Here’s a little pre-festive fruity cheer with a deliciously light log cake. It felt a bit early to be making a yule log, or bûche as they’re called in France, but I’m happy I did. The cake is bursting with flavour, light textures and not too sweet. The blackcurrant and raspberry mousse is lightened with greek-style yoghurt, replacing almost half the cream, encasing a beautifully intense blackcurrant fruit jelly and slightly sharp chunks of fresh apple in gelée. The base is a moist optionally gluten-free citrus almond sponge with a hint of Christmassy spices: cinnamon and ginger. The steps are pretty short and simple, and it’s a doddle with the silicone log and insert moulds; there’s still time to get them (see links further down) but you can make a round cake. The tempered chocolate ends are optional and the thin, glossy white chocolate glaze is very do-able – the perfect finishing touch for this deliciously refreshing Purple Wonderland blackcurrant, raspberry and apple log cake. For a little cake happiness in the run-up to Xmas…
Entremets are easy and light
I believe entremets are easier to make than layer cakes. You pour the mousse and jellies and wait for them to set – the mould does the shaping for you so there’s no going around and around with a palette knife trying to get a smooth finish. And just insert a layer of sponge. The glaze is poured over the cake and it usually looks neater than my layer cake frosting.
And, very importantly, entremets are light as a cloud, less sugary and extremely easy to eat for dessert, or any time.
If you haven’t already, give entremets a go!
Use any flavourings or fruit purées for your insert and mousse. And decorate as you like. I kept it simple, with fresh currants, freeze-dried raspberries, edible gold paper and a little chocolate. And here’s an earlier prototype with chocolate ribbons, meringue mushrooms and dried apple decoration.
- Log cake: silicone log mould (follow link to see various bûches recipes) and plastic mini insert log mould. Both are from le Meilleur du Chef website.
- Optional round entremets: cake ring (18cm/7in diametre and 6cm/2.4in high); acetate strip (6cm/2.4in wide); cake tin or ring for sponge/insert (16cm/6in diametre). Follow lining/layering instructions in my apricot mousse cake post.
- Day 1 or up to 2 weeks earlier: jelly insert; almond sponge (freeze if storing more than 2 days); optional decorations
- Day 2: make mousse. Place mousse, insert and sponge layer in mould, freeze.
- Day 3 (up to 1 week later): make glaze, unmould cake, glaze/decorate, serve after 3-6 hours.
So making elements can be spread over a few days or weeks. Each element takes 10 to 20 minutes to make (30 mins for the sponge, including baking). Totally worth it.
DAY 1 (OR BEFORE)
- 20g/3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp caster/superfine sugar (whisk with pectin before adding to purée).
- 3.5g/3/4 tsp pectin NH – can be replaced with 3 and 1/2 sheets (7g) gelatine but use method for raspberry jelly inserts in basics section.
- 25g/1 tbsp + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 112g/1/2 cup blackcurrant purée
Note: if using Capfruit purée (or similar) containing 10% sugar, then use 125g purée and 12g/1/2tbsp + 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup.
All recipe illustrations are printable – click on image.
- Whisk pectin with 20g sugar.
- In small heavy-based saucepan (on low-medium heat), warm maple syrup (or sugar) with fruit purée until 40 to 60°C – when steam vapour’s rising.
- Sprinkle sugar/pectin on purée. Whisk well while boiling 2 mins.
- Take off heat. Allow to cool a little so plastic insert doesn’t soften and go out of shape.
- Fill small insert log mould half-way up or a little over.
- Freeze minimum 3 hours.
- Then make apple jelly.
Apple chunks jelly
- 210g/1 and 3/4 cups smallish apple cubes (1 and 3/4 medium-sized apples – tasty ones, like reinettes, peeled and chopped)
- 50g/ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 120g/1/2 cup less 1 tsp caster sugar
- 100g/ml water
- 3 sheets leaf gelatine (6g)
- Cover gelatine leafs in cold water 10-15 minutes to soften.
- Place apple cubes in small bowl of lemon juice.
- Dissolve sugar in water over low heat then raise to low-medium heat and bring to boil.
- Immediately squeeze gelatine in hand to extract excess water. Add to syrup, whisking to dissolve.
- Stir apple cubes and lemon juice into syrup.
