"There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit." Isaiah 11:1
I drew inspiration for this log cake from the Bible and from here. While most log cakes are basically high class swissrolls covered with cream or ganache, I was really inspired by the tree stump version that I saw from gracekitchencorner. Isaiah 11:1 immediately popped into my head and I thought I will kick start my log cake making with this :). This is my first attempt at making a log cake! I did this as an experiment for someone who wanted Milo chiffon cake with Horlicks SMBC (Swiss meringue buttercream). My neighbour happily obliged to be my taste tester. My first time making smbc too! I rushed through this and didn't bother with being a perfectionist about looks and photography so pardon the homely look :p. My family needed my attention too. I decorated with Christmas themed gingerbread cookies that I made earlier.
I adapted the recipe for smbc from Baking Library. I was really impressed by the low sugar content as compared to most smbc recipes. It uses half or less than half the amount of sugar in most recipes. While it works well for chocolate smbc, it doesn't seem to do well for Horlicks flavour. But as chocolate smbc, it is awesome! Very chocolately without being overly sweet or creamy. Look out for my chocolate log cake post in the near future. My neighbour and I agree that although it is not too sweet, it is pretty creamy. I will have to increase the sugar content next time and maybe introduce a bit more salt and some Milo. She said the cake tasted better with less cream :p.
Recipe for Horlicks Swiss meringue buttercream
63g egg whites (about 1.5-2 egg whites)
42g caster sugar (should increase to 60g next time. Still 20-40g less sugar than regular smbc recipes for the same amount of egg whites.)
113g unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into tablespoon sized cubes.
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tbs hot water
* I didn't add the following this time but next time I will add:
- 1/8 tsp salt to the Horlicks mixture to offset the increase in sweetness
- 5g Milo with additional 1 tsp hot water
1. Dissolve the Horlicks (Milo and salt) in hot water to form a paste. Set aside.
2. Fill a saucepan with a bit of water and set it to simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar in a metal mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl over the saucepan. Make sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the mixing bowl. Whisk with a hand whisk (or electric mixer but I find it unnecessary) until sugar dissolves and mixture is foamy. Once the temperature reaches 71.1°C, remove the mixing bowl from heat. This takes about 5-6 minutes. If you don't have an instant read thermometer, just whisk for about 5 minutes continuously and check with your fingers to see if you can feel any undissolved sugar in the egg whites. If the egg whites feel warm to touch and no longer gritty, it is ready.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat the meringue at high speed until stiff peaks form and the meringue cools down to room temperature.
4. Add butter one piece at a time while beating on medium speed. The mixture may turn runny and/or curdle but just continue beating. Increase speed when all butter has been added and beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
5. Add Horlicks mixture and beat until well incorporated. If your are keeping this in the fridge, just let it come to room temperature and beat it again until it is of the right consistency when you are ready to assemble. I prepared the smbc a day before I baked the chiffon sponge cake so I needed to re-whip the cream.
Although my neighbour and I are not too pleased with the smbc (maybe because we are light-and-soft cake people, not of the dense-rich-creamy persuasion), we thought the Milo sponge was really good! Very soft and moist but full of Milo flavour. The key to this was using a lot less flour and a lot more Milo, with an extra egg white in the meringue to give it extra lightness. The Milo chiffon sponge is also low in caster sugar as Milo itself is sweet.
Recipe for Milo Chiffon layer cake
Ingredients (9x12" pan):
2 egg yolks
8g caster sugar
28g vegetable oil
28g hot water
22g Milo powder
25g cake flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
3 egg whites
1/5 tsp cream of tartar
30g caster sugar
1. Dissolve the Milo in hot water. Set aside. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line the baking tray with baking sheet.
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 Milo mixture and whisk until well combined. Gradually add in sifted flour 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 13-14 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
6. Immediately remove from pan and gently remove baking sheet. Cool with another baking sheet over it and roll it up along the direction of the short side as tightly as you can while the cake is still warm. Leave to cool.
7. Unroll the cake and cut into 4 (or 5) equal pieces. Spread some smbc on a slice and roll it as tightly as you can. Spread some smbc on a second piece and roll it around the first piece. Repeat until all pieces are done. You end up with a vertical swiss roll.
8. Pipe a spiral of cream on top and crumb coat the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes.
9. You may wish to stick in a shoot like I did. I made it out of some leftover cake from previous bake and a small piece of Milo sponge with a toothpick inserted for support. Apply more cream at the sides of the cake. You don't have to be neat about this. Use a fork to draw the bark patterns. Refrigerate until set.
You may add some decorations if you wish. I chose to decorate with baby Jesus and star cookie that are in line with the theme of the promised Saviour.
Here's a peek at the cake when it is cut...
I am quite satisfied with my first attempt at making log cake although it has room for improvement. Will attempt other flavours and designs soon!