Cannoli Bûche de Noël

Cannoli Buche de Noel Recipe

Each year, for Christmas, I make a Bûche de Noël. For the past decade, I have been making my mom’s classic, 1970’s recipe with an easy chocolate cake, a lovely mocha whipped cream filling, and a heavenly chocolate icing: Click Here for that Classic Bûche de Noël Recipe. This year, I thought I’d take it to another level, and, sustaining my obsession with the New Jersey cannoli, the Patterson/Passiac italian bakery cannoli to be precise, I came up with a recipe for a good Cannoli Bûche de Noël. The test results have been superb, but I’m still undecided as to whether I’m going to use chocolate cake or white cake, a rum glaze or no glaze, and chocolate mascarpone icing or a vanilla mascarpone for the acutal feast day. So, I’ve provided you with not one but three cake recipes, a “Boozy” Glaze option for those who like a little “punch” in their holiday treats, a classic ricotta Cannoli Filling, and a Mascarpone Icing with a Chocolate Option. Some assembly is required. So, of course, te instructions follow. Enjoy!

Cannoli Bûche de Noël

STEP ONE: Choose from and bake any one of these three roll cakes:

I. Easy Chocolate Cake

Easy Chocolate Cake Ingredients

1 cup sifted cake flour or 1 cup minus 2 tbs sifted all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
icing sugar & a clean kitchen towel for rolling the cake

Easy Chocolate Cake Method

Heat oven to 375f.
Grease a 15x10x1 baking or jelly roll pan.
Line it with a waxed paper rectangle cut 1/2 inch smaller than the pan (14×9).
Grease the paper.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl or onto another sheet of waxed paper.
Beat eggs until thick and creamy.
Beat in sugar, 1 tbsp a time until mixture is thick.
Stir in water and vanilla.
Fold in flour mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Bake 12-15 minutes until center spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
Cut around warm cake 1/4 in from the edges of the pan with a sharp knife.
Invert pan onto a clean towel dusted generously with icing sugar.
Peel off waxed paper.
Gently roll wider length of cake jelly roll style in towel.
Cool rolled and wrapped cake completely on a wire rack.

II. & III. Slightly More Complicated White [Or Chocolate] Cake

Slightly More Complicated White [or Chocolate] Cake Ingredients

.5 c all purpose flour [reduce TO .3 for a Chocolate version]
1 tsp baking powder [omit this ingredient for a Chocolate version]
[add .25 c cocoa powder for the Chocolate version]
[add .25 tsp baking soda for the Chocolate version]
4 room temperature eggs, separated
.3 c sugar to be added to the beaten egg yolks.
.5 c sugar to be added to the soft peaked egg whites.
1 tsp vanilla
icing sugar and clean towel for rolling the cake

Slightly More Complicated White [or Chocolate] Cake Method

In a mixer, beat eggs yolks and vanilla until thick and yellow.
Add the sugar and beat on high until dissolved.
Set the mixture aside in the refrigerator.
Wash the mixer bowl and beater, dry it, and place the mixer bowl and egg beater/whip in the fridge or freezer for a moment.
Heat oven to 375f.
Grease a 15x10x1 baking or jelly roll pan or spray it with baking spray.
Line it with a waxed paper rectangle cut 1/2 inch smaller than the pan (14×9).
Grease the paper or spray it with baking spray.
Sift flour, [cocoa powder], and baking powder [or soda] into a bowl or onto another sheet of waxed paper.
In your cold mixing bowl, using cold beaters, beat the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form.
Add the .5 sugar slowly and beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg yolk mixture from the fridge into the beaten egg white mixture with a spatula.
By hand, fold in the flour[/cocoa] mixture.
Spread batter into the pan.
Bake 12-15 minutes until center spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
[Optional] Cut around warm cake 1/4 in from the edges of the pan with a sharp knife. [This cake is more springy than the easy version.]
Invert pan onto a clean towel dusted generously with icing sugar.
Peel off waxed paper.
Gently roll wider length of cake jelly roll style in towel.
Cool rolled and wrapped cake completely on a wire rack.

STEP TWO: Make the [Optional] Syrup, the Cannoli Filling, and the Mascarpone Icing

Boozy Syrup [Optional]
Makes about .5 c
Recipe May Be Doubled

Boozy Syrup Ingredients
.5 c sugar
.3 c water
.25 c rum, brandy, or other fantastical (non-creamed) spirit of choice!

Boozy Syrup Method
Place the sugar and water in a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
You do not need to boil this.
Remove from heat.
Add alcohol.

Cannoli Filling

Cannoli Filling Ingredients
1 15-16 oz container of Ricotta Cheese, strained if runny
[we used light ricotta and strained it for only an hour over a fine mesh sieve/bowl]
.75 c icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
.25 tsp organic lemon or orange extract [optional]
up to 1 c semi-sweet mini chocolate chips OR 1 c shaved or finely diced semi-sweet chocolate
[we used .5 c of bits from a dark chocolate bar we pulsed like crazy in the food processor; you can save the rest for garnish]

Cannoli Filling Method
Beat the sugar and ricotta until smooth.
Incorporate the vanilla and optional citrus extract.
Incorporate up to 1 c chocolate or chips to taste.

[Chocolate] Mascarpone Icing Ingredients

~16 oz Cold Mascarpone Cheese [2 of the small tubs]
.75+ c icing sugar
.25 c milk or cream
1 tbs vanilla
[4 oz unsweeted chocolate, melted and cooled! for the Chocolate version]

[Chocolate] Mascarpone Icing Method
Beat the cheese, sugar, and vanilla on high until incorporated.
[For the Chocolate version, incorporate the cooled melted chocolate.]
Gradually, add the milk or cream 1 tbs at a time until the icing becomes as spreadable as you would like.
You may also add additional icing sugar if desired.
[We added an additional.25 c icing sugar to our batch this time to balance out the bitterness of the chocolate].
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Ice exterior or rolled, filled cake.

STEP THREE: Assemble & Decorate the Bûche de Noël
[see pics below]

Cannoli Bûche de Noël Assembly
Unroll your cake from the towel.
[Optional] Using a pastry or basting-style brush, spread syrup gnerously onto the [inside] surface of the roll cake.
[We only used about 1/16 of a cup of our syrup]
Spread the inside/top surface of the unrolled cake with the Cannoli Filling.
Gently re-roll the cake.
Place the filled cake on a serving plate.
Cut a 1/2in-or-thicker slice(s) from the ends of the cake roll to use as knot(s) or trimmed limb(s) of cake.
Use the Mascarpone Icing to attach these knots and limbs to the cake roll.
[Optional] Take a small bit of the Mascarpone Icing and “dirty” ice the exposed/cut cake edges with a thin coating of Icing.
Frost the cake roll with the remaining Mascarpone Icing.

If desired, use the tines of a fork or an icing spatula to make the icing look like realistic “bark.”
If desired, sprinkle the ends of the roll and/or the knots/limbs with mini chips, shaved or diced chocolate, icing sugar or chopped pistachios.
[This time, we used icing sugar shaken onto the cake via a tea-ball and shaved chocolate]
If desired, decorate with Make-Ahead Meringue Mushrooms.
Chill until 10-20 minutes before serving time.
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2 Responses to Cannoli Bûche de Noël

  1. Roseanne Carrara December 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    So, as you can see by the pictures, we made the “slightly more difficult” chocolate cake with rum glaze, cannoli filling and the chocolate version of our mascarpone icing recipe. It was heavenly!!!!!

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