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Friday, 4 December 2020

Vegan Yule log recipe

It's not Christmas without tucking into a delicious and indulgent yule log, is it?

The 'Yule Log' is a traditional Christmas dessert, especially popular in France, Switzerland, UK, Canada, and Belgium. It's a rectangular sponge rolled into a log with a filling, coated in chocolate ganache or buttercream. I'm sure everyone can agree, it's a tradition we never want to end!

A rich and indulgent chocolate sponge with a creamy vanilla buttercream swirl, coated in rich chocolate ganache, topped with edible cookie hedgehogs- how adorable are they?!

This dessert is 100% vegan and 100% in flavour, texture and overall Christmassy vibes. 

This woodland inspired yule log is the perfect centerpiece at any Christmas party/gathering and everyone will absolutely love it! 

    This yule log is:
  • Easy to roll
  • Scrumptious
  • Fun to make
  • Full of chocolaty flavour
  • The perfect addition to any Christmas dinner table
  • Extremely rich and decadent 

The hedgehogs were inspired by my lovely friend and fellow baker- Kim Joy, who starred on 'The Great British Bake Off' show. She recently released a Christmas cookbook and inside were her 'German Hedgehog cookies', I knew I had to make/replicate them! 
Her recipe wasn't vegan so I decided to take my vegan 3 ingredient cookie recipe and mold it into the hedgehog shapes coat them in dairy-free dark chocolate and roughly chopped pecans, for a spikey effect.
I love how they turned out and really bring this yule log to life.


Preparation: 1 hour
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Serves: 8-10
Level: Medium
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Ingredients for the sponge
  • 250ml of dairy-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 250g of self-raising flour
  • 20g of cocoa powder
  • 60g of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 50g of dairy-free butter/margarine

Ingredients for the vanilla buttercream (filling)
  • 100g of dairy-free butter/margarine
  • 190g of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (seeds only)

Ingredients for the chocolate buttercream (coating)
  • 100g of dairy-free butter /margarine
  • 115g of icing sugar
  • 40g of cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 50g of dairy-free chocolate

Ingredients for the hedgehog cookies
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 50g of coconut oil (melted)
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 100g of dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 30g of pecan nuts (roughly chopped)
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Method (sponge)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees c (fan oven) and line a 25 x 38 x 2.5 cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the dairy-free milk and vinegar together and set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan buttermilk.

3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder.

4. Add the butter into a small saucepan, place onto the hob over low heat and allow to melt. 
Once melted, pour into the buttermilk and whisk to combine.

5. Add the wet into the dry and fold together until fully combined.

6. Pour the batter into the lined tin. Level out with an off-set spatula or spoon, you want it to be as level as possible.

7. Place into the oven and allow to bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.

8. Lay a large piece of baking paper on your work surface, sprinkle over some cacao powder and invert the sponge onto the paper, peel way the original baking paper. 

9. Trim the edges of the sponge with a sharp knife.

10. Roll up (from the longer edge) using the paper, rolling it up with the paper inside. Set aside to cool. 
Rolling it up with the paper inside helps the cake not to stick to itself.
Set aside to cool fully.

Method (vanilla buttercream filling)
1. Cream the dairy-free butter/margarine in a bowl, on high speed until creamy. You can use a hand whisk or stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment.

2. Add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract. Whip together until fluffy & fully combined.
Add a bit more butter if the buttercream is too thick or more icing sugar if its too wet. You want it to be creamy.

3. Once the sponge has fully cooled, unroll and spread a thin layer of the filling then re-roll tightly without the paper inside.
Pop into the fridge while you make the chocolate buttercream (coating).

Method (chocolate buttercream coating)
1. Melt the dairy-free chocolate either in a microwave or on the hob using a bain-marie, then set aside to cool.

2. Cream the dairy-free butter/margarine in a bowl, on high speed until creamy. 
You can use a hand whisk or stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment.

3. Add in the icing sugar, cacao powder, vanilla extract & melted chocolate. Whizz together until fluffy & fully combined.
Add more dairy-free butter if too thick.

4. Transfer the yule log to a serving plate or tray and using an off-set spatula or knife, spread the ganache all over the yule log.
Use a spatula to create bark texture by creating lines. It looks really realistic and effective.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, winter berries or a drizzle of dairy-free cream/icecream.
Go all out and decorate it with some homemade hedgehog cookies.

Method (Hedgehog cookies)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c (fan oven) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, melted coconut oil and maple syrup.
 Bring together with your hands until a dough forms.
Add more flour if too wet or coconut oil if too dry. You want it to be a smooth dough.

3. Roll a tablespoon amount of cookie dough into your hands and shape into a teardrop-shaped. Flatten the pointed side of each cookie to form the 'face'. Arrange cookies on baking sheets. These cookies will not spread.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden in colour.

5. Once baked, carefully place them onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool fully before decorating.

6. Pulse the pecan nuts in a food processor/blender until roughly chopped. Place into a bowl.

7. Using a bain-marie, fill a saucepan ¾ full with water and place a heatproof bowl on
top. Add in the chocolate and melt.

8. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate, spreading to fully coat the 'body' of each hedgehog. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle over the chopped pecan nuts forming the 'spikes'. Arrange the hedgehogs onto some greaseproof paper and allow to set, about 30 minutes in the fridge.

9. Transfer the remaining melted chocolate to a piping bag with a corner snipped off or a really small round tip nozzle. Pipe chocolate onto the pointed end of each cookie for eyes and a nose.

Decorate with Holly leaves, berries (for decoration purposes only, do not eat).  
If you want the red berries to be edible, use red fondant icing.

Store this yule log in a sealed container in the fridge and best eaten within a few days.
Store the hedgehog cookies separately in or out of the fridge.


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