With Christmas preparations well underway here at Harridge House, I figured it was time to bring out the annual Bûche de Noël, or rolled cake log. A word of warning: this one takes a bit of time and patience. A search of the internet yields a wide assortment of variations on this holiday dessert. As usual, my take on this incorporates bits and pieces of various recipes. I didn’t want it to be overly sweet so the cake includes a bit of spice, which is balanced out nicely by the raspberry preserves and Baileys Irish Cream in the filling layer.
4 large eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp gloves
3 tbsp butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3-1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tps Baileys Irish Cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
Preheat your over to 425˚. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it starts to foam. Using a brush, take a bit of the butter to grease a baking sheet, then line the baking sheet with parchment paper and also grease the top of the parchment paper.
Separate the egg whites and whisk them until stiff peaks form. The best way to do this is with your stand mixer, starting slow and then gradually working the speed up until the eggwhites are nice and frothy. Set the egg whites aside.
Mix your dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder and spices. Using your stand mixer, combine the egg yolks and brown sugar, then using a sifter, gradually add your dry ingredients. Next add the egg whites and remaining melted butter and mix until your batter is smooth.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Watch it carefully during the last part of the baking process because it is thin enough to burn easily.
While the cake is baking, lay out a clean dishtowel, lay a sheet of parchment paper over it and dust the parchment payment lightly with confectioner’s sugar.
When the cake has finished baking, turn it over onto the fresh parchment paper you have prepared and remove the parchment paper that was used for baking it. Dust the surface lightly with additional confectioner’s sugar and lay another fresh piece of parchment paper over it. Now roll the cake up tightly and set it aside to cool.
While the cake roll is cooling, prepare your Baileys filling. Once the cake has cooled, unroll it and remove the top layer of parchment paper. Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves over the top and then spread your Baileys filling over that. Gently roll everything back up and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, place the dark chocolate chips in your stand mixer bowl. Warm the whipping cream until it barely starts to simmer and then pour it over the chocolate chips. Stir gently until the chips are completely melted, then whisk until completely combined. I wound up adding 1/8 cup of confectioner’s sugar to taste. Allow it to cool completely, then frost the cake log, using your spatula to add lines similar to tree bark. You can make a small “branch” by cutting a few inches from the log and attaching it to the side with frosting.
There are recipes out there explaining how to make various decorations for your cake log by making your own marzipan or meringue. I went the easy route this time by just using store-bought marzipan, forming it into mushrooms and dusting them with cocoa powder.
Serve with coffee or a nice after dinner apéritif.
Now, Sunday at 9pm, tune your radio to KNVC 95.1 FM Carson City – or if you’re not in range, you can pull it up on their website: https://knvc.org. If you happen to miss it for some reason, they will re-air it next Friday at 8pm.
Need to catch up on previous episodes? Go to https://anchor.fm/harridgehouse or your favorite podcast provider to stream previous episodes from Season 1 and Season 2.
R Mike Kelley (Agent Matheson) spent many years behind the scenes as a lighting and sound technician, before first appearing onstage in Lysistrata’s War at the Victoria Fringe Festival. He has been featured in the short film Three Clicks, as well Proscenium Players, Inc.’s Twelve Angry Men, The Taming of the Shrew, and Dealt a Deadly Hand. His most recent role was on the VT&T Railway as Barton Blackburn in She Wouldn’t Harm a Fly.
Secrets of Harridge House is Stormy’s debut as a performer. A naturally talkative terrier capable of a broad variety of canine sounds on command, she was a shoe-in for the role of Cooper in Season Three.
Cary minored in Theater in college and DJ’d an indie rock show for KXLU in Los Angeles. Her favorite acting role was Lady Catherine de Bourgh in a stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Cary has worked as a summer camp counselor, a barista, and as a divemaster at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; she learned how to dive in India and Honduras, and has spent over six months volunteering at animal sanctuaries in Southern Africa. However, dogs are still her favorite animal.