- Pour into insert mould, on top of frozen blackcurrant jelly. Fill almost to top.
- Freeze 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, until set.
Use excess apple jelly to fill other log or smaller insert moulds, for future cakes.
Greek yoghurt for mousse
If using yoghurt, drain overnight in sieve over a bowl (in fridge) before making mousse.
DAY 2 (OR BEFORE)
Orange and almond sponge
- Line medium-sized baking tray with baking paper – around 30cm x 22cm (12in x 8.5in) wide for a sponge around 1.5cm/1/2 inch high.
- Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F (fan/convection oven) or 180°C/350°F (static).
- 35g/1/3 cup less 1 tsp ground almonds
- 40g/1/3 cup gluten-free flour (I used Doves Farm self-raising gf flour) or standard cake flour (1/3 cup + 3 and 1/3 tsp)
- pinch fine sea salt (1/8 tsp)
- 65g/1/4 cup + 2 tsp caster/superfine sugar (I used golden unrefined)
- 55-60g egg yolks (about 3 yolks from medium/large free-range eggs)
- finely-grated zest from 1 orange or lemon
- 1/2 – 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange or lemon juice (maybe 1/2 tbsp with standard cake flour)
- 25g/1 tbsp + 2 and 1/3 tsp caster/superfine sugar (preferably golden unrefined)
- 145g/ml egg whites (about 3 and 1/2 whites from medium/large eggs)
Optional spices to add at Step 4: 1/2 tsp each of pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground ginger (or 3/4 tsp for stronger flavour).
- Whisk to combine dry ingredients (flour, almonds, salt) in small bowl.
- Separate eggs into 2 big bowls (make sure whites have no traces of yolk and are in very clean bowl).
- Whisk yolks and sugar with zest until pale and fluffy.
- Whisk in juice and optional spices.
- In other bowl, with a clean whisk, whisk whites to soft peak.
- Gradually whisk sugar into whites to get shiny stiff peaks that don’t fall out of bowl when turned upside down.
- Gently fold in 1/3 flour and 1/3 stiff whites into yolk mixture.
- Repeat step 7 with second 1/3 of flour and whites, then when almost combined with the last thirds. Don’t overmix or it flattens out. Be gentle and as brief as possible.
- Pour into prepared tray lined with baking paper.
- Smooth with offset pallet knife and minimum number of movements.
- Bake in middle of oven 8-12 mins until inserted skewer comes out clean and top springs back slightly when pressed lightly with finger tip.
- Once baked, immediately turn out onto wire rack to cool completely before assembling cake.
If storing, keep 1-2 days loosely wrapped in plastic bag at room temperature or in freezer (freeze on tray first then wrap tightly in plastic film). Sponge can be inserted frozen in cake.
Mousse and assembling
Cut sponge rectangle 8cm x 25cm/3in x 10in and about 1.5cm/0.5in high (24cm/9.5in long if not using chocolate ends). Cut another rectangle and freeze extra sponge for future cake.
Unmould and trim frozen insert to same length as sponge.
Return insert to freezer. Make mousse.
Blackcurrant and raspberry mousse
- 150g/ml liquid whipping cream (35% fat) + 100g/1/3 cup unsweetened greek-style yoghurt (drained overnight from 150g/1/2 cup yoghurt) OR 250g/ml cream
- 4 sheets leaf gelatine (8g) OR 3 and 1/2 sheets (7g) for creamier mousse
- 225g/ml fruit purée (90g/ml blackcurrant purée + 135g/ml raspberry purée)
- 75g/1/3 cup caster/superfine sugar
Note: if using Capfruit purée (or similar) containing 10% sugar, use 100g/ml blackcurrant purée, 150g/ml raspberry purée and 50g/1/5 cup + 1 tsp caster/superfine sugar.
- Chill cream in medium-sized bowl in fridge.
- Cover gelatine in water 10 minutes or more to soften.
- Stir fruit purée and water over low heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to boil.
- Immediately take off heat. Squeeze gelatine in hand to extract water then add to purée and whisk in to dissolve.
- Pour purée into small clean bowl to cool to about 30°C/86°F. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t set.
- Whisk cold cream to soft peak.
- Fold 1/4 cream into purée to loosen, using whisk if needed.
