I'm fairly sure I'm never going to make this. It's the kind of rich, cakey, chocolately and creamy dessert that is frowned upon by my arteries, and also by a hot Australian Christmas. Imagine this thing wilting and melting on the verandah as the mercury hits 35C. I like our stifling holidays, spent in bathers and cotton dresses, sipping icy cold gin-based drinks and applying more suncream. However, part of me dreams that I were someone else. Someone who lived in a stereotypically frozen northern forest, who merrily hung spiced cloved oranges and baked gingerbread hearts, who was a dyed-in-the-wool unquestioning Catholic and who abided by all traditions, who had a large happy family, who made paper lanterns and could sew and embroider and wore layered dresses and underclothes and scarves and who knew how to gather mushrooms. I'm fairly sure that person doesn't exist, except for in my tragically Disneyfied apolitical romantic fantasies. But sometimes I'd sure like to be her, especially when it comes to Christmas fare. She would know how to roll a sponge. She would know that her family found Christmas desserts exciting, rare and scrumptious, and she would go all out to make the best buche de Noel in the village. She would craft little marzipan toadstools to decorate her log: she would dust the log thickly with icing sugar and hum ancient melodies to herself.
Maybe one day if and when I ever become that person, I could build myself a buche de Noel. It would be ever so lovely.
Meanwhile, the log comes in many guises. It can be frozen, or soft and cakey. Chocolate, chestnut, espresso, caramel, white chocolate and almond are all acceptable log flavours. Log design allows for creative licence. Log recipes abound. (Delia's is a good one. )I wonder if log and eggnog go well together, flavourwise? Then we could invite people for lognog, by the flickering wood fire.
Thanks to The Occasional Baker for this photo.