A lip smacking chocolate log isn’t just for Christmas. It’s also a great cake to mark both St Valentine’s Day and ten years of blogging. This celebratory chocolate log is a brilliant way to share the love. It looks a bit special and is made from rich dark chocolate, seasonal blood oranges and red strawberry jam. In honour of the occasion, I also have ten favourite chocolate recipes from some awesome food blogging buddies.
The name of my blog might assume that I know what I’m doing when it comes to chocolate logs, even that I’m something of an expert. Well I’m not. My efforts at rolling have been unsuccessful to say the least, as can be testified by my Liskeard Mess and the various other attempts I’ve made at a roulade. I’ve watched Mary Berry and any number of others do it and I’ve tried various techniques, but invariably my rolls crack hideously and have been known to disintegrate entirely. My least disastrous attempt was this Matcha Chocolate Roll.
Thus, when I was asked recently if I would make a chocolate log, my heart gave a little tremble.
Now it just so happened that I was sent one of the most beautifully packaged parcels I’ve received in a long time. A sturdy but elegant black box contained a newly designed 70cl bottle of Thorntons Chocolate Liqueur, dressed in black and hot fuchsia pink. It was accompanied by two special Thorntons chocolate liqueur glasses wrapped in matching paper and a £10 supermarket voucher nestled in a bed of wood straw. The colour scheme was eye catching indeed and the presentation lifted my spirits – so to speak. The premise was to create a recipe using the liqueur. Ding! With chocolate logs very much on my brain, my first thought was to incorporate the liqueur into the ganache that I’d planned to fill my log with and the thought stuck.
But first, I had to try the chocolate liqueur. CT was not going to pass this opportunity up either. We had a glass over ice followed by a glass neat. We could have gone on, it was so moreish, but I had to apply the brakes before we became inebriated. Originally launched in 2011, this liqueur was developed by the Thorntons master chocolatier, Keith Hurdman; it is a vodka based drink with cream and West African cocoa. It’s hard to think of a better combination than cream, chocolate and alcohol and because vodka does not have a strong taste of its own, the chocolate and cream were allowed to speak for themselves. At 17% volume, this is quite a strong drink, so a little goes a long way. It wasn’t quite as dark or as rich as the Bailey’s Chocolat Luxe, but it was nevertheless delicious. And at £13.99, this is an affordable treat.
If you are able to restrain yourself from drinking this chocolate liqueur just as it is, there are any number of ways you could use it. The bottle came with a recipe card for various cocktails, drinks and desserts. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but I think I’m going to have to, as some of them sound very tempting indeed. With the cold weather now upon us, a hot chocolate with a slug of this could be just the thing after a bracing walk. How about a Thorntons Chocolatini or a Thorntons White Russian to indulge and delight your guests. As for the recipe for Thorntons Fondant, it has my name written all over it.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Log with a Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Melted 50g 72% dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water, then removed from the heat.
- Stirred in 2 tbsp Thorntons Chocolate Liqueur.
- Stirred in 100 ml double cream until just incorporated.
- Left to cool in the fridge for 1/2 hour whilst getting on with the sponge.
- Whipped the ganache until light and moussy.
- Whisked the eggs whites of 3 duck eggs in a bowl with electric beaters until stiff.
- In another bowl, whisked the yolks of 3 duck eggs with 75g vanilla (caster) sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract for a minute or so until the yolks were pale.
- Sifted in 30g cocoa powder and carefully stirred in.
- Folded in the egg white until just incorporated, then scraped the mixture into a 19 x 29 cm Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper.
- Baked for 20 minutes at 180°C when the sponge had risen and the top was bouncy when pressed. Left in the tin to cool.
- Covered a clean piece of baking parchment with vanilla sugar. Turned the sponge onto this, then peeled off the backing paper.
- Spread the ganache evenly over the sponge. Cut half way through the sponge, 1 cm in on the narrow end to help start the roll. Then using the sugar covered paper to help, rolled the sponge up as carefully as I could.
- Cut about 1/2 cm of either end to neaten.
- Dusted with vanilla sugar.
Well, maybe practice makes perfect, maybe I just got lucky or maybe the glass of Thornton’s liqueur I sipped whilst baking played its part. There were a few cracks, but the sponge held together and I was marginally pleased with the result. I was very pleased with the taste and texture of the chocolate log – thank goodness for neatened ends.
The whipped ganache containing Thorntons Chocolate Liqueur was, though I say it myself, sublime. It was light and moussy in texture with a rich chocolate flavour enhanced by the presence of the liqueur. It was a perfect match for the chocolate log and I’m now wondering why I’ve never tried anything like this before. The ganache is an ideal recipe for the festive season and could be used to fill any number of cakes and biscuits. I will most certainly be making it again.
