Buche de Noel


Vegetable oil for oiling

150g caster sugar

6 large eggs

250g good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pictures

4 tbsp cold water

For the raspberry cream filling

400ml double cream

250g raspberries

A little Drambuie (optional)

For the chocolate buttercream

125g unsalted butter, softened

225g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

25g unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ tbsp milk

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Buche de Noel

Serves 10-12
Prep 45 minutes
Bake 12-14 minutes

I have filled this decadent Christmas log with whipped cream and berries and topped it with a chocolate buttercream icing, but you can both fill and top it with the chocolate icing if you like, doubling up the quantities.

1. Heat your oven to 220°C. Line the base and sides of a 23 x 33cm Swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper and brush the paper lightly with oil.

2. Using an electric hand-held whisk, whisk the caster sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl until creamy.

3. Put the chocolate and water into a heatproof bowl, set over a pan of gentle simmering water and leave until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly, then fold into a whisked mixture.

4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff but not dry. Gently fold a spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then carefully fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon (use a gentle action and avoid overmixing). Pour the mixture gently into the prepared tin.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes (no longer), until the sponge is risen and just firm to the touch. Place the tin on a wire rack and leave the sponge to cool for at least 2 hours.

6. Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper on a board. Once the sponge is cold, with one bold movement, turn it out onto the paper, then lift off the tin. Carefully peel away the paper and trim off any scraggy edges.

7. For the raspberry cream filling, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Spread the inverted sponge with the whipped cream, scatter over the raspberries and sprinkle with a little Drambuie, if you like. Roll up a long side towards you, using the paper to roll; don’t worry about the cracks. Transfer to a flat serving dish.

8. To make the chocolate buttercream, beat the butter until soft. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa together over the mixture, add the milk and mix to a soft icing. Carefully spread the icing over the cake and mark decoratively with the prongs of a fork. Chill until needed.

 9. Sift some icing sugar over the log just before serving. Finish with some festive decorations if you like.


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Victoria Sponge

This is a delicious British tea time classic. I like to add whipped cream to the filling to make it really special.