Bche de Nol

Traditionally, this is made with an Italian gnoise cake which was adapted by the French for a log-shaped Christmas cake know as a "Yule log." Here, a moist chocolate cake is rolled with chestnut filling, then topped with chocolate frosting. Order chestnuts from Zingerman's catalog and use non-toxic leaves from a florist to make white chocolate leaves. Use a brush to paint leaves with melted Nestl white cocoa butter coating. Refrigerate, then carefully peel real leaf off cooled chocolate.

Chocolate Jellyroll Cake

    1 (4-ounce) sweet chocolate bar
    cup whole milk
    1 cup granulated sugar
    cup butter, softened
    3 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cups cake flour
    teaspoon baking soda
    teaspoon salt
    cup low-fat buttermilk


    Confectioners' sugar
    White chocolate leaves
    Candied cherries

Chestnut Filling

    1 (10.8-ounce) bottle
    chestnuts in syrup
    cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 ⅓ cups confectioners' sugar
    teaspoon imitation
    rum flavoring
    cup reserved vanilla syrup


Chocolate Frosting

    2 cups confectioners' sugar
    cup butter, softened
    cup Dutch-process cocoa
    cup whole milk


1.  Spray an 18 x 13 x 1-inch jellyroll pan with nonstick spray.         
     Preheat the oven to 350

2.  Cake: In a 2-quart saucepan, melt chocolate in milk over   
     medium heat. In a large bowl, use mixer to cream sugar and   
     butter for 1 minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then slowly beat
     in chocolate milk. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into batter,        
     then beat well. Beat in buttermilk; pour batter into prepared    
     pan. Bake in preheated oven 25 minutes.

3.  Chestnut fillings: Drain chestnuts, reserving all syrup. Place
     chestnuts in mini-food processor and blend until almost smooth.
     Use a spatula to scrape into a deep medium bowl. Use the mixer to
     beat in butter, then confectioners' sugar. Add rum flavoring and
     syrup, beat 1 minute.

4.  Chocolate frosting: In a medium deep bowl, use mixer to blend
     confectioners' sugar, butter and cocoa. Beat in milk, then beat
     1 minute on high.

5.  Assembling: Turn warm cake out onto a piece of parchment  
     paper set on a cooling rack. Cut off edges, then roll up narrow width
     and cool completely. Unroll cake and spread with chestnut filling,
     then roll back up, place seam side down. Don't worry if the cake
     develops a seam, chocolate icing will cover a multitude of mistakes.
     Place on a serving platter.

6.  Decorating: Cut a 2-inch-thick diagonal slice from each end    
     of roll. Trim each piece to form rolls which are 2 inches
     in diameter. Place end pieces on top of roll to resemble cut    
     branches. Cover with chocolate icing except for the ends of
     log and ends of cut branches. Use a fork to score frosting to  
     resemble tree bark. Decorate with white chocolate leaves and
    candied cherries set next to the branches. Sprinkle with  
     confectioners' sugar. Make marzipan mushrooms by forming
     marzipan into caps and stems. Dust with cocoa and sugar.

     Makes 12 slices