22 December 2007

My Inititiation & First Daring Baker Challenge

Buche Noel
Why would a "baking challenged" person who shakes with fear when she has to make pastry join the industrious and acclaimed group over at the Daring Bakers? Well...two reasons. Firstly to belong to such a supportive group of men and women. Over the past months I have seen "newbie" and seasoned bakers alike struggle with making caramel, mousse, etc. Always in the comments section these same people have such support from their fellow DB's that I wanted to become a part of the collective. The second reason to join, when I am "oven challenged," is for the challenge itself. It forces me to delve into the unexpected and think outside my comfort zone..."where no man (or woman) has gone before!!!! At least not this woman.



The Daring Bakers is the darling of Lis over at La Mia Cucina and Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice . Each month over 400 men and women are asked to rise to the challenge by these innovative, warm and caring women. It is so much fun to discover all those Daring Baker men and women out there in the blogosphere and their sites.

This month's challenge was a yule log or "Buche Noel" as we say here in French Canada. There is absolutely no room in my freezer so the challenge had to be done at the last minute. The original recipe called for a coffee flavoured log, but, we were allowed to incorporate a few changes here and there. First of all I opted for a chocolate flavoured genoise. To do this I reduced the cake flour to 1/3 cup, increased the cornstarch to 1/3 cup and added 1/4 cup cocoa to the flour mixture. Thank goodness for the other DB comments!

In my research on the net one source said that you needed to coat your roll with a simple syrup to allow it to roll easily. This was within the guidelines so I opted for a simple syrup made with 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and 2 T (or up to 1/4 cup) appropriate booze varied according to your taste and context. In keeping with my whole Black Forest Cake theme I opted for kirsch. Two tablespoons in simple syrup and a shot glass for me!

The genoise cake turned out surprisingly good and cooked up within 10 minutes in the oven. Due to my own oven it was even a little overdone at that point. If I had have not brushed it with simple syrup I think it would have cracked at the edges when rolling. Another shot of kirsch for me!

The next adjustment I made was to add cherries as a filling (once again in keeping with the whole Black Forest Cake theme). For the cherry filling I stirred together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 T cornstarch in a small saucepan. Then I stirred in 2 T water and added 1 cup red frozen pitted tart cherries. I cooked it over medium heat until thickened and stirred it once in a while. Cooked and stirred some more for 2 minutes. Removed from heat and stirred in 1-1/2 tsp kirsch (plus 1 shot of kirsch for me!!!!). Covered the surface with plastic wrap and allowed to cool while I went on to prepare my buttercream.

Once again in keeping with the "Black Forest Cake Theme" we were able to substitute the coffee flavouring in the buttercream. To do this I added 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces, melted and cooled. I love all the support from my fellow DB's because through them I discovered that the buttercream could be a disastrous and runny affair. It was suggested that the eggs needed to be at room temperature or at least not cold, and, that the sugar and egg white mixture needed to be cool before adding the butter. Imagine my surprise (for this "baking challenged" person)when the buttercream turned out light and fluffy. I had adverted danger so far...because I was scared!! Another shot glass of kirsch for me! The only thing is that my buttercream turned out a light colour. My solution to make it darker is to sprinkle it with chocolate shavings..gives it a rustic look. Another shot glass of kirsch for me!!!!!!!!!!!

I spread 1/2 the chocolate buttercream to within 1/2-inch of the edges of the genoise cake. Spread the cherry filling lengthwise over the buttercream in a 1-1/2-inch wide band, starting 1/2-inch from the long edge. Then I carried on as usual.

The biggest mistake I made was to try and make the log over a 2 day period. I made the buttercream flawlessly and then went off to my second job. Therefore the cake had to be made the next day, but, alas the buttercream was as hard as a rock so I had to wait for it to soften up. So many thanks have to go out to our lovely founders for giving us a 2 day grace period for posting this months challenge due to the holidays and our busy schedules. Thank you..thank you...thank you!!!! Another shot of kirsch for me...just for good measure. Hic!!!

This was my first Daring Bakers challenge. I never got around to making the meringue mushrooms. I did however make some chocolate leaves for decoration. I think it makes my log a little bit earthy...it is a log after all.

Sources: Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri and The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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41 comments:

  1. My Dear Valli,
    Welcome to the DBs! This was indeed an interesting challenge and you showed you are right up there with the best of them!! Good for you! Now go have another glass of Kirsch! Hic! Happy and Blessed Christmas to you and yours with much love from this side of the world.

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  2. Looks great! I am also a December newbie... and so glad I joined DB!

    Ann

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  3. Hey that is aneat log. love the leaves..has a rustic charm to it!

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  4. Your Yule Log looks good. I really like the sounds of the Black Forest Cake theme. I bet it tastes really good.

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  5. Thank you very much Dharm..I enjoyed the challenge. A very happy holidays to you and your wife4 and children!!
    It was great fun wasn't it Redact!! We welcome each other to the DB!!
    Thanks very much Rachel!
    I have to get over and see your recipe Kevin!!

