Living in London has definitely coaxed out my Christmas mojo early this year - everything is covered in fairy lights, and i'd wager that even Ebenezer Scrooge himself would struggle to shun the nip of excitement that has infiltrated this city.
My memories of Christmas's past are as old and treasured as the home-made decorations and baubles that my parents role out every year, and this time of year is wrapped and ribboned with nostalgia. I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that food plays a leading role in the Burton Christmas production, and I'm so excited to share some of my favourite seasonal bakes with you.
This salted chocolate and caramel Yule log is perfect for the fruit haters of your party - there's always one, and this will definitely keep them quiet and content, even after a Baileys or three. A tease of salt is is the perfect partner for the sticky sweet caramel buttercream, and zings with the bitter chocolate ganache perfectly.
200g caster sugar
100ml double cream
125g butter, softened
1 tsp fine salt
100g caster sugar
60g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
100g 70% dark chocolate
100g double cream
1/2 tsp fine salt
100g caster sugar
Begin by making the salted caramel buttercream filling. In a clean saucepan, heat the caster sugar over a medium heat with 2 tbsp of water. Allow to dissolve, melt and bubble, cooking until it takes on a deep golden hue, and all the graininess has gone.
Seperately, measure the cream and salt into a large bowl, then carefully pour in the caramel. Be careful, as it will be very hot and does bubble a little. Whisk the cream mixture until the caramel is smooth and combined. Leave to cool to room temperature. Once cool, beat the butter to soften, then add the caramel mixture a spoon at a time, and whisk for 5-6 minutes until pale and airy. Set aside.
For the sponge, line a rectangle tin with greaseproof paper and preheat your oven to 200C. Using a freestanding or handheld whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar for 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and has doubled in volume. Sieve in the flour and cocoa, then fold in using a large metal spoon. When the mixture is well combined, pour into your lined tin, and tilt the tin as needed to coax the mixture into the corners. Bake in your preheated oven for 9 minutes.
Once the time is up, touch the centre lightly and, if it holds its own, remove from the oven and turn onto a fresh piece of baking parchment. Remove the tin and lining paper from the cake, then set a clean clothe over the cake. Score an indent around 1 inch into the sponge one once side, then carefully role into into a swiss roll, lengthways, with the cloth inside. Set aside to cool.
While the cake is cooling, make your ganache. Measure the cream and salt into a small pan, and heat on a medium heat until just boiling. While the cream is heating, chop your chocolate into small pieces, and pop in a heat-proof bowl. When the cream is ready, pour it over the chocolate and mix constantly until the cream has melted the chocolate and produced a smoothly, glossy ganache. Set aside to cool.
When the cake is cooled, carefully unroll it and discard the cloth. Spread with the caramel buttercream, then roll up again lengthways. Roll as tightly as you can, using the score to help you get going and being careful not to squeeze the buttercream out. Finish rolling so that the outer edge is at the bottom. Carefully cut off a small section, the use some buttercream to stick to the edge, so that it resembles a log.
Take your ganache, and spread liberally over the whole cake. Use a skewer or a folk to create a woodgrain effect if you're that way inclined. To finish, melt 100g caster sugar in a pan, and once the caramel is golden pour onto a small piece of clean parchment. Once cooled, crush up and sprinkle over the Yule log to finish it off.