“I want something special….”
Right before the holidays I heard a true story about a mom who got so upset about her young children’s whining that she cancelled Christmas for them. No presents. No special dinner. No celebration. Not just for that year but apparently for the next few years.
I was appalled. I can empathize with the mom’s frustration about the whining, but being whiny is a growth area which even many adults need to work on, and which requires training, patience, and modeling, not retaliation. What really struck at my heart, though, was her presumption that the holiday was a “right” which she could just take away as a punishment.
For me the holiday season as a whole (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s) is a gift. We don’t like to admit it, but as individuals, we can be selfish. Celebrating holidays – whether it’s this time of the year, summer vacations, Halloween or someone else’s birthday – is a gift to a selfish race. We don’t earn it. We’re just given these opportunities to practice being with one another, to extend love to one another, to think beyond ourselves about others.
So, when one of my daughters said she wanted to make a yule log for New Year’s eve tonight, I welcomed it as an opportunity for us to spend time together doing something she had requested.
Since folks know I usually like things to be quick and easy, spending an afternoon cooking something with many steps to it is not usually my heart’s desire. In this case, though, it meant time with my daughter, as well as an opportunity to exercise creativity.
For folks who think a yule log is difficult, I can assure you, it actually is not. It’s really simple to make. It just requires time, and with our gluten and dairy allergies it also required a few substitutions. In the end, though, the time was well spent, and my daughter and I enjoyed creating something special together to celebrate the end of this year and the beginning of the next.
Our hope is that you will look forward to making it and enjoying it in the new year, too. Happy New Year!
Raspberry Chocolate Yule Log
Sponge Cake Batter:
3/4 cup gluten free flour blend of choice, sifted* (I used King Arthur’s whole grain blend)
1/4 cup Hershey’s unsweetened special dark cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp plant based oil (I used safflower oil)
1/4 cup sweetener (I used the Truvia/sugar blend)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sweetener (I used the Truvia/sugar blend)
1/4 cup coconut cream (from the top of a can of coconut milk)
1 1/2 cups dairy free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)
8 oz dairy free cream cheese (I used the Tofutti brand)
1/2 cup Polaner Raspberry All Fruit
favorite homemade chocolate frosting or ready-made dairy free frosting (I used Simple Mills dairy free brand)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 12 x 17 inch shallow, sided cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then grease the parchment paper with vegan butter.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Whisk the six egg yolks until they are a light, yellow color. Add the vanilla, oil, and sweetener and blend well. Use a large bowl because you’ll be adding the dry ingredients plus the egg whites.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolks mixture and blend well.
- In a mixer, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and begin to mix on low. Slowly add the sweetener while it is mixing. Then increase the speed and continue to mix the egg whites until they become snowy white and stiff (when you pull up the whisk, the egg whites will form triangles.)
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter, slowly and deliberately. You add small amounts of the egg white and using a scooped spatula, hug the curve of the bowl to scoop batter up and over into the center of the egg whites, over and over again until all the egg whites are incorporated into the batter. The batter will lighten in color and expand.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and baked in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. When done, the sponge cake will be puffed and firm to the touch.
- While the cake is in the oven, cut a piece of parchment paper which is larger than 12 x 17 inches. Sprinkle it with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- When the cake is done, immediately turn the cake over onto the prepared parchment paper and remove the parchment paper sticking to the cake from cooking in the oven. Sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa powder and carefully roll the cake into a circle. Put the cake into the fridge to cool. Will need at least an hour.
- While the cake is cooling, take the top cream from a can of coconut milk and put it into a microwaveable bowl with the chocolate chips. Microwave for one minute and then stir until all the chips are melted.
- In a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and blend well.
- Add the Polaner raspberry, and mix until well incorporated. The consistency will be like a thick pudding. Set aside.
- When the cake is cooled, carefully unroll it and place it onto a serving platter. Spread the raspberry chocolate cream so that you leave an inch around the edges. Re-roll and place the log back into the fridge.
- Either make homemade chocolate frosting or whip up ready-made chocolate frosting.
- Frost the outside of the log with the frosting and use a fork to create “bark-like” lines.
- To decorate, squish marshmallows to look like mushroom caps and dip them into cocoa powder and place them, along with red hots into the chocolate frosting. To make snow, crumble coconut flakes with powder sugar and sprinkle on top.
* When “sifted” comes after the ingredient, it means to measure first.