Winter White Yule Log - Coconut Almond and White Chocolate Swiss Roll
This festive Yule log combines coconut, almond, and white chocolate flavors for a beautiful and delicious dessert. Almond sponge cake is rolled and covered in white chocolate coconut Swiss meringue buttercream. Topped with almond slice pinecones, white chocolate holly leaves, and then sprinkled with coconut flakes and powdered sugar. This winter wonderland is sure to be the star of your Christmas dessert table.
Making the almond slice pinecones is time consuming but the effort is worth the wonderful effect they add to any dessert. I also made almond slice pinecones to top the rum soaked Eggnog Cake a few years ago. I like to have the more rounded side of the almond slice facing out but you can also use the pointed end. Don't worry if all of your slices aren't perfect, the width of each slice is more important than the length or even if the almond slice is broken.
The chocolate leaves add a great organic touch to the Yule log. The best part is you can get leaves right out of your yard to use as molds. Thick and stiff leaves work best. I used holly leaves. Make sure you choose leaves that are free of dirt and signs of pests. Wash and dry your leaves before using them. Brushing the under side of the leaf with chocolate in a thin but even layer will allow for easy removal. I like to pop my leaves into the freezer to let them set before removing the leaf from the chocolate.
Mint Chocolate Marshmallow Christmas Tree Cookies
Almond Sponge Cake
4 egg; divided
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coconut White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
2 ounces chocolate; melted
1/2 cup coconut cream
for wood effect
1/4 cup light cocoa powder ( I used Herseys)
for chocolate holly leaves
4 oz white chocolate
for almond pine cones
5 oz sliced almonds
Reserved swiss meringue butter cream
*powdered sugar and coconut flakes for sprinkling
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 melted white chocolate and coconut cream 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 almond extract and corn oil and fold with spatula until combined.
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 Leaves - Find some stiff leaves to use as molds. I used holly leaves. Make sure you 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 (or in the freezer) and let harden. Once set, carefully remove the chocolate from the leaves. Gently, pull the edge away to help release the chocolate.
Wood Effect - While your leaves set, spread an even layer of buttercream over your swiss roll (Make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of buttercream for pine cones). Using an off set spatula, smooth the buttercream over the top and sides. Using a fork or toothpick draw lines in the smoothed buttercream to make a wood pattern. Then place the log in the fridge and let the buttercream harden. Once, the buttercream has stiffened using a large brush, brush the log with cocoa powder.
Almond Slice Pine Cones-
Add the reserved buttercream to a pipping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip (you can also cut the bag to roughly that size). On a piece of parchment paper or plate pipe 6 cone shapes of various sizes. Place the piped cones into the fridge until they has stiffened.
Arrange almond slices by size for easy selection. Add a small piece to the very top of the buttercream cone. Then, choose 3 slightly larger almonds and place around the almond slice on top. Continue and add 4 almonds to the next layer. Then, continue adding almonds slices until the entire cone is covered. To mimic the pine cone shape gradually shift the almonds direction from face upwards to facing downwards. Place the buttercream in the fridge any time you feel it is getting too soft to keep shape. I find it easier after the first 5 layers or so to start adding the almonds in staggering them vertically instead of going all the way around.
Once the entire cone is covered, place in the fridge to harden. Then, using a small brush or your finger place a small amount of buttercream on the edge of each almond slice. This will help the powdered sugar “snow” stick and mimimic the shape of the pinecone spikes. Dust the pine cones generously with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and return to the fridge until ready to use.
With a off set spatula remove the pinecone from the plate or parchment paper. Add the chilled pinecones to the top of the log. Then gently press the white chocolate leaves into place. Sprinkle the entire thing with coconut flakes and more powdered sugar just before serving.