I try to make this cake every Christmas season – from Martha Stewart’s 2003 Christmas Book. She calls it Birch de Noel, and I always thought it was fitting because up here in the North Country all the logs are generally covered with white in the winter. Of course it’s divine, with the chocolate cake wrapped around a White Chocolate Mousse filling, all topped by sparkling billows of snowy white Seven Minute frosting.
Add in the Chocolate Meringue Mushrooms and Chocolate Truffles dusted in confectioner’s sugar and you have quite a centerpiece to your holiday dessert table. Martha Stewart suggests using rosemary sprigs dipped in sugar to decorate – do not do that, unless you like the taste of rosemary, which flavors everything it touches! The coconut is gorgeous on the cake, probably really there to mimic the bark of a birch, but really can easily be left off – it’s actually a bit of a detraction from the chocolate flavor and the textures.
All the components, except the Seven Minute Frosting, can be made ahead, and really should be, so they have time to set. Seven Minute Frosting doesn’t hold up well more than a few hours. You’ll end up with a considerable amount of egg yolks, seven, so have a plan for them. Perhaps a pudding, custard, or ice-cream. You’ll have quite a bit of leftover coconut, too. I generally shave and toast it all and freeze for another use, later.
So here’s the recipe, much easier than it looks, and with just a few minor changes! Seriously, it really is a doable dessert, especially with a stand mixter – the cake is very flexible and easy to roll. The Frosting, Truffles and Mushroom Recipes coming soon! And Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s to all!
Buche de Noel
- 1 fresh coconut
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons rum
- White Chocolate Mousse
- Seven-Minute Frosting
- Meringue Mushrooms
- Snowy Chocolate Truffles
To prepare the coconut:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap coconut in a kitchen towel, and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on a work surface. Reduce oven to 250 degrees. Tap coconut with a hammer until it cracks in several places; break it into pieces. The white flesh should be slightly pulling away from the hard shell. Separate it, keeping pieces of coconut as large as possible. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the largest pieces of coconut into long curls, and place on a baking sheet in oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until just dry. Grate the smaller pieces on the small holes of a box grater. You will need about 1/2 cup grated coconut for the cake filling.
To prepare cake:
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-by-17-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium high, and add sugar gradually, whipping until stiff peaks form. Transfer egg-white mixture to a large bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks on high-speed until pale yellow, 4 to 5 minutes. (I use the same bowl and whisk.)
Using a rubber spatula, fold egg-yolk mixture into egg-white mixture. Sift cocoa powder and flour over top, and gently fold in. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula.
Bake until cake springs back when touched, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and immediately turn cake out onto a wire rack lined with parchment paper. Peel parchment paper from top of cake, and cool completely. (I don’t have a large enough rack, so I simply cool the cake on the parchment.
To assemble the cake:
Place a clean kitchen towel on work surface. Transfer cake on parchment paper to towel. Using a pastry brush, coat cake with rum. Using an offset spatula, spread white-chocolate mousse over cake. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut.
With a long end of cake facing you, roll carefully into a roulade. Wrap in a kitchen towel, and secure with clothespins or large metal binder clips to hold the roll in a tight round shape. Place on a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
Remove from refrigerator, and unwrap. Using a serrated knife, trim the ends of the roll, cutting on the bias. Choose the more presentable end, and place it, cut-side up, on the log, forming a branch. If desired, use the other cut end for a second branch.
Transfer the log to a serving platter. Slide 5-inch strips of parchment paper under the log to protect the tray while decorating. Coat with seven minute frosting using an offset spatula. Remove parchment pieces. Decorate with meringue mushrooms, snowy chocolate truffles, and coconut shavings.
From the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com, adapted from Martha Stewart
I’ll be taking this Buche de Noel by to the Fiesta Friday 100 anniversary extravaganza, and I’m also co-hosting this event, so a big shout out to Angie from the Novice Gardener and Fiesta Friday for putting the event on and Steffi from Ginger&Bread, Suzanne from APugintheKitchen and Judi from CookingwithAuntJuju for co-hosting, too. Stop by, say hi, visit and mingle and I hope to “see” you there!
Of course, I’ll also be posting to Throwback Thursday, a link party co-hosted by Moi!! Yes, that’s me, yours truly! And Alli, Quinn & Meaghan – you’ll see all their links on Throwback Thursday!