After creating 5 original Bûche de Noël recipes over the past six years, I thought that perhaps I wouldn’t want to re-invent the wheel this Christmas. After all, my Lemon Bûche de Noël has been calling! But, when I picked up a bottle of malted milk powder to use for our Celine-inspired Dusty Miller Sundaes, I had immediate requests for anything and everything malted come Christmas. My Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies were such a hit that the kids wanted even more! Who wouldn’t oblige? Hence, this miraculous Chocolate Malt Bûche de Noël.
This recipe is actually quite simple to follow, and, the components, easy to assemble. But, let me tell you, it wasn’t easy getting there! Malted Milk Powder does not always play well with other basic cake ingredients….Of course, this meant lots and lots of testing to make this recipe streamlined for success.
Feel free to leave your Bûche de Noël plain, or dress it with a dusting of malt powder or malted milk balls (smashed or pristine).
Or, if you want, you can dress it with smashed Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds, which you can make several days ahead of assembling the bûche.
Now, here’s the recipe!
Chocolate Malt Bûche de Noël
Chocolate Malt Swiss Roll Cake
- 1/4 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup malted milk powder [such as Ovaltine, Carnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 4 room temperature eggs, separated
- 1/4 c sugar to be added to the beaten egg yolks
- 1/2 c sugar to be added to the soft peaked egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla
- icing sugar and clean towel for rolling the cake
- a mix of cocoa powder and icing sugar & a clean kitchen towel for rolling the cake
- a mix of cocoa & icing sugar & a a clean kitchen towel for rolling the cake
Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls
- 1 cup whipping cream
- OPTIONAL: 2 tbs malted milk powder [such as Ovaltine, Carnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
- 2 tbs icing sugar
- 1 cup chopped diced or smashed malted milk balls [such as Malteasers or Whoppers]
Chocolate Malt Buttercream
- 1/4 cup malted milk powder [such as Ovaltine, Carnation, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm*]
- 1 tbs cream, half & half, milk or water in which to dissolve the malted milk powder
- 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1 cup butter
- 3+ cups sifted icing sugar
- additional cream, half & half, or milk if icing is too thick
Additional Optional Decor
- Malted milk powder [such as Carnation Malted Milk, Ovaltine Malted Milk, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm]
- Malted milk balls, whole and/or smashed [such as Malteasers or Whoppers]
- Bashed Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds, below
[OPTIONAL] Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds, for bashing
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbs malted milk powder [such as Carnation Malted Milk, Ovaltine Malted Milk, Horlicks, and Hoosier Hill Farm]
- 1 tbs cocoa powder
- Chocolate Malt Meringue Mushrooms may be made up to five days before you plan to serve the cake. You'll find the instructions for those at the bottom of this script.
Make the Chocolate Malt Swiss Roll Cake
- Heat oven to 375.
- Line the bottom a 15x10x1 baking or jelly roll pan with parchment paper rectangle cut 1/2 inch smaller than the pan (14×9).
- Grease the exposed edges of the pan.
- Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, malted milk powder and baking powder into a bowl.
- In a mixer, beat the 4 eggs yolks until thick and yellow.
- Add the 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high until dissolved.
- Transfer to a bowl and set the mixture aside in the refrigerator.
- Wash the mixer bowl and beater, rinse with cold water, and dry completely!!! If desired, place in freezer or fridge for a few minutes before proceeding.
- In your clean, cool mixing bowl, using a clean, cool whisk, beat the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form.
- By the tablespoon, add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg white mixture.
- Quickly but gently, with the mixer on low or with a spatula, fold in the flour mixture. If it looks a little marbled, that's okay.
- Gently spread the marshmallowy batter evenly across the prepared pan.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the centre of the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.
- While the cake is baking, spread a large tea towel on a countertop or table and dust the towel with icing sugar.
- Also, make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are clean. And place them in the refrigerator or freezer to chill for your whipped cream.
- Take the cake out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, and let it cool only slightly, for 3-5 minutes.
