Christmas is here and it’s time to start thinking about special desserts to impress your loved ones – this yule log cake is one of them!
This soft and fluffy yule log cake with dulce de leche is a Christmas dessert that will become the star of your holiday meals!
What is a Yule Log or Bûche De Noël?
This dessert has its origin in France and evokes the ancient tradition of bringing a tree into homes and burning it to welcome the winter solstice at the end of December. Over time, people have adapted the tradition to create a log-shaped cake to celebrate the holidays.
The yule log, or Bûche De Noël, consists of a chocolate sponge cake rolled and filled with cream and then topped with a chocolate ganache. The purpose of this dessert is to resemble a log. However, in this case we will make a snowy yule log, we´ll top the sponge cake with homemade whipped cream, and we´ll fill it with dulce de leche.
Although it may seem a difficult dessert to make, it is composed of three parts that must then be assembled: sponge cake, dulce de leche and whipped cream.
How to Make Snowy Yule Log
1. In a large bowl, add 5 egg yolks and beat with a hand held mixer for one minute. Then, add 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue beating for one more minute until foamy and pale yellow.
2. Preheat the oven to 356ºF (180ºC) .
3. In a separate bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 pinch of salt; and then sprinkle into the yolk mixture. Stir gently with folding movements until combined.
4. Zest an orange, with a microplane or a box grater, and add the orange zest into the yolk mixture. Keep mixing with folding movements until integrated. Tip: Make sure to remove the orange part of the skin only as the white part bitters.
5. Clean the beaters so that no yolk remains. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed for one minute until soft peaks form. Slowly add 4 tablespoons of granutaled sugar and keep beating on high speed for 4 minutes until stiff peaks form. A trick to know that the meringue is done is when you turn the bowl upside down and it doesn’t fall out.
6. With the help of a spatula, fold the meringue into the egg yolks in three batches. Gently mix with slow folding movements, a bottom-to-top and top-to-bottom motion, until combined.
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly (its texture is like a mousse) forming a rectangle of approximately 12×14 inches.
8. Bake for 15 minutes.
9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool at room temperature for half an hour.
10. Once the sponge cake has cooled to room temperature, flip it over onto a new parchment paper, or a clean kitchen towel, and carefully peel off the parchment paper.
11. Spread the dulce de leche over the cake, leaving the edges free. Roll up the cake, wrap it in cling film and put it in the refrigerator for two hours.
12. In a large bowl, pour 1 cup of whipping cream and beat on medium speed until thickened. Then, add in 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form.
13. Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and trim the two ends of the log, one diagonally and the other straight. Place the diagonal cut on one side of the cake.
14. Pour and spread whipped cream all over the top, leaving the ends exposed. If desired, run a fork through the whipped cream to make lines so that it resembles a tree bark, even if it has snow on top! Feel free to spread whipped cream on the ends as well, and present it as a log completely buried in snow. As you wish! Et voilà… you now have a snowy yule log ready to serve!
Before serving, decorate the log with some blueberries, raspberry and mint leaves, lightly sprinkled with icing sugar.
Snowy Yule Log with Dulce de Leche
This soft and fluffy yule log cake with dulce de leche is a Christmas dessert that will become the star of your holiday meals!
In a large bowl, add 5 egg yolks and beat for one minute. Then, add 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Continue beating for one more minute until foamy and pale yellow.
Preheat the oven to 356ºF (180ºC).
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt; and then sprinkle into the yolk mixture. Stir gently with folding movements until combined.
Zest an orange and add the orange zest into the yolk mixture. Keep mixing with folding movements until integrated.
Clean the beaters and, in a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed for one minute until soft peaks form. Slowly add 4 tablespoons of granutaled sugar and keep beating on high speed for 4 minutes until stiff peaks form.
With the help of a spatula, fold the meringue into the egg yolks in three batches until combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly forming a rectangle of approximately 12×14 inches.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool at room temperature for half an hour.
Once the sponge cake has cooled to room temperature, flip it over and carefully peel off the parchment paper.
Spread the dulce de leche over the cake, leaving the edges free. Roll up the cake, wrap it in cling film and put it in the refrigerator for two hours.
In a large bowl, pour whipping cream and beat on medium speed until thickened. Then, add in 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form.
Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and trim the two ends of the log, one diagonally and the other straight. Place the diagonal cut on one side of the cake.
Pour and spread whipped cream all over the top, leaving the ends exposed. If desired, run a fork through the whipped cream to make lines so that it resembles a tree bark, even if it has snow on top! Et voilà… you now have a snowy yule log ready to serve!
Hot chocolate is a traditional hot drink that helps us warm up on the coldest days of autumn and winter.
