Thursday, 25 December 2008

My White Christmas!

I spent a quiet morning on Christmas eve hopping from one blog to another, reading how others are celebrating this festive seasons; and admiring gorgeous cakes and cookies created by my favourite food bloggers. This is so different from how I had spent the many past Christmas eve mornings. In the past, a typical Christmas eve morning would be spent attending Christmas parties in the office, sending e-cards and well wishes to friends and colleagues while listening to the never-ending Christmas songs over the small radio on my desk. The afternoons would then be spent grabbing last minute food items at the supermarket. Our Christmas eve dinners were mainly off-the-shelve food such as frozen pizzas, ready-cooked roast chicken and canned soup. Even though I have been cooking for my family for the past few years, last night's dinner didn't go beyond the usual meatball pasta, oven roast chicken, Waldorf salad and I still depended on Campbell's clam chowder to complete the meal ;')

This is the third year that I have spent the Christmas eve afternoon making a cake for Christmas day. Ever since the first time we spent a wonderful white Christmas several years ago, I have always been dreaming of spending the next Christmas in snow. Since there is zero chance of a white Christmas here, I created my own winter wonderland!


Unlike the first log cake I made two years ago, this cake was made by rolling up layers of chocolate sponge cake to create a 'stump'. I should have cut the sheet of sponge cake into 4 strips instead of 3; as I ended up with a rather tall cake :( I whisked a cup of non-dairy whipping cream and divided it into two portions. For the filling, instead of using melted chocolate, I experimented by folding in two tablespoons of nutella spread to one portion of the whipped cream. It was a good choice as I could smell the sweet aroma from the nutella while I was mixing it into the cream. Rolling the strips of sponge layer was not easy...there were cracks here and there. However, I wasn't too concerned about it since the entire cake would be covered with more whipped cream. Even the frosting was easily accomplished, there's no need to worry about making the surface very smooth...that's how forgiving a log cake is! I piped the 'rings' of the tree with a tiny teaspoon of nutella, some sprinklings of chocolate shavings (by grating a chocolate coated espresso bean) and a few 're-cycled' ornaments completed the picture. With the artificial snow (thanks to Flickr), my white Christmas really came true!

The sponge layer was soft and not dry. The nutella cream filling was really amazing!! This cake is so delicious that my husband kept asking for more.


Here's a slice of cake that I would love to share with all my readers and fellow blogger pals. Thanks for all the well wishes and lovely comments you have left in this blog. May you have a wonderful Christmas with your love ones...be it snowy, sunny or rainy! Merry Christmas!


Christmas Log Cake

Ingredients:

70g cake flour
15g cocoa powder
3 eggs, room temperature
90g caster sugar
2 tablespoons fresh milk

filling:
300ml non-dairy whipping cream
3 tablespoons nutella spread


Method:
  1. Sift cake flour and cocoa powder, set aside. Line a 9" x 12" (23 x 30cm) Swiss roll tray with parchment paper, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 180 degC.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on HIGH speed for about 5 to 7 mins, until the batter double in volume and is ribbon-like (the batter should leave a ribbon-like texture when the beater is lifted up). Turn to LOW speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Whisking at low speed helps to stabilise the air bubbles in the batter.
  3. Add sifted flour mixture into the batter in 3 separate addition. With each addition, use a spatula, gently fold in the flour until well blended. Take care not to deflate the batter.
  4. Add the milk, fold with spatula until well blended.
  5. Pour the batter into the tray. Spread and smooth out the batter evenly. Bake for 10~15 mins*, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Remove tray from oven. Remove sponge layer from tray (with parchment paper still in tack), place it in a plastic bag**. Tie the plastic bag and leave it to cool. (Instead of using a plastic bag, I cover the sponge layer with another Swiss roll tray.)
  7. Prepare filling: whisk non-dairy whipping cream in a mixing bowl till stiff peak. Remove half of the whipped cream and set aside (for decorating the cake surface). For the remaining half, add in nutella spread, mix with a spatula and blend well.
  8. When the sponge layer is cooled, remove the parchment paper and turn the sponge layer with the 'skin' side up. Slice the sponge layer into 3 equal long strips (cut along the long side).
  9. Spread some nutella filling on the first piece and roll up. Place the roll vertically on a serving plate or cake board. Spread some filling on the second piece, use it to join the first piece and continue to roll it. Do the same for the third piece.
  10. Spread the cake surface with the whipped cream. Use the tines of a fork to draw lines on the surface to create a tree bark effect. Pipe some nutella spread on the top of the log cake and sprinkle with some chocolate shavings. Decorate with ornaments as desired.
NOTE:
*Do not over bake the sponge layer, otherwise it will turn dry and may crack upon rolling.
** The reason for doing so is to keep the sponge layer moist for easy rolling.

