I welcome Solstice as the beginning of a New Year.
Celebrations = Baking, and holy cow, I made this:
Gingerbread cake with chestnut buttercream, topped with chocolate buttercream and merengue mushrooms. This was my first foray into baking a very traditional holiday dessert in a very traditional way. Apparently, I’d never made REAL buttercream before, as that was the most intensive (and delicious) part of the whole process…
Of course, this Log of Love was made gluten-free:
With some help from my batter-licking sous chef, Miss M:
Actually, I think that’s buttercream, and now she’s a fiend for the stuff.
So, we started with the cake…it wasn’t hard to alter the recipe, as there was only a 1/2 cup of flour and three tbsp. almond flour. As I’m sensitive to both gluten AND almonds, I used a gluten-free pastry mix for the flour and ground up pecans instead of almonds. Perfect.
For cooling, she was rolled up in a towel, so she wouldn’t crack when we rolled her up again later (yes, a cake is a she, just like a boat or a car).
She was happy in the quiet house, basking in the glow of festive tree lights. She knew she had purpose. And while she sat, contentedly reducing in temperature, it was time for us to make the buttercream.
It started with a simple syrup, boiled until it reached the hard-ball stage. We used soft, peach-colored palm sugar for this and worked out wonderfully. Then we drizzled the syrup into the eight egg whites we had whipped up:
Then we added butter, one tablespoon at a time until we’d been through the entire pound and a half. Some was scooped out and blended with chestnut puree and vanilla and the rest received a treatment of melted bittersweet chocolate.
The cake was happily cool to the touch, and so she was carefully unrolled and spread thickly with the chestnut cream…
…and rolled up again.
Then came the chocolate…
…and a dusting of cocoa powder for good measure. She felt very sophisticated then.
Little did she know, there were friends coming to play on her bark…
…mmmmmmmmerengue + a little buttercream glue and voila! Mushies!
The real yule log the children had decorated was outfitted with a candle for each. When they were lit, the log was placed atop a burning piece of last year’s log…a continuous line of yule logs in this family for the past sixteen years. It is a treasure to be part of this tradition, and it was joyous to contribute something new. And it almost made me swoon to be celebrating seven years with C. We seem to have lived many lifetimes since then and here we are at another crossroads, ready to set forth on a new leg of our journey together.