The Daring Bakers' challenge this month was yule log - a genoise cake rolled, filled and iced with coffee buttercream and decorated with meringue or marzipan mushrooms.I wasn't sure if I was going to participate in this month's challenge, due to my finals recently ending and then recovering from a swollen foot. Last night I decided that I wouldn't do the challenge as I only had 2 days left, no idea what I would do with this yule log, was scared of making the meringue mushrooms, was scared of the buttercream going very wrong (as many people seem to have had this happen and some posted frightening photos!), and don't like buttercream. However, last night I was reading through some food blogs and admiring the yule logs. I pined (haha) for a yule log! I had to make it.
I took the butter out of the fridge last night, woke up early this morning and started baking. And let me tell you, I am so incredibly astoundingly happy that I made the yule log! Everything went really smoothly (aside from forgetting to save meringue to glue the mushroom tops and stems together, but I used buttercream icing and it was okay). I love working with eggs, as this recipe for yule log has you do for the meringue, icing and genoise cake. It was amazing to see how the genoise batter thickened and fluffed up, changing to a lighter colour.
The thing I was the most happy about (and when I say happy I mean can't stop talking about it ecstatic) was the coffee buttercream! Who knew how delicious this would be?? I'm kind of picky about the type of icing that I like on cakes, and buttercream is one that I've always despised. To me, it tastes like they whipped up some butter and added a bit of sugar. Whereas this buttercream icing is pure magic. And the coffee flavour! Wow. This coffee flavoured icing is exactly the coffee flavour I've been craving ever since having a coffee cake over a year ago. I know I'll be using the buttercream icing recipe repeatedly and sharing it with friends! The other thing I was really happy about in regards to the icing was how well it came together. I was so scared it would separate and curdle or whatever bad things can happen, but it came together so perfectly.
And then there were the meringue mushrooms. So much fun to make! I recently bought an icing bag and a couple of tips, but haven't used them yet. So this was a great opportunity to try them out. I loved piping the mushroom caps and stems. And couldn't stop eating them when they came out of the oven. The one thing I wonder though is why does the recipe ask you to make 48 mushrooms? Who's going to put 48 mushrooms on their yule log? Anyway not a big complaint as the little pieces of meringue are delicious. And the mushrooms are so incredibly adorable.
I've never made a genoise cake before. Like with my first Daring Bakers' challenge where we had to make a chiffon cake, I didn't really know what I was doing when it came to the cake making part. I have no idea if it turned out the way it was supposed to. It tasted okay but not anything special, and was a bit sticky. But I do know to listen to the directions when it says to butter the parchment paper before pouring the batter in. I often ignore that step in recipes because 99% of the time you don't seem to need it, and it just adds extra butter. Anyway, I let it cool for 45 minutes or so, then rolled it (as several other people suggested to make it easier to roll later on and minimize the risk of the cake breaking). Unfortunately, later on when I put the icing on the inside of the cake, and then rolled it up again (this time taking it off of the parchment paper it baked on), the cake started to rip off of that. Ah well, the wonderous buttercream icing fixes all!
As for how it's decorated. Well I'm not exactly the most skilled cake (or anything) decorator. I'd rather just slap the icing on and start devouring the cake. Many of you added so many cute touches to the yule log, using fruit rollups for greenery and other things. I just kept it simple and stuck the mushrooms on there.
Thanks Ivonne & Lis for choosing this challenge! And thanks to all the Daring Bakers that posted on the blog with their successes, failures and tips for the different parts of this cake. Check out the other Daring Bakers' beautiful yule logs, and go to Ivonne's post for the recipe.