Chef Kevin Belton’s
Bûche de Noël
As a chef who learned about cooking from public television and produced four cooking series with WYES in New Orleans, Chef Belton shares your commitment to public media, and has a special message for you:
Photo credit: Gibbs Smith.
Basic Yellow Cake
1 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup fresh raspberry preserves
1⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water
Chopped nuts and holiday flourish
Basic Yellow Cake
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease with nonstick cooking spray.
Beat eggs in a large bowl on high-speed using an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until thick and bright yellow. Gradually add sugar and continue to mix. Add water and vanilla and continue to mix on low speed. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and gently beat until the batter is smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour into pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. (Toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.)
Remove from oven to cool by sliding parchment, with cake still on top, off of the pan and onto the countertop. You only want to cool for 10–15 minutes because you need the cake to remain flexible. If it is too cool, you won’t be able to roll it. It will crack and fall apart.
While cake is cooling, beat whipping cream and sugar. Set aside and hold preserves.
While cake continues to cool, start the frosting. In a medium bowl, beat cocoa and butter on low speed. Add powdered sugar and thoroughly mix. Add vanilla and continue to mix. Slowly add water until frosting is smooth, glossy, and easy to spread.
Take your hand and run it under the warm cake to loosen it from the parchment.
Spread the preserves, leaving an inch of cake on each end uncoated. Follow with a thin layer of cream, careful to leave about an inch uncoated at the end. Turn the cake so it is in position to easily roll up. Use the parchment paper to help you lift the cake and begin the roll. Once you’ve rolled the cake, in one swift move, pick up the roll and transfer to a serving plate, making sure the end of the roll is on the bottom to keep the cake rolled up and in place.
Frost the roll and score with a fork to look like bark. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and nuts and serve.
Top Photograph from Kevin Belton’s Cookin’ Louisiana by Denny Culbert. Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith.