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Holiday Yule Log Cake

From Patricia Mitchell's article on baked holiday desserts.
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or crystals
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 1-ounce squares unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2-1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • Whole candied cherries
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan (or use cooking spray). Line bottom of pan with waxed or parchment paper and grease (or spray) lightly.

Combine the baking powder, salt and eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until blended. With mixer running, gradually add sugar and continue to beat until batter is thick, 3 to 4 minutes. At low speed of mixer, add flour, cocoa and vanilla.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, and bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes (surface should spring back when gently pressed).

Spread a clean cotton or linen dish towel on kitchen counter. Sift 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar over an area the same size as the cake (10 x 15 inches). Turn the cake out on the sugared dish towel, and peel the paper from the surface of the cake. If necessary, trim away any crisp edges from the cake.

Starting with the short end, carefully roll up the cake and the towel, jellyroll fashion. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, seam side down.

Carefully unroll the cooled cake. Spread evenly with the 2 cups of sweetened whipped cream and carefully reroll cake. Refrigerate until chilled through.

Heat butter, instant coffee powder, dash of salt and boiling water in a medium saucepan just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add baking chocolate, and stir until melted. Cool to lukewarm.

Stir 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar into chocolate mixture, blending well until a spreading consistency is reached. Spread frosting evenly over cake. Drag tines of a fork horizontally along surface to create the look of tree bark.

Garnish with whole candied cherries. Refrigerate until serving time.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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