Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weekend Cooking...On the Ninth Day of Christmas, the Yule Log

When I was just a wee caite, my mother bought a set of cookbooks, the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery. It was a set of 12 volumes, with very 60's illustrations and nice photographs. I believe that she bought them at the local supermarket, a new volume being available every week. I still have them, a bit worse for wear, but they are a treasure. This was 1966 and these books opened a new world of food, far from our everyday menu of pot roast and chicken and dumplings...not that there is anything wrong with

My mother liked to cook and often paged through these books looking for something new. Looking at vol. 12 Ton-Z you can find everything from how to make white sauce to how to cook a turtle. Yes, a turtle.
But this was my favorite volume because it contained the recipe for the Yule Log, a Christmas dessert I first made as a teenager. A dessert that will always make an impression.
Oh, the Yule Log page is in very bad shape, but still readable, and I will share this nice recipe with you. It may seem a bit daunting but, if taken step by step, it is not really hard.

The first part to make is the cake, a classic sponge cake...

Sponge Cake
5 eggs, separated
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tbs. grated orange rind
2 tbs. sherry
1 c. sifted cake flour
¼ tsp. salt

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff. gradually beat in ½ c. sugar. In another bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Into the eggs yolks beat remaining ½ cup of sugar, sherry, orange rind and and salt.
Fold egg yolks mixture into egg whites and then gradually fold in flour and fold very gently, just until mixed. Pour into foil lined jelly roll pan (15x10x1) and bake in preheated 375 deg. oven for 20 minutes.
When done, turn out of pan, on to a tea towel dusted with confectioners sugar, carefully remove foil and roll up with the towel along short end.
While it cools, make the filling.

Beat 2 c. of very cold heavy cream with ¼ cup confectioners sugar. Add a flavoring of your choice...1 tbs. of coffee power or almond extract and slivered almonds, grated orange rind and orange extract, or whatever you like. Whip until thick enough to spread.

When cake is cool, carefully unroll, remove towel, spread with filling and re-roll. Place in frig to chill and set.

Chocolate frosting
Melt 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate with 3 tbs butter. Mix 4 c. confectioners sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, 7 tbs. milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Add chocolate mixture and blend well. Yet stand, stirring occasionally, until of spreading consistent.

To finish Yule Log, cut off two small sections of the cake at a sharp angle, one very short, the other a little longer, to be the two branches. Place on either side of the cake and ice the entire surface. Use a fork, pulled through the icing, to make the bark. Dust with ground nuts, powered sugar and decorate with marzipan leaves and/or meringue mushrooms, my personal favorite.

This is my contribution this week to Weekend Cooking and and be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Wow, that is quite impressive! I love old cookbooks, especially the pictures!

  2. Wow, how did I miss that series of cookbooks? Oh, yeah, I was at the A&P buying The Family Circle Illustrated cookbooks for 99 cents each week. I still love those cookbooks and refer to them frequently. One of my daughters loves to go through a lot of my old books when she is here. I finally gave in and let her take my Yankee Cook Book home with her but she'll have to wait for me to shuffle off the mortal coil before she gets my American Woman's Cook Book( reprint from 1948). You never know when you might want to skin a squirrel. Yes, it does tell you how to do that with a bicycle pump.

  3. That is just gorgeous! I've always wanted to try making a Yule Log...perhaps in 2010.

  4. Somehow I missed this set of cookbooks. They sound like loads of fun. The Yule Log also looks fun to make. Not too daunting when I looked at it step by step. I'm sure this is a delicious tradition.

  5. I'm sure my Yule Log would never look like that! You're quite the pro.

  6. Very cool looking. The mushrooms worried me a bit until I read that they were meringue. Silly me!

  7. This reminds me of a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll, which are my faves! I'm so impressed...can I just come to your house and eat this? :)

  8. It is my guess that these recipes aren't low fat or cholesterol conscious ... but I bet they taste darn good.

    And how handy to know how to cook a turtle. I wouldn't have clue (or the desire) to do this!

  9. where do you find a turtle...unless you pick one up on the road, which seems like a bad idea.


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