Oh, What Fun: Buche de Noel

Buche de Noel, or Yule Log Cake, is a traditional dessert served at holiday time. The traditional recipe consists of a thin sponge cake that’s filled with raspberry jam, rolled up and decorated with chocolate icing to resemble a log. Through the years, other variations have been created that include chocolate cake, ganache and icings flavored with liqueurs. Since the Buche de Noel has turned into an “anything goes” recipe, I thought I might try my hand at a healthy, plant-based version. I used whipped aquafaba (the liquid from cooked chickpeas) to achieve a sponge-like consistency in the cake. The filling is made with silken tofu, non-dairy dark chocolate and dates. I wanted to use toasted hazelnuts and Frangelico liqueur for the cake, but I ended up using almonds and almond extract because that’s what I had on hand. If you prefer desserts that are not too sweet, you can omit the dates from the frosting. I dusted the top with some confectioner’s sugar. If you want to stick with tradition and decorate the outside to look like a yule log, you will have to double the frosting recipe. What I love about this recipe is that you can make different versions by using fruit filling, grated orange rind, different liqueurs or nuts or adding crushed candy to the frosting. Oh what fun you’ll have making and eating this beautiful Buche de Noel. Thanks for being Vegi-curious.

Buche de Noel

6 tablespoons aquafaba
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin

½ cup (all-purpose or whole wheat pastry)
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F. Line an 11×15” rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with parchment and lightly grease the sides of the pan.

Place aquafaba and cream of tartar in mixing bowl. Using hand-held mixer, beat until soft peaks form. Add xanthan gum and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Whisk together the sugar and pumpkin in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry and mix well. Gently fold in the whipped aquafaba.

Spread evenly into prepared baking pan and sprinkle nuts on surface. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center of cake. Remove and let cool a few minutes. (The cake needs to be warm in order to get it to roll up.) Place a clean baking towel on an un-rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Carefully invert cake on top of towel, then roll up. Let cool completely before filling.

Chocolate-Date Frosting

½ cup dates
12 oz. extra firm silken tofu
4 oz. non-dairy dark chocolate, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pour boiling water over dates and let soak about one hour to soften. Place dates and remaining ingredients in container of a high-powered blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

Buche de Noel

17 Dec 2016

Apple Date Nut Cake

 Apple Date Nut CakeI went to pick up my CSA share at the farm the other day and noticed a sign inviting the shareholders to pick their own apples from a tree behind the farm house. Since I enjoy picking apples and had some time on my hands, I decided to check it out. Out back there was a huge tree with green apples. These apples are not as tart as Granny Smiths, so  they’re good for both snacking and baking. I tend to make desserts that store well in the freezer and travel nicely in a lunch box or picnic basket, so I decided to make an apple cake. I wanted to experiment with aquafaba, the liquid  from chickpeas and beans that usually gets poured down the drain. I used a recipe (circa 1973)  from Woman’s Day magazine as my starting point.  I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I like to keep desserts as “whole food” as possible. For this recipe I used dates and maple syrup instead of sugar, whole wheat pastry flour and limited the amount of coconut oil to 1/4 cup. It’s been my experience that cakes made without dairy and eggs tend to have a rubbery or gummy texture. Add some weighty ingredient, like apples, and it’s a safe bet the cake will be a little on the dense side. The key to preventing this cake from being too weighed down was to whip the aquafaba into soft peaks and fold it into the other ingredients. The result was a cake that was moist, slightly sweet with a tender texture. This cake will be a staple in our home this fall. Pick a peck (or two) of apples, make an Apple Date Nut Cake and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Apple Date Cake

  • 1 cup dates
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated apples
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from chickpeas or white beans)
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan or guar gum (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a tube pan with coconut oil.

In food processor, combine dates, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Process until dates are finely ground. Pour into large mixing bowl.

Whisk coconut oil, milk, syrup and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir in apples and walnuts; add to dry ingredients and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat aquafaba with xanthan gum until soft peaks form. Fold into batter. Place into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted comes out almost dry. Let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.


29 Aug 2015

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