Last year I attempted to make three Buche de Noel/Yule logs. There were things I liked and disliked about each of them so I thought why not Frankenstein them to hopefully create the ultimate recipe.
Gingerbread Buche de Noel from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan
This was my very first attempt and it is by no means traditional. The rolled sponge is a ginger cake, the filling is a spiced cream cheese, there’s a meringue frosting and a pecan praline. It was so good, but the standout part of this for me was the cake itself.
Buche de Noel from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson
Next was my first proper rendition – it comprised a basic chiffon cake brushed with coffee syrup, was filled with coffee buttercream, the ganache had flaked almonds in it to make it bark like, and it was decorated with pistachio “moss”and icing sugar “snow” and meringue mushrooms. The mushrooms were a massive failure. But all the other parts of this were solid. We particularly loved the almond bark ganache.
Buche de Noel from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz
The prodigal son returns to the blog today – words cannot express how much I love his book! David’s Buche de Noel is by far the most traditional, with a genoise sponge brushed with Grand Marnier sugar syrup, a ricotta filling that has mixed peel, chocolate and Grand Marnier folded in, a coffee chocolate icing and cinnamon meringue muchrooms. He explains how to cut it to make it look more log like, I loved the addition of the Grand Marnier and the chocolate and orange in the filling and the meringue mushrooms were not only much better looking, they also tasted yummy.
My 2018 Buche de Noel
My friend and I decided to get together for a Christmas in July bake up and I thought it would be a good time to test out my Frankenstein Buche de Noel idea. I took the ginger cake and the cream cheese filling from Baking Chez Moi, the coffee syrup, almond bark and pistachio moss from Tartine and the chocolate, mixed peel and Grand Marnier to fold into the cream cheese filling and the cinnamon meringue mushrooms from My Paris Kitchen and used his method for shaping the log.
This was definitely my favorite but it wasn’t a complete success. It was a very humid day and the ginger cake didn’t seem to respond that well to it so it became quite difficult to adhere the almond ganache to the coffee syrup brushed cake. It didn’t slice very nicely as the ganache kept flaking off and for some reason the toasted flaked almonds became a bit limp. This probably explains why Dorie’s version didn’t have a syrup to brush on the cake so next time I’d omit that step and consider adding some coffee in a different way, perhaps using David Lebovitz’s chocolate icing and fold almonds through it. I also didn’t like how dark the coffee syrup made the cake.
I have found a couple more Buche de Noel recipes in new and upcoming books for Food52 Baking and Cookbook Clubs so I may end up trying those out at some stage and see if there are any further adaptations I’d like to make to my Frankenstein recipe. It has been one of my favorite baking challenges to date!