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Oct 31, 2011 11:54 AM

Buche de Noel - Yule Log Tiramisu-style

I've been issued a challenge for the holidays to create a tiramisu buche de noel. Usually, I can manage to figure out some techniques to get the desired result, but my brain seems to be drawing a blank. Any ideas? I know that the most logical thought is to make a thin sponge cake and fill with the mascarpone. But was wondering if there's an even more creative approach.


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  1. I think that's a great idea and I've never seen that done. Don't over complicate it. You'll drizzle the cake with the espresso mix before spreading the mascarpone mix, yes?

    1. I think your on the right track. No need to make it any more complicated it is already out of the norm for a Bûche de Noël
      Sponge soaked with Brandy/ espresso sugar syrup. Whipped Mascrapone, whipped cream folded in to lighten and either mocha butter cream or straight coffee butter cream on the out side. Garnish with Meringue Mushrooms and faux (fondant, chocolate marzipan ect...) leaves and voilà

      1. Although... What if you did a Dark Chocolate Espresso Ganache on the outside instead of a buttercream? Just a thin layer until it sets up, then texture it up and place a shaving of chocolate "bark," then finally all the decorations and maybe some "snow."

        I dunno.... just a thought because I've always hated buttercream. This might be a Yule Log I'd actually want to eat.

        I suppose you could monkey around with the filling too. Some Tiramisus (Tiramisi?) use an egg or egg-yolk base, more like a custard, and if you did this you could play with some bolder flavors as well. Almond, maybe? Pistachio? Go too crazy and I guess it wouldn't be a Tiramisu.

        3 Replies
        1. re: acgold7

          I'm loving that Chocolate Ganache idea! I think you all have me convinced on the path to my Christmas baking success. I'm not so game on playing with bolder flavors, but the garnish/decorations can definitely include interesting things like crumbled and dried out chocolate cake crumbs or crushed Oreos to simulate the dirt, the meringue mushrooms, fondant/marzipan leaves, chocolate bark and twigs, and cranberries for holly berries.
          Thanks to all for your inspiration!

          1. re: attran99

            I think you should sprinkle the chocolate ganache icing with cocoa powder, as that is traditional on top of tiramisu, then add the meringue mushrooms, etc.
            A coffee/egg custard lightened with whipped cream would make a lovely filling, after, as mentioned above, sprinkling sponge cake with brandy/espresso syrup.
            I might borrow your idea! Sounds delish!

            1. re: gingershelley

              A friend and I are about to undertake making a buche de noel tomorrow and we're going to make the one from the November/December 2000 issue of Cook's Illustrated. It's a bittersweet chocolate cake with an espresso mascarpone filling. I would imagine if you brushed the hot cake with a little brandy or marsala and then filled with the espresso filling, it would taste pretty darn close to a tiramisu. Here's the recipe for the filling, just in case anyone's interested:

              Espresso-Mascarpone Cream (makes 1 1/4 cups, enough to fill one cake)

              1/4 cup heavy cream
              2 teaspoons whole espresso beans, finely ground (about 1 tablespoon ground)
              3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
              8 1/4 ounces mascarpone cheese (generous 1 cup)

              Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan over high heat. Off heat, stir in espresso and powdered sugar, transfer mixture to medium bowl and cool slightly. Whisk in mascarpone until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

              Dark Chocolate Ganache (makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough to cover filled roulade)

              3/4 cup heavy cream
              2 tablespoons unsalted butter
              6 ounces high-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
              1 tablespoon cognac

              Microwave cream and butter in measuring cup on high until bubbling, about 1 1/2 minutes. (Alternatively, bring to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat). Place chocolate in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. With machine running, gradually add hot cream and cognac through feed tube and process until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer ganache to medium bowl and let stand at room temperature 1 hour, until spreadable (ganache should have consistency of soft icing).

        2. It's possible that this is what you meant by "filling" it but I'll suggest this anyway. I'd make it like a jelly role, make a thin cake, brushing it with coffee and then spreading it with mascarpone and rolling it up. I'd then brush more coffee on the outside. I would definitely use chocolate ganache instead of butter cream. I think it would be much too sweet otherwise (but I am a sweet hater). Shouldn't actually be much harder than a regular buche de noel.

          The only other thing that's coming to mind would be to make regular tiramisu in a loaf pan, let it chill and firm up and then carve it. Then you'd be able to use actual lady fingers, but I'm not sure you'd it would ever get hard enough to frost and slice nicely.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luciaannek

            That is what I meant by filling; thanks for specifying! I didn't mean to be unclear :) As an added note, Cook's Illustrated recommends rolling up the cake in a tea towel, towel and all, when it is removed from the oven and cooling for about 15 minutes. Then, when you spread the filling on and roll up the cake, it will already have the "memory" of the roll and it will be less likely to crack.