Right now, my house is full of packing boxes and I’ve sadly put away all of my baking kit.
However, over the weekend I had to do one last Christmas-themed bake but not something that would take up too much time.
This chocolate hazelnut yule log looks very impressive but only comprises three elements – a Genoise sponge, a flavoured cream and a ganache.
The tip with a Genoise sponge, as I found out doing a shift at a local bakery, is to use your hands to mix the eggs with the flour. You can feel when it is fully incorporated, but also apply a light touch so you don’t knock the air out.
The cream is a total cheat and is made by combining whipped thickened cream, hazelnut spread (aka Nutella) and crushed almonds.
And of course, you need your chocolate ganache bark to cover the whole lot made by piping rows with a star-shaped nozzle.
Chocolate hazelnut yule log
100g caster sugar
60g self-raising flour
40g Dutch cocoa powder
300ml thickened cream
2 tbsps hazelnut spread
Handful hazelnuts, chopped
300ml thickened cream
300g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly grease a 30 × 20cm Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.
For the sponge, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully fold together, using your fingers (or a slotted spoon), until all the cocoa and flour are incorporated into the egg mixture. (Be careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture).
Pour into the lined tin and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly darlkned and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.
While the cake is still warm roll so that it cools in shape and avoids cracking.
For the cream, combine whipped, thickened cream with hazelnut spread until fully combined. Pour in the chopped hazelnuts and stir until combined. I think at this stage, it’s worth placing back in the fridge to firm up a bit before constructing the log.
For the ganache, chop chocolate into small pieces so that it melts easily, place into heatproof bowl.
Heat cream in saucepan on a low-medium heat until bubbles begin to appear then remove and pour over chocolate. Whisk until really smooth and then allow to cool. Again, you may need to place back in the fridge to achieve the right consistency – it will need to be set enough to retain its structure, but not too solid that it can be piped.
Unroll the cooled sponge, and cover with a layer of hazelnut cream. Roll back tightly, then cut a third of the way down the sponge to create the log effect.
Pipe rows of ganache along the length of the log and cover the ends in circles so that the entire cake is covered.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.