- 6 large free range eggs, separated
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 75g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g dark chocolate
- 400g icing sugar
- 150g soft butter
- 2 tbsp whiskey liqueur or whole milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/gas 4.
Line a 23 x 32cm Swiss roll tin with parchment.
Separate the eggs into two bowls and beat the whites until stiff, then, still whisking, sprinkle in 75g of the golden caster sugar and continue whisking until the whites are holding their peaks.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar until the mixture is pale and thick. Add the vanilla extract, sieve the cocoa powder over, then fold both in.
Lighten the yolk mixture with a couple of dollops of the egg whites, gently folding with a metal spoon or spatula, using a cutting and turning action. Then add the remaining whites in thirds, folding them in carefully to avoid losing the air.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out to the edges. Bake for 20 minutes.
Slightly dampen a clean tea towel. Slide the hot cake, still on its parchment, onto the tea towel. Dust the top with cocoa powder and loosely roll up the sponge, length-ways, on the parchment, in the tea towel and leave to cool. Don’t worry about cracks – we’ll be covering it anyway!
To make the icing and filling, melt your chocolate in a bain marie and let it cool. Beat together your butter and icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and the whisky liqueur and blitz again to finish your icing.
Gently unroll your sponge. Spread some of the icing thinly over it, going right out to the edges, and start re-rolling – taking care to get a tight roll this time.
Cut one or both ends slightly at a gentle angle, reserving the remnants, and place the roll on a serving board. The off cuts are to make a branch by placing a piece at an angle coming off the big ‘log’.
Spread the yule log with the remaining icing, covering the cut-off ends as well as any branches. Create a wood-like texture by marking along the length and end of the log with a fork.
A light dusting of icing sugar gives that final winter feel! And you can decorate with the fondant candy canes from Day 5!