Sunday, 23 December 2012

Chocolate Almond Gingerbread Bûche de Noël

It's the 23rd -- hopefully it's not too late for some Christmas baking suggestions.

I've spent the whole day baking.  I made gingerbread cookies, I made a gingerbread marmalade linzertorte, I made a torta caprese, and I made this.  Yes, it took the whole day, and tomorrow I might just make another cake.  This is what I'm like on holidays.  Don't worry -- I'm not just going to have all these desserts sitting at home and have them slowly expand my waistline, no no.  I'm going to a Christmas party tomorrow night, and they told me to bring dessert.  It's a party of about 25 people, so  3, 4 desserts sound about right! Any excuse to bake.

I need to start getting paid for this though.  Chocolate, butter, cream, spices -- these all cost a fortune in China.  Normal dark chocolate for baking costs a minimum of £3 per 100g.  Cheapest butter is about £2 for 200g.  So my cakes all cost about £20 each to make.  I miss Europe.  I miss reasonably priced food.  China's cheap if you want to just live the Chinese lifestyle.  But I have needs.  I like cheese. Cereal.  Butter.  Chocolate. They're all imported here.  
Anyway. Happy thoughts. It's almost Christmas! What are you doing this Christmas? What do you usually eat for Christmas?  A big traditional Christmas dinner with a turkey and 10 different sides and all that? I've never had one of those.  We're not big on Christmas as a family unfortunately.. But tomorrow night should be fun. 

This was a special request by Gwen  -- I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with lots of yummy foods.  If you want any requests, just email me at maria.sisci@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @MariaSisci or tell me on my FaceBook page www.facebook/happyxbelly.  #Shameless self promoting.


So here are step to step instructions on rolling.

After you've taken your sponge cake out of the oven, it should look like this
Now.  Get a large baking sheet, bigger or the same size as your pan and sprinkle with icing sugar.  Flip the spongecake out and lay it on top of this baking sheet.  Peel away the baking paper on top, and make a few slits along the edge of the short end which will be at the center of your roll.  About 1 inch, just enough to go all the way so that it almost goes through. 
Then with the help with the baking paper underneath, use it as a lifter to roll up the cake from the slit end. 
Roll it up all the way
 Make your filling, and then unroll the cake.

Spread the filling evenly over the whole surface.
Roll it back up. 


Cut a good bit off the roll at a sharp angle and attach it to the side.

Recipe adapted from here
Ingredients
Sponge
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup caster sugar

Filling
250ml double cream
1/3 cup sugar or more to taste
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup ground almonds

Chocolate ganache
200ml double cream
200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Method
-Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 12x17 inch (43x30cm) pan with butter, then line with parchment paper, and grease and flour the parchment paper.

-In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until pale, about 4 minutes.  The batter should form ribbons when you slowly raise the beaters.  Add the golden syrup and brown sugar and beat until combined. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt, Beat the dry ingredients into the egg yolk mixture until combined.

- In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until firm and glossy. Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks remain. Spread the batter onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

-Get a large baking sheet, bigger or the same size as your 12x17 inch pan and sprinkle with icing sugar.  Flip the spongecake out and lay it on top of this baking sheet.  Peel away the baking paper on top. Make a few slits along the edge of the short end which will be at the center of your roll.  About 1 inch, just enough to go all the way so that it almost goes through.  Then with the help with the baking paper underneath, use it as a lifter to roll up the cake from the slit end. 

Make the filling:
-Beat the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form.  Mix in almond extract and ground almonds. 

-Unroll the cake and spread the filling evenly over the entire surface.  Roll it back to the way it was rolled.

-Cut a bit off the roll at a sharp angle and attach it to the side

-Spread with your slightly firmed chocolate ganache.  Use a fork to give it that woody look. 

Chocolate ganache
-Heat the cream in a pot until simmering, then add your chocolate and stir until all is melted.  Wait for it to cool and firm up a bit before spreading it on the roll.  Use a fork to make it rough and wood-like.

-Dust with icing sugar and decorate with almonds and Christmasy things. 

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