Rachel Anderson grew up in Gardnerville, Nevada where she fell in love with the world of theater and dance while also cultivating her passion for the sciences. Her favorite roles include Sara in Stop Kiss and Purity in Anything Goes, Honey in Go-Go Beach, and Romaine Patterson in The Laramie Project, and a dancer in Lysistrata’s War. After graduating with a B.S. in Biology, Rachel performed professionally as a showgirl, lead dancer, and magician’s assistant in Kevin & Caruso’s production shows, Magique, Magique Encore, Madame Houdini, and Holiday Jubilee, touring in Atlantic City, Reno, and Niagara Falls. Currently, she works as a medical laboratory scientist in an emergency room lab. She is grateful to be a part of this cast, and she would like to extend her gratitude to her supporters, including her wife Tina, her parents, and her two dogs.
Asher Honor Hwang lives in the suburbs of Chicago. He has acted in school productions of “Cinderella” and “Baba Yaga.” This is his first professional acting job, and he is thrilled to be playing a ghost. When he grows up, he hopes to become a singing-acting-comic-drawing voice actor.
Kyle Littlefield has worked on PPI productions of The War Of The Worlds and The Odd Couple. He has also been involved with several CVCT shows since 2016. Kyle enjoys foosball and working on the old Dodge.
ANITA KELLEY (Roxie) has performed in numerous stage productions in Tahoe and Carson Valley, and in the short films 10 Syllables and Three Clicks. Favorite roles include the eccentric Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Hannah and Diana in California Suite, Johnna in August: Osage County, The Grand Duchess in You Can’t Take It With You, and The Pedant in The Taming of the Shrew. Her most recent appearance onstage was as Mrs. Phelps in WNMTC’s production of Matilda, the Musical at the Bob Boldrick Theater in Carson City.
HALEY HWANG lives in Chicago and spends her days drinking coffee and weaving tall tales. She has a passion for writing Asian historical fiction, often infusing her stories with diverse characters, martial arts fighting, and concubines. Her short fiction has been published in Volumes 7 and 8 of 72 Hours of Insanity and The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Terror Anthology. Her creative nonfiction has been published in The New York Times, which was included in the print anthology Tiny Love Stories. She has won screenwriting competitions and is currently writing her first feature screenplay.
FREDERICK HAMPTON grew up in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Now, he is a transplanted Nevadan, working at an accidental career in administrative services. His short fiction has appeared in The Missouri Review. He has written and directed a few short films, and works often with PPI and Brewery Arts Center. A graduate of UC Davis, he studied fiction writing and poetry with Clarence Major, Carolyn Kizer, and Charles Grosel. He lives in Carson City with his son and is at work on a novel and other short stories.
SCOTT YOUNG is a filmmaker that specializes in short films. In the last 8-years, many of his films have taken top awards in the competitions for which they were produced. He spends his down time between films writing and taking odd jobs as film editor. Currently, besides overseeing the writing on Secrets of Harridge House, he is also putting the finishing touches on a new television pilot and getting ready to break ground on a new comedy screenplay. A film school grad from Cal State Northridge, Scott resides in Los Angeles.
JOHN ADAMS (he/him/his) is an author from Kansas City. He writes about teenage detectives, pelican-people, robo-butlers, cursed cowboys, and bear nuns. His plays have been produced by Alphabet Soup and the 6×10 Play Festival and selected for readings at the William Inge Theater Festival and the Midwest Dramatists Conference. His short stories have been published by Australian Writers’ Centre, Bowery Gothic, Dream of Shadows, Fat Cat Magazine, Intrinsick, SERIAL Magazine, and Weird Christmas. He won the Johnson County Library Imagine Your Story Writing Contest, was Runner-Up in The Story Engine’s Microfiction Contest, and has been shortlisted by Furious Fiction and The Molotov Cocktail’s Flash Monster Contest. He performs with That’s No Movie, a multi-genre Improv team. Find John at John Adams, Writer and on Twitter.