Triple Chocolate Log
This rich and spectacular dessert will win you many friends this holiday season. A light sponge rolled around dark and white chocolate mousse layers, it’s topped with stunning chocolate and gold leaves. Set aside an afternoon of leisurely baking to rustle this up and prink away with those chocolate leaves to your heart’s delight…
FOR THE SPONGE
6 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
good pinch of cream of tartar
140g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1–2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
FOR THE DARK MOUSSE
200g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1–2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
FOR THE WHITE MOUSSE
200ml whipping cream, well chilled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
75g best-quality white chocolate, well chilled, finely grated
75g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken up
edible gold lustre
cocoa powder, for sprinkling
1 swiss roll tin, baking tray or roasting tin, 25 x 30.5cm (see recipe); parchment-lined foil or baking paper
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5. Line the tin or tray with the parchment-lined foil or baking paper, folding it so it makes a 25-30.5cm rectangular container with 2cm sides (it doesn’t matter if your tin or tray is larger than this; just make sure the ‘liner’ is the right size).
2 Make the sponge first. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a large free-standing electric mixer, and the yolks in another. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until the whites stand in stiff peaks. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of the measured caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, to make a stiff, glossy meringue. Set aside until needed.
3 Add the remaining caster sugar to the egg yolks and whisk with the same beaters (no need to wash) until the mixture is very thick and mousse-like and forms a thick ribbonlike trail when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl and gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold the whisked egg whites into the yolk mixture in 3 batches.
4 Transfer the mixture to the prepared ‘liner’ and spread evenly. Bake for 15–18 minutes until the sponge is springy when gently pressed. Meanwhile, cover a wire rack with a clean, dry tea towel topped with a sheet of baking paper.
5 Tip the baked sponge out onto the lined rack and peel off the paper ‘liner’. Sprinkle the rum over the sponge, if using, then leave to cool completely.
6 Meanwhile, make the dark mousse. Melt the chocolate with 100ml water in a large bowl. Off the heat, gently stir in the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the rum, if using. Whisk the egg whites until stiff as before, then whisk in the sugar. Very gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture in 3 batches. Cover and chill for 30 minutes until starting to set.
7 To make the white mousse, whip the cream with the vanilla until it thickens and stands in stiff peaks. Fold in the white chocolate. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.
8 To assemble the log, make a deep cut across the sponge about 1.5cm away from one short end. Spread the dark chocolate mousse over the sponge, leaving a 2cm border clear all around. Cover the dark mousse with the white mousse. Roll up from the short end with the cut, using the baking paper to help you pull and mould the roll into a neat shape. Wrap the roll in the paper to give it a neat shape, then chill for at least 2 hours until firm (or up to a day if the roll is well covered).
9 When ready to finish, remove the paper and transfer the log to a serving platter. Trim off the ends, if you like. Temper the chocolate, then use to make leaf decorations. Use leaves from the garden such as rose, bay or camellia that are free from pesticides and have visible veining. Put a sheet of baking paper on a tray and using a small paintbrush paint a thin layer of the tempered chocolate onto each leaf. Leave to set then paint on another thin layer. Then coat half of the leaves with edible gold lustre. Leave to set. Arrange the chocolate leaves down the length of the cake, then sprinkle with sifted cocoa powder. Any leftover cake (fat chance) can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Recipe from The Great British Bake Off: How to turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers by Linda Collister (BBC Books, £20).
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