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The BÃche de NoÃl, also known as the Yule Log, is a traditional French dessert served during the Christmas holidays. Made from sponge cake; this rolled cake can be filled and frosted with everything from butter cream to rich chocolate ganache. The cake is decorated to resemble a log by creating a bark-like texture with the outer frosting, sprinkling powdered sugar to resemble "snow", and crafting "mushrooms" out of meringue or marzipan as a final garnish. It's no wonder this beautiful (and delicious!) cake has been around since Napoleon I!!! Enjoy and Merry Christmas everyone!

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Preparing the Plain or White GÃnoise
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the cake flour and cornstarch and stir well to mix. Sift once and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, yolks and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar in a stream while whisking

Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and gently whisk until the egg mixture is lukewarm. Whip by machine on high speed until the egg mixture is cold, light yellow in color and increased in volume. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cake flour mixture over the egg mixture, in a few additions, and fold in with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top evenly with a spatula

Bake the layer for 10-12 minutes. Be careful NOT TO OVER BAKE!!

Loosen the cake with a sharp knife from the sides of the pan and invert to a rack; immediately invert again so that the cake layer cools on clean paper right-side up.

for Chocolate GÃnoise Substitute 1/3 cup cake flour, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and a pinch of baking soda for the dry ingredients used in the plain gÃnoise. Continue to use 1/4 granulated sugar, 3 large eggs and 3 large egg yolks, and a pinch of salt
Preparing the Cake
Cover the cooled layer with a clean piece of parchment paper, and then cover the paper with a clean sheet pan

Invert the cake between the pans

Lift off the top pan, and peel off the paper stuck to the bottom of the cake layer

Replace the just removed parchment with a clean piece of paper covering the cake, and place a sheet pan on top of it

Invert the pans again; remove the top pan, and parchment paper. The cake layer now rests on a clean piece of parchment
Assembling the BÃche
Spread the filling of your choice (flavored whipped cream, butter cream, ganache) on the layer with a metal spatula

With the long edge of the layer closest to you, roll the layer by picking up the edge of the paper and easing the layer into a curve

Continue to use the paper to roll the layer into a tight cylinder

Wrap the paper tightly around the roll, and twist the ends like a piece of wrapped candy

Refrigerate for 2 hours (1 hour in the freezer) so cake can "set"

Remove the rolled cake from the refrigerator and unwrap

Trim the edges diagonally, cutting one piece to be 2 inches in length from the end of the log

Place the roll on a platter, and position the uncut end of the 2 inch piece about two thirds along the top side of the roll, making a short "branch" or "knot"

Cover the bÃche with butter cream, ganache, or whipped cream (whipped cream is not the usual choice for the outer covering), making sure to cover the curve up the protruding branch on top of the log

Leave the branch ends unfrosted, or frost one of the two ends. Always leave the protruding branch end unfrosted
"Streak" the butter cream with a fork or decorating comb

Dust plate sparingly with confectioners' sugar to have "snow"

Cut diagonal slices to serve