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A Tribute to Mom and Dad (continued)

Buche de Noel w/ Expresso Buttercream Icing   





For cake:

6 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup cornstarch


For icing:

2 ¼ cups sugar

1 ½ cups expresso

4 egg yolks

3 ½ sticks butter


Icing is made by beating egg yolks until light yellow in
color. Next, cook sugar and coffee
together over medium high heat to a temperature of 234 degrees. Then very
slowly add sugar/coffee mixture to the yolks while beating at low speed until
mixture is cold (if you go too fast, the yolks will curdle). Butter is softened
at room temperature before it is cut into pieces and beaten into the cold
egg/syrup mixture. Continue beating at low speed until mixture is very firm.
Set aside in a cool spot.


Cake batter is made by adding sugar to beaten whole eggs
then continue beating mixture over very low heat until it doubles in size
(approx. 15 minutes). The flour and cornstarch are sifted together and gently
folded into the mixture. The mixture is then poured into a well buttered half
sheet pan and baked at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan while
still warm and roll it up in a kitchen towel that has been sprinkled w/ sugar.
Set aside to cool (a warm cake will melt the icing).


When cool, unroll the cake and spread ¼ inch layer of icing
on the inside. Reroll the cake then cut off ends diagonally, each piece being
about 1 by 3 inches. Place the cake roll on a cutting board wrapped in foil
(the foiled cutting board was my serving platter, but feel free to use the
platter of your choice) then spread a ¼ inch layer of icing on the exterior of
the cake roll. The diagonal pieces are then placed on the top of the roll and
spread w/ icing to resemble stubs of cut-off branches. Tines of a fork are
drawn through the icing to simulate the texture of bark; the ends are marked w/
circles to resemble tree growth rings. Place the cake in a cool spot or
refrigerate until it’s time to serve. One hour prior to service, remove cake
from fridge and decorate cutting board w/ holly branches.


Chef’s notes:


The recipe from the magazine article was not very
specific regarding certain aspects of the preparation so I’m adding some info
for your benefit. For example, when making the icing, it is important to beat
the mixture until very firm, otherwise it will not be properly
emulsified and will “break”. Also, when beating the cake
batter over heat I used a double boiler to prevent sticking and burning.

When removing the cake from the sheet pan be particularly
careful to unstick it from the pan so it doesn’t get broken. (I cracked the
cake at this stage and it made the remaining steps much more challenging!!).
Make sure your kitchen towel is generously sprinkled w/ sugar and gently roll
up the warm cake. I applied a little too much pressure while rolling which
caused the cake to stick to the towel and crack even more when unrolled!
Believe me, you don’t want your cake cracked because icing it, then rerolling
will be a pain in the a_ _!! Fortunately, through the miracles of icing, I was
able to cover up all my mistakes!

For a first effort, I think the final product turned out
fairly nice. I wish my mom and dad were around to sample it. I did have a group
of friends over for cake and champagne, and by the looks of it, they seemed
pretty satisfied!

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