Birch-Inspired Bûche De Noël

Bûche de Noël

This spin on the Classic Bûche de Noël is as simple as it is elegant. Decorate with sugared rosemary for a sophisticated finishing touch.

Birch-Inspired Bûche De Noël
 
Makes 8 to 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup (25 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar
  • Chocolate Filling (recipe follows)
  • Meringue Topping (recipe follows)
  • Meringue Mushrooms (recipe follows)
  • Sugared Rosemary (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 17½x12½ jelly-roll pan with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper, and spray pan again.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean paste. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and oil. Fold sour cream mixture into egg mixture, scraping bottom of bowl to fully incorporate. Spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
  3. Bake until cake is set and top springs back when touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately run a sharp knife around edges of pan to loosen cake. Turn out cake onto a tea towel lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Remove parchment paper, and dust cake with additional confectioners’ sugar. Roll up cake lengthwise in towel to let cool completely.
  4. Carefully unroll cake, and spread with Chocolate Filling. Reroll cake without towel, and place seam side down on a large serving platter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to frost cake, up to 4 hours before serving. Trim 3 to 4 inches off one end of cake diagonally. Place cut section at an angle off side of the cake, and attach with Meringue Topping. Spread remaining frosting all over cake. Using an offset spatula, make a bark-like pattern all over cake. Using a kitchen torch, brown meringue. Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms and Sugared Rosemary as desired. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Filling
 
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ⅔ cup (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup (43 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and vanilla bean paste at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meringue Topping
 
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients. Place bowl over pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Return bowl to mixer; beat at high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meringue Mushrooms
 
Makes about 48
Ingredients
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar
  • ½ cup (85 grams) semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with parchment paper, and dust lightly with cocoa.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Place bowl over pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Return bowl to mixer; beat at high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Fit a large piping bag with a small, round tip; fill with meringue. Use half of meringue to pipe mushroom tops onto prepared pans. With remaining half, pipe stems using a vertical up-and-down motion. Dust lightly with cocoa.
  4. Bake mushroom tops and stems for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1½ hours. (Mushrooms might feel soft when they come out of the oven, but they will continue to crisp as they cool.)
  5. Once mushroom tops and stems are cool, use melted chocolate to attach stems to tops. Let mushrooms dry upside down for 30 minutes before using.
Notes
If your mushroom tops have peaks, use a wet finger to gently smooth them out.

Mushroom tops and stems may be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sugared Rosemary
 
Makes 8 to 12 branches
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (424 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 8 to 12 rosemary branches
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup (200 grams) sugar and 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Place remaining 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (224 grams) sugar in a shallow dish. Dip each rosemary branch in simple syrup; roll in sugar. Let dry for 5 minutes before using.

 

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