The meringue mushrooms and marzipan decorations will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. The iced cake will keep, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days in the fridge. Start this recipe a day ahead to macerate the berries.
- 100 g mixed berries
- 60 ml (¼ cup) raspberry liqueur (Chambord)
- 200 g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 60 g plain flour
- 1 tbsp Dutch cocoa (see Note)
- icing sugar, to dust
- 300 g dark chocolate, chopped
- 600 ml pouring cream
- 100 g (⅓ cup) marzipan
- red and green food colouring
- store-bought writing icing
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place berries and raspberry liqueur in a bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 1 week to macerate. Drain, reserving the berry juices, and set aside. Place 75 g sugar and 80 ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. Stir in reserved berry juices and set aside.
To make chocolate sponge, preheat oven to 180˚C. Place the egg whites in a bowl and gradually whisk in remaining 125 g sugar until incorporated. Lightly beat the egg yolks, then fold into the egg whites in 3 batches. Sift flour and Dutch cocoa together, then fold into the egg mixture until combined.
Spread batter over a greased and lined 38 cm x 25 cm biscuit tray, leaving a 4 cm border. Bake for 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Transfer the sponge, with the baking paper, to a wire rack and brush with all of the berry syrup. Using the paper as a guide, roll up the sponge tightly from the long end, cool for 10 minutes, then unroll.
Meanwhile, to make chocolate ganache, fill a small saucepan one-third full with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Place chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl, place over the pan and stir until the chocolate is melted (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold through the melted chocolate in 3 batches until combined. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until ganache starts to firm. Spread half the chocolate ganache over the sponge, leaving a 2 cm border.
Scatter with the macerated berries, then tightly roll up the sponge from the long end.
Slice off an 8 cm piece of sponge from one end of the roll at a 45-degree angle. Spoon
1 tbs ganache over the opposite end of the roll, and place the cut slice on top, cut-side down, to form a 'stump’. Spread the sponge with the remaining ganache to cover.
Using a fork, run prongs lengthwise along ganache to create the appearance of bark.
To make marzipan decorations, roll 1 tbs marzipan into a ball. Wearing disposable gloves, make an indent in the centre with your finger and add 2 drops of red food colouring. Knead marzipan until colour is evenly distributed, adding more food colouring if a deeper colour is desired. Pinch off pieces of coloured marzipan and roll into balls to form small berries. Roll remaining 3 tbs marzipan into a ball. Make an indent in the centre with your finger and add 4 drops of green food colouring. Knead marzipan until colour is evenly distributed, adding more food colouring if a deeper colour is desired. Roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper until 2mm thick. Cut out holly leaf shapes. Using a 5cm pastry cutter, cut out one circle for your festive message. Place marzipan garnishes on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. Using store-bought writing icing, pipe 'Joyeux Nöel' or 'Merry Christmas' on the circle shape.
Transfer the bûche de Nöel to a large plate, dust with icing sugar and decorate with meringue mushrooms, if using, and marzipan garnishes, to serve.
Dutch cocoa has a more concentrated chocolate flavour and deeper colour than regular cocoa. It is available from delis and selected supermarkets.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 16, pg133.
Photography by Jason Loucas