Gazette Christmas Bake Off

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With Christmas fast approaching islanders from the Butt to Barra are getting busy in the kitchen creating culinary delights for the festive period and the Gazette would like to feature your baking successes.

So send in your pictures and recipes to feature in the Gazette, along with any hints and tips, to news@stornowaygazette.co.uk and let the baking commence!

Below is reporter Jenny Kane’s attempt and festive baking with a Christmas yule log.

Christmas Yule Log/ bûche de Noël

Ingredients:

6 eggs

150 grams caster sugar

50 grams cocoa powder

splash of vanilla extract

200 grams dark chocolate

200 grams butter

200 grams icing sugar

2 bits of stem ginger

2 tbsp syrup from stem ginger jar

Method:

This was my first attempt at rolling a cake, but surprisingly that was the easy bit, I had more trouble getting the chocolate icing to spread. Thankfully a log is not smooth and I like to think the rough icing added to the bark look.

My yule log was a mash-up of recipes from Nigella Lawson and the Hairy Bikers - with a ginger twist because I couldn’t find any camp chicory and coffee essence. Both recipes were found online but I did make reference to a Swiss roll recipe in a book I have at home, looked at Mary Berry’s method, and called my mum for advice on rolling a cake (advice which I have to say, I forgot to follow).

The first thing I did was line a baking tray (one with high edges). Next step was to whisk the egg whites until stiff with a bit of the caster sugar. The yolks were whisked next with the vanilla extract, along with the rest of the sugar.

Cocoa powder was sifted into the yolk and sugar mix, and folded in before the whites were added, bit at a time. At this stage I thought it was a bit odd there was no flour. But both Nigella and the Hairy Bikes use fatless and flourless sponges and it looked ok, so I carried on regardless.

The mixture was then put into the lined tray and into my oven at 170C. About 20 minutes later out it came – but while waiting for it to cook I started on the icing by melting the chocolate over a bain marie.

When the chocolate had cooled down I added a splash of chocolate to the butter and icing sugar which had been creamed together. (Both Nigella and the Hairy Bikers use a blender for this part, but as I don’t have a blender the electric whisk was put to work again). The ginger syrup went in next.

Half of this mixture was put into another bowl to which I added cut up stem ginger. This was then spread onto the cake - which I turned out onto a piece of baking parchment while still a wee bit warm.

Then came the bit I had been dreading - rolling the cake. For this I took the advice of Mary Berry, and cut a groove about an inch from the end. This helped with the initial roll - and the rest went surprisingly well. Chopping a bit off the end and placing it at the side finished the construction phase.

Then back to the icing. The rest of the melted chocolate went into the remaining mixture and was whisked. The only problem was the cake didn’t fit on the plate I had in mind - so a tray covered in tin foil had to do instead.

By the time I had rolled my log onto the tray my icing had set rock hard. I whisked it up again and heated it over the bain marie and somehow managed to get it to spread on the log.

A sprinkling of icing sugar and voila - a Christmas Yule Log! I was really quite proud.