Years ago I worked with a pastry chef at a posh private club who could whip up Yule logs by the dozen. They would be the centrepieces on the endless dessert buffets, and I was in awe as he worked his culinary magic on these edible pieces of art.

Mushrooms and woodland creatures were made out of meringue and propped on the logs, which had been covered in swirls of dark chocolate ganache to look like bark. The masterpiece was only complete once a light dusting of snow (icing sugar) had fallen on the scene.

While you most certainly don’t have to be a pastry chef to pull off a successful Yule log, the process does take some time and a bit of acquired baking skill. And you mustn’t be afraid to flip super hot cake upside down onto another baking sheet. The steps may be many, but the reward of seeing loved ones in awe of your culinary magic will be worth it.

Recipe: Chocolate and Espresso Yule Log with Whisky Mascarpone Filling

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