I love a yule log at Christmas. The problem however is that by the time me and my family are done with the all the other rich Christmas food (ie Christmas dinner, pudding, trifle, cheese and crackers, chocolate...) we never get round to eating this little beauty of a swiss roll. So I had a brain wave: make them mini! Let's face it, everything else at Christmas comes in excessive portions so if you have just a small slither of this yule log you don't feel like you're over-indulging. If you eat the whole of one of these logs though...that's not quite the case ;).
Ingredients (Makes 2)
2 oz/50g caster sugar
2 oz/50g plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Filling and icing:
10 oz/250g icing sugar
5 oz/125g soft unsalted butter (diced)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
*caster sugar for assmembly
1) Preheat oven to 180°C/ Gas 5 and grease and line a swiss roll tin.
2) Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water. Whisk the eggs and sugar over the heat with an electric hand-mixer until thick in consistency and doubled in volume. Take off the heat.
3) Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and fold through the egg and sugar mixture with a metal spoon.
4) Pour the batter into the swiss roll tin. Rotate the tin to encourage the batter to spread into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cut a square of greaseproof paper, set on the work surface and sprinkle with caster sugar.
5) As soon as the sponge comes out the oven roll it! Flip the sponge onto the greaseproof on the work surface, peel the paper off the sponge and starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the sponge and the greaseproof up into a tight spiral. Leave to cool.
6) Make the buttercream: Put the butter in a mixing bowl and wiz with an electric hand-mixer to soften. Gradually sieve in the icing sugar a few tablespoons at a time and whisk with a dash of milk after each addition. Take a third of the butter cream and place in another bowl, add the vanilla extract with a dash more icing sugar and mix to combine. Sieve the cocoa powder into the rest of the buttercream and whisk until incorporated.
7) Once cooled, unroll the swiss roll and spread with the vanilla butter cream. Roll back up.
8) Cut the swiss roll in half at an angle. Cut another smaller piece off the end of each piece to be the stumps of the branches. With a bit of icing adhere each stump to the logs at an angle.
9) Cover the logs with the chocolate buttercream and use a fork to make small peaks in the icing, mimicking the bark of a log. Allow the icing to set a little before dusting with icing sugar ‘snow’ and a sprig of holly if you're feeling reaaallllly festive :).