3:14: I think the mushrooms are my favorite part. Look how cute their little tops are. Meringue domes + meringue stems, attached with a little melted chocolate. I can’t resist. They’ll go on the cake right before we eat it, along with powdered-sugar snow. And I think we’re done for now.
2:31: Mushrooms, outta that oven!
2:30: All frosted! I sneaked some tastes. The cake is wee dry. Grrrr. But hopefully the vats of mousse and ganache make up for it??? And the fact that it’s totally bark-ified?
2:15: Wedges cut off. Ganache whipped. Log transfered to platter.
2:02: Back into the kitchen, and realizing, How foolish. I actually thought I was done whipping things. I actually shelved the kitchenaid. But no, Martha tells me to “whip the ganache until it has the consistency of soft butter.” I kind of think it’s like soft butter already, but what do I know!? So away we whip.
1:37: I ate some. I think that’ll help it. With the loneliness, I mean.
1:07: Hope ganache doesn’t start getting lonely.
1:04: And it’s back in the fridge. Unrolled the cake, dolloped huge amounts of mousse upon it, spread around, re-rolled, saran-wrapped, and toweled up. No ganache yet applied. Mushrooms still cooking in the (very low heat) oven. The cake’s gotta sit with the mousse for an hour. They gotta get acquainted.
12:59: Ruh roh. Cracks discovered. Must press on. That’s what extra mousse is for. It’s like cement.
12:57: I AM UNROLLING THE CAKE.
eaten tested and deemed worthy. Ganache: cooled. Cake: um, unexamined but prayed over. At this point, would it surprise anyone to learn that we have a platter dedicated to yule log serving? Like, that’s what it’s made for.
12:47: Kitchen is cleaned. And everything (save the decorations) is made . . . ? I think it’s time to start assembly? I think it’s time to start assembly!
12:33: Picking solidified candy off a mixer bowl = not as much fun as it sounds like.
12:26: Guys. I HAVE MADE MUSHROOMS. Now into the oven to dry out for two hours.
12:12: Vanilla, cocoa powder, in. This meringue is the consistency of mashed potatoes. I am impressed. Was it worth burning the stove? I’ll let you know.
12:09: I may or may not have set the stove on fire while removing the syrup.
12:07: It’s there!!!!
12:06: Oh! Okay! Movement! It’s also boiling away to — well, not nothing, but a very small amount.
12:03: Okay. Sugar water is boiling and not going higher than 220 degrees. Why is that? I mean, doesn’t that make sense? How can something go hotter than boiling? I do not understand candy making. What if I just added it to the whites right now? It’s not even at “soft ball” stage. Which is way below 248 degrees, aka HARD BALL STAGE. Not that I know what either is.
11:51: OMG syrup pan was too shallow, must switch.
11:45: Parenthetically: I say “riiiiiight, but I am following Martha Stewart to the letter. The letter.
11:44: “In a small saucepan, heat sugar and 1/2 cup water over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid reaches 248 degrees (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric beater fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high, and add hot syrup in a steady stream, beating constantly. Continue beating until cool and stiff, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Fold in cocoa powder.” Riight.
11:42: Aaand we are officially out of eggs.
11:38. Oh dear. Yolk in the egg whites. Out it goes.
11:36: Apparently we have a candy thermometer. So much for my excuse. For the mushrooms, you gotta separate the eggs, beat up the whites and add a super-concentrated syrup of sugar water. It’s weird, I’ll explain in a sec.
11:35: Oh my God these mushrooms call for a candy thermometer?? The syrup needs it needs to reach 248 degrees. WHAT.
11:33: Martha Stewart thinks it would be a really grand idea if I made mushrooms out of meringue. Because it’s a yule LOG, and there are MUSHROOMS on LOGS.
11:31: Unless you add whipped cream. Not that I’m doing that. Ganache is as good as done.
11:30. Okay, the ganache. At last, an easy one! Here is what you do: put chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream and pour it over. The end. Actually, the end is when you succeed in not eating a vat. A VAT. It is hard to imagine something better than ganache.
11:27: Martha, I am sure they sent you to jail because your mousse is criminally good.
11:24: Question. What is not improved by the addition of whipped cream? What thing, containing chocolate, eggs, vanilla, and whipped cream could not be delicious? If this log cracks on me, I am eating plain mousse for dinner.
11:13: Oh yes, this is grand. Egg whites + egg yolkandchocolateandbutter.
11:05: Back to the mousse. Now this I very much like. Separating eggs. Beating whites. Breathe!
11:01: I just went for it. It’s rolled. It’s in the fridge. We’ll deal with it later. Eek!
10:57: Time out, I am watching a video. I think I overbaked mine!??!
10:55: MOMENT OF TRUTH. WILL IT CRACK?
10:54: And I remove the parchment paper. No sticking. Encouraging.
10:53: And I flip it upside down….
10:52: Back to the now cooled cake. Dust with cocoa powder: check. Cover with a sheet of wax paper: yes. Damp dish cloth: so far so good.
10:47: So for the mousse, kids: what you do is melt the butter and chocolate together and add four egg yolks. Then you beat and beat and beat the whites until stiff, and gently spoon them together with the yolk-chococolate-butter goodness. Now we’re all on the same page.
10:44: About to start the mousse. I would like to point out that this is the second time I have used a double boiler in the last hour. A record?
10:40: People! It is baked. It is cooling. I’m going to have to roll it up soon.
10:36: Oh God, two more minutes until I have to roll the cake in a dishtowel.
10:32: A couple weeks ago, when I was “babysitting” the middle schooler and high schooler, we were cutting out Christmas cookies and I started eating the batter, and the younger one shrieked, “Salmonella!!!” and I rather cavalierly tossed off, “I”ll take my chances,” so of course they started to pop little pieces in their mouths, only when the parents came home later they said, “Now you girls remembered not to eat the batter, right, because it has raw eggs in it,” and I felt SO BAD. But I just tasted the batter which contains, count ’em, SIX raw eggs, beaten into oblivion. It’s yummy. I will still take my chances.
10:23: Crisis over. Baking.
10:18: And while we’re at it, reline the pan.
10:16: CRISIS. While pouring the batter into the pan (buttered, lined with parchment paper, re-buttered, and floured), I discover lumps! Pockets of unincorporated cocoa! Decide to dash it all back into the kitchenaid and stir more.
10:14: Sifting in the flour.
10:12: I don’t know why I didn’t think of Martha Stewart earlier. Then I looked at her recipe and realized, oh, this is why. It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and I have: clarified butter, made cake flour, sifted together said flour with cocoa powder, and my stand mixer has been beating eggs, sugar, and vanilla together for the past ten minutes. It’s working: behold the pale yellow ribbon that sugared eggs turn into after extensive abuse: