Birch De Noel - Yule Log

READY IN: 1hr 30mins
SERVES: 10-12




  • Chocolate Cake:
  • Heat oven to 350°F
  • Wrap coconut in a kitchen towel, and place in the oven for 15 minutes or longer.
  • Remove from oven, and place on a work surface.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°F
  • Tap coconut with a hammer until it cracks in several places; break it in pieces (The white flesh should be slightly pulling away from hard shell).
  • Carefully peel, keeping pieces of coconut as large as possible.
  • Using a vegetable peeler peel largest pieces of coconut into long curls, and place on a baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, until just dry.
  • Grate the smaller pieces on the box grater.
  • You will need about 1/2 cup grated coconut for the cake filling.
  • Heat oven to 400°F
  • Line a 12x17 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks on high speed until pale yellow, 4-5 minutes.
  • Transfer to bowl, and set aside.
  • Wash and dry mixer bowl.
  • Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes.
  • Increase speed to high, and add sugar gradually, whipping until stiff peaks form.
  • Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold egg-yolk mixture into egg-white mixture; add cocoa powder and flour over top, and gently fold together.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans; smooth top with an offset spatula.
  • Bake until cake springs back when touched, 9-10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, and immediately turn cake out onto a wire rack lined with parchment paper.
  • Peel parchment paper from top of cake, and cool completely.
  • Place a clean kitchen towel on work surface.
  • Transfer cake on parchment paper to towel.
  • Using a pastry brush, coat cake with rum.
  • Using an offset spatula spread the white-chocolate mousse over cake.
  • Sprinkle with 1/2 cup freshly grated coconut.
  • With a short end of cake facing you, roll carefully into a "log" shape on a kitchen towel, and secure with clothespins or large metal binder to hold the roll in a tight round shape.
  • Place on a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Remove from refrigerator, and unwrap.
  • Using a serrated knife, trim the ends of the roll, cutting on the bias.
  • Choose the more presentable end, and turn it side up, on the log, forming a branch or knot.
  • If desired, use the other cut off end as a branch.
  • Transfer the log to a serving platter.
  • Slide 5-inch strips of parchment paper under the log to protect the tray while decorating.
  • Coat with Seven Minute Frosting using an offset spatula.
  • Remove parchment pieces.
  • Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms, Snowy Chocolate Truffles, coconut shavings, and sugared Rosemary Sprigs.
  • White Chocolate Mousse: Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water, and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Place chocolate in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until very finely chopped.
  • Prepare an ice water bath; set aside.
  • Place 3/4 cup cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Add gelatin, and stir to dissolve completely.
  • Pour into food processor with the motor running and process until chocolate mixture is smooth.
  • Transfer to medium bowl and place over ice water bath.
  • Chill until thick enough to fall from spoon in ribbons.
  • Whip remaining 1 3/4 cups heavy cream to soft peaks.
  • Fold into chocolate mixture (If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container).
  • Snowy Chocolate Truffles: Heat oven to 350°F
  • Place almonds, if using, on a baking sheet, and bake until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Use a serrated knife to spread the chocolate.
  • Place in a heat-proof bowl; set aside.
  • In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil.
  • Pour directly over chopped chocolate stirring to fully incorporate.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Stir until completely melted and mixed.
  • Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in almonds, if using, and place in the refrigerator until set.
  • Use a melon baller or 1 1/4 inch ice cream scoop to portion out chocolate.
  • Roll the scoops of chocolate between palms to form 1-inch truffles.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve; dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
  • Seven Minute Frosting: In a small heavy saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, the corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Rub a bit between your fingers to make sure there is no graininess.
  • Raise heat to bring to a boil.
  • Do not stir anymore.
  • Boil, washing down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water from time to time to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, until a candy thermometer registers 230F, about 5 minutes. (Depending on the humidity, this can take anywhere from 4-10 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes.
  • Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
  • Remove the syrup from the heat when the temperature reaches 230F (it will keep rising as pan is removed from heat).
  • Pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering) containing the egg white mixture, with the mixer on medium-low speed.
  • Beat the frosting on medium speed until it is cool, 5-10 minutes.
  • The frosting should be thick and shiny. Use immediately.
  • Sugared Rosemary Sprigs: Brush washed sprigs with a glaze of white sugar from a large egg thinned with a tablespoon of water, then coat in sugar, and let air dry.