As I was secretly, or maybe not so secretly, pleased with this chocolate log, especially the whipped dark boozy chocolate ganache, I’m using it as my entry for this month’s We Should Cocoa where alcohol is the special ingredient.
I am also submitting this to Lets Cook Christmas Party Food over at Simply Food.
Additionally, I’m sending this off to Javelin Warrior for his Made With Love Mondays.
It’s a very tricky letter that’s been picked for Alphabakes this month, but luckily it’s December so X for xmas is allowed. Hooray. I am thus sending my Xmas Chocolate Log to Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes.
I’m sending the bottom photo off to No Croutons Required with Jac of Tinned Tomatoes who is looking for Festive Photos this month.
Well it doesn’t get more Christmassy than a Chocolate Log, especially a boozy one, so I am submitting this to Calendar Cakes where the theme this month is Jingle Bell Rocks. This event is co-hosted by DollyBakes and Laura Loves Cakes.
I was sent a bottle of Thorntons Chocolate Liqueur and a supermarket voucher in order to create a recipe. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.
Really, I don’t believe it! Rolling a sponge into an elegant roulade seems to be beyond me, but this month I seem doomed to try again and again. It was time for Dom’s Random Recipe challenge and this month I thought he’d let me off easily with his Just Deserts – getting us to choose a recipe from one of our “sweet” cook books. I numbered my chocolate books 1 to 9 (including the one I still have out from the library) and got CT to pick a number and then, with his eyes shut, pick a page from the selected book. Initially, I was quite pleased. he picked For Chocolate Lovers by the Tanner Brothers, a book I’d bought quite some time ago but hadn’t yet used. The recipe sounded good too, Chocolate marquise. But then I took a closer look – oh no – it was a roulade and following on so closely from this month’s We Should Cocoa roulade challenge too. OK, deep breath, I’d learnt a lesson from the last time, I’d better just get on with it and follow the instructions in the book.
The recipe was for a rich chocolate sponge filled with raspberry coulis, raspberries and cream. Raspberries aren’t yet in season here in the UK and I wasn’t going to start buying imported ones from Spain. Hummm, now strawberries ought to be available? Yes – my local greengrocer didn’t let me down, Cornish strawberries were in – hoorah. I also had a jar of strawberry jam in the cupboard which I could use instead of the raspberry coulis. So this is what I did, using half of the quantities stated in the book:
- Separated the whites and yolks of 3 duck eggs into two bowls.
- Whisked the whites until peaks formed, then added 50g caster sugar and whisked again until stiff.
- Beat the yolks with 75g caster sugar until the mixture was thick and pale.
- Stirred in the eggs whites carefully.
- Folded in 15g arrowroot (recipe stated cornflour) and 50g cocoa sifted together.
- Spread the mixture into a 20cm x 30cm Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper and baked for 10 mins at 180C until risen and firm to the touch.
- Turned out onto a damp tea towel and removed the baking paper.
- Left to cool slightly.
- Spread a thin layer of strawberry jam over the sponge.
- Spread a 150ml of whipped double cream (done whilst waiting for cake to bake) over the jam.
- Placed quartered strawberries from a punnet (having reserved the 4 biggest ones for decoration and eating later) over the cream.
- Tried to carefully roll the whole thing up and guess what? Disaster struck again. Not as bad as last time; at least it didn’t break up completely but it was more of a fold than a roll or as CT says fol-de-rol.
- Dusted cocoa over the top.
So, once again, my roulade wasn’t actually a roulade; this time, I suspect, it was too thick rather than too thin. Then I managed to lose one of the precious strawberries whilst I was photographing the result – it fell down the back of our wall and into the neighbour’s garden never to be seen again. This didn’t improve my mood. However, peace and harmony were restored when we tried a slice later that evening. We were both in gastronomic ecstasy thanks to this lovely marquise. The sponge was rich and the filling was both tart and creamy – a fantastic combination which worked as well as a layer cake as it might have done as a roulade. Unless anyone else comes up with further plans to humiliate me, I shall be sticking to Liskeard Mess in future or maybe Fol-de-Rol.
After waiting for Blogger to fulfil its promise of restoring all posts and comments lost on Thursday, I’ve decided to move on and just hope they manage it at some point. So apologies to any of you who had left comments which have now disappeared. Hopefully, that was a temporary blip that won’t be repeated.
Oh my, oh my. There is no use trying to hide it, this was meant to be a roulade – a chocolate and lime curd roulade! My attempt at rolling the sponge was an unmitigated disaster. It was my turn for a sinking heart when I found out what Chele had chosen for this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge – to make a Swiss roll type cake. These are not my forte by any means. Out of the three roulades I’ve made, I have been slowly improving, but I seem to have regressed with this one: this is the worst I’ve done yet and just when I wanted to impress most too. There were a number of factors that contributed to the mess, chief amongst them being my limited patience. However, I think I undercooked the sponge a little and I just didn’t make enough of the mixture to fill the tin properly. I was trying to make a sponge that wasn’t too thick and therefore easier to roll – ha!
