This Chocolate Log Cake, flavoured with fresh nutmeg, is my version of a traditional Yule Log. I make one of these cakes every year for Christmas as most of my family members prefer a chocolate cake to a traditional, fruited Christmas cake.
Although it is a great seasonal recipe, particularly with the sweet and spicy flavouring of the nutmeg, I make it all year around. It looks attractive and is much easier to make than you might think. In fact, it is my go-to birthday cake for the chocolate lovers in my family.
This is what you need to know about this easy Chocolate Log Cake recipe.
This cake cooks in only 10 minutes so it is actually a very quick recipe. However, as with any iced cake, you do need to allow time for the cake to cool down before you add the icing.
As with any simple recipe, the quality of the ingredients is the key to the final flavour. Make sure that you use good quality cocoa powder and dark chocolate (at least 40% cocoa solids).
Also, I strongly encourage you to buy whole nutmegs and grate them yourself. You can use a normal kitchen grater to grate off what you need. You don’t need need any special equipment. Whole nutmegs are readily available in most supermarkets and keep for a very long time. The rich, spicy and complex flavour of freshly-grated nutmeg is totally different from ready-grated.
The process of rolling up (points 10-12 in recipe) and filling the cake (point 13) sounds complicated but is pretty easy. If the cake looks a bit cracked or imperfect it really doesn’t matter. It will be coated in delicious nutmeg-flavoured chocolate ganache which will cover up any imperfections. You can cut off the ends of the cake when it has been iced to neaten it up.
When you ice the cake (point 14) have a jug of hot water to hand. If you dip your palette knife in this periodically to make it hot, the icing will go on much easier.
The festive season is a great time to do a bit of baking. I know a few non-bakers who get inspired to bake at this time of the year. I think it is due to maybe having a bit more time available as a lot of people will take a bit of annual leave at this time of year. Also, Christmas is a time when there is a focus on entertaining friends and family. A few home-baked goodies are a great way to get into the festive mood! I have a lot of great baking recipes for easy biscuits (cookies), cakes and desserts.
If you like this Chocolate Log Cake recipe and are looking for more ideas for sweet and savoury Christmas bakes and snacks, you might also like some of these recipes.
No festive celebration is complete without some warm and fragrant Mince Pies made with home-made vegetarian Mincemeat. If Mince Pies are not your thing, you might like my Cinnamon Biscuits (Cookies) which are filled with Christmas spices, tangerine and cranberries.
This easy Chocolate Log Cake, or Yule Log, consists of nutmeg flavoured chocolate sponge filled with whipped cream and covered in a rich chocolate icing.
For the cake:
100 g (3.5 oz) caster sugar
65 g (2.5 oz) self-raising flour
500 g (2 oz) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
For the filling:
250 ml double cream
For the icing:
150 ml (5 fl oz) double cream
150 g (5 oz) good quality dark chocolate
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Set your oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas Mark 3.
Grease a 33 cm x 23 cm (13 x 9 inch) Swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
Put the egg yolks and caster sugar into a bowl and whisk until combined using an electric or hand-held whisk.
Sift the self-raising flour and cocoa powder into the bowl. Then add the grated nutmeg. Stir to combine with the egg yolks and caster sugar.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites using an electric or hand-held whisk until they form soft peaks.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture in the other bowl.
Pour the mixture into the Swiss roll tin.
Cook the cake for 1o minutes until it is springy to the touch.
Put another piece of baking parchment, slightly larger than the size of your Swiss roll tin onto your work surface. Then invert the cooked cake onto it and peel away the baking parchment that lined your Swiss roll tin.
While the cake is still warm, score it with a knife approximately 1 cm from one of its longer edges. Working from that edge, start to roll up the cake with the new piece of baking parchment inside it. Leave the rolled up cake to cool.
Make the icing by gently heating the double cream in a small saucepan. It will be hot enough when you can just bear to put your finger into it. Remove from the heat. Break the chocolate into small pieces and add it to the warm cream. When the chocolate has melted, add the grated nutmeg, stir to combine and then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
Assemble the chocolate log but gently unrolling it and removing the baking parchment. Whip the double cream for the filling using an electric or hand-held whisk until it forms soft peaks. Spread the whipped cream onto the cake and re-roll it.