In my memory I associate this comforting drink with moments of happiness and comfort on winter days. If I close my eyes and think of a cup of hot chocolate, the following images come to mind: blanket, fireplace, snow, churros, buñuelos, Spanish Kings´ Cake (Roscón de Reyes), Christmas… what about you?
Homemade Spanish Hot Chocolate
Spanish hot chocolate is especially thick and delicious. Not only is a drink on it´s own, but also you can dip delicious homemade churros, buñuelos (Spanish doughnuts) or Roscón de Reyes in it for breakfast or afternoon snack.
There are three days according to Spanish tradition to eat these sweet treats with hot chocolate: buñuelos on Christmas, churros con chocolate on New Year’s Day and Roscón de Reyes on Three Kings´ Day (January 6). But now that you have these recipes in our blog, you can eat them whenever you want!
You can find ready-to-make Spanish hot chocolate in any supermarket, but it is worth making it at home for its authentic flavor and ease of preparation.
This hot chocolate recipe contains cornstarch to give the chocolate that special thick texture that makes you can’t wait to take the next sip.
How to Make Homemade Spanish Hot Chocolate
1. In a saucepan, add 2 cups of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over medium-high heat until boiling. Stir a little so that the sugar dissolves.
2. In a separate saucepan or bowl, add 1¼ cup of whole milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves.
3. As soon as you see the first bubbles, add 200 grams of dark chocolate (52% cocoa) into the sweetened milk. Stir with a wooden spoon so that the chocolate doesn´t stick and melts completely.
4. Once the chocolate has melt, pour in the cold milk with cornstarch and continue stirring with the spoon. You will see that the chocolate is getting thicker.
5. As soon as you see the chocolate mixture boiling, remove it from the heat and keep stirring for 3 minutes or until all the lumps have disappeared and you have achieved the desired thickness. Et voilà… you have just made a delicious homemeade Spanish hot chocolate to enjoy on winter evenings! It is the perfect partner to homemade churros or buñuelos.
If you want to reduce the thickness of the chocolate, you can add just one tablespoon of cornstarch, instead of two, or add a little more milk.
In a saucepan, add 2 cups of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar over medium-high heat until boiling. Stir a little so that the sugar dissolves.
In a separate saucepan or a glass, add 1¼ cup of whole milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves.
As soon as you see the first bubbles, add 200 grams of dark chocolate (52% cocoa) into the sweetened milk. Stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate melts.
Pour in the cold milk with cornstarch and keep stirring.
As soon as you see the chocolate boiling, remove it from the heat and continue stirring for 3 minutes or until all the lumps have disappeared. Et voilà… you have just made a delicious homemeade Spanish hot chocolate to enjoy on winter evenings!
Crème brûlée is a traditional French dessert that literally means burnt (brûlée ) cream (crème). It is usually served in individual ramekins, which are small oven dishes used for baking. It belongs to the same family as the Spanish burnt cream, crema catalana.
They both are called “burnt creams” because they are desserts that consist of a custard base topped with burnt sugar. This caramelized crust is achieved by sprinkling sugar on the surface and subsequently burning it with a kitchen torch or an iron burner.
So if you want to reach the rich custard and enjoy its flavor, first you’ll need to crack the caramel layer with a spoon! Mmmm…
Crème Brûlée History
The origins of crème brûlée are still uncertain, however, it seems that the crema catalana had a great influence on the creation of this French dessert. The first known recipe for crema catalana appears in a 14th century Catalan cookbook, Llibre de Sent Soví. And it also appears in another medieval recipe book from the 16th century, Llibre de Coch. On the other hand, the origins of the crème brûlée are situated at the end of the 17th century. It is said that the chef François Massialot created this recipe during a meal organized by Philippe d’Orléans, brother of the king Louis XIV of France.
This vanilla cream is one of the most popular desserts in France. Its creamy texture can only be reached by going through the crisp caramelized crust.
Crème Brûlée vs. Crema Catalana
These two creams belong to the same family of custards, but there are certain differences between them.
The first one is the elaboration process. Crema catalana is cooked in a saucepan, where it gets its consistency. In addition, we use cornstarch for thickening. Crème brûlée is a French dessert baked in the oven, thus achieving a creamy texture and a delicate flavor.
Another differences are the ingredients used. Crème brûlée is made with milk and cream and flavored with vanilla, while crema catalana uses only milk and lemon and cinnamon to flavor its custard.
How to Make Crème Brûlée
This creme brulee recipe is made with milk, heavy cream, vanilla beans, egg yolks and granulated sugar. You only need as equipment a saucepan, an oven, a whisk and 4 ramekins.
