The signboard is filled with dark chocolate ganache and homemade cherry jam!
Bear with me as this is a rather long post with many parts to the log cake. The focus of what I want to share in detail is the new chocolate sponge recipe but with many short tidbits of the whole process of other components. I used the cooked dough method instead of the regular method of making chiffon sponge.
I must admit that the design idea came at the last minute because I have been busy with book writing. I was wondering what design I can do within a short period of time that is navitiy scene themed. Thank God I was inspired by what I saw in the church's bulletin one weekend! Silhouette of the nativity scene! I was gambling on the fact that I could pull this off with freehand drawing of course. Thank God I managed it!
I used a variation of Audrey Goh's Swiss method recipe to make the signboard along with the reindeer macarons. You can read about it in my previous macaron post.
Piping the signboard macarons shells. Yes I made extras just in case my freehand drawing needed practice...
...Indeed I needed practice! I ran into issues with writing the words for my first attempt so the second word ended up looking squashed at the end. Making a template would have made it more professional but I was in a hurry. Each attempt took less than half an hour to complete.
You may think that I am a great artist...But I don't think I am. Silhouettes are deceptively easy to draw compared to drawings with full features as they have a larger margin for error. How do I go about drawing this then? The trick is to choose your reference points wisely. I began by writing the words near the bottom of the rectangular frame. Next I drew the base of the manger, followed by baby Jesus. Then I drew Mary from bottom up, then Joseph from bottom up and finally the star. Going by this order ensures that the various parts have the right proportions and are positioned correctly.
Checkout how full the shells are with this method! I hardly rested the shells. I let the piped batter dry in the oven at 100℃ with fan mode on for 3 min with the oven door open slightly. I closed the oven door, switched off the fan mode and ramped up the temperature to 130℃ and baked until feel no longer appears wet.
I kept one of the Christmas bears from a previous bake (frozen for a few weeks) and used some of the pandan coconut Christmas tree macarons I prepared as display pieces for my upcoming junior chef baking class to add on to the deco.
I managed to find some sprinkles that look like mini baubles!
I chose the cooked dough method to make the chocolate sponge as blooming the cocoa powder in hot liquid allows the chocolate flavour to come through more strongly. Cooked dough method also allows the flour to absorb more liquid, making the cake naturally more moist and soft. That's why I revised my recipe to include an extra whole egg to make a more moist and rich cake, and used a different method.
You may prepare the cherry jam and dark chocolate ganache ahead of time before baking the sponge cake. Chill the whipping cream overnight in the mixing bowl together with icing sugar as well so that it whips up more easily when you are ready to assemble the cake as the sponge takes less than 15 minutes to bake. You may refer to my previous blackforest log cake post for the recipe of the cherry jam, stabilized whipped cream and dark chocolate ganache. I made minor changes to the filling for this year's log cake. I used red wine instead of Choya to cook the cherry jam. I bloomed 2 tsp of gelatin in 2 tbs of milk instead of using 1 tsp of gelatin in 1 tbs of milk as I wanted to make a more stable cream. I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract instead of 1/2 tsp for the cream. You may stick to the original recipe if the log cake is going to be served in a cooler place.
Cooked dough chocolate chiffon sponge cake
Ingredients (makes one 12x12" cake):
3 egg yolks
42g cake flour
22g Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
45g vegetable oil/ canola oil
47g fresh milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Kahlua coffee liqueur (optional)
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
65g caster sugar
1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Place egg and egg yolks in a small bowl. Set aside. Line the tray with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 170℃, set oven rack to second lowest position.
2. Heat milk and oil in a small saucepan until it just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and pour into flour mixture. Quickly mix well. A soft dough should form. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
3. Add one egg yolk or egg at a time and mix well between each addition. Add vanilla and coffee liqueur and mix well. A batter that is able to flow should be formed at this point in time.
4. Make the meringue. In a clean metal bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until firm peaks form, gradually adding sugar once the egg whites are foamy.
5. Fold the meringue into the batter a third at a time. Fold quickly but gently until no trace of meringue is seen.
6. Pour batter into baking tray and smooth out the top of batter with spatula. Gently tap on table to release trapped air bubbles. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
7. Immediately flip the cake out of baking tray and roll it up with parchment paper to cool.
You may refer to my previous blackforest log cake post for assembly instructions. Just to share some photos of the assembly this time round...
Rolled up Swiss roll. Checkout the fine texture of the sponge! The cake is indeed denser but soft and moist! Hubby who doesn't like cake in general (because most are too fluffy and dry) said this is really good!
Coating with dark chocolate ganache. I whipped the ganache this time so it appears lighter coloured
After drawing the bark markings with a fork, the cake is done!
You may dust with sifted icing sugar if you wish, and add on decorations.
If you are a fan of blackforest cake, do give this a try. I am sure you will love it!
With lots of love,