DH asked for that offshoot trail and called it "the road less traveled". He then said I couldn't repeat it at the party, so I'm doing so here, sorry hun. The trees look less awkward in real life, I promise.
I'm sorry, this is not what people want to see at the beginning of a new year with new diets and everything but oh well.
Because of the craziness around Christmas at our church, our Sunday School had an After-Christmas Christmas Party. Because it was after the new year, I balanced out this nonsense with a salad I'll post later. This is ovo-vegetarian, gluten intolerant, and gluten-free friendly. If you use egg beaters instead of the yolks in the cake, it could be low cholesterol too but I can't guarantee how it'll work. I'm not entirely clear on the chemistry there. I'm not sure if there is a vegan alternative that could work, sorry.
This was supposed to be a yule log but the cake cracked horrible. So instead I layered it in a parfait and decorated it with squat little meringue trees and chocolate bark field stone pathway. Not as pretty but still tastes good. You can try to roll the cake up to cool then unroll, ice, and reroll but no guarantee that it will work. Instead crumble or slice to layer with icing in a serving bowl. I may actually use it with a lighter frosting for my mom's birthday.
Recipes from: The Kitchn's Red Velvet Cake Roll, Serious Eats's Swiss Buttercream, and Smitten Kitchen's Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll
Flourless Chocolate Cake:
6 ounces semisweet bittersweet chocolate, chopped or 1 cup semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons water or almond milk
6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
3/4 t cream of tartar
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a jelly roll pan then place a greased piece of parchment paper on it so that it overlaps the edges to try to prevent some sticking to the pan
2. Melt chocolate with liquid and let it cool to warm, not hot
3. Beat yolks until creamy
4. Combine yolks and chocolate by slowly adding the chocolate to the egg to prevent scrambled eggs
5. Whip whites, salt, and cream and tarter until stiff peaks form (use clean beaters and bowl, too much fat will cause the peaks to fail)
6. Take 1/4 of the egg white mixture and stir into the chocolate mixture.
7. Fold remainder in, 1/3 at a time.
8. Pour onto pan and smooth gently, just like with bread- you don't want to deflate
9. Bake for ~15 minutes until tester just comes out clean
If you're going to try to roll it (if not, let it cool completely and decorate and serve as desired):
10. Transfer pan to cooling rack and cover with a lightly damped towel until it cools slightly - about 10 minutes
11. Loosen edges of the cake and sprinkle cake with cocoa powder then cover with a thin towel without much nap, slightly larger than the pan.
12. Invert and peel away the parchment paper, sprinkle on remaining cocoa powder
13. Roll the cake in on itself, keeping the towel with it. Pray you don't squish it.
14. Let it cool completely before unrolling and trying to ice it.
White Chocolate Candy Cane Frosting:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) egg whites (I used 3 large eggs)
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, cubed and softened (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 ounces white chocolate, melted (or use more candy cane kisses like I did, what you use does have an effect on the color)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or to taste (you may want more, it was subtle)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 C candy cane kisses, chopped (alternatively, use finely chopped peppermint candies)
1. In a clean stand mixer (or reuse the one to make the egg whites for the cake), whisk whites and sugar until combined
2. Create a double boiler with the mixer bowl and another saucepan over medium-high and heat the whites until 150 F. Stir occasionally.
3. Move mixer bowl back to the mixer and beat on high until bowl is room temp then switch to the paddle attachment and beat until fluffy
4. Add remaining ingredients (minus chopped kisses) on low until incorporated then increase speed until smooth
5. Stir in kisses
6. Store by tightly pressing plastic wrap against the surface up to three days or so in the fridge.