1st step: Flavor Milk
1. In a saucepan, pour 1 cup of whole milk.
2. Cut two vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Once opened, scrape the seeds inside with a knife and add them into the milk.
3. Add in a lemon peel. It is important that the lemon peel has no white part as it bitters. Tip: use a potato peeler or a vegetable knife when peeling the lemon.
4. Stir for 5 minutes until boiling over medium heat (level 6). When it comes to a boil, remove from heat and set aside. Allow the milk to cool down to room temperature.
2nd Step: Turn On the Oven
5. Preheat the oven to 100ºC (212ºF).
3rd Step: Make the Cream
6. Get 5 medium size eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, add the yolks and, with the help of a whisk, stir very slowly so that the yolks don’t foam.
7. Add 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar into the egg yolk mixture and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep in mind that the yolks must not froth or become pale.
8. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream into the yolks. Stir with the whisk (no beating!) until combined.
9. Pour the milk into the yolk mixture through a sieve. Stir gently with the whisk until blended.
10. Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins. In this step, I used the strainer again to remove all the lumps. I do this so that the texture of the creme brulee gets smoother and finer.
11. Place the ramekins in the oven and bake for an hour and a half. Remember that these types of creams (crème brulee, Spanish custard, crema catalana) thicken as they cool down, so don’t worry if you see that the cream is not thick enough, or a bit liquid, when you take it out of the oven.
12. Take the cream out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature for about ten minutes. Then, put it to chill in the refrigerator for three hours. Keep in mind this resting time in case you want to serve the cream the same day or overnight.
4th Step: Make the Caramelized Crust
13. It’s time to make the caramelized, crunchy crust that we love so much! Before serving, sprinkle sugar on the surface of each ramekin. With a small kitchen torch, carefully bring the blue flame close to the sugar until it becomes first liquid and subsequently turns golden brown. Et voilà! You have just made one of the most famous French desserts in the world, the creme brulee!
More Traditional Custard Desserts
If you are fond of custard-type desserts, you can also try these delicious traditional custard recipes. These desserts, including creme brulee, are gluten-free.
Crema Catalana: This traditional Spanish burnt cream, which first recipes date back to the 14th century, is distinguished by its citrus and cinnamon aroma and its crunchy caramelized crust.
Spanish Flan:This classic flan is egg custard baked in a water bath and topped with caramel sauce.
Cut two vanilla beans in half lengthwise. Once opened, scrape the seeds inside with a knife and add them into the milk.
Add in a lemon peel.
Put on medium heat (level 6) and stir for 5 minutes until boiling. When it comes to a boil, remove from heat and set aside. Allow the milk to cool down to room temperature.
Turn on the Oven
Preheat the oven to 100ºC (212ºF).
Make the Cream
Separate the yolks from the whites. In a bowl, add the yolks and, with the help of a whisk, stir very slowly so that the yolks don’t foam.
Add the sugar into the yolks and stir until the sugar dissolves. Keep in mind that the yolks must not froth or become pale.
Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream into the yolks. Stir with the whisk (no beating!) until well combined.
Pour the milk into the yolk mixture through a sieve. Stir gently with the whisk until blended.
Carefully pour the mixture into the ramekins.
Bake for an hour and a half.
Take the cream out of the oven and let it cool to room temperature for about ten minutes. Then, put it to chill in the refrigerator for three hours.
Make the Caramelized Crust
Before serving, sprinkle sugar on the surface of each ramekin. With a small kitchen blowtorch, carefully bring the blue flame close to the sugar until it becomes first liquid and subsequently turns golden brown.
Poached pears in red wine is a classic dessert at home. This recipe belongs to Victor’s mother, who has already shared delicious recipes like this no bake cheesecake.
What Type of Pear to Use?
I use two types of pears to make this recipe: blanquillas (or water pears), which are harvested in summer, or Conference pear, which is harvested in autumn. The former are very watery and juicy, and the latter are sweeter.
Water pears, also known as “blanquillas” are typical Mediterranean. Today you can find them cultivated around the world though. Its most important characteristic is that, as soon as you start to peel it or bite it, it releases water by the pear. Once it is ripe to eat, its meat is very soft and exquisite.
It is in summer time when these pears are really harvested and distributed throughout Spain. If you want to eat a water pear, you can do it from June to December.
The other type is the Conference pear. although they do not release as much water, it does not mean that they are not delicious in flavor, it has a sweet taste and a slight acid touch. The best time to eat it is in autumn.
What Type of Wine to Use?
When making this recipe, I use a young Rioja wine. You don’t need to buy an expensive wine, because it will come out delicious anyway. Wine brands I use for this dessert: San Asensio and Palacio de Beltrus.