- Spoon purée mixture and drained greek yoghurt (if using) into remaining whipped cream. Fold gently with rubber spatula – use whisk to gently scoop and fold if needed. Don’t overwork.
- Immediately assemble bûche.
- 1 – 1.5 tablespoons Grand Marnier orange liqueur or freshly-squeezed orange juice, to taste
- Pour or pipe 1.5 – 2cm (2/3 to 3/4 inch) mousse at bottom of mould. Use a small offset spatula or back of metal spoon to push a little mousse up the sides. Freeze 20 – 30 minutes to firm up. Make sure mousse remaining in bowl isn’t setting (stir gently, occasionally, to check).
- Gently place insert in middle.
- Cover with remaining mousse almost to top.
- Brush sponge rectangle with liqueur or juice. Don’t oversoak or it falls apart. Carefully place on top of mousse. Smooth extra mousse from sides over sponge if necessary. Don’t worry if the sponge doesn’t come up to the top.
- Freeze overnight or up to 1-2 weeks before unmoulding to glaze.
DAY 3 (or up to 1-2 weeks later)
- 3 and 1/2 sheets leaf gelatine (7g) or 4 sheets (8g)
- 100g/3.5oz good-quality couverture white chocolate (34% cocoa butter minimum)
- 65g/ml (2fl oz.) unsweetened condensed milk (evaporated milk)
- 100g/1/2 cup less 2 and 1/2 teaspoons caster/superfine sugar
- 100g/approx. 6 and 1/2 tablespoons glucose syrup
- 50g/ml mineral water
- a tiny pinch of powdered purple colouring or Wiltons violet gel with pink powder/gel
- If using bamix (star attachment) keep under glaze to avoid making bubbles. Tip at 45º just below the surface to create a whirpool sucking in bubbles. If you don’t have a bamix then after combining with a whisk switch to rubber spatula and stir slowly.
- Carefully place sheet of plastic film on top of glaze on contact to store.
- Before using, gently lift off plastic and bubbles will come off with film. Lift out remaining bubbles with tip of teaspoon.
Note: You can leave glaze in fridge overnight to help eliminate bubbles. Next day warm again to correct temperature.
The glaze must be at correct temperature and consistency: fluid but not too liquid. This is usually at around 30ºC/86ºF (hand temperature) but up to 35ºC/95ºF can work. If too cold and stiff, heat very briefly using microwave or bain marie. Stir gently but don’t whisk as this causes more bubbles.
Option: use simple neutral glaze in my basics section, coloured purple.
- Place wire rack over clean baking tray to catch extra glaze. Unmould log, pulling silicone carefully back from one end, and place on rack.
- Place long offset spatula under log. Start at far end and pour glaze, zigzaging back and forth over cake while going backwards. Preferably cover whole cake in one go. Check sides to make sure glaze covered everything. If glaze is quite liquid you can go over gaps again to cover.
- Allow to set a few minutes then use long spatula(s) to rotate cake a little against rack and neaten bottom edges.
- Lift cake onto serving plate/base.
Decorate. If using, gently press chocolate log tips at each end. Carefully place redcurrants, blackcurrants, freeze-dried raspberries, chocolate pieces and edible gold paper. Try to get it right first time as pulling them off can spoil the glaze.
Optional chocolate curls and ends
For chocolate decorations, please see my basics tempering pages: mycryo cocoa butter (simplest method), ice-bath or spreading method. For tempered chocolate ends you can use plastic log tip snowflake moulds or those for my mandarin log cake (see link further down).
Eating and storing
Place glazed log to defrost in fridge a minimum 6 hours before eating (or 2-3 hours at room temperature). The cake keeps in the fridge up to 3 or 4 days. It freezes really well in airtight tupperware, ideally up to 2 weeks but also up to 2 months or so.
Bûches, or French log cakes, have made a huge comeback in recent years and there are baking books entirely dedicated to these entremets!
If you’re interested, you can visit my Sparkly raspberry, chestnut and meringue log cake, with its more Xmassy decorations. Or check out the very similar Mandarin mousse yule log, that was also made as a round entremets cake.
Please have a couple of slices of this Purple Wonderland yule log. It’s so light, you could even have a third slice! There’s fresh fruit. 😉
Bye for now dears! Hope you’re staying safe, well and holding up during these difficult times. Sorry I can only send you virtual cake but I do wish you some happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x