After months of making a cake a week to practice for the wedding, I haven't baked a cake since THE CAKE back in August.
With Christmas fast upon us, I decided that a cake for the celebration would be in order, so I decided to try doing a Yule Log -- my own variation.
I used a plain white cake mix (ok, I confess, it was one of the boxes left from the wedding!), and baked it in a jelly roll pan.
The tricky thing with jelly roll cakes is that you must deal with the rolling part as soon as they come out of the oven otherwise they just break if you try to roll them.
So, as soon as the cake came out of the oven I dusted it with powdered sugar, covered it with a clean tea towel, inverted a rack over the top and flipped the whole "sandwich" over.
After removing the pan, I slid the rack out and peeled off the parchment from the bottom of the cake.
Next I quickly brushed the cake with liquified raspberry jam and using the towel as an aid, rolled the cake gently into a log shape. I kept it wrapped in the towel and put it in the refridgerator overnight.
Next morning, I trimmed the ends then cut a diagonal piece off one end of the cake so I could put a "branch" on one side.
I used some of the frosting to "attach" the branch, then frosted the whole thing.
One of the nice things about doing a cake that you want to look like bark is you can skip the whole "it has to be perfectly smooth" step and go directly from slapping on the frosting to using this cute little tool to make the "bark" ridges.
If you don't have one of these, you can cut a piece of cardboard for a one time use one (and actually you could get a lot more variations if you do that).
Since I had a lot of roses left over from the wedding cake, I decided to use roses and poinsettias (I had done those in cake class) then added rose leaves and pine as the decorations.
When I got all done, I sprinkled the whole thing with luster dust (edible glitter) for that "just snowed on" look.
On the whole I'm pretty pleased with the look of this and with the fact that it didn't take me all day (just over an hour), so I haven't lost "the touch" -- guess I'll have to do some cake thing every 3 or 4 months just to keep my hand in.....