Make pears with wine for an elegant dessert! It is a simple and colorful dessert that will impress your guests.
How to Make Poached Pears in Wine
1. In a saucepan, pour a liter of wine, a tablespoon of sugar per pear (8) and 4/5 cup of water. First stir a little with a wooden spoon over low heat (level 4 on vitroceramic) and leave the lid on.
2. Peel 8 pears (blanquillas or conference) using a vegetable peeler, leaving the stalk on.
3. Once they are peeled, drop them into the hot liquid. Leave the pears to cook for an hour and a quarter over low heat (5 level) with the lid on, leaving it slightly ajar.
4. After an hour and a quarter, the pears should be tender and soft. With the help of the wooden spoon, pick them one by one by the stalk and place them in the dish where you are going to serve them. Stand them up for presentation.
5. Drizzle the pears with the wine syrup. If you see that the wine syrup is too liquid, leave it to cook for twenty more minutes to thicken. Et voilà! You have made delicious pears in wine!
You can serve them with whipped or liquid cream. I recommend serving them warm.
Pears in Wine Recipe
Pears are delicious when cooked in red wine. This classic recipe combines the sweet flavor of ripe pears with the rich taste of red wine.
In my family, we’ve been eating buñuelos for as long as I can remember!
Blanca, isn’t the shape of buñuelos round? Buñuelos is a traditional dessert that is prepared in different ways both in Spain and in Latin American countries. However, this buñuelos recipe come from southern Spain, and they are characterized by having a hole in the middle.
These crispy fritters are known in some places as the Spanish doughnuts.
This traditional dish is part of our family customs. When Christmas arrives, we all get together in Arcos de la Frontera to celebrate the beginning of the holidays.
My great aunt Chari invites us all to go to her house in Arcos, which has a very large patio, and that is where they fry buñuelos to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas holidays. We call this la buñuelada.
As soon as the buñuelos are removed from the boiling oil, they are drained and dusted with sugar. Then, they pass them around on trays and, we all chat about on how the year has gone and their new resolutions for the coming year, while eating these sweet treats.
The magic touch is to eat them with hot chocolate, as it is a bit chilly outside in the patio at this time of the year.
This is a tradition similar to that of churros, but here in Arcos it is made with buñuelos.
The way of making the batter and frying these fritters is a real art. However, it is a traditional dessert that is prepared in different ways both in Spain and in Latin American countries.
I share with you this original buñuelos recipe from the south of Spain so that you can live, in the best possible way, the incredible experience that we all spend together in la buñuelada at Christmas time.
How to Make Buñuelos
Buñuelos is a Spanish classic dessert made from basic ingredients such as flour, water, salt and yeast. In the elaboration process, it is very important to follow this recipe instructions to make the batter well and to fry them so that they come out fluffy, light, not too fatty and well done inside.
1. In a large bowl, add 250 ml of warm (not boiling) water, a teaspoon of salt and 50 grams of fresh yeast. Dissolve.
2. Add in 250 grams of flour and integrate by hand.
3. Add in the remaining water (750 ml) and flour (750 ml) and integrate by hand.
How to Make the Batter?
According to this old buñuelos recipe, preparation of batter is key to get fluffy and light buñuelos. The texture of the batter is neither solid nor very liquid, it is rather sticky. The way you mix the batter is very important: with an open hand, you pat the batter until well combined, without flattening or kneading. You mix with an open hand until all the flour is integrated. Plus. you will notice that it sticks to your hand as you mix.
4. When the mixture is free of flour lumps, cover it with a cloth and let it rest for an hour to rise. Do not cover it with cling film since it is important that air enters. Then, place the bowl near a heat source. I place it in the oven turned off for an hour. When the hour has passed you will see that the dough is bubbling and higher, so much so that it may be touching the cloth. Keep in mind that the dough will rise.
Now you have the buñuelos batter ready to fry!
5. Pour plenty of sunflower oil in a saucepan, and put it over high heat (level 8 on glass-ceramic).
6. Place a small bowl filled with water and salt next to the saucepan. This is to wet your hands so that the batter does not stick to your hand before frying it.
7. When the oil is hot, with both hands moistened, grab and stretch the batter and with your thumbs make a hole in the middle. Once you have made the hole in the center carefully drop it into the hot oil.
8. Fry buñuelos one at a time until golden brown on both sides. When one side is browned, after about 45 seconds, flip it over to brown the other side. In total, one buñuelo fries in a minute and a half. Use a skimmer to turn them over.
9. When you take them out, leave them on paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Then, sprinkle sugar on top and serve them. Et voilà! You have just made delicious buñuelos in the traditional style!
