When Bon Appetit said “ Why burn a log when you can bake a cake that looks like one? Outdo yourself with our outrageous bûche de Noël”, I totally agreed. No doubt.
For years I have eyed gorgeous Bûche de Noël cakes in bakery cases at the holiday season. I would often gaze with wonder and awe, thinking “wow, how did they do that?”. It wasn’t until recently that I thought, “ you know what, I’m GOING to do this!”. I couldn’t wait any longer. The time had come to make this extravagant cake and honestly I wanted to do it justice with my camera.
I set out to make it. An entire day of baking with my assistant later, I was left with all the elements necessary to assemble the magic. The result? Entirely breathtaking.
This is a great project to tackle when you have a day over the weekend. Grab a friend, turn on some music, and walk through the steps together. I have everything broken down here to make this easy for you. Just make sure to take time to read through everything first so that you feel confident going in.
First you’ll want to make the chestnut mousse. I recommend making a double batch. A spoonful is incredible in a mug of hot chocolate, and if you have leftover meringue, you can even make them into sandwich cookies (just make sure to enjoy straight away before they soften) .
This tutorial was priceless – definitely helpful in feeling ready to tackle the seemingly impossible rolling step (I couldn’t believe it- the rolling actually works!).
Time to make the cake. Once you start this process, you’ll want to focus in on it. The cake takes only 10 minutes to bake (right?!!! Hello convenient). Once it’s out, you’ll flip it and roll it immediately. Then it sits and cools for just 20 minutes before you dive back into the next step. This short window provides just enough time to clean up your counter space and load some dishes.
You’ll notice I made two versions of this cake – 1 that will work for anytime in the winter or fall, and another that’s more festive for the holidays. Both are beautiful and equally delicious!
Make the chocolate buttercream. This is where things get real, folks. This buttercream is silky smooth. Once it was all whipped up, I knew the color would be perfect to achieve the “bark” look on the cake. Make a double batch of this as well. Why not?
Time to assemble. Now that you have all your elements ready to go, it’s time to play! The best thing about making a (truly rustic) cake is that there’s no exact method to follow. Just imagine being in a forest.
I thought through all the elements of the forest ground and surroundings. Everything is whimsical, wild and free. I wanted my cake to be a beautiful representation of what I feel when I adventure into nature.
Enjoy the creative process, and let me know what you think if you’re able to try this out!