This Bûche de Noël from Pavé Bakery in Los Angeles is the holiday masterpiece that you finally have time to make.
Baking is no laughing matter.
Just look at all of the intensely competitive shows about cake streaming online at the moment for further proof. Compare it to cooking and you'll realize that improvising and eyeballing it simply doesn't work. Baking and pastry-making takes focus and dedication. Which is why, perhaps, so many turned to this art form during the pandemic. We as a society finally have time to experiment with breads and desserts in our own personal kitchens.
The rewards for such hard work are often pretty spectacular.
And, who are we kidding, playing around with chocolate, sugar, and butter may not be a laughing matter, but it should at least make you smile.
But when it comes to the perfect holiday-season dessert, let's talk to the experts, shall we? Christina Hanks and Jacob Fraijo, the dynamic duo behind Pavé Bakery, Los Angeles' best new micro-bakery featuring gorgeous breads, perfect pastries, and divine desserts, have made our Christmas wish come true by making an extraordinary Bûche de Noël ("Yuletide Log" in French, the traditional French dessert eaten at Christmas time) for The French Collective.
While you continue to stay at home and stay safe, you have no excuse to not give this recipe a go! Share your pictures with us on Instagram (and feel free to mail us a slice).
Almond Chocolate Bûche de Noël
Devil’s food cake and dark chocolate almond ganache glazed in an almond milk chocolate shell sitting atop a crunchy almond cookie.
Items you will need:
Scale (in grams, s'il vous plaît)
Hand blender (optional)
1/4 sheet tray
Piping Bag with 802 or 803 plain tip
Gold leaf (optional)
1. Prepare Almond Ganache. Allow to crystallize at least 12 hours at a cool room temperature, preferably overnight
2. Make Almond Cookie Dough & Roll out
3. Make Coffee & Devils Food Cake
1. Roll up the Bûche de Noël
2. Bake Almond Cookie Base
3. Make Almond Milk Chocolate Shell
4. Finish Bûche de Noël
220 g Cream
26 g Milk
198 g 61% Chocolate
33 g Almond Butter, smooth, natural unsalted (we suggest Whole Foods brand. Look for one where the only ingredient is almonds)
1.2 g Fleur de sel
Melt chocolate half way.
Meanwhile, heat dairy to 80C.
Add 1/2 of the dairy to the chocolate. Allow to melt.
Emulsify using a whisk or a hand blender.
Add in 1/2 of what’s left of the dairy to the chocolate and emulsify. Add in the rest of the dairy to the chocolate and emulsify.
Add in the almond butter and flake salt. Emulsify. The ganache should be smooth and shiny.
Pour out into a shallow container and place plastic wrap or parchment paper in contact with the surface of the ganache so a skin does not form.
Allow to crystallize at a cool room temperature, preferably overnight. Not in a fridge!
Once crystallized the ganache will be set, but still creamy and pliable- which will make for easy Bûche de Noël rolling.
Almond Cookie Dough
75 g Butter, unsalted and soft
40 g Sugar
.5 g Sea Salt
30 g Almond Meal
15 g Egg Whites
5 g Vanilla Paste (or 3 g Vanilla Extract)
63g All Purpose Flour
Almond Cookie Dough Day 1:
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand using a spatula) mix the butter, sugar, salt and almond meal together until smooth.
Stream in egg whites and vanilla. Mix until homogeneous.
Add in the flour, 1/2 at a time and mix until a dough forms.
Roll out dough between parchment paper. Dough should be a rectangle, and about 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm thick.
Chill dough in refrigerator overnight.
Almond Cookie Base Day 2:
Preheat oven to 320F.
After rolling up the Bûche, measure its dimensions. Adjust your dimensions for the cookie base as needed so it will fit under your cake.
Trim cookie dough to be about 3” x 7” or about 7.5 cm x 18 cm.
Bake at 320F until the edges of the cookie are evenly golden and the cookie feels firm. The base will spread during baking, so be ready to trim the base down back to a clean edge rectangle right after it comes out of the oven.
Cool at room temperature.
Devil’s Food Cake
20 g Coarsely ground coffee
110 g Boiled Water
Pour boiled water over coffee grounds and infuse for 4 minutes.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer / or coffee filter.
Devil’s Food Cake Batter
31 g Coffee, brewed strong, cooled
55 g Buttermilk
43 g Oil, Grape-seed (or any other neutral oil)
25 g Eggs
11 g Cocoa Powder, sifted
58 g AP Flour
83 g Sugar
1.7 g Sea Salt
2.4 g Baking Soda, sifted
Preheat oven to 325F.
Line a 1/4 Sheet tray (8x12”) with parchment paper. Spray the tray so the paper sticks. Spray the top of the paper lightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Separately, combine the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Stream in the liquids to the dry ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, while whisking and ensuring the batter is smooth before adding the next amount of liquids. Once mixed well, spread cake batter onto prepared tray.
Bake cake at 325F for about 8-12 minutes. Cake will spring back when it is ready. If the cake is overbaked, it will crack when rolled.
Almond Milk Chocolate Shell
200 g Milk Chocolate
100 g Cocoa Butter
20 g Almond Butter
40 g Sliced Almonds, roasted, ground small (save 1 whole almond slice for garnish)
Melt together the chocolate and cocoa butter.
Stir in the almond butter and roasted almond pieces.
Stir well to incorporate and emulsify.
Rolling up the Buche de Noël
Place ganache into a piping bag with an 802 or 803 size plain tip.
Sugar the top of the cake and flip over onto parchment paper.
Peel the baked on parchment paper on top away from the cake.
Evenly pipe the ganache over the cake, leaving a small border at the top empty. There will be a small amount of ganache leftover to save for the outside of the bûche.
Starting with the short covered side of cake, roll the cake towards the empty top without ganache.
Once at the empty portion of cake, flip seam down to bottom. Tighten the roll slightly. Roll up the log with parchment paper, tape securely and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, bake the almond cookie base and then prepare the almond milk chocolate shell.
Unroll bûche from parchment. Pipe remainder of ganache onto cake tops and sides evenly and spread.
Place cake in fridge, on a tray with a glazing rack on top.
Place cooled cookie base onto a plate or cake board.
Heat almond milk chocolate shell until fluid and emulsify. Should be at 40C. Place a small bit of chocolate or ganache onto the cookie base to help stick the bûche.
Glaze the bûche, ensuring to cover the sides well.
Once the glaze stops dripping, move to the prepared cookie base. Allow to temper for 1-2 hours before eating for optimal creamy texture and flavor.