- Run a knife along all four edges of the pan to loosen the cake.
- While still warm, invert the cake onto the sugar-dusted towel and gently remove the parchment or waxed paper from the surface of the cake.
- Make sure that the cake is situated in "landscape" mode in front of you, so that you will maintain its 15-in width and that the 10-inch sides will "roll" into a "log."
- Gently roll the cake right in towel, dusting with icing sugar as you go.
- Set the rolled cake in its towel on a flat surface and cool completely.
Prepare the Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls
- Gather 1 cup bashed malted milk balls. To bash the malted milk balls, I put them in a ziploc-style bag and beat them with a rolling pin.
- In the cold bowl of a mixer fitted with a cold whisk, combine all the ingredients except the malted milk balls and beat until stiffly whipped.
- With a spatula, gently fold in the diced malted milk balls.
Prepare the Chocolate Malt Buttercream
- In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, melt the chocolate.
- Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature. I often move the melted chocolate to a clean bowl, so it will cool more quickly.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the malted milk powder and 1 tbs of the cream with a spoon until the powder has fully dissolved.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter until slightly fluffy.
- Add the malted milk mixture and beat on low speed until combined
- Add 2 cups of the icing sugar and beat on low speed until combined.
- Add another cup of the icing sugar and beat until combined.
- Slowly beat in the chocolate until combined.
- If the mixture is still quite liquid, add additional icing sugar until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable.
- If the mixture is too stiff, add milk or cream by the tablespoonful until the buttercream is smooth and spreadable.
Construct the Bûche de Noël
- Unroll the cooled cake.
- Spread the exposed top of the unrolled cake with the Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls.
- Gently re-roll the cake.
- If desired, Slice a 1 1/2 to 2-inch slice off of each end of the cake roll to use as the "knots" on your cake. If you just want a festive jelly roll, move on to step 7.
- Place the large portion of the cake on your serving tray.
- Use the Chocolate Malt Buttercream to attach these "knots" to the left and right sides of the cake as you see fit.
- Ice the main portion of the cake, leaving the swirly knots and ends exposed.
- You might also choose to ice the ends and knots. If so, do so quickly and gently, with a clean spreader.
- If desired, with the tines of a clean fork, create a bark pattern on your yule log cake. I skipped this step this year.
- If desired, decorate the cake with a dusting of icing sugar or malt powder, or with chopped or whole malted milk balls, or with whole or bashed Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds.
- Cake should be refrigerated until 30 minutes before serving.
- Store in refrigerator for 3-5 days max.
OPTIONAL: Up to Five Days Before Baking, Prepare the Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds.
- Heat an oven to 200.
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment.
- In a very clean large glass or metal bowl, with very clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy white until soft peaks form.
- Sprinkle in 1/2 cup of the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, until sugar dissolves and meringue forms stiff peaks. It should look firm and glossy, like a cross between marshmallow fluff and taffy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa, malt powder, and remaining sugar until well combined.
- Sprinkle the mixture over the meringue.
- With a spatula, and gently fold it in.
- Dollop the meringue in large tufts or clouds onto the parchment.
- Bake for 2 hours, or, until firm but not browned, rotating the sheet every 1/2 hour. You will want a crisp meringue for this recipe. However, you can cook for less time (~75-90 mins) for a softer, cookie style chocolate malt meringue.
- Let the clouds stand for a few moments on the cookie sheets.
- Then, remove the clouds on their parchment to wire racks to cool completely.
- Store at room temperature in a dry, air-tight container for up to 5 days.
- When you are ready to dress the cake, bash the meringues on a cutting board with a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat tenderizer.
*Note, Hoosier Hill Farm's label indicates that the powder does not dissolve in liquids. However, I have had much success doing so with a bit more elbow grease than name-brand malt powders.
Making the Chocolate Malt Meringue Clouds for Bashing
Making the Chocolate Malt Swiss Roll
Making the Easy [Malted] Whipped Cream with Bashed Malt Balls and the Chocolate Malt Buttercream
Assembling the Bûche de Noël