When I was fifteen years old, I remember receiving an english cookbook for international cuisine as a birthday present from my Auntie. As I glance over this book, the page that really struck me was the one with a Christmas Log Cake. It was the first time I saw it and the log looks so real that it was hard for me to imagine that it was indeed a cake. After our first unforgettable encounter, many Christmasses passed but I never saw it again. I have almost forgotten about this cake until one Christmas when my husband wanting to create a "french christmas ambiance" at our apartment in Tokyo, baked a "bûche de Noël" as he called it. And that happy moment of my first encounter with this log cake came back again.
When I have learned that the December's challenge of Daring Baker's community (hosted by lovely Lis and Yvonne) is to make this Yuletide Cake Log, I was really excited. I have never baked this cake before and now here is my chance to do it. After I received the recipe and all the instructions and decided to make this cake, I knew I was up to a big challenge. Well for so many reasons. First annoying thing was that I had a problem with my oven. I noticed lately that it's not been heating up regularly. I was so worried to ask my husband to help me check-out on this because I was afraid he will notice the big burnt stain I made last week (he he he). Of course I know it's pardonnable but it would be hard for me to ask him to repair too at the same time the electric beater I just broke when I stupidly played with it massing my bread dough. Oops, he he he. I know, people call me names most often; "machine-breaker" or "ms clumsy girl" that's me. I won't deny it but I am really capable of messing things up anywhere specially in the kitchen. Another challenging part of preparing this log cake was finding the ingredients. Remember that the recipe is in english and I need to find their French equivalent in our groceries without forgetting the metric system calculations that I also need to do. Baking this cake log was like a mission "almost" impossible.
But like all fairy tale stories it ended with a happy note. My neighbor happily lent me her oven and some kitchen utensils, and thank God I found a user friendly online English to Metric converter (I bookmarked it already for future use). So what was the verdict? Presentation and appeal wise the jury were all smitten. My log cake fooled their eyes. They swear it looked like a "real" log which was part of my plan. They were awed too by the "marzipan" mushrooms that adorned my log. As I served my jury with a slice of my cake, my heart was beating so fast. Will my french jury like the "buttercream" frosting? For most often they use "chocolate ganache with very few or no butter at all. Immediately after the first bite my husband, my in-laws and our neighbor gave me their thumb's up sign. But a five approval out of my six jury, I was unsatisfied . But eventually the five year old daughter of our neighbor finished her part. She went towards me, and said "can I have another slice please" with a big smile on her face. It was indeed a landslide success. I was really happy even though my "third encounter" with this cake didn't lasted that long. Well as a proof, I didn't even had a time to take a picture of it sliced but nonetheless I am glad for I am now a Proud Daring Baker!!