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  6. Congrats on your first challenge, Valli. You did great and I love your leaves :)I should have soaked my cake as well because my oven is a pain in the (bloop!) and over cooked it.

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  7. Oh my gosh Valli! I am so impressed with your first entry into the Daring Bakers! A very good new years resolution! I am lucky to get a decent cookie out of the oven, let alone some of the beautiful creations of the Daring Bakers. I can cook, but baking is another zone for me. I look forward to seeing your entries! Wish I was close enough to share a piece of your yummy Yule Log!

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  8. Canada is only a plane ride away Deb for a taste of my Buche de Noel! I have enjoyed having you as a blogging friend!

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  9. Val, we'll call yours the "amuse buche"!

    Good show, it's your 1st one, done in a rush...your next Yule Log will be a breeze.

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  10. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Daring Bakers! I am a newbie myself and this was only my third challenge. I am enjoying the experience of being a DB'r more than anything else I have ever done. You did so well with your Buche de Noel!!! It looks positively yummy! I love the chocolate leaves! Just perfect!

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  11. Congratulations on your first challenge- this was my first too!! Black Forrest is one of my favorites, great idea!! :O)

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  12. I enjoyed reading your post and loved your creativity with the Black Forest theme. Welcome aboard.

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  13. Congrats to your first challenge,looks really delicious and very well done.
    I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday full of love and peace

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  14. Valli, wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
    My best to you,
    Deb:)

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  15. Hi Val, well done on completing your first challenge! The choc leaf is a great idea. I hope that your family enjoyed the log since you've put in so much work into it. xnora

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  16. Yayyyyy! Congratulations on completing your first task.

    In case I don't get to visit again this week, do have a very merry Christmas and remember to hold your loved ones near.

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  17. great job on your first challenge Valli! I am so glad that you are now part of this great group! You are a welcomed addition! Enjoy then and have a wonderful Christmas!

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  18. Well done on your first challenge, glad you've joined the group!

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  19. greysaltismyfavoriteDecember 23, 2007

    Great job on the log. I didn't even think of Black Forest Cake. This was my first challenge also. I did Amaretto simple syrup though. I like the chocolate shavings and the chocolate leaves. Very pretty.

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  20. Your log looks and sound super tasty! I'm so impressed at your ability to change the recipe up like that! (I soaked mine in Brandy, but I like the black forest theme to yours too!)

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  21. Congrats on a successful first challenge!

    That black forest bûche de Noël must have been just delicious.

    Feel free to read about my yule log here.

    Julius from Occasional Baker

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  22. YOU DID IT! I am so proud of you! hmm..I need to come u with a special award for you, my friend!!!

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  23. How beautiful! I love the leaves. Great touch.

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  24. Great job on your first challenge! The log looks great!
    Happy holidays to you and your family!

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  25. Great job! I like the leaves. Do try the meringue mushrooms at some point, they're fun and easy.

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  26. Your yule log turned out beautiful! This was my first challenge also. What a fun group of bakers this is! Merry Christmas!

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  27. Fabulous first challenge, and with more than a hint of style about it (i.e., lots of kirsch). Love your idea of making it a black forrest gateau flavor...

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  28. Congratulations from another first-timer. Nice leaves - additional chocolate can never be bad.

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  29. Congratulations from another first-time DB-er!

    Love the idea of the Black Forest theme. It's something my hubbie also suggested after seeing some cherries in kirsch at M&S the other day. Unfortunately, he only noticed this when the log was already chilling in the fridge!

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  30. I love your chocolate leaves! Great job.

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  31. Oh, your choice of flavors do sound quite delicious... Great idea! Awesome job on your first challenge, too.

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  32. Thak you everyone for all your support and encouragement. Have a wonderful holidays season!!!
    Val

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  33. HAHAHAHAAAAAA!!! We so need to bake together.. you taking shots of kirsch and me downing shots of vodka.. whatever we'd make would be DELISHHHUSSS!! *hic*

    Beautiful log, sweetie!

    Happy holidays!

    xoxo

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  34. Val, congratulations on your log! It turned out great! and the leaves look so good! What a first challenge!!!!

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  35. Bellini Valli you've a lovely log and a great Daring Baker spirit! Welcome.
    Now, Another shot glass of kirsch for me!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nice!

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  36. Great job! I love the black forest theme sound wonderful. Cute leaves!

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  37. I love the black forest theme!! Your chocolate leaf is great too! Great job on your first challenge!!

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  38. Wish I could have tasted it, this sounds just delicious! I love the black forest theme and I think the chocolate leaves and the chocolate shavings are a very nice accent!

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  39. Excellent first challenge. I really like Black Forest cake. You have a beautiful and interesting blog . Happy New Year.

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  40. Baking challenged?!? My dear, your black forest inspired log is a masterpiece! Congratulations, and welcome! I'm only sorry it's taken me two weeks to get here.

    I hope you found peace and joy in your holiday celebrations and that 2008 brings you much happiness. Can't WAIT to see what you do with January's challenge...

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  41. Oh, so pretty! What an awesome way to start off your first Daring Bakers challenge. GREAT job!!

    jen at use real butter

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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