traditional french yule log, vegan.

It’s Daring Bakers challenge time again. Since this month’s challenge falls at the end of December, our hosts thought up an appropriately festive dessert: a traditional french yule log.

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This month’s challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

In France you can buy two kinds of yule log, either the familiar Genoise and Buttercream type, or what is more commonly purchased: a frozen yule log. This type of yule log, reminiscent of an ice cream cake, is often made of frozen mousse of some sort.

This traditional french yule log consists of the following elements:

1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing

The assembly of the log involves a dacquoise biscuit layer at the bottom, with the other elements inter-layered with mousse and an icing finish. I used a simple loaf pan as my mold which worked out perfectly.

I never thought I’d say it, being the insatiable chocoholic that I am, but there is such a thing as too much chocolate. This cake is delicious, but small doses are in order. We did have some flavouring choices to make with regard to pretty much every element – but, chocoholic here remember, I chose mostly chocolate elements. Also, changes would be made to make this yule log dairy-free and egg-free. This is how my flavours for the different elements of the yule log played out:

1) Almond and coconut dacquoise biscuit
2) Chocolate mousse
3) Chocolate ganache insert
4) Chocolate coconut praline insert
5) Coconut-vanilla bean mousse (in place of creme brulee)
6) Chocolate icing

This biscuit was made as is with the addition of shredded coconut, with flax meal and water in place of eggs. I was super happy with how it turned out and was really tasty on its own.

For the mousse element, I used the Chocolate Mousse recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which is really awesome and incredibly rich. This one’s definitely a keeper.

I veganized the existing recipe for the ganache element, and I was super pleased with how it turned out – in fact it’s probably the best ganache I have ever made. The recipe involved caramelizing sugar by dry method which is then combined with cream and then poured over finely chopped chocolate. I used Belsoy cooking cream, a soy product, in place of the heavy cream called for. I used a gorgeous dark organic chocolate, 70% cocoa, which was just beautiful.

For the praline insert I used praline paste saved from a past DB challenge, the Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream. I opted to make this element using the rice crisp cereal option, rather than the home made crisps, due to time constraints. I added shredded coconut.

In place of creme brulee I made a vanilla-bean mousse infused with coconut – essentially a creamy pudding given extra stability with the help of agar.

The chocolate icing was another great discovery that I will be revisiting in future. I veganized the recipe provided, substituting Belsoy for heavy cream and Earth Balance for butter. This was the first time I’d tried the Belsoy cooking cream and I have to say, I’m a fan. The icing is meant to be stabilized with gelatin, for which I substituted agar quite nicely: Agar, I heart you.

I made all elements save the icing in a 6-hour stretch, assembling the log as I went along, before letting everything freeze overnight in the pan. On the second day the log was unmolded, iced, and returned to the freezer to set. I then sliced individual portions while the log was still frozen (this makes it easier to slice without wrecking the log’s shape), and allowed them to thaw on the counter for about an hour before serving the cool, ultra-rich, super decadent chocolate dessert.

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Thanks for visiting people – and happy holidays to everyone. I wish you all a very happy, safe and warm new year!

I leave you with my favourite Christmas ornament:

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Be sure to visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll for more baking inspiration than you could ever ask for:

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