Chocolate and coffee log

Celebrating a birthday during the holidays comes with drawbacks, but also many small joys.

A few days before my seventh birthday, with my parents busy with holiday festivities, my grandmother Pauline was looking after me. She decided that I was going to become her assistant chef. (And I will always be grateful to her for passing on to me her love of good food.)

My grandmother suggested we make a traditional log. I thought it was a great idea and I knew that my determination would ensure success. I put my heart into creating that log. And just shy of my seventh year, I proudly created my very first culinary creation – all by myself.

Here is my own version of this dessert that started my passion for cooking all those years ago.

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Separate the yolks and whites of 3 eggs into 2 bowls.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer. Add the instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add ⅓  cup (75 ml) of the granulated sugar. Continue to beat, until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg yolks and two whole eggs in another bowl. Add the remaining granulated sugar (1/3 cup [75 ml]) and beat until the mixture triples in volume. Using a sieve, add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold the dough to combine the dry ingredients. (The folding method traps air into the egg mixture to give it volume). Using the same method, add the egg whites a little at a time and gently combine. Add the milk and coffee mixture in the same way.  
  5. Gently spread out the dough on the baking sheet. Cook in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cake springs back when you lightly press it with your finger.
  6. Turn out the cake on a clean dishtowel sprinkled with granulated sugar. Remove the baking sheet, taking care to leave the parchment paper on the cake. Roll up the cake in the dishtowel with the parchment paper. Let cool completely on a rack.
  7. In a saucepan, bring the lactose free whipping cream to a simmer. Add the instant coffee and stir until dissolved. Let cool completely.
  8. Beat the butter with 1 cup (250 ml) of the icing sugar. When the mixture is consistent, gradually mix in the remaining icing sugar. Add the cream and coffee mixture. Beat the icing until it is consistent and has increased in volume.
  9. Gently unroll the log. Remove the parchment paper. Spread half of the coffee icing on the cake. Roll up the log again. Place the log on a serving plate. Spread the remaining icing over the log.
  10. In a bain-marie, melt the chocolate. Spread the melted chocolate on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator and let cool completely. Using a knife, cut the chocolate into pieces. Place the chocolate bark on the log and sprinkle with icing sugar. Bon appétit!

Ariane Paris

Quebec, Quebec

A number of years ago, I had to deal with the reality of being lactose intolerant. The most sensible solution was to cook for myself.

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