I realized I’ve made a bûche de Noël 3 years ago with a Dorie group so it wasn’t a totally new experience, though I did encounter some of the same issues I did way back then.
I made this over the course of about 5.5 hours or so, all told. Well, except that I couldn’t find candied orange peels so I made my own the day before. I used Alton Brown’s recipe and that took about 4 hours or so.
I started by making the meringue mushrooms early in the morning. It took a bit to get the piping technique down and I never did get the tops as rounded as I’d have liked, but that’s okay.
Here’s when I really recalled making the bûche 3 years ago–the cracks! I think I keep overbaking the genoise and I don’t make it often enough to really get the hang of it. Thankfully, I remembered that the filling and frosting hide most genoise sins.
I had decided prior to making the bûche that I’d bring it to my daughter’s 6th grade class and teach them a bit about the history of the Yule log and all that. I found a silver platter from the Dollar Tree that I thought would work quite nicely, for the presentation and constructed the log there. Here we can see the minimized sins, though my rolls were not that perfect circle as it should be.
After frosting it and placing the mushrooms, I took some fake greenery from a garland I had to make it look extra fancy. The kids LOVED the way the cake looked. I’d say about 1/3 of them loved the cake as is and asked me for a couple days after if I’d brought them more cake. The rest of the kids mostly didn’t like the filling–I think the orange/bittersweet chocolate combo can be a bit off-putting to some kids–or didn’t like chocolate(!). It was fun to make something that turned out so pretty!