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?
For more easy and delicious Gluten Free Christmas recipes check out my new eBook, A Very Merry Gluten Free Christmas!
Gluten Free Yule Log with whisky cherries
- 3 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Caster Sugar
- 1/2 cup Gluten Free Plain Flour White Wings brand
- 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
- 250 ml Thickened Cream
- 1 tbsp Icing Sugar CSR is gluten free
- 1 cup Cherries fresh or whisky soaked
- 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Chip Bits Nestle are GF
- 250 ml Thickened Cream
- 250 grams Dark Chocolate Chip Bits
- Extra Cherries for decorating
- Dusting of Icing Sugar
- 1 cup Fresh Cherries pitted
- 1/3 cup Caster Sugar
- Whisky or whatever alcohol you like
- I'm going to start with the whisky cherries as they will need to soak for a minimum of 24 hrs before hand. However you don't have to use them, simply use 1 cup of fresh cherries (pitted) instead.
- Slice each cherry in half and remove and discard the pit. We're going to use a 360ml mason jar or equivalent to soak the cherries in. Start by placing your caster sugar into the jar. Followed by the halved cherries. Now take your whisky or alcohol of choice and fill up the jar to just above the line of cherries.
- Pop the lid on and give them a good shake until all of the sugar has dissolved. Place into a dark, cool corner (like your pantry!) overnight to soak. You can leave these babies as long as you like and enjoy in cocktails, over ice-cream or in the below dessert!
- Onto the sponge cake! Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper. You want to ensure you use a piece larger than your tray so you are able to remove the cake and flip it later. A cookie tray, approx 35x25cm in size actually works perfectly here.
- In a large bowl place your eggs and using hand beaters beat until very light and fluffy.
- Add in the sugar, a tablespoon or so at a time and continue to beat on high. Think of it like a pavlova except we're not quite looking for stiff peaks.
- Continue to beat on high until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved and the eggs are thick and very fluffy. This will take a good few minutes!
- Sift over the flour and cocoa powder and very very lightly fold together until just combined.
- Pour into your prepared tray and gently spread out to the corners. Place into your hot oven for 8 minutes or until it puffs up and pulls away from the edges slightly.
- Now you will be working with your sponge whilst it's still hot. So once cooked and removed from the oven, lay a second piece of baking paper out on your counter just larger than your tin and sprinkle with extra caster sugar. Using the hanging edges of baking paper, carefully remove your swiss roll and turn it upside down onto the sugar. Peel back the extra baking paper and discard.
- Starting at one of the short ends, tuck the baking paper over the edge and gently start rolling your roll. Be sure to keep it quite loose, you want to leave enough room for cream and cherries and not put too much pressure on the roll so that it cracks. Honestly, don't stress if it does crack though, mine has and it's not the end of the world.
- Place onto a wire rack to cool.
- While your sponge is cooling you can move onto the filling. In a medium sized bowl, place your first batch of cream (250ml) and the icing sugar. Beat with hand beaters until thick and stiff peaks form.
- Take your cooled sponge cake and gently unroll it. Don't try to lay it totally flat as it will crack.
- Spread your cream mixture over the entire surface of the cake, ensuring you get right up to the edges.
- Now take your cherries, either fresh or whisky'd, and sprinkle all over the cream. Add the chocolate here too!
- Slowly and loosely roll your sponge cake back up and place onto your wire rack with the seem underneath. Set aside.
- Place your remaining thickened cream (250ml) into a small saucepan and over a medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil before removing and setting aside.
- In a medium sized bowl place your chocolate chips and gently pour the hot cream over top. Now set this aside for a good 5 minutes. Don't touch it!
- The key here is to wait until the cream melts the chocolate. Then gently fold together to create a luscious and shiny mixture.
- Pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to cool and thicken slightly. You want it to be heavy and thick, but still pour-able.
- To coat your sponge roll, take your wire tray with cake on top and place it over a similar sized tray. This will catch the extra ganache that runs off. To get a clean edge on either end, cut a slice off of each. (and eat them!)
- Take your ganache and pour it all over the cake starting from one end and moving to the other. You may need to use a spatula to help fill in the ends. Otherwise simply go to town on it, and let the rivulets of chocolate spread across it.
- Give the wire tray a sharp tap to displace any excess before placing the whole thing into the fridge to harden up. After 20 minutes or so, the ganache will have hardened enough that you can run a knife or spatula along the top lengthwise. Just rough it up a little to give it a log type look!
- You can take a few extra whole cherries and dip them in any left over ganache you have. Leave the stems attached to make this easier and place onto a piece of baking paper and into the fridge.
- Serve your luscious gluten free yule log with extra whisky cherries and a small drizzle of the liquid. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!
- You can use any alcohol you like for the whisky cherries, or none at all! But Vodka works a treat, as does Bourbon!! 😉
- Honestly do not stress if your sponge cake cracks. You won't even notice once you pour over your chocolate ganache!!
- Have left over ganache? Simply pop it into a bowl and mix a tablespoon or so of Baileys or your favourite liqueur in. Pop it into the fridge for two plus hours to harden up before rolling into teaspoon sized balls. Roll in cocoa powder and keep in the fridge for a little late night snack!