Friday, 20 December 2013

Let Her Eat Cake: Double Chocolate Christmas Log


This recipe has its base in Delia, but has become my grandma's, and has been a staple of every Christmas and family gathering I can remember. You start off eating a slice thinking: 'Oh yes, I'm going back for seconds, just watch me' and by the time you reach the end, your chocolate and cream levels have gone into overdrive and you have to lie down somewhere cool and dark for an hour to recover.

This is a great alternative to Christmas pudding or cake if you're in the 'mixed peel is the devil' camp like me, or just to wallow in festive cake delight. Also, this happens to be pretty much gluten-free because it involves CHOCOLATE AND ONLY CHOCOLATE.

Double Chocolate Christmas Log
You will need:
For the cake:
  • 6 large free-range eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
For the filling:
  • 225g good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp rum, amaretto or whichever liqueur or spirit you fancy
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla essence
  • Icing sugar and extra dark chocolate, to decorate
Make it!
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 12 inch long by 1 inch deep baking tray.
  2. In one bowl, beat the yolks together. 
  3. Add the sugar and beat again until creamy but not too thick.
  4. Sift in the cocoa and mix until combined. 
  5. In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. 
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the cocoa mixture. 
  7. Pour onto the baking tray, smoothing into an even layer, and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  8. Place the tray on a wire rack to cool. 
For the filling:
  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bain marie (heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just simmering water) along with 2 tablespoons of rum or amaretto and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir together with a wooden spoon until melted. 
  2. Separate the two eggs: beat the yolks into the chocolate mixture whilst it is still warm. 
  3. In a different bowl, beat the whites until stiff, then fold in to the chocolate. 
  4. Cover with a cloth and place in the fridge for half an hour to an hour to set slightly. 
To assemble:
  1. Take your chocolate mix out of the fridge and stir slightly to loosen, if necessary. 
  2. Place the double cream in a bowl, along with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and the vanilla and whip until stiff. 
  3. Place a large sheet of greaseproof paper on a flat surface and dust well with icing sugar. 
  4. Turn your baked cake upside down into this surface, then peel the layer of baking parchment from the cake. 
  5. Carefully, spread the chocolate mix across the cake in an even layer. 
  6. Next, spread the cream evenly across the surface. 
  7. Using a blunt knife, score the cake slightly across one narrow end to make it easier to roll. 
  8. Now, using the greaseproof paper, carefully lift one narrow end of the cake up, pushing slightly forward until it curls over and begins to roll. You might want to squidge it slightly into shape at this point to help it along. 
  9. Continue until the cake has been rolled. Don't worry if it cracks: some of the best roulades do, it's all part of the rustic charm! 
  10. Dust with extra icing sugar and grated chocolate and get ready for a chocolate coma. 

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