Recipe source: 点心达人, 轻松学 / 小川智美著

34 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas to you and your family! The Christmas cake is lovely! Love the snowing effect you made. I don't have a cake for Christmas this year. How I wish I could eat a slice of yours!

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  2. This looks absoulely gorgeous and delicious. Have been a fan of your blog =P Keep up with the great work!

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  3. Beautiful cake!

    Merry Christmas!

    xox Sarah

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  4. hey HHB! merry christmas to you and your family! may the upcoming year be a fruitful one and more goodies and yummy bakes churning out from your kitchen! god bless always =)

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  5. maine_maine25/12/08 3:33 pm

    Hi,

    Always wanted to make festive cakes..
    But i'm a new baker...do not really know how to whip the cream that u used for coating the cake.

    If i'm using an electric whisk, which speed should I use? Low or high speed or should i just use hand whisk?

    Thanks for your help, HHB..you are an inspiring baker :)

    Rgds,
    maine_maine

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  6. i think this is so beautiful! have a lovely xmas and a wonderful new year HHB!

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  7. OOH!! That looks great! We always have snow for Christmas here - infact we have snow for usually 5 months. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas - even if it isn't a white one.

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  8. Hi,

    Lovely cake that brings some winter wonderland spirit to a Singaporean home! Merry Christmas!

    Rgds,
    Beary

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  9. What a lovely way to spend Christmas! Hope you had a wonderful time with your family, dearie :)

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  10. I LOVE the way you decorated this cake! Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year! :)

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  11. Hi Mandy, I would love to send you a slice :)

    Denise, Sarah, Katherine, thank you for all your kind words and comments!

    Hi maine_maine, you can use the electric whisk to whip the cream. I always use Low speed...for non-dairy cream, it will become mousse like within 1 to 2 mins.

    Thanks Missy!

    Hi Audrey, wow 5 months of snow!! Here's wishing you a happy new year!

    Beary, ovenhaven, SSB, thanks for your encouraging words :)

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  12. The cake is gorgeous! This may seem abit late but nevertheless I still wanna wish you'd a merry and blessed christmas and a good year ahead in 2009. :D

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  13. Hi HHB,
    Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year to you too! I love the "extra large" log cake you have! You're really very creative & special! ;)

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  14. Hi HHB!
    Hope it's not too late to say Merry Xmas to you! Just came back from holiday tonight! Your cake looks gorgeous! :)

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  15. You always bake the most stunning sponge cakes! And this is no exception. Beautiful cake. Happy New Year!

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  16. Your photos are always so stunning. And what a cheerful cake.

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  17. OMG!!
    this seems very delicious!!

    I´m From Brazil, and I love coke!!

    Can I send Brazilians recipes to you!

    mail-me when you can, and if you want! rafael.hymura@gmail.com

    have a happy new year!

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  18. Wa, so creative. Fantastically nice cake. My "recycled" christmas ornaments are still in the boxes. I hope I hv chance to bake something for christmas next yr. Sigh .. be hopeful kekeke

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  19. Marvellous! I have been reading your blog for some time, on the quiet side. But I really want to tell you how much admiration I have for your blog! Splendid bakes and I am just addicted to your posts! thanks to you :P

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  20. "Happy New Year 2009"

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  21. Hey there, I have an issue with the whipping of the cream. I tried to whip the cream using electric mixer to stiff peak but it tends to melt so fast in the room temperature. I realised those cream cakes from the bakery can stand in the room temp for a long time... how do I achieve that?

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  22. Hi Anonymous, I am not sure what went wrong. Since you are able to whip the cream till stiff peak, it shouldn't melt away. Which type of whipping cream are you using? I use non-dairy whipping cream and have no problem with it as I usually take more than half-an-hour to finish frosting a cake.

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  23. hi....just now visit ur blog from istanbul.Happy new year and beautiful everything.

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  24. I read online that I need heavy fat cream so I purchased 35% fat one. Is that the problem?

    How about the non-dairy one you use?

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  25. Hi Anonymous, if you are using heavy cream than it should be fine. Maybe you can chill the cake to let it set before serving. You can read about different types of cream here: (http://www.joyofbaking.com/Cream.html)
    So far I have been using non-dairy whipping cream as it can hold up well and I prefer its taste over the dairy ones.

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  26. Hi Homebaker,

    Can you share your recipes, so that i can try it out. it looks so yummy.

    Cheers,
    Mico

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  27. Hi Mico, I have just posted the recipe, hope you will find it useful :)

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  28. Nice cake! Looks yummy too...

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  29. Very adorable cake :)! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

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  30. Change always comes bearing gifts. Very interesting work.

    nice post and thanks for sharing...

    Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2010

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  31. Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money.
    nice post and thanks for sharing...

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  32. Heyyie! May I ask where did you get the plastic decoration from? Thanks in advance!:D

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  33. Hi Cassandra, those were 'recycled' ones which family members gave me. You can get them from Phoon Huat though.

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