HI There, this is my first post on Bakelife. I started baking two years ago when my husband bought me my first mixer for Christmas…I have learned a lot in those two years. I have a fast paced, stressful job and I discovered that the methodical, exact method of baking relaxes me. The smells, the textures and the beauty give me such a zen. I love to bake with my music playing while sipping a nice choice of rum. I have had many successes and many disasters. I have been trying new recipes every week as a challenge to myself. Each time, I am learning something new, both of baking and techniques and also of myself and my level of patience. One particular recipe piqued my interest last month and I decided last week to attempt it while I was on holidays. Hands down, the recipe is fantastic. The flavor of this cake was delicious. I am so proud of how this turned out, I was smiling from ear to ear. I was so happy to be able to share this with my husband’s family who flew in over the holidays. I encourage everyone to save this recipe and bake it. I am already thinking of ways to make this into other festive alternatives. You can find this recipe @bakefromscratch.com

Classic Bûche de Noël

Ingredients: 4 large eggs ¾ cup (151 grams) granulated sugar 1 teaspoon (5 grams) vanilla bean paste ⅔ cup (93 grams) all-purpose flour ⅓ cup (32 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder ¼ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (82 grams) sour cream ¼ cup (50 grams) vegetable oil Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting Vanilla Bean Filling (recipe follows) Whipped Ganache Frosting (recipe follows) Meringue Mushrooms (recipe follows) Sugared Rosemary (recipe follows)InstructionsPreheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 17½x12½ jelly-roll pan with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper, and spray pan again. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and granulated sugar at high speed until thick and pale, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean paste.In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture.In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and oil. Fold sour cream mixture into egg mixture, scraping bottom of bowl to fully incorporate.Spread batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until cake is set and top springs back when touched, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 2 to 3 minutes before running a sharp knife around edges of pan to loosen cake.Turn out cake onto a tea towel lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Remove parchment paper, and dust cake with additional confectioners’ sugar.Roll up cake lengthwise in towel to let cool completely. Carefully unroll cake, and spread with Vanilla Bean Filling. Reroll cake without towel, and place seam side down on a large serving platter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to frost cake, up to 4 hours before serving.Trim 3 to 4 inches off one end of cake diagonally. Place cut section at an angle off side of the cake, and attach with Whipped Ganache Frosting. Spread remaining frosting all over cake. Using a fork, make a bark-like pattern all over cake. Decorate with Meringue Mushrooms, Sugared Rosemary, and confectioners’ sugar “snow” as desired. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Bean Filling makes about 2 cups

Ingredients2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled½ cup (72 grams) confectioners’ sugar1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved. Instructions:In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla bean seeds at medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whipped Ganache Frosting makes about 2 cups

Ingredients: 4 (4-ounce) bars high-quality dark (60% to 65%) chocolate, chopped2 cups heavy whipping cream.Instructions: Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to just below a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour cream over chocolate; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together chocolate and cream until smooth.Let stand until ganache reaches room temperature, 45 minutes to 2 hours. (If necessary, refrigerate for 15 minutes.) Transfer ganache to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium-high speed until a spreadable consistency is reached, 5 to 8 minutes.

Notes: Ganache may be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to 2 hours before beating.

Meringue Mushrooms makes about 48Ingredients: Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting6 large egg whites1¼ cups (258 grams) granulated sugar½ teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt½ teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar½ cup (88 grams) semisweet chocolate morsels, melted.Instructions: Preheat oven to 225°F. Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with parchment paper, and dust lightly with cocoa.Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-high heat. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar. Place bowl over pan of simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Return bowl to mixer; beat at high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 8 minutes. Fit a large piping bag with a small, round tip; fill with meringue. Use half of meringue to pipe mushroom tops onto prepared pans. With remaining half, pipe stems using a vertical up-and-down motion. Dust lightly with cocoa. Bake mushroom tops and stems for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. (Mushrooms might feel soft when they come out of the oven, but they will continue to crisp as they cool.) Once mushroom tops and stems are cool, use melted chocolate to attach stems to tops. Let mushrooms dry upside down for 30 minutes before using.Sugared Rosemary Makes 8 to 12 branches Ingredients: 2 cups (420 grams) granulated sugar, divided1 cup water8 to 12 rosemary branches

Instructions: In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup (210 grams) sugar and 1 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Place remaining 1 cup (210 grams) sugar in a shallow dish. Dip each rosemary branch in simple syrup; roll in sugar. Let dry for 5 minutes before using.