Merry Christmas everyone!
In case you didn't know, my husband and I moved to northern Idaho this week. It was something we had been wanting to do for a while, and doors seem to open up for job opportunities. So we packed up our life, a dog, and a cat and drove for 2 days to the other side of the country. That being said, we don't really know anyone up here yet, which made Christmas pretty uneventful for us this year. The constant snow, giant cedar trees and surrounding mountains have made up for that fact, but it doesn't change the fact that I had a lot of time on my hands this weekend.
Yesterday on Christmas Eve, I was trying to think of a recipe I have never tried that could be time consuming for my day as James was working. My solution? A Yule log cake.
I have found it interesting learning more about the origins of Christmas traditions, including the Yule log. There are so many beautiful things that have come out of the northern European celebration of the Winter Solstice and have merged with the Christmas we celebrate now as Christians. The winters were so long in that part of the world, the people appreciated the changing of seasons and looked forward to the spring. Everything from the wreath to hanging ornaments on an evergreen tree all have meaning and a story. So I took one of those traditions and make it into a cake.
Now, although I had a lot of time available to make something from scratch, there was the issue of all our belongings still being in boxes. Since I did not want to buy a lot of ingredients that I know i have somewhere packed away, I had to cheat and use a box cake mix. It's okay though, it still took forever! I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free chocolate cake mix this time, it was on sale at Natural Grocers. For the frosting, I bought Pamela's brand chocolate frosting mix. Other than that, all I needed was some powdered sugar for the snow, and I also found some pomegranate seeds for little red berries.
So to start, I whipped up the cake mix and cooked it on a large, thin cookie sheet on some parchment paper. Once it was done, I flipped it over onto a tea towel that was coated with some powdered sugar. You slowly roll up the cake into the towel and allow it to cool in a spiral shape so it can handle being rolled up later without breaking. (Mine still broke, but it doesn't really matter because you cover it in icing anyway!)
Once cooled, you unroll it from the towel, and apply a thin layer of icing to the inside, and roll it back up like a giant Ho-Ho. Now you can start to get creative. Slice off each end at an angle, and place them on the sides of the log like little stubs. Once you have the shape ready, you just coat the entire thing in icing. Use extra around where the stumps meet so they stay in place, like chocolate glue. Do not ice the ends of the logs, the swirl of the cake and icing give it a woody look, like tree rings. When it is covered, I just scrape a fork over the entire surface of the icing to rough it up to look like bark. From there, it is your blank canvas. I found some pine needles to lay around it, and then sprinkled the powdered sugar over like a fresh powdered snow. Final touch was the little pomegranate seed berries.
That's it. Let everyone see how pretty it is, then slice it up and enjoy!
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, ate some delicious food, spent time with family, and goes on to have a great New Years!