Friday, 26 December 2008

A Chocolate Yule Log

The hardest aspect for me of Lachie's food allergies is that he doesn't understand. It's one thing telling a four year old that something will make them sick, but when you're two it is a hard concept to grasp. He wants to have whatever his big brother is having, especially if it's some sort of pudding. Nigella Lawson has a recipe in her book Feast for a Buche de Noel (chocolate log) which I thought looked like a lovely thing to make for the children to have on Christmas Day. This recipe uses a flourless sponge so is already gluten-free and is really easy to adapt for a dairy-free diet. But of course a flourless sponge is heavy on the egg so it was out of bounds for Lachie. I should say now that this recipe will either show my dedication to helping Lachie feel like part of the gang or reveal me to be crazy. Basically, I made Nigella's Buche de Noel, but added a two inch extension to the log made of our favourite gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cake (see the snowflake cake), and an extra side branch, and then covered the whole thing in the same icing. It looked fab, the children loved it, and Lachie was convinced he was having what everybody else was having. We will definitely be making another one next year!

Chocolate Yule Log (gluten-free, dairy-free, and with an egg-free extension!)

For the sponge
6 eggs separated
150g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g cocoa

For the icing
175g dairy-free dark chocolate
250g icing sugar
225g dairy-free margarine (Nigella's recipe uses butter)
1 tsp vanilla extract (Nigella uses 1 tbsp)

For the egg-free extension
1 chocolate cake made to the recipe given in the Snowflake Chocolate Cake recipe

To make the sponge it helps to have two really big bowls. In one bowl whisk the egg whites, adding 50g of the sugar when they are foamy, and keeping whisking until they are forming soft peaks. In the other bowl whisk the yolks and the remaining sugar until they are pale. Fold in the sugar and vanilla extract. Fold into the yolk mixture a couple of spoons of egg white. Fold in the rest of the egg whites a third at a time. Pour the mixture into a swiss roll tin lined with greaseproof paper and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. After the cake has cooled a bit tip it out onto another sheet of greaseproof.

To make the icing first melt the chocolate and leave it to cool. Cream together the icing sugar and dairy-free margarine and mix in the chocolate and vanilla extract.

To assemble the log, spread icing onto the sponge and roll it up as tightly as you can. (If you want to trim the edges of the sponge you can use these pieces to make branches.) I then iced this cake completely before adding the egg-free extensions and branches (to ensure there was a layer of icing separating the two types of cake).

For the gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free extensions, cut pieces from the chocolate cake of the correct size to fit on the end of the log, or to make branches, and then cover these too in icing.) I found I had plenty of icing to do this following Nigella's quantities.

For a snow effect, dust the log with icing sugar. And we added Father Christmas on his sledge.

1 comment:

  1. Crazy perhaps, but a wonderful, dedicated thing to do. Such a great idea!