With just 12 days to go, we wanted to share a festive indulgence for you to try at home. Impress your guests, or keep it to yourself! From our favourite Grumpy Cook try this Yule Log for yourself.
Line a Swiss roll tin (suggested size 30cm x 20cm) with baking parchment.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mix is very voluminous and has reached the ribbon stage (when the mixture drops off the whisk and leaves a ribbon-like trail (see photo). This may take between 7-10 minutes.
Mix the flour, salt and cocoa powder together and sieve (this is important) onto the aerated egg and sugar mixture.
Gently fold in, being carefully not to lose the air you have spent time achieving in the mix.
When everything is just amalgamated, pour into the prepared tin.
Level out with a spatula, making sure you get into the corners, and give a couple of taps on the work surface to remove any rogue air bubbles that have risen to the surface.
Bake in a 180℃/160℃ fan oven for about 7-10 minutes. Because the cake is quite shallow and very aerated it doesn’t take long to bake, so keep a check on it, especially after 7-8 minutes. All ovens are different, so these temperatures are a guide.
A good test is when you think the sponge is ready, touch it gently with your finger, and if it springs straight back, it’s done.
Remove from the oven and loosen around the edges with a sharp knife.
Put a tea towel on your work surface and place a sheet of baking parchment on top of this, making sure the parchment is slightly bigger than your cake.
Sprinkle this lightly and evenly with caster sugar, and turn out the cake by tipping over onto the parchment.
Carefully remove the parchment paper on the base of the cake and discard.
Leave to cool completely, about 30 minutes, then trim and straighten the edges with a sharp knife.
Spread with the black cherry conserve, then cover with whipped cream.
Roll up using the parchment paper to help, as tightly as possible.
Pop in the fridge to firm up and you’re ready to decorate.
Melt the cream and chocolate together in the same pan, stirring well, until smooth and combined.
Leave to cool, whisking occasionally, until you reach the spreading consistency you need.
As the ganache cools (especially refrigerated), it will firm up. It is ready to use when it thickens to a spreading consistency.
Break the chocolate into even chunks and put in a microwavable bowl.
Microwave on medium/low setting (360W) for about 5 minutes. It should have started to melt around the edges. Stir, and replace in the microwave for another 3-4 minutes.
Take out and give a good stir until any small lumps have melted and you have a smooth, glossy mixture.
If you don’t have a microwave, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan with gently simmering hot water, making sure the base of the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir occasionally until smooth.
Cool for 5 minutes, then pour out into a baking parchment lined baking tin.
When the chocolate is firm but a little pliable, tear off long strips, the more jagged the better. Don’t worry if they break into smaller pieces, they will all look great on the Swiss roll.
When you think you have enough to cover 3 sides of the cake (you don’t need any for the base), put in a container in the fridge to harden and crisp.
Take the Swiss roll out of the fridge and cover the sides evenly with ganache. Depending on how much you like ganache, layer it on thick or thin.
Before the ganache firms up, carefully ‘stick’ the chocolate shards along the sides and top, to give a dramatic appearance.
If you’re making your roll before you plan on eating it, you can cover loosely (don’t break the shards!) and put in the fridge.
Take out of the fridge for an hour before taking to the festive table and be ready to answer questions like “that looks fantastic, where did you buy it?”