Peppermint Mocha Bûche de Noël

I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!

I don’t know that I’ve been this pumped for a Tuesday since…well, I don’t know when!

But, today! This Tuesday! This Tuesday of Tuesdays is different.

This Tuesday I am victorious! This Tuesday I am triumphant! This Tuesday…I am sharing a Bûche de Noël with you!

Finally. After years of wanting to and trying to. After many unsuccessful attempts at Swiss Roll Cakes I have figured. It. Out.

The key?

MAYO!

Are we even surprised? We shouldn’t be.

Between the flipping and the dusting and the rolling in the kitchen towels I was about ready to pull my hair out over flat, flimsy, fragile Swiss Roll Cakes (which is really all a Bûche de Noël is, mind you. Just a really good recipe for a Swiss Roll Cake decorated to look like a log, but more on that later).

Enter – DUKE’S MAYONNAISE. My light, my love, my end-all-be-all of condiments. I had consulted numerous Bûche de Noël and Swiss Roll Cake recipes and found that while quite a few of them added fat in some degree – be it melted butter or vegetable oil – none of them had enough heft or provided enough bounce and body to the cake to prevent breakage.

After I solved the cake-tastrophe it was on to figuring out flavors, fillings, and fancies. I adapted the chestnut mousse recipe from Bon Appetit to hold coffee beans instead of chestnuts. Then I made sure the frosting was thick, chocolatey, and scented with peppermint to compliment the cake and coffee mousse.  Next it was meringue mushrooms and fudge pinecones. Truly, this cake was a joy to make and decorate once I had worked out all the kinks and created all the pieces. Here are some tips I’ve found to be helpful:

Swiss Roll Cake Tips:

  • Don’t overmix the batter or you’ll get a tough cake!
  • Error on the side of a pan that is too small (I used 10×15). This will ensure the cake rises and is thick enough to handle the filling.
  • Use parchment paper for “handles” by making sure there is a 1-inch overhang on the long side of the pan for easy cake removal.
  • Work while the cake is warm – or she’s gonna crack.
  • Start and the end of the tea towel when rolling. During a few trials when I slapped the cake out into the center of a kitchen towel it would crack as I was rolling it up due to the excess fabric in the roll from the end of the kitchen towel.
  • Make your components ahead of time. The mousse, frosting, mushrooms, and pinecones can all be made a day or two in advance to make assembly that much quicker and easier.
  • Let the cake chill out. I refrigerated my cake after every step in the assembly process to ensure that everything stayed exactly where it should.

How do you make a festive, classic Christmas dessert like a Bûche de Noël even better? By filling it with one of the favorite flavors of the season – peppermint mocha! This Bûche de Noël starts with a lovely chocolate roll cake filled with a coffee mousse & topped with a chocolate, peppermint cream cheese frosting! Meringue mushrooms and fudge pinecones give the appearance of a fallen timber lying on the forest floor. This dessert will impress any guests you have this holiday season.

Peppermint Mocha Bûche de Noël

For the Chocolate Peppermint Swiss Roll Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 – 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 – 27 minutes
  • Yields: 1 Cake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. peppermint extract
  • 4 TBSP mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 1 batch Coffee Mousse, recipe follows
  • 1 batch Chocolate Mint Frosting, recipe follows
  • Meringue mushrooms, chocolate fudge pinecones, and sugared cranberries to garnish, if desired.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10x15inch rimmed baking tray with parchment paper and lightly coat with baking spray, set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and coffee. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, begin whipping egg whites at medium-low speed. When they’ve become foamy, slowly add ¼ cup of the sugar, increasing speed of mixer to medium high. Whisk until medium, glossy peaks form. In a separate bowl, cream together the remaining sugar and egg yolks until pale and thick. Stir in extracts and mayo. Add dry ingredients and gently stir to combine. Don’t worry if there are streaks, we’ve still got to add egg whites! Gently fold in those beautiful egg whites until batter is nearly uniform (I’d say 95% combined). Pour into prepared pan and spread batter to the edges to be sure cake will bake evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until center is set and bounces back after being lightly touched. Remove from oven and immediately run a knife along the edge of the pan to loosen cake. Invert onto a clean kitchen towel coated with an equal mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar (I used about ½ cup of each, we want a thick and even coating). Starting at the shorter (10-inch) end of the cake, roll cake up into a log. Place wrapped cake on a cooling rack and let cool for at least 90 minutes, up to 2 hours.

When cake has cooled, gently unroll and transfer over to a piece of parchment paper that is 14×18 inches. Spread coffee mousse onto cake, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Gently reroll cake and wrap in parchment paper, then aluminum foil. Refrigerate for at least 90 minutes, or overnight.

When ready to create “Yule Log” effect: Place cake on serving platter. Cut a 3-inch piece of cake off on the diagonal and secure to side of cake with frosting (so it looks like a broken or cut log!). Cover cake with frosting, leaving the gorgeous spiralized ends exposed. To create the “bark” lightly drag the tines of a fork back and forth along cake, swirling and swooping as desired. Place mushrooms, pinecones, and sugared cranberries around the edges or on top of cake as desired.

*Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Coffee Mousse

  • Active Time: 15 – 20 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 – 20 minutes
  • Yields: 2 ½ cups mousse

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. gelatin
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ oz. ground coffee
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1 ½ TBSP warm water. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and ground coffee over medium-heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until milk is reduced by ½. Remove from heat and allow to cool. While coffee cream cools, whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to medium peaks. In a separate bowl, cream together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until thick and pale, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and cooled coffee cream before gently folding in whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.

*Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Chocolate Mint Frosting

  • Active Time: 5 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yields: 3 cups frosting

Directions: Make a batch of Melba’s Cream Cheese Frosting adding ½ cup cocoa and ½ tsp. peppermint to it while mixing. Amen.

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