You know how sometimes memories just come flooding back? Well it was when preparing for Christmas this year (wrapping presents for Mia, baking, all the usual stuff) that I remembered the Chocolate Log my Mum used to always make when I was small. In my mind it looked identical to a tree log, only made out of chocolate and therefore edible; something Heston Blumenthal would surely be jealous of.
This photograph is the finished article gladly baked by my Mum after my relentless hinting (no, Heston won’t be jealous after all, but it still looks pretty good). Apparently the cute red robin sat atop the log in my child-hood couldn’t be found, and so I got a miniature deer and Christmas tree instead.
The recipe sadly isn’t something passed on from generation to generation either, instead it’s from a Be-Ro Flour recipe book – one that Mum lost as soon as she baked the cake pictured, leaving me to trawl the internet for the recipe. Turns out it’s nothing more complicated than a chocolate swiss roll both filled with and smothered with a chocolate butter icing.
3 Michelin star cooking this is not, but it is easy and very tasty!
Yule Chocolate Log Recipe – Ingredients & Method
Adapted from the Be-Ro Flour Recipe Inspiration website
For the cake:
- 75g / 3 oz self-raising flour
- 75g / 3 oz caster sugar
- 25g / 1 oz cocoa powder
- 2 medium eggs
Pre-heat your oven to 220 c (425 f) and grease a swiss roll tin (any shallow rectangular baking tin will do), lined with greaseproof paper.
Start by whisking the eggs, when combined add the sugar and continue to whisk until thick and pale. Next fold in the flour with a large metal spoon, being careful not to over-mix.
Pour the mixture into your tin and put it into the oven for approximately 7 minutes; the low cooking time is due to the cake being thin – cooking it too long will make it near impossible to roll out without cracking.
When done, turn the cake out onto a work surface dusted with icing sugar. Place a peice of grease-proof paper on top of your cake, and roll into the traditional log shape, trimming the edges. Allow to cool.
Once cooled, unroll, and follow the next step.
For the chocolate butter-cream:
- 125g / 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 345g / 3 cups icing sugar
- 115g / 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp whole milk
Begin by beating your butter until it is creamy in texture, then add in the icing sugar / cocoa powder a spoon at a time. Continue beating for around 10 minutes, it should be light and creamy; note that I use my Kitchenaid stand mixer for tasks like this, which is fine in fast speed. Next add in your vanilla and milk, and give a final mix in.
Now, spread your unrolled cake with a thin layer of the butter cream and roll up again. Spread more butter cream onto the outside of the log (smoothing with a spatula), then use a fork to scrape a log-like texture to the surface. A dusting of icing sugar finishes the job, along with any other decoration you may feel is suitable.