Yield: 12 servings (at least)
I regret that I didn’t have time to experiment with this recipe until after Christmas, but it is so exquisitely beautiful and delicious that I can’t wait a whole year to share. Plus, a winter log cake should be appropriate at least through February, no?
Important note: it is far easier and quicker than it may look from these instructions. And well worth any effort…
After conducting considerable research online, I chose a recipe for Vegan Swiss Roll on the Allergy Mums website (thank you!), filling it with my favorite chocolate mousse and frosting it with my longtime favorite mocha buttercream. The creator of the “sponge” claims that it doesn’t crack and, indeed, her photo is picture perfect. However, I found that not to be the case.
Still, my accomplice and good friend, Janie Jacobson, a healthy foods cooking instructor and cookbook author, and I were unperturbed because the luscious frosting hid any cracks completely. Some Xantham Gum might prevent the cracking, but I am not a gluten-free cook and don’t find the stuff appealing. Plus, it is very expensive.
I have now made two of these cakes–one for an impromptu post-New Year’s tea party and the other for a postponed 12th Night Party on Saturday night. It was a rave both times.
In terms of decorating, yes, I know about aquafaba, though I confess to not yet trying it, and I was afraid it might not work for the meringue mushrooms typically used to decorate these yule logs. So I devised my own decoration of sliced almonds to suggest shelf-like mushrooms that grow on tree trunks. Some sprigs of rosemary and cinnamon sticks lend a woodsy note–with rosemary being a surprisingly enticing aroma with chocolate–and a light dusting of powdered sugar suggests a hint of snow.
Someone told me it was the prettiest Buche de Noel she’d ever seen and another that it was my best dessert creation yet. That makes this recipe good enough to share with you.
Vegan Buche de Noel
Vegan Sponge Cake (recipe follows)
Vegan Chocolate Mousse (recipe follows)
Vegan Mocha Buttercream (recipe follows)
Garnishes: sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, powdered sugar
Make sponge cake according to directions. Carefully unroll, pinch together any cracks, and spread evenly and gently with Vegan Chocolate Mousse. Reroll, using parchment to assist, leaving the seam-side down. Cut off both ends at a diagonal and assemble the log on a serving platter, positioning cut pieces to resemble sawed off limbs. Frost with Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting. Lightly drag a fork lengthwise down the trunk and cut branches to resemble bark. Garnish as desired with sliced almonds, rosemary sprigs, cinnamon sticks, and powdered sugar.
Tent with foil and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving time. Slice with a sharp or serrated knife.
Vegan Sponge Cake (from Allergy Mums website,directions slightly adapted )
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup caster sugar + a little more for sprinkling (hard to find, so just process granualted sugar in a food processor until finer, but not a powder; do not substitute confectioner’s sugar)
6 tablespoons melted vegan butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 taspoon baking soda
1 cup dairy free milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a shallow 9 x 13″ baking pan (like a jelly roll pan, but smaller), line with parchment paper, and grease again. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and vegan butter. Then whisk in the vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda followed by the milk. Whisk for 50 strokes and then spread into prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, testing with a wooden pick in the center for doneness.
Sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper with a little more caster sugar. Invert the baked cake onto the parchment and peel off the paper. Tripmshort edges if they are at all browned or crispy, as that will impede rolling. Roll up cake very slowly, using the parchment paper to assist. Leave rolled up until cool (this is a departure from the original recipe).
Vegan Chocolate Mousse
1/4 cup chocolate soymilk
6 ounces extra-firm silken tofu
1/4 cup natural sugar (I like demerara)
4.5 to 6 ounces vegan chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet), melted and slightly cooled (basically, half of a bag of vegan chocolate chips which tend to come as 9 to 12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond or peppermint extract
Pinch sea salt
Place the soymilk, tofu, and sugar to the food processor, and process until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the melted chocolate, extracts, and a pinch of salt. Process for several minutes until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Vegan Mocha Buttercream Frosting
1/3 cup vegan butter, softened
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in about 2 teaspoons of water (I have also used a Starbucks espresso pod, torn open, and sprinkled in undissolved which works beautifully)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy creamer (soy, coconut, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with coffee and cocoa powder. Turn mixer off, add 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar and a tablespoon of creamer, and beat until creamy. Repeat with remaining confectioner’s sugar and creamer, ending with last third of sugar scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Adjust consistency with additional confectioner’s sugar or creamer as desired. Beat in vanilla until incorporated. If a darker color is desired to contrast more with almonds, add more dissolved coffee, cocoa powder, or both.