Holiday Centerpiece: Making a Buche de Noel

Looking for something fun to liven up your holiday table? Revival Market has just the thing—a festive Buche de Noel that tastes just as good as it looks. 

Sometimes referred to as a “Yule log” this decorative delicacy dates back to 19th Century France. It’s often made with sponge cake rolled, iced and fashioned to look like a seasonal branch or log. 

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Andrea de Gortari has been making a buche de noel for her family at Christmas for years. Now the pastry maker is bringing that skill to Revival Market’s Christmas-to-Go menu

Making the traditional dessert is an intricate, multi-step process. 

Sponge cake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Sift first 4 ingredients together into a bowl and form a well in the center. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, yolks, water, vanilla bean, and lemon zest together. Pour into well and whisk until smooth. In the meantime, whisk the egg whites,  cream of tartar and small amount of sugar in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment on high until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into the batter using a rubber spatula. Start with a third of the whites, then slowly fold in the rest being careful not to deflate the batter.

Pour into a 1/2 sheet pan (12"x17") fitted with parchment paper and lightly greased. Bake at 325° for 20-30 minutes or until just set. When cake is cool enough to handle, de-pan it and roll it into a clean kitchen towel. Wrap in plastic and set aside to cool completely. This will allow the cake to become pliable.

 You can use a mixture of different garnishes including pistachios, cranberries and powdered sugar to create a "snowy" looking Yule log. 

You can use a mixture of different garnishes including pistachios, cranberries and powdered sugar to create a "snowy" looking Yule log. 

Espresso Simple Syrup

  • ½ cup espresso
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 

heat together in a saucepan to dissolve. 

Espresso Swiss Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (3-4 large whites) 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 oz butter (room temp-super important) 
  • 2-3 tbsp espresso 

Put about 2" water in a saucepan, set over medium high heat and bring to a simmer. 
In a stainless steel bowl (or your stand mixer) whisk egg whites, sugar and salt and set over simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches 140°. Place bowl on mixer stand with whisk attachment and mix on high until glossy stiff peaks form and mixture is cool to the touch. Add butter little by little until fully incorporated. Mixture may begin to seperate, just throw the speed on high until it comes together. Add espresso and beat until fully incorporated.

 Adding the hazelnuts to the ganache will give your icing a bark-like texture 

Adding the hazelnuts to the ganache will give your icing a bark-like texture 

Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

Place chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream until it just comes to a boil. Pour over the chocolate.  Give the bowl a little shake and let sit 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and fold in nuts. 
 

 Spread the ganache over the cake evenly and create patterns using a flat edge knife. 

Spread the ganache over the cake evenly and create patterns using a flat edge knife. 

Assembly

Unroll your cake, brush with espresso syrup and then spread buttercream evenly over surface. Re-roll and wrap in plastic. Set in freezer for a couple hours or overnight. This will make the cake easier to ice and will give you a smoother cut.

 Use the angle-cut ends of the cake to form "branches" on either side. 

Use the angle-cut ends of the cake to form "branches" on either side. 

The following day (or a few hours later), unwrap the cake and cut off each end at an angle. This will give you “branches.” Place the cake on whatever surface you intend to serve it on before icing. Next place the cut ends on either side of the cake and cover the cake in the ganache using a small offset spatula to create long bark-like texture in the icing. 

 Use cranberries and rosemary sprigs in clusters to create a holly-like effect. 

Use cranberries and rosemary sprigs in clusters to create a holly-like effect. 

Scatter chopped pistachios in clusters around the top and sides of the cake. Place sugared or fresh cranberries and sprigs of fresh rosemary together to resemble holly sprigs. Finally, sift powdered sugar on top of the cake for a “snow like” effect. 

AJ Mistretta