Friday, December 25, 2015

The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf's Nutty Bûche de Noël

Every year I make a Bûche de Noël for my almost-Christmas baby's birthday cake. This year we were a day late because this week has been crazy busy. The Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf made all of the marzipan fungi for the decorations.

This bûche had at least four different kinds of marzipan mushrooms. I'll have to check with him on what types he actually made. While he created the marzipans, I baked the cake and made the filling and frosting.

I use Nick Malgieri's recipe in Perfect Cakes as my starting point. You can also find his recipe on the FoodNetwork website. His chocolate genoise is, well, perfect. Actually his book is aptly named; there is not a recipe in there that I've made that hasn't turned out just divine. I did opt for a chestnut puree-whipped cream filling instead of the traditional coffee filling.

Chocolate Genoise Sheet
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1/3 C cornstarch
  • 1/4 C alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa
Butter and line a 10" x 15" jelly-roll pan with buttered parchment. Set rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Half-fill a medium saucepan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the water is simmering.

Whisk the eggs, yolks, salt, and sugar together in a stainless steel bowl. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm; test it with your finger. Then whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled and tripled in volume.

Stir together the flour, cornstarch, and cocoa. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the beaten eggs. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl on every pass through the batter to prevent the flour mixture from accumulating there and making lumps. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until well risen, deep and firm to the touch. Don't overbake or it will become too dry and will be hard to roll.

Use a small paring knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack and let the cake cool right side up on the paper. Remove the paper when the cake is cool.

Chestnut Cream

  • 1 C organic whipping cream
  • 2 T chestnut puree
  • 1 T organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t almond extract

Whisk chestnut puree, sugar, and almond extract into cream until smooth. Beat until stiff peaks form.

Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa
  • 24 T (3 sticks) butter, softened

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a stainless steel bowl. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot. Whip on medium speed until cooled. Add cocoa. Beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth.

To Assemble
Turn the genoise layer over and peel away the paper. Invert onto a fresh piece of paper. Spread the layer with the chestnut cream filling. Use the paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder. Slice a piece from one end and place it on top of the log to make a branch stub. Frost with the buttercream and decorate with marzipan mushrooms.


  1. I have always wanted to make a buche de Noel but haven't been brave enough.

  2. Well composed articles like yours renews my faith in today’s writers. You’ve written information I can ultimately agree with as well as make use of.

  3. Wow! His mushrooms are fantastique!