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Serves 6

First, a warning. This isn’t one of your easy, throw-some-stuff-in-a-bowl, bung-in-the-oven-and-go-watch-Pointless recipes. This  is a full-on Christmas showstopper. You don’t launch into this sort of culinary commitment if you’re looking for festive timesavers or quick-fix flavours – this is big-school cooking. Literally in fact, as the recipe comes from one of the biggest schools in the world of culinary education – Le Cordon Bleu.

This bûche de Noël (aka yule log), may not be simple to make but, if you’re prepared to put the effort in, it is spectacular to look at and incredible to eat. And in any case, there’s no better time than the Christmas season to indulge yourself by spending some serious time in the kitchen, so you can really show off in the dining room.

Ready? Set? Bake.


For the chocolate Genoise

      • 170g egg whites (5 eggs)
      • 170g sugar
      • 140g egg yolks (8 eggs)
      • 90ml vegetable oil
      • 140g plain flour, sieved
      • 40g unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved


For the kirsch syrup

      • 80g sugar
      • 110ml water
      • 50ml kirsch


For the cherry compote

    • 12g cornflour
    • 250g cherry syrup (juice from tinned cherries)
    • 200g Griotte cherries (whole red pitted cherries), drained


For the chocolate glaze

      • 12g gelatine leaves (6 leaves)
      • 195g sugar
      • 145ml water
      • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 120ml whipping cream
      • Dark purple lipo-soluble chocolate colouring


For the black cherry ganache

      • 300g black cherry purée
      • 150g whipping cream
      • 20g glucose
      • 300g Manjari (Valrhona) chocolate, finely chopped
      • 40g butter, softened


For the decoration

    • Dark chocolate, tempered and cut into discs and twists
    • 10 half-macaroon shells, cherry coloured
    • Marshallow strips, knotted
    • Edible gold or silver leaf


To make the chocolate Genoise:

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Whisk the egg whites until white and foamy, then gradually add in the sugar until a stiff meringue is formed.

2. Blend the egg yolks and the oil together then fold into the meringue. Then, fold in sieved flour and cocoa powder until evenly incorporated.

3. Divide the mixture in two and spread out onto two silicone-mat-lined baking sheets (30 x 40cm). Bake for 7–8 minutes or until cooked through.

4. Remove from oven and slide the silicone mat onto a wire rack, cover with a clean, dry kitchen cloth and cool. Do not remove silicone from the mat until ready to assemble.

To make the kirsch syrup:

1. Add sugar and water to a pan and bring to boil. Allow to cool, then mix in the kirsch.

To make the cherry compote:

1. In a bowl, blend the cornflour with a little juice from the cherries to make a paste. In a saucepan, heat the remaining cherry syrup.

2. Once the liquid is boiling add the cornflour mixture and re-boil until thickened, whisking continuously. Gently stir in the drained cherries, until coated in the thickened cherry juice. Pour into a clean dry bowl to cool completely before using.

To make the chocolate glaze:

1. Place the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water until softened (about 5 minutes).

2. Heat the sugar, water, cocoa powder and cream in a pan and bring to a boil.

3. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and squeeze to remove excess water.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the drained gelatine; blend with a hand blender; and then pass through a fine sieve. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the black cherry ganache:

1.Warm the purée and allow to reduce by half.

2. Add the cream and glucose and bring back to the boil.

3. Pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir to emulsify.

4. Stir in the softened butter. Mix with a hand blender or whisk to fully emulsify. Allow to cool and whisk again if necessary. Use immediately.

To assemble:

1. Trim the chocolate genoise sponges into two rectangles of 30 x 40cm.

2. Brush lightly with kirsch syrup.

3. Spread ¼ of the cherry chocolate ganache evenly over the top of each layer of sponge.

4. Arrange thickened cherry compote along one edge, splitting evenly between the two sheets of sponge on top of the ganache layer.

5. Roll up each of the sponges tightly to form roulades, starting at the edge where the cherries are laying.

6. Place seam-side down onto a cake card and brush the outside of each roulade with the remaining kirsch syrup.

7. Use remaining black cherry ganache to evenly coat the outside of each roulade. Ensure the ganache coating is smooth, then refrigerate until firm to the touch.

8. Transfer the chilled logs onto a wire rack, with a tray underneath. Ensure the chocolate glaze is cool to touch and thick enough to have a coating consistency, then pour over each of the logs in one movement.

9. Refrigerate until set, about 5 minutes.

10. Repeat the glazing stage until a good even coating is achieved. Transfer from the wire rack onto a presentation plate.

11. Use a knife dipped into hot water to trim off the end of each log.

To decorate:

1. Attach the tempered chocolate discs on each cut end with shiny side facing outwards.

2. Place the macaroon shells evenly along the length of the roulades.

3. To decorate the top of the roulade, position several evenly spaced chocolate discs, chocolate twists, marshmallow knots, a few cherries and the macaroon shells along the length of each roulade.

4. Apply a little edible gold or silver leaf to give the finishing touch.