Mocha Swiss Roll - Yule Log
If you are looking for a showstopper for the Christmas dessert table, look no more. This swiss roll Yule log is both beautiful and delicious. Mocha swiss meringue buttercream is spiraled with espresso sponge cake, all covered in chocolate ganache and adorned with truffles, macarons, and chocolate leaves. ...and of course a little powdered sugar makes everything look like a festive winter wonderland.
Although a lot of elements do go into this Yule log, making one ganche to cover, decorate, make truffles, and fill the macarons does make things a bit easier. But it is the Holiday season after all. What better time than to be a little excessive.
Mocha Swiss roll - Yule Log
Espresso Sponge Cake
- 4 egg; divided
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup cake flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
- 2 ounces chocolate; melted
- 1 tsp strong espresso
for chocolate ganache (to make glaze, truffles, macaroon filling, and pipping)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate
- Freeze dried raspberries
for macarons (enough for decoration plus extra for snacking)
- 3 large egg whites
- 50g granulated sugar
- 90g fine ground almond flour
- 180g confectioners sugar
for chocolate holly leaves
- 4 oz dark chocolate
meringue buttercream :
In a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites and sugar constantly but gently until a candy thermometer reads 160 degrees fahrenheit.
Transfer the egg white mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the meringue mixture on medium speed until the bowl is room temperature (neutral not warm) to the touch and the meringue has reached soft peaks.
Then, switch to the paddle attachment and incorporate the butter cube by cube. Keep mixing until the buttercream reaches a smooth consistency. Mix in vanilla and spices until incorporated.
If you find your buttercream is too runny after all of the butter is incorporated. Put the bowl and its contents into the refrigerator for 20 minutes and then return to the mixture and beat until smooth.
sponge cake : Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and line a 12 by 9 inch pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, using a hand mixer whisk 4 egg whites on medium speed until it reaches a thick foam. While still whisking, gradually add in the sugar. Whisk until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Reduce speed to low and continue to whisk until firm peaks are form
Add yolks to whites one at a time. Whisk on low speed until just combined after each addition. Sift half of flour into mixture. Add salt. Mix with whisk until just combined. Sift remaining flour into mixture. Then, add espresso powder and corn oil and fold with spatula until combine.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Spread with spatula, pushing batter into corners of pan. Tap pan against countertop twice. Bake for 20 minutes until the cake springs bake when pressed. Remove from oven and place cake onto a wire rack. Peel parchment paper from sides of cake. Leave till cool.
To assemble, place cake on new sheet of parchment paper, face down. Peel parchment paper from bottom of cake. Spread evenly with a thin layer of mocha buttercream. Then, roll cake away from you making sure to keep the roll tight to help hold the shape.
chocolate ganache : In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, heat the heavy cream just to boiling but do not let boil. Then remove from heat. Place chocolate in a large bowl and pour warm cream over the top. Let the chocolate sit until it begins to melt. Then, mix to combine.
Meanwhile, place Swiss roll on a wire rack seem side down. While still warm but not hot pour the ganache over your Swiss roll to cover. Let cool then remove and place on serving dish.
Let the remaining ganache cool and set in the refrigerator while preparing the remaining decorations.
Truffles - when ganache has cooled and set use ruffly 1/3 of the ganache to make truffles (I just made 6 for decorating). Spoon out tablespoon fulls of the set ganache and roll in your hands to form uniformed balls. Return the remaining ganache to the fridge.
In a small food processed pulse a handful of freeze dried raspberries until it reaches a course powder. Roll the balls in pulsed freeze dried raspberry powder. Place the truffles in the fridge to set up.
Macarons - Preheat the oven to 300F for convection (320F for non-convention) I have used the recipe with both convection and non convection oven. I have found that the convection oven creates a fluffier center but have had equal success with both.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I have had success with these parchment paper liners. If you use folded or rolls of parchment you run the risk of wonky unsymmetrical shells. These liners ship unfolded and have worked well for me. I have also tried silpat liners and both work but I have found that parchment liner produce larger more symmetrical feet. Use a sharpie to create a circle template for when you start piping.
Make sure you flip the parchment paper over after you draw all of your circles so that the side that you marked is facing downwards. Otherwise, you will end up with a transfer of the circle on your macaron shell.
Using a food processor pulse the confectioners sugar and almond flour together several times until fine. Then, sift the mixture using a fine mesh sieve. If there are any large morsels use a spatula to press them through, disagreed any large lumps and set mixture aside. I have found that using the combination of processing and sifting helps to produce very smooth tops.
I prefer to use a handmixer to beat the egg whites. I feel that this gives me more control but a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment will do the job too. Place your room temperature egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and beat on high until the eggs become frothy and lose their pale yellow tint. Then, add the granulated sugar gradually while continuing to whip. Keep beating until the whites get glossy and stick firmly to the sides of the bowl and reach stiff peaks. At this point, add the gel color until you reach the desired color. For these macs I used one drop of ateco gel lemon yellow and one drop deep pink. It is important not to over beak your egg white, this can cause large air pockets to form in the shells between the outer crust and fluffy feet.
Now mix the dry ingredients into the egg whites in 3 equal parts, fold the mixture gentle until it is all incorporated. Once incorporated the tricky part begins. you need to stir out some of the air to make the batter have the right consistency. The batter should run off the spatula in a ribbon. I am still working on finding the perfect consistency here but you want batter spoon on top to standup on itself but then smooths into the batter after 10-20 seconds
Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (I use a wilton 2A) and pipe onto the template allowing for a little room for the batter to spread when it settles. Give the tip a quick flick of the wrist at the end to help smooth the surface but if you have mixed correctly slight peaks should smooth and become even as they settle.
Once all of the macs have been pipped give the tray a firm tap to help any air bubbles to rise to the top and burst. Keep a toothpick handy to coax the larger bubbles to pop. Then, set the tray on the counter to allow the macs to air dry until dry to the touch. This is the key to large ruffled "feet". Depending on several factors this can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Just be patience and you will be rewarded.
Once dry to the touch, place the macs on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 275F (295F for non-convenction ovens) and bake for another 7-8 minutes. Every oven is different so keep an eye on them. The foot should be visible after the first 10 minutes. Remove the macs from the oven and let set to cool. The macs should lift easily from the parchment but a metal spatula can help to release the shells.
Take the remain ganache out of the fridge and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment whip the ganache until it lightens in color and reached a light and fluffy texture.
Use the whipped ganache to fill a few macarons and use the remain whipped ganache to pipe decoration on the Yule log.
Chocolate Leaves - Find some stiff leaves to use as molds. I used holly leaves. Make sure use wash, clean, and dry the leave before use.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals or over a double boiler.
Using a small paint brush, brush the chocolate onto the underside of the leaves in a smooth even layer. Set aside and let hardness. Once set, carefully remove the chocolate from the leaves.