Saturday, December 22, 2007

My Log

So I joined this super group of Daring Bakers. The whole reason I started a blog was because I wanted to join this really cool group of bakers who stretch themselves with exciting and difficult pursuits. They have secret rituals too. And a really cool logo. Its like a cross between two of my favorite things. Baking and James Bond. It is entirely possible that I may have been humming dum da da dum da da da dum da da dum, (the James Bond theme song) while I read our super secret instructions. To make a Yule Log.
Of course making a yule log has never been high on my list of things to do while trying to get everything else done before Christmas. I mean, really, I make a ton of Christmas cookies to send to my friends, and now apparently to the Brain's good referral sources, and then I try to make a gingerbread house. And we can't forget the sauerkraut balls. And frankly, rolling up a cake sort of scared me. After watching Tyler Florence screw up rolling a cake on Iron Chef America (love that show) I was more than nervous that the cake would crack up and die.
So I soaked it brandy. OK maybe soaking isn't right. I brushed the outside of the cake with brandy and then I flipped it over and brushed the other side. Then I rolled it up around a dishtowel on one side and parchment paper on the other and left it for the night because I completely forgot to take the butter out of the fridge and let it get super soft and squishy so the frosting/filling would turn out OK. Cold butter = ruined frosting. There's a lot of Daring Bakers who could tell you that. The next day, the butter was soft, the frosting came together beautifully. The cake unrolled and rolled back up again. I was SO relieved!
Then came the hard part. The meringue mushrooms. Perhaps I've mentioned the effects of humidity in my cozy little house. It makes things squishy. Meringue mushrooms are not supposed to be squishy. I made the tops and the bottoms and they were great. I put a couple together with melted chocolate and satisfied everything would be OK, I went to bed. The next morning I went to take a shower and brushed my robe against the tray of mushroom bottoms and realized I had half a dozen mushroom parts stuck to my robe. They were tasty, but they were squishy. I reread the recipe and realized I was supposed to store them in an airtight container. So I stuck them back in the oven for a while and then popped them into a Ziploc. Problem solved.
I happily decorated the log with snowflake sprinkles and some cacoa nibs (like little wood chips) and my meringue mushrooms. I like to think its like a log in winter.

And now came the SUPER challenge. Today was my grandmother's 90th birthday party. In Michigan. We live in Ohio. 2 hours away. (well the way we drive). So now I had to transport this log. And not kill it. I stuck toothpicks in it so the cling wrap wouldn't mess up the frosting. I packed spare mushroom parts and the leftover frosting.

I held it carefully in my lap the whole drive up. I may be stretching the truth here, I did fall asleep after Toledo for a couple of snores. Once here I unwrapped, fixed a couple mushrooms and tidied it up. After cracking several jokes with my sister G about wanting to see my log, we declared it done. I'm pretty darn pleased with myself. I thought that there was the distinct possibility that I would completely bomb this challenge. Whew!


You can get the recipe for the Yule log here. The only changes I made is that I stuck the mushroom parts together with chocolate and later frosting, and I added 2 oz. of melted bittersweet 62% chocolate to the buttercream because my sister M was annoyed at the lack of chocolate in the yule log.
Check out the rest of the Daring Bakers here. There's something like 300 people posting about Yule Logs between today and tomorrow.

19 comments:

Gigi said...

The buttercream looks delicious and I love the tiny snowflakes!

LizG said...

Looking great, Mary! Well done on your first challenge. Welcome to DB!

Peabody said...

LOL- I was totally thinking of how Tyler tanked on his yule log on Iron Chef. Good thing he didn't go up against you!

Bellini Valli said...

I love to see what everyone else came up with in making their log. This was my first DB challenge. Your log looks exceptional ...and I do love to snowflakes!This "baking challenged" woman had a lot of fun!

Tartelette said...

I am glad Tyler did not make shy away from it!! I love the little snowflakes on it! Your log looks gorgeous!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your yule log. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Jenny said...

Beautiful Mary! I love how you decorated it! Merry Christmas!

Julius said...

I love your bûche de Noël!

Happy Holidays.

Julius from Occasional Baker

Claire said...

Good job. I love the little snowflakes!

Deborah said...

Wonderful job on your first challenge!! It looks wonderful - I love the snowflake sprinkles!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Mary your log is really fabulous. Love the mushrooms on the robe! You seem to have a wonderful Daring Baker spirit. Thanks for baking with us!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Congrats on completing your first DB challenge. I admit the mushrooms stuck to the robe got an out loud laugh out of me! I think the frosting looks excellent and your mushrooms are very sweet! great job!

deb said...

awesome job! totally lol'd the mushrooms on the robe!

Jen Yu said...

Wow, I am so impressed that you traveled with the yule log! It looks spectacular - just gorgeous. Great job and happy new year!

jen at use real butter

glamah16 said...

Welocme to the DB's. Looks great. Ohio to Michigan in 2 hours. I can barely make it to the north suburbs of Chicago in that time.:-)

Zylo said...

Way. Too. Cool. The meringue mushrooms are really inspiring for me. Maybe I'll do a fungus theme next Christmas...

Dolores said...

Welcome, and congratulations... your log is WAY better than Mr. Florence's. I love the platter you served it on... it's PERFECT.

Happy New Year!

Christina said...

Awesome buttercream, and great job on your first challenge, Mary!

Welcome to the DBers!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Elle said...

Sorry I didn't get to your Yule Log when it was posted. It is really cute. I love those mushrooms and the snow flake like sprinkles... Great Job!