For my December recipe it obviously has to be something Christmassy, and this Yule log is delicious and the perfect alternative for those who don’t like the traditional rich fruit Christmas cake. Or it makes for a great dessert served with some berries or crème fraiche for any meal over the holiday time.
I’ve made this Yule Log with a very light, flourless sponge cake. Not only is this less rich and heavy than an average Swiss roll recipe, but is also easier to roll up. But you could, of course, make it with any chocolate sponge recipe you like – or even use a ready-made chocolate Swiss roll and just cover it with icing if you’re really short of time and energy.
I shall be back towards the end of December with a recipe for the New Year. Do get in touch if you have any queries or ideas for my Poundland baking range: we’re adding items to it all the time and it’s great to hear your views.
For the cake:
- 6 medium eggs
- 125g caster sugar
- 50g cocoa powder
- A little caster sugar for dusting
Tip: You can use instead two of my Poundland chocolate cake mixes: just follow the directions on the packet but cook on a baking tray as shown below for about 15-20 mins. The cake may crack as you roll it up but as it’s going to be covered in icing, no one will know!
For the icing:
- 120g dark chocolate chips
- 250 grams icing sugar
- 150g butter, softened
- 3tsps (15ml) vanilla extract
- A little sieved icing sugar and edible glitter for dusting
Tip: You can use instead two packets of my Poundland chocolate icing mix: make up for butter icing as directed on the packet OR use 1-2 tubs of my ready-made Poundland chocolate frosting. With either, make sure the icing is at room temperature, and, if necessary, beat in a little vanilla extract or milk to soften it further; you need a light textured icing so you don’t tear the cake when spreading.
You will need the following from Jane Asher’s Kitchen range:
- Chocolate cake mix (or use ingredients as listed)
- Two mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Stainless steel whisk
- Large sieve
- Wooden spoon
- Large baking tray
- Baking parchment
- Dark chocolate chips
- Chocolate icing mix
- Ready-made chocolate frosting
- Wooden spoons
- Small disposable icing bag
- Palette knife
- Christmas cake board
- Small sieve
- Edible silver glitter
- Green sugar shimmer
- Edible holly leaves
- 7 Piece cake set
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/160C fan assisted/350ºF/gas mark 4.
- Prepare a large baking tray by lining it with baking parchment, cutting a piece larger than the tin and letting it hang over the edges.
- Separate the eggs and put the whites and yolks into two large, clean bowls. With an electric mixer or by hand, whisk the egg whites until stiff and thick. Add 2 tbsps of the caster sugar and continue whisking until the mix is in firm peaks.
- Add the remaining caster sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is foamy, pale and thick. Sieve the cocoa powder on top, then stir gently in.
- In batches, add the stiff egg whites carefully into the yolk mixture, folding firmly until well mixed but still airy.
- Turn the cake mix into the tin, spreading it gently into the corners with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set but still a little soft. While the cake is cooking, cut two sheets of baking parchment a little larger than the size of the cake. Wet two tea towels under the tap, then wring them out so they are damp. Lie one on the work surface and cover with one of the pieces of baking parchment. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar.
- Once the cake is cooked, allow it to cool a little before turning it out onto the sugared paper. Carefully peel off the baking paper then cover with the new piece of paper. Top with the second damp tea towel.
- To make the icing, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over hot water or in a microwave. Allow to cool.
- Beat together the softened butter and the sifted icing sugar (or mix together in a food processor without needing to sieve the sugar). Spoon a very small amount of icing into a disposable icing bag for piping the rings onto the ends of the tree, then add the cooled, melted chocolate and the vanilla extract to the rest and mix till smooth and fluffy.
- Once the cake is completely cool, spread it thinly with about a quarter of the icing, using a palette knife.
- Roll the sponge up from the longer side as neatly as possible, using the paper to help you, and peeling it away as you go. Trim both ends then, using a diagonal cut, take a chunk off one end to make a short branch.
- Put the cake on a cake board or rectangular plate. Stick the ‘branch’ onto the side of the cake with a little icing, then spread the log all over with the remaining icing, including the ends.
- Mark the ‘bark’ with the end of the palette knife. Cut a tiny bit off the icing bag and pipe rings onto the ends of the tree. (If you’ve used my chocolate icing mix or ready-made frosting, mark the rings with the end of a skewer or knife.)
- Dust the top of the tree with a little sifted icing sugar and edible glitter, and add some holly and other decorations as you like. You can also decorate the board or plate – I’ve sprinkled mine with some shimmering green sugar and a little icing sugar. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it – it will stay fresh and delicious for up to a week, and it also freezes well.