Filled with mouthwatering buttercream, just add a sprig of holly to this chocolate log for the ultimate Christmas dessert.
Serves: 8
Skill level: Bit of effort
Costs: Cheap as chips

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 4 medium eggs
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp glycerine
  • 75g (2½ oz) plain flour
  • 25g (¾ oz) cocoa

For the buttercream

  • 6 medium egg whites
  • 350g (12oz) caster sugar
  • 500g (1lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • 200g bar dark chocolate, melted
  • 28 x 38cm (11 x 15in) Swiss-roll tin, lined with baking parchment
  • Small disposable piping bag
  • Holly leaves and/or robin, for decoration

Method

  1. Set the oven to a fairly hot gas mark 6 or 200°C. To make the sponge, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar, preferably using a table-top food mixer, until the mixture is light and frothy and a trail is left when the whisk is lifted out of the bowl. Fold in the glycerine, and then sift the flour and cocoa over the surface and carefully fold them into the mixture, taking care not to knock out too much of the air. Pour the mixture into the Swiss-roll tin and level the surface.
  2. Bake the sponge in the centre of the oven for 12-15 mins, until it is just firm to the touch in the centre. Remove the tin from the oven and turn it out onto a sheet of baking parchment. Roll up from the narrow end, with the lining paper still on the cake, and rolling the fresh sheet of paper around the cake, but don’t roll it too tightly. Leave the cake to cool completely.
  3. To make the buttercream, place the egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the sugar dissolves, taking care not to get the mixture too hot.
  4. Whisk the egg white and sugar mixture until it’s cold and it forms stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the butter. Keep whisking until the buttercream is smooth, then beat in the vanilla extract.
  5. Divide the buttercream into two, and stir the chocolate into one half of the mixture. Unroll the cake and remove the lining paper. Spread most of the vanilla buttercream over the cake and roll it up.
  6. Cut a short length diagonally off the cake. Place the longer piece on a serving plate, and then place the smaller cut off piece against it to look like a branch. Spread the reserved vanilla buttercream over all three ends of the log.
  7. Put a small amount of the chocolate buttercream into the piping bag and cut off the end of the bag to give a small hole. Pipe a spiral over each end of the log, then use the point of a fine knife or a skewer to draw lines out from the centre to the edges, to give the cut wood effect to the ends of the log.
  8. Use a pallete knife to spread the remaining chocolate buttercream over the log, then draw a fork though the icing in lines to look like the bark. Place a sprig of holly and or a robin decoration on top of the log. If using real holly, wrap a small piece of foil around the cut end of the step, to prevent any sap contaminating the cake. (Note it’s not suitable for freezing).

Nutritional information per portion

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.