fully combined
- Then add the cocoa powder and stir till combined
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spread to the corners and level the top
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until just firm to the touch (the top of my sponge puffed right up whilst in the oven, so I stuck a skewer in a few places to let the steam out and the skin deflated)
- Whilst the sponge is baking lay a second sheet of baking paper on the counter and sprinkle with a little castor sugar
- Remove the baked sponge from the oven and flip the baked sponge over onto the sugared baking paper
- Peel off the backing paper from the sponge and roll up the warm sponge using the base sheet of baking paper, starting on one long side and working quickly but gently to create a roll - folding a long edge of paper over the sponge and then using the long edges of the paper to guide the roll, a bit as though you are rolling up a christmas cracker.
- Tuck the edges of the paper in around the finished roll and leave to cool
- 100g plain (70%) chocolate, melted with
- 150g milk chocolate
- 100g double cream (nearer room temperature than very chilled)
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
Add the cream to the chocolate and stir till combined
Add the icing sugar to the cream mix and beat till creamy
Add a little more icing sugar to thicken or cream if the mix is too thick to spread
Unroll the sponge and trim the edges to get a neat even finish
Spread one third to one half of the chocolate cream filling on the sponge and re-roll quickly, don't worry if it breaks use the filling as glue to hold the bits together - you can cover up the damage afterwards with the chocolate cream coating!
Spread the remainder of the chocolate cream over the outside of the roll and leave to set for 15 minutes.
Using a fork, drag the prongs across the surface of the iced log to create the effect of tree bark, cover and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.