Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Winter Solstice, Napoleon, and the Buche de Noel

I've always wanted to make a Buche de Noel. That's the cake that is shaped like a log. It's so beautiful, decadent looking, and chocolate! Last year when I was at my kids' Chick-fil-A Christmas party, I determined that I would make my first Buche de Noel for this year's party!

I actually incorporated 3 different recipes with a few of my own ideas to create this cake. I was quite hopeful that it would all work out! This was a huge risk because I'm not much of a baker, yet the science behind baking a Buche de Noel is quite specific. Hopefulness was definitely the operative word!

The rolling worked out great...
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The initial rolling is to sort of prep it and give the cake a "memory" to go back to and remain in that state. Here, after unrolling it, you can see the crushed pistachios in the chocolate...

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I made a whip cream filling (from a different recipe) for the center of the cake. I decided to add almond extract. In fact, I decided to add almond extract (with vanilla) to each component of the cake.

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After spreading out the whipped frosting, I rerolled the cake. It worked beautifully. However I plan to double the frosting recipe next time, because I'd rather it ooze out the ends...

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After the cake set up in the fridge I made a chocolate buttercream frosting for the outside. By this time it was midnight. It had been a crazy day so I couldn't start baking until after dinner. Midway through it sets up in the fridge for 2 hours, during which time I watched a Christmas movie with my family. Except...I fell asleep on the couch for 4 hours! By then it was midnight and I had the Buche de Noel to finish. After frosting the log I cut off the end to create knots but my brain just sort of went kaput. At that moment my son came down and volunteered to help. He took over at that point!

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After frosting the cake and knots I gave him the powdered pistachios to dust over the log to represent moss.

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We put it in the fridge overnight...

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...which seemed to set it up even more. I took it to the Chick-fil-A Christmas party, which was my contribution. It was devoured! My son had nibbled various parts while making it and it was quite delicious!

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The history of the Buche de Noel apparently dates back to the Middle Ages and the celebration of the Winter Solstice. There is also a Napoleon story! I don't know how true it is but it is quite interesting! Read all sorts of fascinating historical and cultural facts and stories about the Buche de Noel here.

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