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The Lunchbox Season's Bûche de Noël 2010

A Chocolate Jelly Roll cake with a quick Mocha Cream filling, a Chocolate Butter Frosting, and optional Meringue Mushrooms.
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


Chocolate Jelly Roll Cake

  • 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

Quick Mocha Cream Filling

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1-3 tbs espresso or strong coffee made from ~2tsp instant crystals
  • 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar

Easy Chocolate Butter Frosting

  • 4 tbs butter
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Make-Ahead Meringue Mushrooms [Optional]

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • Cocoa for dusting optional


Cake & Assembly

  • 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 (14x9).
  • 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.
  • Make Quick Coffee Cream Filling and Easy Chocolate Butter Frosting.
  • Unroll cake.
  • Spread with Quick Coffee Cream Filling
  • Reroll cake.
  • Place on 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 Easy Chocolate Butter Frosting to attach these knots and limbs to the cake roll.
  • Frost cake roll with remaining Easy Chocolate Butter Frosting.
  • 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 chopped pistachios, or flaked (or toasted) coconut.
  • If desired, dust with icing sugar.
  • If desired, decorate with Make-Ahead Meringue Mushrooms.
  • Chill until 10-20 minutes before serving time.

Quick Mocha Cream Filing

  • Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and beat until stiff.

Easy Chocolate Butter Frosting

  • Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler and cool slightly.
  • Combine icing sugar, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  • Slowly beat in chocolate mixture until frosting is smooth and spreadable.

Make Ahead-Meringue Mushrooms

  • Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.
  • Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and extract until foamy white and double in volume.
  • Sprinkle in sugar, 1 tbs at a time, until sugar dissolves and meringue forms stiff peaks.
  • Attach a plain icing tip to a pastry bag or ziploc bag. Spoon meringue into bag.
  • For mushroom caps: press meringue into 1.5in rounds. Smooth top of each with a knife but don't flatten.
  • For stems: hold pastry bag upright and press out meringue, pulling straight up about 1.5 inches.
  • Bake at 250f for 30 minutes until firm but not brown. Let stand a while on cookie sheets.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Melt chocolate in a cup over hot water or in the microwave.
  • Carefully make a small indentation in the underside of each cap with a teaspoon or with the handle of a wooden spoon.
  • Fill hollow with melted chocolate.
  • Press stem into hollow.
  • Let sit until chocolate is firm.
  • Dust with cocoa if desired.
  • Store in a dry, air-tight container.