Nigella just made Christmas dinner completely awesome for me this year. Along with her failsafe recipe for turkey, this yule log saved me from one of the things I don’t much care for: Christmas pudding. I do however, love chocolate and one more tweak converted it into one a riff on one my favourite things in the whole world: black forest gateau. Yummy.
(There was one thing stopping this being Christmas perfection for me: decorative pine cones. Could I find pine cones in the woods of Maldon, Rayleigh and Hockley combined? Could I ‘eck as like.)
This recipe is adapted from one in Nigella Christmas.
Black forest yule log (serves about 10 – 12):
For the sponge:
6 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
3–5 teaspoons icing sugar to decorate
For the filling:
1 jar black cherry jam
For the icing:
175g dark chocolate, chopped
250g icing sugar
225g soft butter
2 tablespoons kirsch
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Whisk the egg whites until thick and then whisk in 50g sugar. In a separate bowl whisk the yolks and remaining sugar together until thick and creamy, then stir in the cocoa. Fold in the whites a third at a time.
- Grease a large rectangular baking tray, put a generous sheet of baking parchment on top then grease that too for good measure. Pour over the batter and bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out the cooked sponge on to another piece of parchment and roll up gently to keep it’s shape for later.
- For the icing melt the chocolate gently in the microwave. Beat the icing sugar and butter together until smooth then stir in the cooled chocolate and kirsch.
- Unroll the sponge and spread over the jam, then roll back up again. Put on your serving dish or board at this point and then smooth over the icing. (You might want to trim off an end here to make a branch if you can be bothered). Use a fork or toothpick to make pretty woody lines in the icing, then store in a cool place until needed. Sieve over some icing sugar before serving.