Using a palette knife, smooth the chocolate icing over the outside of the rolled cake. Using a fork, make lines on the surface of the cake so that it resembles a log. You can cut off the ends of the cake to even them up once it has been iced if you wish to do so.
As this cake contains fresh cream, it needs to be stored in the fridge if it is not going to be eaten immediately.
This easy Red Velvet Cake recipe is an English version of a very popular American cake. My daughter asked for a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday and, as I had never made one before, I had to do a bit of research! I have to say that I was a bit sceptical – it is a chocolate cake but with relatively small amount of chocolate and a large amount of vanilla – but the end result was delicious. It seemed to be a strange mixture of chocolate and vanilla but the tastes work brilliantly with each other and the vanilla flavour is picked up in the cream cheese icing. So, it is really a vanilla cake with a bit of chocolate rather than a chocolate cake!
My go-to recipe for cakes is generally a basic Victoria Sponge. However, this recipe has encouraged me to be a bit more adventurous in my cake making. Using a combination of butter and oil makes the cake both flavoursome and moist and the buttermilk adds a tangy richness that works well with the cream cheese icing.
A cake and a dessert…
When I served this Red Velvet Cake for my daughter’s birthday, I decided to use it as dessert. It is the kind of versatile cake that works well as either a dessert or as a stand-alone, afternoon tea type cake. I served it with lots of juicy fresh strawberries which complemented the vanilla and chocolate flavour of the sponge and the tangy cream cheese icing. It was a large cake, and we had already had a substantial main course, but it disappeared extremely quickly!
Easy Chocolate Brownies – a quick way to get your chocolate fix!
Who doesn’t love a Chocolate Brownie? Particularly an Easy Chocolate Brownie which can be made in under an hour? Well, the answer is me, actually! You may have noticed that this is the first chocolate recipe on Tastebotanical. I wouldn’t say that I hate chocolate, or that I never eat it (I ate one of these brownies) but it is fair to say that there are lots of other food flavours that I prefer. I will always go for the Lemon Drizzle Cake or the Banana Bread before the Chocolate Brownie!
However, I accept that I am in a minority, both in the wider world and within my family. At my son’s school, students take it in turns to take in cakes or biscuits to share with the class. It was his turn to provide the goodies for Physics and he made it clear that there was no other option except Chocolate Brownies. It was non-negotiable.
So, after a long day at work, I came home and, with my teenage sous-chef, set about making Chocolate Brownies. It was probably the last thing I wanted to do but there was no other option as the Brownies were needed the next day. And after I had got over my initial grumpiness……. we had a fantastic time!
Making the Brownies was really quick and easy – particularly with the two of us working in parallel – and I had forgotten how much fun it is to cook with my children. I did this a lot when they were younger but, now that they are all teenagers, it doesn’t happen so much! The Brownies were a big hit at school and (obviously) I made double the quantity so we had some to eat as a family. Even I have to admit they were good – rich and chocolatey with just the right amount of gooey softness. Maybe I will pass up on the Lemon Drizzle Cake next time?
Rich and gooey Brownies are a great way to get your chocolate fix.
375 g salted butter
375 g dark chocolate (plus 50 g for decoration)
500 g golden caster sugar
225 g plain flour
Line a 30 cm x 20 cm brownie pan with foil.
Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a heavy-based pan over a very low heat. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. When melted, remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine.
Add the chocolate mixture to the bowl containing the eggs and sugar.
Then stir in the flour and combine. You will need to do a bit of efficient stirring at this point to make sure that there are no pockets of flour that have not been incorporated in the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the brownie pan.
Put the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. It is worth checking after 20 minutes to make sure that the brownies don’t get over-cooked. They will be done when the surface is dry and glossy but the inside is still gooey.
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a baking rack to cool. Roughly chop the reserved 50 g of chocolate and sprinkle over the top of the brownie mixture. The heat from the mixture will melt the chocolate and then it will harden as the brownie cools.
Allow the brownie mixture to cool completely before removing it from the pan and cutting into squares.