There is so much to celebrate throughout the winter months, and so many traditions behind each Holiday and inside every home. Norway is actually the birthplace of the Yule Log, designed as a way to celebrate the solstice. While we dressed this jelly-roll style cake up Yule-style, it could be served without it's stump any time of year as a warm spiced treat. This technique for sponge cakes is so much less intimidating than it looks and can be filled with so many different flavors! We combined some gingerbread-like ground spices this time, but our Pumpkin Pie Spice or Masala Chai blends would do the trick here, too. Enjoy!
Makes 6-8 servings
For the Spice Blend:
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Cake:
- 4 eggs, separated and room temperature
- 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can also try maple, almond, or orange)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 orange, zested
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4c cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons spice blend (see above)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (held aside)
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- remaining spice mix
For the Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups chopped dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- powdered sugar, to garnish
For the cake:
- Make your spice blend by whisking together the collection of ground ingredients, set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a half sheet tray or jelly roll pan with parchment and spray with nonstick spray or coat lightly with butter.
- In a clean medium bowl with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk), add your room temperature egg whites and beat until frothy. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, add your egg yolks and remaining granulated sugar. Whip until light and fluffy (ribbon stage when you drizzle the mixture). Add your extract, sour cream, orange zest and molasses, then whisk again to combine.
- Sift your flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and spice mix. Add to bowl with egg mixture and fold to combine,
- Spread batter across baking tray, gently pushing edge to edge to fill the tray. It will be a thin layer!
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until springs back to the touch.
- While cake is baking, prepare a clean + lint-free tea towel by sprinkling the 2 tablespoons powdered sugar across in an even layer.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, invert it onto the prepared tea towel, remove parchment and roll up. Starting on the short side, roll with the towel inside the cake across the entire length of the long edge. Let cool in this form.
For the Filling:
- In a medium bowl, cream together your butter and powdered sugar. Once light and fluffy, add your cream cheese and mix together until combined.
- Add your heavy cream and whip mixture until fluffy again. Add orange juice and remaining spice blend, stir to combine and set in the fridge to chill.
For the Frosting:
- In a small sauce pan, heat your heavy cream until just simmering. Being careful not to let it boil over.
- Add chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl, and pour hot cream over top. Allow to melt for 1-2 minutes, then whisk together until combined.
- Set ganache on the counter to return to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- Once your cake roll has cooled, unravel it gently. Scoop your filling onto the cake and begin spreading evenly, being certain to cover edge to edge.
- Just as it was to cool, roll the cake again- this time omitting the towel. Try to keep the roll as tight as possible especially on the first turn, so you can achieve a beautiful swirl when slicing.
- Wrap cake roll in plastic wrap and set to fridge to chill.
- Check on ganache frosting. If room temp, begin whipping on a low-medium speed either with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. You want to incorporate some air, but not over-whip. The frosting should be fluffy and pipe-able in 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer cake from fridge back to workspace. Trim a very small amount off one end to create a clean slice, then cut a 2-3 inch wide angled slice off the other end. Using some frosting (and skewers for support if needed) re-attach this angled slice to the top of your cake. This is where it starts to look like a true log with a stump.
- Begin coating the entire cake and stump with frosting. You may choose to use a star piping tip, though I choose to simply frost a rough layer and make the tree striations with a fork afterwards. To do this, cover the cake entirely then drag a clean fork across the cake, wiggling as you see fit. The joy in this is that it's meant to look organic, no perfect lines needed.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To enjoy, dust entire log with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and serve! I added rosemary, you may choose to add fake poinsettias or snowflakes as well to adorn your yule log.
Shannon Mahoney said:
Hi Abigail! Dark Chocolate refers to anything in the 50-90% range, from there it is to your preference. The consistency will be the same for the ganache regardless, the only variable will be the sweetness. I had some Ghriradelli 60% bars on hand so that’s what I used here.
Abigail Sanborn said:
Could you be more specific about the dark chocolate? Should it be dark chocolate with some sugar or not? Sounds delicious. Thanks.