Buche de Noel

So, my family (my in-laws, technically) have this really neat tradition of doing a family bake-off a la Great British Baking Show every holiday season.

We’re either all together at Thanksgiving or Christmas, so a month or so before that my mother-in-law (the brains of the whole operation) sends out an invite with the theme of the year. Each couple is a team, and last year’s winners are this year’s judges and don’t have to compete.

The first year it was tarts. The next year it was pies. And this year it was the famed French dessert: Buche de Noel. If you haven’t heard of it, a Buche is a sort of Swiss roll cake decorated to look like a Yule log.

First Timer

I was so excited when I got the email with the theme, since this past Christmas was the first time I competed (having somehow slid by as the judge for the previous two times). My mind started racing with flavor combinations, decorative ideas and strategies.

Thankfully, I’m not the only one who is serious about baking. Each couple enjoys baking together, so it made it extra fun.

Making the Buche

For our Buche, I found a nice Real Simple recipe to use as the base with a chocolate sponge cake, whipped cream center and beautiful chocolate ganache to look like bark. I decided to jazz it up by adding almond extract to the whipped cream, as well as toasted almonds, gold powder and meringue mushrooms to the top.

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