My First Daring Baker’s Challenge! The Yule Log…

So, I’m probably nuts for starting in December, but I’ve decided to challenge myself and join this fun group of bakers called the “Daring Bakers.” It all started when I saw the “Daring Bakers” Logo on another blog and thought, what on earth is that all about? I checked it out, and it sounded like something I would enjoy doing. It’s basically a group of committed bakers that take on a new baking challenge every month, then on an assigned day, post and write about their experience while preparing the dish.

December’s challenge was quite the challenge. It was this lovely yule log, hosted by Lis from La Mia Cucina and Ivonne from Cream Puffs In Venice. I had never tasted a yule log let alone tackle making one from scratch.

All in all, it was a fun challenge. It’s always exciting to make something that you’ve never made before. I think I had the most fun molding the mushrooms out of marzipan. It was kind of like playing with play dough! I also thought it would be much more difficult to roll the genoise, but it was quite simple.

I am excited for more adventures with the Daring Bakers! Stay tuned for next month’s challenge! Check out the Daring Baker’s Blogroll for other Daring Bakers, maybe you’re ready for next months challenge!


Ready, Set, Go!

Found the right consistency

Love these marzipan mushrooms!

Yule Log

Plain Genoise: (I added cocoa to mine)

3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
pinch of salt
¾ cup of sugar
½ cup cake flour – spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off (also known as cake & pastry flour)
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder if desired
¼ cup cornstarch

one (1) 10 x 15 inch jelly-roll pan that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper and then buttered again

1.Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

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

3.Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar together in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Place over the pan of simmering water and whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100 degrees if you have a thermometer (or test with your finger – it should be warm to the touch).

4.Attach the bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled (touch the outside of the bowl to tell) and tripled in volume. The egg foam will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl of whipped eggs when the whisk is lifted.

5.While the eggs are whipping, stir together the flour, cocoa and cornstarch.

6.Sift one-third 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 third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.

7.Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

8.Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake doesn’t overbake and become too dry or it will not roll properly.

9.While the cake is baking, begin making the buttercream.

10.Once the cake is done (a tester will come out clean and if you press the cake lightly it will spring back), remove it from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Coffee Buttercream: ( I used chocolate buttercream instead, see recipe below)

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
24 tablespoons (3 sticks or 1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons rum or brandy


Chocolate Buttercream
4 Lg egg whites
1 Cup sugar
3 sticks softened butter
1/2 Cup melted chocolate chips

1.Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

2.Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee in the liquor and beat into the buttercream.

Chocolate Buttercream directions:
1. same as above number 1
2. Attach the bowl to the mixer and whip with the whisk on medium speed until cooled. Switch to the paddle and beat in the softened butter and continue beating until the buttercream is smooth. Slowly stir in melted chocolate.

Marzipan Mushrooms:

8 ounces almond paste
2 cups icing sugar
3 to 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
Cocoa powder

1.To make the marzipan combine the almond paste and 1 cup of the icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until sugar is almost absorbed.

2.Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3.Add half the corn syrup, then continue mixing until a bit of the marzipan holds together when squeezed, adding additional corn syrup a little at a time, as necessary: the marzipan in the bowl will still appear crumbly.

4.Transfer the marzipan to a work surface and knead until smooth.

5.Roll one-third of the marzipan into a 6 inches long cylinder and cut into 1-inch lengths.

6.Roll half the lengths into balls. Press the remaining cylindrical lengths (stems) into the balls (caps) to make mushrooms.

7.Smudge with cocoa powder.

Assembling the Yule Log:

1.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the genoise to loosen it from the pan.
2.Turn the genoise layer over (unmolding it from the sheet pan onto a flat surface) and peel away the paper.
3.Carefully invert your genoise onto a fresh piece of parchment paper.
4.Spread with half the coffee buttercream (or whatever filling you’re using).
5.Use the parchment paper to help you roll the cake into a tight cylinder.
6.Transfer back to the baking sheet and refrigerate for several hours.
7.Unwrap the cake. Trim the ends on the diagonal, starting the cuts about 2 inches away from each end.
8.Position the larger cut piece on each log about 2/3 across the top.
9.Cover the log with the reserved buttercream, making sure to curve around the protruding stump.
10.Streak the buttercream with a fork or decorating comb to resemble bark.
11.Transfer the log to a platter and decorate with your mushrooms and whatever other decorations you’ve chosen.

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31 Responses
  1. Dolores

    Wow… I love your photography; your mushrooms look GREAT. Congratulations on what’s *clearly* a successful first challenge, and welcome!

    Happy New Year!

  2. Laura

    Hooray for you! I didn’t have time to do the DB challenge in December, but you’d better believe that I’m doing January!

  3. Jen Yu

    Your buttercream looks like perfection. Great job on a gorgeous yule log and congrats on completing your first DB challenge. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!!

    jen at use real butter

  4. Gretchen Noelle

    Congrats on completing your first DB challenge! I agree about the play dough, I had lots of fun molding things with marzipan – once I got the consistency moldable! Great job!

  5. Proud Italian Cook

    If you could do this, you can do anything! Quite a challenge for your first one! I’ll br joining you next month.

  6. Bellini Valli

    Looks like your Buche de Noel turned out beautifully. This was my first DB challenge as is fun isn’t it????

  7. Tartelette

    Wonderful job on your first challenge! The mushrooms are adorable!
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!

  8. Claire

    Sounds like you had fun…I didn’t venture to the marzipan, but I’d like to one day. I’ll drop back later to see if I can see the pictures…right now they won’t show for me.

  9. Emiline

    Congrats on becoming a daring baker! I’m glad everything went well in your first challenge.
    I made one of these cakes a few years ago. I agree with you-the mushrooms are the most fun.
    The pics aren’t working for me right now, so I’ll come back later to see them.

  10. marias23

    Hey there, congrats on completing your first DB challenge. I think this was the most fun challenge we’ve had so far 🙂

    But anyway, that’s my dream kitchen too! Haha! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  11. redactedrecipes

    Looks really terrific! And I’m really glad to have joined DB too! Happy Holidays!


  12. Jill

    that is so dang fun. I am proud of you and all you challenge yourself with. Good job. You photography of different dishes is beautiful.

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