A Bûche de Noël is the dessert served at the traditional midnight adult’s only meal (et Réveillon pour les adultes seulement) in France on Christmas Eve. It’s a rich and delicious cake made to look like a log. The following Bûche de Noël is decorated with Meringue Mushrooms, which are not only fun to make, but use up the leftover egg whites from the luscious Chocolate Buttercream that frosts the log. A rich and flavorful chestnut buttercream is the filling for the log. The flavors are very French, and it can double as a beautiful centerpiece at any Christmas buffet table.
Although this recipe has several components, each part is quite easy. The Bûche can be made several days ahead, so there doesn’t need to be any pressure on the hostess on the day of the dinner. Once made and tasted, this Bûche is sure to be a permanent offering at the traditional Christmas dinner.
16 (or more because it’s so rich) Servings
1 Basic Sponge Cake
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
7 to 8 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
30 cooked chestnuts (can be found in pouches at Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Meringue Mushrooms silk holly, and poinsettias for garnish
- Prepare the sponge cake as directed, baking it in an 11 x 17" jellyroll pan that has been lined with parchment.
- Lay a clean linen or other lint-free dish towel on a flat surface and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
- When the sponge cake is done, loosen the sides of the cake with a knife and invert onto the prepared dishtowel.
- Fold the towel on the long end of the sponge over the end; roll up and let cool.
- Place the rolled cake seam side down on a cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cake is cool, unroll carefully, remove the parchment, and spread with most of the chestnut buttercream (save a little to “glue” the knot to the log).
- Roll up again.
- Place the cake seam side down on a serving plate or tray.
- Trim and discard (or eat) a thin slice from each of the ends of the cake; cut and reserve a diagonal piece (to form the knot) from one end.
- Spread a little of the leftover chestnut buttercream on the top of the cake and press the reserved piece on it to make the knothole.
- Frost the entire cake (except the ends and end of the knothole) with the remaining chocolate buttercream, building the frosting up around the sides of the knothole and working the frosting as far under the roll as possible.
- Draw a fork lengthwise through the frosting to simulate the rough texture of bark.
- Place a few meringue mushrooms around the bottom of the log and decorate with holly and poinsettias.
- Refrigerate until serving (up to 5 days).
- Chestnut Buttercream: Combine the sugar, egg yolk, salt, vanilla, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of the cream and beat for eight minutes at medium speed.
- In a large bowl, cream the 1/2 cup butter until light.
- Add the yolk mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Gradually add 1 2/3 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well; set aside.
- In a food processor, puree the chestnuts with the remaining two tablespoons of butter, 4 1/2 tablespoons of heavy cream, and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar.
- Stir the chestnut puree into the buttercream, blending thoroughly; if necessary, thin with a little more cream to bring it to a spreadable consistency.
- Chocolate Buttercream: Place the sugar and water in a saucepan; cover and bring to a boil.
- Boil, washing down the sides occasionally, until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Meanwhile, while the syrup is boiling, place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat until thick and lemon-colored.
- With the mixer on high, slowly pour the syrup into the egg yolks.
- Continue beating at high speed until the mixture has cooled, scraping the sides occasionally.
- Beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until the mixture is thick and smooth.
- Add the cooled melted chocolate.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 510 Calories from Fat 270
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 53% Protein 3% Carb. 44%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 30 g
Saturated Fat 16 g
Cholesterol 163 mg
Sodium 462 mg
Total Carbohydrate 56 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 19% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 4%