Luckily, where this has failed on the all important visual factor, it succeeded hugely on the even more important one of taste. Forget this as cake, it was a delicious and decadent dessert which CT and I mmmmd and ahhhd our way through with silly expressions of pleasure on our faces.
You may not want to emulate me here, but this is how I did it.
- Melted 50g 70% dark chocolate over a bowl of hot water with 1 tbsp of lime juice.
- Removed from the heat and left to cool.
- Beat 2 duck egg yolks with 60g caster sugar until the mixture was pale, thick and custard like.
- Sifted in 1/2 tsp ground ginger and stirred carefully.
- Stirred in the melted chocolate – also carefully.
- Whisked the 2 duck egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
- Folded in 1/3 at a time.
- Spread onto a 20cm x 29cm Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper and baked for 10 mins at 180C (2 minutes more would have given a firmer sponge I reckon).
- Removed from oven and immediately turned onto a sheet of baking paper dusted with caster sugar.
- Rolled this up whilst hot and left to cool (the theory being this would form it into some sort of roll shape that would lesson the cracking when rolled later).
- Mixed 125g of mascarpone with 2 tbsp of lime & ginger curd.
- Unrolled baking paper to find my sponge was in bits – oh b*****.
- Too disheartened to make the attempt again, I had a quick change of plan.
- Divided the bits up into 4 and layered them with the mascarpone filling to form a vague likeness to a roulade.
Next time I make a flourless sponge to fit this tin, I will use 3 eggs, 75g of chocolate and 80-90g sugar.
The cake was rich and squidgy and tasted divine. The creaminess of the mascarpone filling and the tartness of the lime were like yin and yang – creating a heavenly harmony and the ginger formed a subtle backdrop to the main event.
This creation was so delicious, I’ve decided to name it after my home town, Liskeard. Eton Mess is certainly yummy but why shouldn’t a modest market town in Cornwall have its very own culinary delight? Next time I’ll serve it in a glass – it might look better that way. After an unpromising start, I feel I’ve snatched a worthy victory from the jaws of disaster.
Having been inspired by the combination of tea and chocolate a year or so ago, I haven’t done nearly as much baking with these ingredients as I’d like to have done. With tea and chocolate as this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge, it’s time to try a few things. At least I’m hoping it will be a few things, but time will tell.
My posts have got a bit out of sync lately and I actually made this a month ago.
Hey ho, the picture I had in my head before making this roll, was very different to the one it actually turned out to be! You’ve heard of Eton Mess, now look as the mess I made. After the last one I attempted, I tried to be more careful, but it turned out to be even more of a disaster than the first one. I was impressed by the Jam Roll Celia made recently, which looked so good and so perfectly formed. When my mother turned up with a bowl of blackcurrants from her garden I knew exactly what I wanted to make with them. I had thought maybe the Christmas roulade didn’t roll well because it was too thick, so I made a different recipe and used less ingredients to make a thinner version – that was the plan anyway! The sponge actually rose really well and turned out to be nearly as thick as my first attempt.
- Simmered 250g blackcurrants and 50g natural granulated sugar in 100ml water until soft.
- Mixed 1 tbsp arrowroot in a little water and stirred into the blackcurrants then left to cool.
- Whipped 150ml double cream until peaks formed.
- Folded cream into blackcurrants.
- Meanwhile, melted 100g 70% dark chocolate in a bowl over the cooking blackcurrants.
- Whisked 4 eggs with 100g vanilla sugar until pale and very thick.
- Added 15ml of just boiled water and continued to whisk until incorporated.
- Folded in the chocolate.
- Folded in 75g white spelt flour.
- Poured mixture into a lined Swiss roll tin and baked at 200C for 8 minutes.
- From here on in, things started to go wrong. Decided it might be better to roll up the sponge whilst still warm so turned it out onto a baking sheet sprinkled with caster sugar and rolled up. Left until cool.
- Unrolled the sponge which promptly proceeded to break up.
- Covered the inside with the blackcurrant cream then tried to re-roll. It didn’t like this treatment at all and broke up big time.
- Lifted it onto a plate in order to take a photograph where not only did it break up some more but the filling squidged out from all sides.
- Took a photo of the gory mess anyway.
Sweet, moist and rich, this chocolate chestnut log is made with only five ingredients and is naturally gluten-free. It has a creamy chestnut filling and is just perfect for Christmas or any other festive occasion.