Yule Log

You may prefer, like the French, to have a rich chocolate log at Christmas instead of Christmas cake (or have it as well). This one, made with ground hazelnuts instead of flour, is light and luscious.

Ingredients

  • 5 large (size 4) eggs - separated
  • 5 oz (125 g) caster sugar
  • 3 oz (75 g) ground hazelnuts (whizz up the whole nuts for a moment in either a liquidiser or coffee grinder) or ground almonds
  • level teaspoons (3 x 2.5 ml spoon) baking powder
  • 2 rounded tablespoons (3 x 15 ml spoon) cocoa powder, finely sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons (2-3 x 15 ml spoon) warm water
  • ¼ teaspoon (½ x 2.5 ml spoon) cream of tartar
  • icing sugar
  • apricot jam
  • ½ pt (250 ml) double cream

Method

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C. Lightly oil a large swiss roll tin measuring approximately 14 in. x 10 in. (35 cm x 25 cm). Line the bottom with a piece of greaseproof paper, also lightly oiled. Whisk the yolks of the eggs with the sugar until pale and fairly thick, but not stiff. Stir in the hazelnuts, baking powder and the cocoa powder and add the water to soften the mixture. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and whisk until stiff. Using a metal spoon, fold them gently but thoroughly into the yolk mixture.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 20-25 minutes until springy to touch in the centre. Remove the tin from the oven, and leave to cool. The cake will now shrink a little, but that’s normal. When cool, cover with greaseproof paper and a cloth and leave in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or overnight if possible. Then loosen the edges carefully with a knife.

Sprinkle a piece of greaseproof paper generously with sieved icing sugar. Turn the cake out on to the icing sugar and remove the oiled paper. Spread with apricot jam. Whip the cream until thick and spread on top of the jam.

Roll up with the help of the greaseproof paper, carefully and rather loosely. It will probably crack a bit but the cracks make it look like a real snow-covered log. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle more icing sugar all over through a sieve and decorate with red-berried holly.