Monday, 1 December 2014

Reduced-Sugar Chocolate Log Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I made a chocolate log cake with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (smbc) for my extended family. Although this is a reduced-sugar recipe for both chiffon sponge and smbc, everyone gave a thumbs up for this cake! Hope you are not tired of seeing the same gingerbread cookie cake deco :p.

As mentioned in my earlier log cake post, this chocolate smbc is awesome! Chocolatey but not too rich or buttery. It uses half or less than half the amount of sugar in most smbc recipes. A big plus point for me! Smbc also doesn't melt at room temperature in hot and humid Singapore so it's the perfect cream to use if refrigeration is an issue. Like the Milo sponge, I used a lot less flour and a lot more cocoa powder to create a very soft but chocolatey sponge. The addition of a bit of coffee powder and kirsch just enhances the chocolate flavour but it is optional if you don't have them. The design of this log cake is the same as my peaches and cream log cake so I won't post the detailed step by step pictures here.

Here's a view of the log cake without decorations :).

The recipe for chocolate smbc is the same as my Horlicks smbc, except that you replace the Horlicks and water with 25g cocoa powder (use more cocoa powder if you prefer stronger chocolate flavour). Simply add sifted cocoa powder into the plain smbc and beat with a hand whisk or electric mixer until well combined and fluffy.

You may make the smbc ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.  Just be sure to keep it in airtight container or ziplock bag to prevent them from absorbing odours from the fridge. Leave it to soften at room temperature and re-whip until desired consistency before assembly.

Recipe for chocolate chiffon layer cake
Ingredients (9x12" pan):
3 egg yolks
15g caster sugar
42g canola oil
42g milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp instant coffee powder (optional)
1-2 tsp kirsch (optional)
20g cocoa powder
40g cake flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
40g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line the pan with baking sheet. Dissolve the coffee powder in milk. Add vanilla extract and kirsch to the coffee mixture.

2. Prepare egg yolk batter. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale and all sugar has dissolved. Add oil and whisk until thick like mayonnaise. Add coffee and milk mixture and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until no trace of flour is seen.

3. Prepare meringue. Beat egg whites with electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

4. Fold the meringue into the egg yolk batter in three batches. Slowly pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently drop the pan on the table a few times to release any trapped air bubbles.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Immediately remove from pan and cool with the cake rolled up to prevent it from cracking.

6. When cake is cooled, unroll and brush some simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water) and apply smbc on the cake. Roll it up and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Or alternatively, freeze it for 5 minutes. Slice the two ends off and reserve them for the branches. Spread cream on the surface of the cake and stick the branches on. Apply some cream on the branches using a spatula.

You may cover the whole cake with cream or leave the cut surfaces exposed like I did. I piped some cream on the cut surface to make it look neater.

7. Freeze the cake for a 5 minutes. Use a fork to make bark patterns on the cream.  Dust some icing sugar if you wish and add on decorations. Refrigerate the cake to chill it. Let the cake stand at room temperature for 10 minutes for the smbc to soften a bit before serving if you prefer softer cream.

Update: I made another chocolate log cake for my brother's colleagues. They loved it too and wanted me to make more for them so this recipe is definitely good. Do give it a try if you would like to bake something for Christmas :).

I am submitting this to "My Treasured Recipes #4 - Ho Ho Ho It's Christmas (Dec 2014)" hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders and co-hosted by Charmaine of Mimi Bakery House.

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Thanks for sharing, Phay Shing! So creative and such beautiful log cake with baby jesus. Nice of you to share how to make this baby jesus gingerbread cookie, I hope I have the time and courage to give it a try one day, my kids will be thrilled definitely if they see it :)

    1. Thanks Miss B for your kind words :) I am still new at making log cakes but I really love this recipe. I made an easier version of baby Jesus subsequently without the hay. Look out for my next post with baby Jesus appearing with some of the other characters in the nativity scene. Your kids will be even more thrilled!