Christmas pudding is undeniably traditional, but it can be a controversial pudding choice. To avoid any dessert drama we’re taking inspiration from the Fuller family in our Christmas adverts and creating the crowd-pleasing choc-heaven of the Yule Log.
The rolling can be fiddly, but just remember that any little cracks or imperfections will be hidden under a cloak of darkness… also known as ganache. A recipe of 3 parts, a chocolate ganache or whipped cream centre is wrapped in a light chocolate sponge, rolled, and topped with a blanket of rich ganache and a light sprinkling of icing sugar.
For the sponge
- 4 large free-range eggs
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 65g/2½oz self-raising flour
- 40g/1½oz cocoa powder
For the chocolate ganache topping
- 300ml/½ pint double cream
- 300g dark chocolate, in small pieces
For the filling
- 600ml/1 pint double cream
- 300g dark chocolate, in small pieces
If you don’t fancy double chocolate, a simple whipped cream filling works too. You’ll need 300ml/½ pint of double cream to fill your sponge.
Plus icing sugar to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
- Lightly grease a 33x23cm/13x9in Swiss roll tin, or line with baking paper. Make sure to grease the corners, or make sure the baking parchment is pressed into the edges and corners.
- Now we’re going to make the chocolate sponge. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until the contents is combined, frothy and pale in colour – use a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, and it’ll be much easier.
- Sift the cocoa powder and flour into the bowl, then use a spatula and fold the dry ingredients in while being careful not to knock the air out of the eggs.
- Pour the sponge mixture into the tin, using your spatula to spread in evenly across the pan and into edges and corners.
- Place in the centre of your pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. It should be risen and firm to the touch, and should have shrunk away from the edges (which will help remove it from the tin).
- Cut a piece of baking paper that is larger than the tin, and place it on a clear work surface. Give it a generous dusting of icing sugar to stop the sponge from sticking to the surface, and carefully turn out the sponge from the tin onto the baking paper. Remove the bottom layer of baking paper if you used it.
- On one of the longer edges, take a sharp knife and score a line approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) from the edge of the sponge. Starting at this edge, take the paper and roll gently but as tightly as you can. Roll the paper and sponge as one, so the paper sits inside the spiral. Once it’s completely rolled, turn the roll over so it’s resting on the outside edge. Leave it to cool fully.
- To make the ganache topping, gently heat the double cream in a pan until it’s warm but not too hot to touch. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s completely melted, then leave to cool down to roughly room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
- Now, the filling. This recipe can be made with a whipped cream filling or a ganache filling if you’d like an extra chocolate hit. To make a ganache filled yule log, follow the ganache steps above, using 2 parts cream to dark chocolate. For a cream filling, whip 300ml of double cream until it’s thick and spreadable. Use a piping bag or spatula to spread the filling over the inside of the sponge.
- Carefully unroll your sponge roll and remove the paper. The whipped cream (or ganache) evenly across the top of the unrolled sponge, and roll it back up. The sponge should hold its shape easily and the filling should help the layers stick together.
- Remove your ganache from the fridge. It needs to be thick and firm enough to pipe in long thick lines to create the beginning of the bark effect. Use a star piping nozzle to give your long lines of piping some texture, or use a fork to bring the bark to life. You can also spread the ganache over the cake using a palette knife and go over it with a fork. Don’t forget to cover the ends of your yule log, and sprinkle with some icing sugar to finish it off.