LOG JAM 2020! I conquered my Christmas 2020 baking goal, which was to make a Bûche de Noël aka LOG JAM aka Yule Log Cake. Life felt pretty jammed there for awhile, didn’t it. Now, with the vaccine on the horizon, things feel a little more hopeful for 2021 – the thought of hugs, gatherings, dinner and cocktails out with friends, DOING STUFF TOGETHER again – could it be possible! I hope and pray for a brighter new year, and health and happiness for all.
There is something very deep 1980s about LOG JAM. Maybe it reminds me of the Christmases of my childhood – a dusting of icing sugar, lil shroom zoomie mushroom buddies, candied rosemary and tart cranberries… I imagine it on a dessert table at my childhood home on a vintage silver platter, next to a cut crystal dish filled with my mom’s chocolate almond brittle, foil-wrapped chocolate bells in red and green, my Poh-poh’s Christmas pudding topped with brandy sauce and whipped cream – being without family this year for Christmas is making me feel extra nostalgic.
Teddy and I have been watching The Great Canadian Baking Show together – it’s our new little ritual. When the opening credits pop up, it’s my job to remark “OOOH, NANAIMO BARS!!” and we share a nerdy little chuckle. It’s peaked his interest in baking, and it’s renewed mine, too – which is a nice feeling after a year of anxiety and squashing of creative juices. Bûche de Noël was one of the challenges in the first season and it got me stoked to finally try making one!
I read so many recipes and tutorials on how to make a yule log cake – I was going to do a chocolate one, but at the last minute (uh, this morning) I decided I would try my friend Sprinkle Bakes’ recipe for pumpkin sponge cake! Check out her bonkers birch bark yule log cake – she is one of my favourite creatives in the baking community, her work is always so precise yet with a vintage/cartoony feel which I love. I filled the cake with a cream cheese whipped cream, and the exterior log is frosted with a simple Nutella chocolate buttercream.
I had originally made some little tiny toadstool mushroom sugar cookies for my Bûche de Noël project – but when I iced them, they looked awful, so I switched gears to the classic meringue mushroom. I really love the toadstool mushroom look, so I tinted half of the meringue red for the mushroom caps! I added a little dusting of icing sugar (because, snow.) I did a truly garbage job of putting the caps onto the stems however – I tried melting white chocolate to use as my glue, but it clumped up – so I used a chopstick to kinda smear some of it onto the underside of the cap, then literally JAMMED (log jammed?) the stem up into the cap. I do not recommend my method as it was sketchy as heck, but you could be smart and melt chocolate properly, then you won’t have that problem! :P
Sprinkle Bakes details how to roll your sponge cake – folks, it’s easier than you think! It was my first time making a roulade and I was sweatin’. But, as long as your cake recipe is spongey and pliable, and you roll the cake into its shape while it’s still warm, you’ll be A-ok! Happy end of 2020, world. LOG JAMMED! May 2021 shine bright with hope! xo Lyndsay
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