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White Chocolate Bûche de Noël

6 of 10 in Series: Menu for a White Christmas Party for 20

Bûche de Noël is French for Christmas log. This dessert with the fancy name is found in every pastry-shop window in France during the month of December. It’s simply a yellow sponge cake rolled around a white chocolate and cherry filling. You can start this the day ahead and let it sit overnight.

Preparation time: 45 minutes; 8 hour cooling time

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Yellow Sponge Cake for Bûche de Noël

1/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jellyroll pan with pan coating, line with parchment paper, and spray again.

  2. Place the milk and butter in a saucepan over medium heat to melt the butter, or melt the butter together with the milk in a microwave. Stir in the vanilla extract; set aside, keeping warm. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  3. In a mixer's bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar on high speed using a balloon whip attachment until the mixture is light and fluffy and a ribbon forms, about 2 minutes. Resift the dry ingredients onto the egg and sugar mixture in three batches, folding after each addition. Start folding with a whisk, and finish up the last batch with a large rubber spatula.

  4. Drizzle the warmed milk and butter mixture over the batter a little at a time, folding all the while. If you add the liquid too quickly, it will sink instead of becoming incorporated. You’ll end up with a rubbery layer in your cake. Pour the batter onto a jellyroll pan, using an offset spatula to spread evenly. The cake will be thin.

  5. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating front to back once during baking. The cake should be puffed and light, golden brown. A toothpick will test clean. Do not overbake or the cake will loose its flexibility. Place on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool completely while still in the pan. Use immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 24 hours.

Whipped White Chocolate Ganache Filling and Frosting

3/4 pound white chocolate, finely chopped

2-2/3 cups heavy cream

  1. Place the chocolate in a large bowl.

  2. Bring the cream to a boil in a medium-sized pot and immediately pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes to melt the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. If many unmelted chocolate pieces remain, let sit for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; the residual heat will melt any remaining chunks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Cherry Filling

14-1/2 ounce-can sour pitted cherries, water packed

3 tablespoons cherry liquid (from the canned cherries)

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons kirschwasser liqueur

  1. Drain the cherries, reserving 3 tablespoons of the liquid. Place the liquid in small saucepan. Place the cherries in small mixing bowl; set aside.

  2. Add the sugar to the cherry juice and stir together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add kirschwasser. Pour over cherries and reserve until needed.

Begin assembly the day before serving or very early on the day of serving. Have ready a large, flat serving platter. It must be at least 18 inches long and 6 inches wide, and must be able to fit in your refrigerator. You can also create a tray by covering cardboard with aluminum foil.

Per serving: Calories 627 (From fat 369); Total fat 41g (Saturated 24g); Cholesterol 229mg; Sodium 140mg; Carbohydrates 58g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 8g.

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