try making the traditional french bûche de noel while surrounded by 16 people, 7 of which under the age of 7. Add to that a cavalier baker, thinking it will all be done with the flick of a wrist and you get a recipe for disaster. Luckily, in this instance the many cooks saved the proverbial broth and turned what was meant to be a chocolate log filled with raspberry mascarpone cream and slathered in ganache, into a brique de noel, much prettier and equally as delicious as was hoped for.
Brique de noel
for the sponge cake
adapted from Trish Deseine MY CUISINE
prep time: 10min, baking time: 15 min, cooling time: 5-10 min
for the sponge cake
225 g sugar
225 g butter, softened
225 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp cocoa powder, diluted in 4 Tbsp hot water
For the raspberry mascarpone mousse
prep time: 8 min
150 ml whipping cream
150 g mascarpone
200 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
sugar to taste
prep time: 5 min, cooling time: 15 min
100 g dark chocolate
100 g whipping cream
Assembly: 10 min total cooling time: 3h
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a baking sheet. In a mixing bowl combine the sugar and butter, mixing until white and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing well inbetween each one. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and add the cocoa mixture. Mix until just combined – try not to overmix as this will make for a tougher texture.
Spread the batter evenly onto the baking sheet lined wih parchment paper.Bake for 15 minutes or until the cake feels springy to touch and a knife inserted to the center will come out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert unto a clean surface.
While the cake is cooling off, prepare the raspberry mousse by beating the cream and the mascarpone with your handmixer until soft peak form. Add sugar to taste.
When the cake is cool, butter and line a loaf pan with clingfilm, making sure to leave some clingfilm to hang over the sides. Cut the sponge cake into strips of the same width as your loaf pan (don’t worry about aesthetics, you can always assemble the strips lego-style, it won’t matter in the end). Now start layering by putting a strip of sponge cake, sprinkling raspberries over top and finishing of with the mascarpone. Repeat until the loaf pan is filled nearly to the top. Finish with a layer of sponge cake and let cool for at least 2h.
To make the ganache, simply melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl set over simmering water, or, if you are lazy/practical, in the microwave) stirring with a spoon from time to time. When the chocolate is melted, let it cool a little, then incorporate the whiping cream. Leave to solidify for 15 minutes.
Unmould the layer cake by inverting the pan unto a platter and gently pulling on the clingfilm hanging over the sides. Spread the ganache with an offset spatula, and leave to chill again for 1h