For me Christmas is about so many things, but food and family are the two biggies. Whether it’s whipping up your Great Grandmothers classic fruit cake recipe months ahead or simply popping some shortbread in the oven on Christmas eve. What ever your treat, I think we all have a favourite food that heralds the true beginning of Christmas. For me it’s simply having my house smelling of ginger and vanilla. It truly is one of the true markers of the season to me. But one thing that has never actually been on my list to make, was a classic Yule Log. Why you might ask? Well I just never got around to trying one. But in my bid to make Christmas a truly gluten free affair I just knew I had to try my hand at this famed dessert. My Gluten Free Yule Log is to die for and I think will be my new favourite Christmassy dessert!
A Gluten Free Tradition
OK So I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a gluten free tradition. But there will be from now on in my home! (and I hope in yours too!) But the Yule Log, for some, is quite a tradition and it actually has an interesting history as far as desserts go. Stemming from the Medieval era when folks would burn a large log decorated with holly and ivy to cleanse the air and welcome in the Winter solstice. This dessert came about in the 1600’s when Christianity jumped in and smaller hearths were the norm. (Smaller hearths meant perfect conditions for cake baking!) And so these prettily decorated rolled sponge cakes were born! Over the years they have become more and more elaborate. But when I decided to try my hand at one, I thought, simple is better.
So what really is a Gluten Free Yule Log?
Simply put, a yule log is a chocolate sponge cake rolled to look like, you betcha, a log. Piled with chocolate cream and decorated with marzipan decorations to really bring home that loggy feeling. These days they’re simply decorated with chocolate ganache and lashings of even more chocolate. (I mean it IS Christmas after all, right?!) So I knew I wanted to do something a little different to mine, something a little more Aussie!
Yes I know, I know. I’m taking another European inspired classic recipe and mucking it about again. But I think it’s pretty dang good and looks stunning to boot! (A big plus when it comes to laying out my Christmas table). So how did I Aussie it up? Well, I simply added cherries… and a lot of them! To those in the Northern hemisphere this won’t be entirely possible or may even seem weird. But the 100 day cherry season happens to run perfectly through December here in Australia. So perfectly that cherries have become a staple at the Christmas dinner table! We often just have bowls of them laying about the place, they’re just so yummy!
Whisky Cherries For The Win
To me, a gluten free yule log is just a dressed up version of our Chocolate Swiss Roll. So I had to merry it up a little more. Seriously people, it’s Christmas!!! So I took my basic gluten free chocolate swiss roll recipe and added cherries. Which was delicious. But then I decided to soak some cherries… in whisky.. because why not? (And again, other than Gin, it was pretty much all I had in the liquor cabinet). But holly molly did that punch up this dessert to a whole other level! Not a fan of whisky, or alcohol? That’s cool, simply use fresh cherries. It really will taste just as good.
So now we’ve got a gluten free chocolate swiss roll, filled with cream and cherries (plus a nice hit) but I wanted more. So I added more chocolate. (Really? YES!) I added some dark chocolate chips to my cherries and cream and rolled it all up. Then covered it all in the most perfectly perfect dark chocolate ganache. Some ganache covered cherries and a dusting of icing sugar on top, and we had one seriously Gluten Free Yule Log on our hands. And really? It was all pretty simple! (Just don’t do what I did, and use the wrong size pan when baking my sponge cake. Yeaaaaahhhhh it wasn’t great. Like not even salvagable! But hey, that’s what happens when the whisky fumes get to ya!)
Whether you’re a Yule Log aficionado or a virgin like me. (I feel like I really need to add in a having my cherry popped joke here, but I can’t think of one!) This delectable Gluten Free Yule Log with whisky cherries is every chocoholics dream come true.
Will you be giving my Gluten Free Yule Log a try this Christmas?