SILVER & GOLD YULE LOG
HANDS-ON TIME 50 min.
TOTAL TIME 4 hr. 50 min., includes cooling
Almond Sponge Cake
4 large eggs, at room temperature ¹∕3 cup sugar ¹∕2 tsp. vanilla 1 cup almond flour (almond meal) ¹∕2 cup all-purpose flour ¹∕é tsp. baking powder
¹∕2 cup sugar 1 tsp. light-color corn syrup ¹∕2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted (tip, page 117)
²∕3 cup egg whites (5 eggs), at room temperature 2 cups sugar 1 lb. unsalted butter (4 sticks), cut into 2-Tbsp. pieces, at room temperature 1 tsp. vanilla Garnishes 2 Tbsp. oz. white chocolate, melted Gold edible luster dust (optional)
Silver, gold, and white dragées and/or large nonpareils
ALMOND SPONGE CAKE
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 15×10-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper, then butter paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer on high 7 to 9 minutes or until light, fluffy, and tripled in volume. 3. In a small bowl whisk together flours and baking powder. Gently fold half the flour mixture into the egg mixture; repeat with remaining flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
4. Bake 12 minutes or until cake is set and lightly golden. Use a small knife to loosen edges of the cake.
5. Lay a clean kitchen towel on a work surface; generously dust with powdered sugar. Quickly invert hot cake onto towel. Peel off parchment paper and roll hot cake and towel into a log starting at a short end (see how-tos, page 120). Let cool completely on a wire rack.
1. In a large skillet cook sugar,
2 Tbsp. water, and the corn syrup over medium-high without stirring 2 minutes or until melted and showing signs of caramelizing (beginning to brown). Stir; cook 3 to 4 minutes more or until evenly dark and starting to smoke. Remove from heat; stir in almonds and a pinch of salt. Pour mixture onto a silicone baking mat or lightly buttered parchment paper; let cool.
2. Break into pieces and place in a food processor; pulse until chopped into pieces no larger than pine nuts. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 1 day.
1. In a large heatproof bowl whisk together egg whites and sugar. (Mixture will be thick and grainy.) Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, being careful that bowl doesn’t touch water. Whisk 10 minutes or until 160°F, sugar is completely dissolved, and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan.
2. Beat mixture with a mixer on medium-high 8 to 12 minutes or until light, fluffy, glossy, and stiff peaks form.
3. Transfer 1/2 cup meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4- inch round tip (to pipe the mushrooms); set aside.
4. Let bowl with remaining meringue sit at room temperature 10 minutes. Beat in butter 2 Tbsp. at a time on medium 10 minutes or until fluffy. After all the butter has been added, beat 1 minute more or until buttercream is creamy and glossy. Beat in vanilla and a pinch of salt.
5. Divide the buttercream in half. Stir almond praline mixture into one half. (Chill remaining buttercream until needed, up to 2 days. To soften, let sit at room temperature 2 hours, then place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and heat 1 minute. Beat with a mixer on medium-high until creamy.)
1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Pipe half the meringue in the pastry bag into 3/4- to 1-inch mounds (mushroom caps) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (about 20 mounds). Pipe remaining meringue into squat stems that come to a point (about
20 stems). Bake 30 minutes. Turn off oven; let meringues stand in cooling oven 1 hour. (Meringues can be made 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.)
2. Using a paring knife or wooden skewer, poke a small hole into center of flat side of mounds. Dip stem tips in melted white chocolate, then insert into holes in mounds to create mushrooms. If desired, paint tops of mushrooms with luster dust.
1. Unroll cooled cake. Spread praline buttercream in an even layer over cake. Roll cake back up into a log, lifting end of towel to guide roll.
2. Cut off a few inches from the end of roll at an angle to make a branch. Transfer long portion (the log) to a serving platter. Frost one end of branch with enough buttercream that it sticks to log; gently press branch onto the top of log. Frost entire cake, dragging a spatula to create texture. Decorate with dragées and Meringue Mushrooms. Makes 12 servings. per serving 612 cal, 40 g fat, 143 mg chol, 81 mg sodium, 60 g carb, 2 g fiber, 53 g sugars, 7 g pro.