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Traditional Christmas sweet things tend to involve quite a bit of dried fruit and booze, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the traditional French Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) is such a treat for all ages. A light chocolate sponge rolled up with buttercream, (I stirred chestnut purée through mine for an extra festive twist), then covered with yet more buttercream, chocolate this time, and decorated to look like a snowy log.
A traditional swiss roll sponge is made with whisked egg whites, and doesn’t have any fat added. I’ve been meaning to test out the magic vegan ingredient ‘aquafaba’ (the liquid drained from a tin of chickpeas) as a replacement for egg whites, and hadn’t yet got around to it, so a Bûche de Noël seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The recipe for this did take a few attempts to get right – probably because I hadn’t worked with aquafaba before, (my poor family were subjected to eating multiple chocolate logs over the course of a few weeks….!). But I think this one is spot on, and is surprisingly easy to make. The aquafaba really does whip up just like egg whites, and the sponge cooks really quickly.
The chestnut buttercream for the filling is incredibly light and fluffy, whereas the chocolate buttercream ‘sets’ as the melted chocolate hardens, and gives the yule log some rigidity which helps when slicing and serving.
The lovely people at OXO UK are exceedingly good at coming up with new products which make baking, cooking and cleaning that little bit easier, and they recently sent me four pieces from their bakeware collection to try out.
You will see in the little GIF above that I used:
- Swiss Roll Tray A really good quality baking tin which is pleasingly heavy, with non-stick coating and textured bottom. I probably didn’t really need to line the tin for this yule log, but did so out of habit! I have a feeling I’ll be using this for many years to come.
- Silicone Spatula I use silicone spatulas for everything, I just can’t stand using wooden spoons, spatulas or anything else when cooking or baking. This one is great – just the right amount of bendiness to get every last drop of batter out of the bowl whilst still being strong and sturdy.
- Dusting Wand This is genius! You use it like a spoon to scoop up icing sugar, (or cinnamon, flour or whatever else you are dusting), then twist the end of the handle to cover the spoon with a tiny sieve which sprinkles such a fine and even layer – no more lumps!
- Bent Icing Knife Hands up if you’ve ever smudged icing with your fingers whilst trying to get into an awkward area…. I do it all the time, and this bent icing knife is the answer. The handle (and your fingers) are raised well above the cake so no more accidents.
If you haven’t tried using ‘aquafaba’ as a baking ingredient yet, this recipe is the perfect place to start. I promise it doesn’t taste of chickpeas at all, (that was one of my main concerns, and put me off using it for ages!), and it really is incredibly easy to use.
Let me know how you get on!
Ultimate Vegan Chocolate Yule Log
For the Swiss Roll:
- 12 tbsp 'aquafaba' (liquid drained from tin of chickpeas)
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 115 g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract/paste
- 2 tbsp dairy-free yoghurt (soya or coconut)
- 115 g self-raising flour
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
For the Buttercreams:
- 300 g icing sugar
- 300 g dairy-free margarine
- 150 g dark chocolate (check it is vegan)
- 150 g chestnut purée
For the Swiss Roll:
- Line a swiss roll tin roughly 20cm x 30cm with baking paper/parchment, and preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.
- Tip the aquafaba and cream of tartar into a large, clean bowl, and use an electric whisk to whip until stiff peaks are formed (this might take 3-4 minutes, keep going!). Sift the icing sugar into the bowl bit by bit, and whisk again, then stir through the vanilla extract and dairy-free yoghurt,
- Sift the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl, and fold gently into the whisked mixture until just combined, being as gentle as possible to avoid knocking out too much of the air.
- Tip the mixture into the prepared swiss roll tin, bang the tin once onto the work surface to stop the raising agents working too quickly, and put straight into the oven for 10 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed.
- Whilst it is cooking, take a clean sheet of baking paper and sprinkle it with caster sugar. When the sponge is ready, remove it from the oven and turn it out immediately onto the sugared baking paper. Carefully peel off the paper it was cooked in, then roll it up from the long edge, with the paper trapped inside. Leave to cool.
For the Buttercream:
- Beat the icing sugar and dairy-free margarine together until pale and fluffy, then divide the mixture into two separate bowls.
- Melt the dark chocolate (keeping back 2 small squares for decoration later) in 30 second blasts in the microwave (or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water), leave to cool a little, then stir into one of the bowls of buttercream until fully combined.
- Add the chestnut purée to the other bowl of buttercream, and beat until fully combined.
- Unroll the sponge carefully, (don't worry too much if it cracks in places, you will be able to hide it with buttercream). Spread a layer of the chestnut buttercream over the whole sponge, then re-roll to form a long swiss roll.
- Trim the ends to neaten them, (these offcuts are the chef's perks!), then slice about a quarter of the roll off the end on the diagonal. Place this on one side to become the branch.
- Cover the whole log in chocolate buttercream, then use a fork to create the texture of the bark along the length of the log, and with circles at each end. Grate over the dark chocolate squares, and finally sprinkle with icing sugar for a flurry of snow.
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later, or to share with friends → → → → →
For more festive recipes from The Veg Space, click here to browse my Christmas recipes archives, (and make sure you’re following The Veg Space on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or via my monthly newsletter to keep up to date with all my latest recipes!)
There are lots of quick and easy recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15‘*. Hop over to Amazon for a look. Thanks for your support!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by OXO Good Grips. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Veg Space going!