No two buñuelos are alike, each one has its own shape!
I always have churros for breakfast whenever I go to my grandmother’s village!
When freshly made, these Spanish treats are deliciously crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Are Churros a Typical Spanish Breakfast?
Here in Spain, we don’t eat them every day for breakfast, we eat them on special occasions or when we suddenly feel like it, either for breakfast or as a snack. I would say that we consider churro a treat.
Churros come in the shape of loops or sticks, and you can eat them plain, coated in sugar, or dipped in coffee for breakfast. We don’t usually dip them in hot chocolate for breakfast because it’s too heavy to begin the day!
However, we love eating churros with hot chocolatewhen we celebrate special occasions such as New Year’s breakfast or special family evenings. On cold winter afternoons, dipping churros in hot chocolate is a dream snack.
What is a Churro?
Churro is a fried dough treat made of flour, water and salt. Also, we add in milk and egg white, and you will see how delicious they turn out!
Where to Buy Spanish Churros?
Freshly made churros can be found in churrerías (churro shops), and ready-to-cook frozen ones can be found in supermarkets. But you can also make them at home, and I’ve got you covered on this one!
Near my house in Madrid, there is a food truck (I guess the new version of churrería) with a huge frying pan inside, ready to make and sell churros. Every morning, long lines of people form to get these sweet treats.
The origin of churros is a bit uncertain. On one hand, the Portuguese are said to have brought them from China to the Iberian Peninsula. On the other hand, legend has it that this popular dish was invented by Spanish shepherds because the dough was easy to make and fry during their long stays in the fields. The name churro may have derived from the churra sheep, a native breed of Castilla y León.
The recipe was passed down from the countryside to small villages where churros were made in churrerías. In my opinion, there is no better smell in the morning than freshly baked bread and churros in the villages.
What is the Difference Between Churro and Porra?
Although many people believe that churros and porras are the same and only differ in size and texture, the truth is that there are 2 main differences:
Porras contain one more ingredient in their dough, a pinch of baking soda.
The amount of water used in the porras dough is greater.
As result, porras are thicker and fluffier, due contain air inside, and made into spiral. They are also known as churros de rueda or calentitos de rueda.
Authentic Spanish Churros Recipe
According to old Spanish recipe books, there are two traditional ways to make a churro. The original recipe calls for nothing more than flour, water and salt. Another traditional recipe includes two additional ingredients: milk and egg white. The latter is the one we’ll be using, and you’ll be surprised what delicious churros come out!
Mild Olive Oil for Frying
I use mild olive oil for frying churros because of its softness and neutral tasting; thus, the flavors of the ingredients are respected and the churro keeps its exquisite taste. This type of oil is obtained from blending refined olive oil and virgin olive oil, and it is ideal for frying and making desserts, pastries and pies.
How to Make Spanish Churros
As a child, I thought these delicious figures were impossible to make; I never imagined I’d learn how to make homemade churros!
Not only churros are surprisingly easy to make, but also I’ve meticulously broken down each step of this homemade recipe to ensure that yours come out perfect the first time.
Do you want to learn how to makeauthentic Spanish churros? Get on board!
Churros Recipe: Step by Step
1. In a saucepan, add 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Put it over medium heat until boil.
2. Sift 1 cup of all-purpose flour into a small bowl, then add into the milk. Cook the flour in the saucepan for one and a half minutes over medium heat. Keep stirring, with a wooden spoon, while preventing the dough from sticking to the sides of the pan.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the dough in a bowl. Then, add one egg white into the mixture and keep stirring. You can knead the dough, but be careful not to burn your hands as the dough is very hot!
Tip for this third step: Knead until the dough absorbs the egg white. You will know the dough is well done when you knead without it sticking to your hands.
4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, pour plenty of mild olive oil (> 200 ml) in a (9 inch) frying pan and put it over medium heat for 8/9 minutes until it reaches 356°F ( 180°C ). I use a cooking thermometer to measure the temperature.
10 minutes later…
6. Once the oil is ready, load the dough into a churro maker. Then, pipe lines about 4″ long.
Tips for this sixth step:
You can pipe the dough either directly into the hot oil or onto a piece of parchment paper before frying.
I recommend using a churro maker to make churros. If you don’t have one, another way to make them is using a piping bag fitted with an open star tip.
7. Fry the churros for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Total time in the pan: 6 minutes approx.
8. Remove the churros from the pan with a skimmer and place them on paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
9. In a small bowl, add ½ cup of sugar and coat your freshly made churros in. Et voilà… you’ve made some delicious Spanish churros for breakfast or snack!