I hope you’ve all had the most magical Christmas filled with wonder, love and laughter and I hope you in turn are full of delicious festive food. To welcome you to the New Year, and to hopefully give you something truly scrumptious to make over the last six days of Christmas, I give you this recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Yule Log.
Gluten intolerance can make baking very difficult due to the abundance of flour-based recipes, but this Yule Log doesn’t need any flour and as long as you check the label of your chocolate for allergy advice, it’s a perfect gluten free Christmas treat.
I made this in my dream the night before I made it and decorated it like a forest with leaves and little icing toadstools, but in reality, I didn’t have time for this, so I just let a sprig of holly and a dusting of icing sugar work its decorative magic.
You will need:
An electric whisk
Swiss roll tin/baking tray (a standard tin is approx. 30cm in length) lined with baking parchment
For the cake:
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
For the icing:
200g dark chocolate (or perhaps 150g dark, 50g milk)
195g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter (softened)
1tsp vanilla essence
- Preheat oven to 180˚c.
- Separate your eggs carefully, either tipping the eggs back and forth between the two halves of the shell or let the egg white drain through your hand. There are lots of step-by-step guides to be found online if this is your first time separating eggs – good luck! You may want to separate the eggs one by one into a smaller bowl first and then transfer the egg white and yolk into their separate, larger bowls so that if you break one yolk it will not ruin the eggs you have beautifully separated already.
- Whisk up the egg whites with an electric whisk, beginning slowly and gradually increasing the speed until they are thick and fluffy and make little peaks when you lift away the whisk. Another way to check they are done is if they will remain in the bowl when held upside down, but be careful!
- Add 50g of the sugar and whisk in until combined.
- Add the rest of the sugar to the egg yolks and whisk until the mixture is pale and thick. Then add the vanilla and sift in the cocoa powder and fold these in gently so as not to lose the air created by the whisking.
- Fold in the egg whites in 4 or 5 batches, again gently so as not to lose the air, (though to ensure they are combined, mix the first few batches of egg white in a little more strongly).
- Pour the mixture into your Swiss roll tin ensuring that the baking parchment lining hangs over the sides so that you can easily lift the cake out of the tin. Bake in the oven for up to 20 minutes, checking regularly after 15.
- Let the cake cool a little and then turn it out onto another piece of baking parchment dusted with a little icing sugar or caster sugar and cover with a tea towel. Once it has spent some time cooling, around 20 minutes (during which time you can start making the icing), trim the uneven edges and enjoy the offcuts! Score along one of the long edges of the cake and roll up the cake from there. The baking parchment will help you to roll it up and will end up rolled inside the cake. This will allow the cake to become accustomed to the Yule Log shape it’s going to become.
- For the icing, I decided to try using two different types of chocolate to get a two-tone, woody effect. So melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl (or two bowls, one for each type of chocolate) over a saucepan containing a small amount of boiling water. Take it off the heat and let it cool a little for 5 or 10 minutes.
- Mix the butter (softened in the microwave for 10-20 seconds if necessary) with the icing sugar to make your buttercream, using the electric whisk until it looks smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract.
- If you are only doing one icing, simply add the chocolate to this mixture and mix well. If you feel like taking on an icing adventure, divide the buttercream into a couple of bowls and add different amounts of the chocolate, experimenting until you get the colours and consistencies that you’re happy with. The darkest icing will have a larger amount of chocolate, whilst a lighter icing may use milk chocolate, or simply have a greater ratio of butter and icing sugar to chocolate.
- Once you have mixed your two bowls of icing, unroll the cake and spread some of your chosen icing (preferably one of the lighter ones without too much chocolate as it will be creamier) evenly over the sponge, right out to the edges. Roll it up again as before, ensuring that it is rolled nice and tightly.
- Cut a slice at an angle from one end of the log and place the main log on a nice long plate or board. Use your little slice to make a branch – the diagonal cut of the piece allows it to line up perfectly along the side of the log.
- Spread the remaining icing(s) all over the cake, covering the cut-off ends if you like. You can use a fork or skewer to create a bark like effect or just make little peaks with your spreading implement 🙂 and just have fun with turning your cake into a beautiful log.
- Decorate with a sprig of freshly cut holly and a light dusting of icing sugar that will fall through your sieve like fresh snow falls from the sky.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a wonderfully Happy New Year!