Sunday, December 28, 2008

Daring Baker’s Challenge – French Yule Log



This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

What a fun fun fun and chocolaty delicious challenge this month! It’s a good thing I had plenty of time away from the office to work on this Yule Log. Although it wasn’t terribly difficult, it took quite a bit of time to make all six elements (cake, mousse, crisp, ganache, crème brulee, and frosting), plan their vegan preparation, and manage my time to make sure it would all come together and be ready to serve on Christmas Day. Believe it or not, my main concern was that it would be chocolate overload!

The most important element of the Yule Log was the mousse filling. VCTOTW Chocolate Mousse Frosting with a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua added in was incredibly delicious. VCTOTW also provided my ganache. Crème brulee was replaced with JOVB pastry crème. I got to use one of my favorite ingredients, rice krispies, to make a white chocolate crisp.

The cake was more of a challenge. The recipe provided was a meringue almond cake, which I presume was crispy, but not really a vegan option (3 egg whites). I thought about a graham cracker layer, but wasn’t sure I could make it almond flavored. I finally decided on the best almond cake recipe I had, the one from My Sweet Vegan. Not a meringue cake, but a delicious almond cake!

The frosting was the only other element I struggled with, because it was made with gelatin or agar agar. I hate stuff made with agar agar and I wasn’t about to ruin all my hard work and 5 other tasty components with rubbery frosting. So I made a vegan version of the given recipe sans agar agar. It wasn’t the smooth mirror-like finish it was supposed to be, but it tasted fantastic.

To make the log, I began layering my components in a loaf pan in reverse order: Mousse, crème brulee, more mousse, crisp, more mousse. This went into the freezer several hours. Then ganache (a very thin layer for me!) and cake, and back into the freezer overnight.

Time to unmold!



Now time to frost. Although I knew I was putting frosting on something frozen, I wasn’t prepared for my frosting to freeze as I was pouring and spreading it! Oh, well. So it’s not so smooth. Add a few candy canes and it’s a chocolaty Buche de Noel.


I had to take it to my mom’s for Christmas dinner, but it traveled just fine. When the entrees and sides were eaten and the dishes cleared, I presented our dessert.


I couldn’t wait to slice into it and see if my layers were even.



I’m not sure what happened to the crisp layer. Maybe it broke apart when I cut into it. And my crème brulee looks like it should have been reduced by a third. But just you and I know it’s not perfect. The eaters only knew they were enjoying a heavenly concoction – rich yet light, smooth and chocolaty, and balanced with layers of complementary flavors and textures.

Would I make this Yule Log again? It was awfully time-consuming and rather expensive, but oh so delicious. You betcha!

27 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Looks perfect to me!! And worth all the work, since you made it look soooo lovely :-) Nice job, Diann!!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

You never cease to amaze me! It's gorgeous! Yes, it IS perfect!

Bex said...

That looks awesome! I'm so glad your family enjoyed it too. I love sharing food like this.
Oh and there is no such thing as chocolate overload, you just take a smaller piece :)

River said...

Diann, this is such a beautiful dessert! It looks positively perfect and delicious! I wouldn't change a thing!

Ricki said...

First of all, I don't understand what you mean by "chocolate overload." Just doesn't compute.

I think this month's challenge truly deserves the name "daring"--wow, wow, wow. All the elements look perfect to me! Too delicious!

Hannah said...

Fantastic work! I really like how you decorated, and the layers look so nice and even. I'm thrilled that I was able to help in some small part by providing the almond cake recipe! ;)

Gina said...

I love seeing everyone's Daring Bakers creations....but more than anything I want to try them all!! This looks so delicious :)

Vegetation said...

Mmmmm this looks SO good. Let me know next time you make it so I can come over and eat some (or all of it):P

allularpunk said...

looks absolutely heavenly. wowza.

also, your christmas post is awesome too! so much fantabulous food :)

jessy said...

wow! what a scrumptiously perfect yule log! i love it the most! nice job! :D

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

LOL
See, I told ya I was having technical difficulties! Woe is me; I don't exist!

Burp~! said...

that looks perfect! I'm salivating all over my laptop right now! how can you tantalize us like this? groan!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Your layers turned out so much more even than mine!! Sounds like we used similar substitutes (except the cake and icing)... but I thought mine was waaaaayy to chocolately. And you're right, a pretty time consuming and pricey dessert... but still lovely. Yours looks perfect!

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

Diann, you totally blow me away with all the amazing things that come out of your kitchen!! Hope your holiday was full of love, peace, joy, & hope.

Melody Polakow said...

Stunning! You are an amazing baker..

ashley (sweetandnatural) said...

Hi Diann! Thanks for your comment on my blog! I'm off to explore yours now. Happy early New Year!

Urban Vegan said...

It looks like a giant candy bar--yum!

Happy New Year, Diann!

Sanja said...

wow, it looks so pretty!

Happe New Years!

Veg-a-Nut said...

I hope to make it sometime, but expensive yes. We just couldn't do it. I hope they don't kick me out. Yours looks just as good as I expected. Good job! Congrats!

Janet said...

Hah, my crisp layer broke too! Your log looks perfect though, and the candy canes are a very festive touch. Nice work :)

nomnomnomblog.com said...

Oh my goodness, how patient you are! It looks amazing to me, I wish I could have a slice!

Lindsay I-F said...

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until then please visit:
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shellyfish said...

I love your candy cane decorations! We had such a difficult time agreeing on what to put on top! Too many choices!
It looks beautiful and I'm sure it was super-tasty!

kmouse said...

Amazing. Even though it's not "perfect", it looks it.

Usha said...

Looks fantastic, absolutely awesome...Happy new year to you and yours, have a wonderful 2009 :-)

alana said...

Wow, your looks great. The inside especially is just gorgeous!

Erin said...

Great job! It looks wonderful.